This section of the book is from "The Complete Herbalist" by Dr. O. Phelps Brown. Also available from Amazon: The Complete Herbalist: The People Their Own Physicians By The Use Of Nature's Remedies.
This signifies a protrusion of the abdominal viscera. The predisposing cause is a weakness of the abdominal walls, at the natural openings. This weakness may be increased by injury, disease, or pregnancy, or it may also be due to congenital difficulty. The exciting causes are muscular exertion, jumping, straining, playing on wind instruments, coughing, lifting weights, tight clothes, parturition, straining at stool, etc.
Hernia is divided, according to the site of the protrusion, into inguinal, ventro-inguinal, umbilical, ventral, perineal, vaginal, pudendal, thyroideol, and ischiatic; in condition, into reducible, irreducible, and strangulated, and if the contents are entirely intestinal it is called enterocele, but if it contains omentum it is termed epiplocele.
The symptoms of hernia are a painful swelling forming at some part of the abdomen, which is compressible and soft, and can be made to disappear by pressure in the proper direction, and it often disappears spontaneously. An enterocele is smooth, elastic, and globular, retires suddenly and with a gurgling noise. An epiplocele is more irregular in form, has a doughy feel, and retires slowly without noise.
Reducible hernia is one in which the contents of the sac can be reduced with proper manipulation. Irreducible hernia is owing to adhesions or from membranous bands stretching across the sac, etc., when the contents cannot be replaced; and when the contents of the sac are incarcerated, with inflammation and an interruption to the passage of faeces, it is called strangulated. The more common forms are the inguinal and umbilical. Inguinal hernia is called scrotal when the intestine has descended from the groin into the scrotum.
TREATMENT. -- The treatment consists in reduction and retention. This can only be achieved in the reducible hernia. Reduction is effected by a manipulation called taxis, the patient being placed in a recumbent position, and the muscles of the abdomen relaxed; gentle and steady pressure is made by the hand in the direction of the descent. Retention is effected by continued and suitable pressure by means of the pad of a well-fitting truss. By constant and careful use of a truss, a radical cure may be effected. A lobelia emetic, or the patient may be chloroformed, to relax the muscles, may be resorted to, if replacement cannot be performed without them. In irreducible hernia, the treatment consists in carefully regulating the bowels, avoiding great exertions, and wearing a suitable truss to prevent further protrusion. Strangulated hernia, if it cannot be reduced by taxis, becomes a subject for the surgeon. Radical cures may also be performed by the surgeon.
I have constantly manufactured for my patients a most excellent truss, which effects many cures. It is a light appliance, and occasions no pain or inconvenience to the wearer. It is the most comfortable truss that can be worn, is cleanly and durable, and easily adjusted. It is called the "Champion Truss"--a distinction to which it is clearly entitled It is the greatest triumph of skill and genius ever attacined in this or any other country for the retention and radical cure of hernia or rupture. Its qualities may be briefly stated, as follows:, viz.: --
It is worn with perfect ease and safety.
It keeps its place under all circumstances.
It never gets out of order.
Its pressure is equalized and gentle.
It makes no pressure on the spine.
It is applicable to single or double rupture.
These qualities are all that are required of a truss, either for retention or cure, and any truss lacking in any of them does not fulfil its purpose, and is capable of doing great injury. Its perfect adjustment is well represented in the following cuts. The most violent paroxysms of coughing, muscular exertion, falls, etc., will not move it from the properly applied position. This indispensable quality of retention must be possessed by every truss, otherwise it is useless.
Patients desiring the "Champion Truss," will please send the following measurement, viz., around the body where the truss is worn and state whether right, left, or double. Trusses of the highest mechanical perfection are also furnished for every other variety of rupture.
The price of the "Champion Truss," with medical advice pertaining thereto, is twelve dollars.