This section is from the book "Materia Medica And Therapeutics Inorganic Substances", by Charles D. F. Phillips. Also available from Amazon: Materia medica and therapeutics.
In many painful affections of the pelvic viscera, whether neuralgic, sympathetic, or even arising from organic disease, injection of carbonic acid into the vagina acts as an anaesthetic and sedative; but as it sometimes increases irritation for a time, it is not suited for cases with acute congestion. Dewees, de Rossi (1834-35), and other physicians of still earlier date, used the gas with advantage, and Sir James Simpson records ample and favorable experience with it in dysmenorrhea, etc. It gives relief even to the pain of cancer, but seems to have sometimes caused giddiness, headache, and weakness (Bernard: Medical Times, i., 1858, p. 380). The warm baths at Driburg (Westphalia), which are highly charged with carbonic acid, are said to be useful in cases of anaemic amen-orrhoea and leucorrhoea, and to exert a favorable influence upon utero-ges-tation, so that healthier children are born after their use. They have been described as "champagne baths," and exert a stimulating effect upon the whole surface, especially upon the genitals; they also induce a free secretion of urine. They relieve partial or hysterical paralysis connected with pelvic irritation, but are contra-indicated in acute congestion and in epilepsy.
At the "sool-sprudel" of Kissingen, especially when heated or when agitated by jet or wave, so large an amount of gas passes into the air as to cause sometimes giddiness, dyspnoea, etc. At Rehme the baths are used "still" with better result, especially in certain forms of paralysis and spinal irritation. At this place, also, gas-baths are given, but Dr. Braun does not attach much value to them unless in cases of atonic ulceration, and in irregular menstruation from atony of uterus.
Scanzoni injected carbonic acid gas into the vagina or uterus to induce premature labor, and with successful results (British and Foreign Review, ii., 1856), but the method is not desirable on account of some risk of the gas entering a large vein. Dr. Tyler Smith has pointed out that abortion occurs where pregnant women are exposed to the poisonous influence of the gas, but this may be secondary to the asphyxia produced.