This section is from the book "The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine. Volume 2.", by J. H. Kellogg, M.D.. Also available from Amazon: The Home Hand-Book of Domestic Hygiene and Rational Medicine, Volume 2.
The pain of this disease is most acute. The patient fears that he is dying. In severe cases, patients complain of a clutching, tearing pain. It seems to begin at the lower part of the breast-bone. Vomiting may occur either at the beginning or the close of the attack. It lasts from a few minutes to several hours, leaving the patient thoroughly exhausted. Notwithstanding the excessive pain suffered, however, the attack is never fatal.
Neuralgia of the stomach is generally produced by error in diet, such as overeating, eating indigestible food, insufficient mastication of food, hot drinks, iced cream, tea and coffee, and alcoholic liquors. The disease is very frequent in Sweden, owing to the great use of spirits and coffee in that country. It is also induced by excessive venery and masturbation. Malaria is not infrequently a cause of the disease. It is frequently present in hysteria and other nervous diseases, and is often an accompaniment of catarrh of the stomach. It also results from chronic ulcer of the stomach, dyspepsia in its various forms, and diseases of the generative organs. It is most common in females.
The patient mast take a simple, unstimulating diet, abstaining entirely from alcoholic drinks of all sorts, and from tea and coffee. If addicted to the use of tobacco, the practice must be discontinued. All the known causes of the disease must of course be avoided. Every measure should be taken to improve the general health. Upon the occurrence of an attack, the pain may be much lessened by hot applications to the stomach and abdomen. Also apply heat to the extremities. The full or sitz bath will often give relief where other measures fail. In extreme cases, it sometimes becomes necessary to apply an opiate of some kind. In such cases, of course, a physician should be called in. Even these cases will generally yield to the application of electricity. The positive pole should be placed over the spine, just back of the stomach, and the negative over the seat of pain. Both galvanic and faradic currents may be used, but we prefer the former.