Leucorrhcea is one of the most troublesome and obstinate, as well as the most common of the whole class of female diseases. The causes are various. It may be produced by cold, by a sudden suppression of the menses; by severe labor, where the vagina has been kept for a long time on the stretch, by constipation, free use of tea and coffee, ascarides in the rectum, excessive sexual indulgence, exertion soon after delivery, violent exercise, or not sufficient exercise, frequent child-bearing, and also as a symptom of various affections of the womb. The most frequent causes of leucorrhcea, however, may be traced to errors in living, imprudence in dress, and that artificial life so common in certain classes of society. How often do we see the simple teachings of nature rejected, and mind and body warped and compelled to bend to the dictates of fashion, or follow the lead of an absurd and diseased imagination? Need we wonder that where the passions are stimulated, and the mind excited by the luxuries and stimulants of the table, the excitements of the ball-room or theatre, and the glowing and sometimes impure pages of a certain class of fiction, a reaction should be produced both on the mind and the body.

Diagnosis

Leucorrhcea may be of two kinds. It may either be an affection of the mucous membrane of the vagina, in which case it is called vaginal leucorrhoea, or it may be a morbid action of the lining membrane of the uterus, when it receives the name of uterine leucorrhoea. Both of these varieties may have an acute or chronic stage. It will not be necessary in this place to draw the precise line of demarcation between the varieties of the disease, and we shall therefore include all under the one head of, leucorrhoea.

The milder forms are frequently allowed to run -on for a long time before any medical advice is taken. The character of the discharge depends upon the seat and severity of the disease. When the discharge is considerable, and of some standing, decided effect is produced on the system. The countenance becomes pale and sallow, the frame weak, the appetite impaired or capricious, the spirits languid, and exertion is attended with fatigue; the bowels are irregular, and digestion disordered; pain in the back is also felt when fatigued, and a peculiar dragging, bearing-down and weary sensation. The discharge in these cases is of a mucous character, and may not be very abundant.

The most acute form of leucorrhoea, generally the effects of a cold, or some irritating cause, consists of a profuse watery or purulent discharge, attended with local soreness and pain. The vagina is hot and tender to the touch; fever is also present. When the discharge is more scanty and glairy, or creamy and opaque, it is an indication that the neck of the womb is affected. All the varieties of leucorrhoea may end in the chronic form, when the discharge is more or less profuse and constant, mucous or purulent, or a mixture of both; it may also become green and purulent The quantity may also be abundant, amounting in some cases to a pint in twenty-four hours, and expelled in gushes on every change of posture. In these cases there is great emaciation and debility. There may be dragging pain in the back, palpitation of the heart, night-sweats, difficult respiration, and swelling of the feet.

Treatment

In the successful treatment of this disease, very much depends on the physical and mental condition of the patient. The food may be nourishing, but taken at the proper time, and be as little stimulating as possible. Late suppers, wines and all kinds of dissipation should be avoided. Moderate exercise in the open air will be productive of good, but care should be taken to avoid much fatigue. Particular attention also should be given to the dress. The feet should be well protected from the damp ground, the clothing warm and comfortable, fitting loosely to the body, and the skirts instead of being permitted to hang upon the hips, held up by the shoulders by means of shoulder-straps or braces. Above all, cultivate a healthy tone of mind. Cast aside the exciting romance, and mingle only in those amusements which will have a tendency to produce a healthy action on the mind and body.

Water is a most important remedial agent in this affection. A daily hip-bath should be taken, and the entire body throughly bathed. Cold water thrown up the vagina by a syringe prepared for that purpose, may also be highly advantageous.

The use of vaginal-injections in Leucorrhoea are of great importance. Often the simple use of cold water thrown into the vagina four or five minutes at a time with an ordinary female syringe, will be all that is necessary. Should however there be considerable irritation, a decoction of green-tea should be used. I have also found great benefit from the use of Sulphate-zinc or Nitrate-silver, from fifteen to thirty grains dissolved in a pint of water, and one or two syringe-full thrown into the vagina morning and night.

China, is a valuable remedy in the commencement of the treatment, and in those cases where the disease has been produced by debilitating causes, and is of long standing.

Pulsatilla

Especially when the affection occurs during pregnancy, and when the discharge is thick like cream, or milky, or thin, acrid and burning, and when it is associated with indigestion. Particularly useful in persons of a lymphatic temperament, in whom the monthly flow is irregular.

Calcarea

When Pulsatilla seems indicated, but yet has not produced the desired effect; and also in females in whom the monthly turn is excessive, and when the affection occurs at the turn of life, and is attended with severe itching; particularly suitable in chronic leucor-rhoea, affecting weak and scrofulous females.

Sepia

Particularly indicated in sensitive and delicate persons; the discharge is yellow or greenish, more or less acrid or corrosive, generally watery, and most abundant just before or just after the menses, and attended with itching in the parts.

Alumina

Where the menstrual flux is scanty, and the discharge profuse, corrosive, and attended with itching and burning.

Nux-V

Where the affection is induced by abuse of stimulants, or indigestible food, and the discharge is profuse, and of a bloody, yellowish or fetid mucous character, and is attended with constipation and cramp-like pains in the abdomen.

Sulphur

In obstinate cases, and where it results from repelled eruptions; also where the discharge is of a yellowish, burning and corrosive character, and preceded by colic.

Agaricus

Particularly when occasioned by a torpid state of the liver, and where there is pain in the small of the back, weariness of the limbs and sensation as of a pressing weight in the lower part of the body, intense itching and burning in the genital organs.

Kreosote

In most forms of chronic leucorrhoea.

Dose

A dose of the selected remedy may be taken morning and night, until five doses have been taken, when if necessary it may be changed.

Besides the remedies above enumerated, Cocculus, Causticum, Graphitis, Iodine, Ipecac., Nitr.-ac, Natir.-rnur. may also be of benefit.