This disease is exceedingly painful and violent, running its course with great rapidity. It is astonishing, when we consider the ill-treatment the stomach receives at our hands, that it is not much oftener affected with violent inflammation.
In the more violent forms of Gastritis there is a constant burning, gnawing, sticking, constrictive pain in the stomach, occasioning shortness of breath, and aggravated by breathing, contact or pressure; the desire for cold drink is excessive, notwithstanding, if taken even in the smallest quantity, it is immediately vomited. The pulse is small, wiry, suppressed, frequently intermitting ; the stool and urine scanty or suppressed. In the milder forms, the above symptoms are present in a less violent degree. The vomiting is less frequent, and the pain less severe. The position which the stomach occupies in relation to other parts of the system renders inflammation of that organ exceedingly dangerous. It requires prompt and vigorous treatment to arrest the rapidity of its progress. There is also in connection with other symptoms great anxiety, prostration, small, thread-like pulse, cool extremities and often fainting fits and convulsions. Death may taken place either by gangrene or nervous paralysis. In the former case, the sudden cessation of pain, one of the heralds of death, is often looked on by surrounding friends with joy, as an indication of returning health, but the accompanying symptoms, the small, scarcely perceptible, remittent pulse, and coldness of the extremities, dashes the cup of joy to the earth, and chills them with the shadow of approaching dissolution. The latter termination, or "nervous paralysis," is generally accompanied with spasms, fits of fainting, and the utmost debility. The acute form not unfrequently passes into chronic inflammation, spasm and ulceration of the stomach.
* For a description of the stomach, see plate 4, and Anatomy and Physiology.
This disease may be occasioned by mechanical injuries, the introduction into the stomach of acid or corrosive poisons, the use of cold drinks, when the stomach is heated, stoppage of bilious diarrhoea, and suppression of eruptions; inflammation of adjoining organs and metastasis of inflammation of other organs to the stomach.
Treatment.* - In Gastritis, occasioned by poisons - see Poisons.
When vomiting predominates and when occasioned by indigestion or chill, and when Aconite is insufficient The tongue is clear.
More particularly after Aconite or Ipecac.
When caused by indigestion, or chill in the stomach from ice, particularly after Ipecac. or Bry-onia.
Arsenic is perhaps the most important remedy in the treatment of the disease. It may often be given in alternation with Veratrum. There is a burning pain, vomiting, rapid prostration of strength, paleness of the face and coldness of the extremities.
There is also vomiting, severe pain in the stomach, sometimes cramps, or spasms, prostration of strength, and coldness of extremities.
When there are dropsical sufferings, or cerebral symptoms, with talkative delirium, loss of consciousness or stupor.
When Hyosciamus does not produce the desired relief.
Nux is of benefit in those cases, where Aconite, Ipecac., Bryonia, or Arsenic may be indicated and prove insufficient, particularly in persons accustomed to ardent spirits.
A powder, or three globules, dry on the tongue; or two drops of the tincture, or twelve globules, in a tumbler of water, a tablespoonful at a dose.
In the more violent cases give every fifteen or thirty minutes until relief is obtained, when the time can gradually be increased to one, two, or three hours, or, if after eight or ten doses, there is no change of symptoms, another remedy should be selected. Fomentations of hops over the stomach, or the application of cloths wrung out in hop-water, will often produce a soothing effect.
As almost every thing taken into the stomach is vomited, but very little, at first should be taken, and that should be of the lightest and simplest character; cold water or toast water, in small quantities, not more than a tablespoonful at a time may be given, and gruels, as the symptoms gradually abate.