Colic, a disease attended with wandering pain in the bowels, and rumbling noise.; both abating on the expulsion of wind: there is a slight degree of thirst; the pulse is scarcely affected, and the pain i$ not increased by pressure, as is the case in inflammations.
This complaint may arise from a great variety of causes; the principal of which are, 1. Flatulency ; 2. Tough, pituitous humours, clogging the intestines; 3. Worms; 4. Bile; 5. The Piles; 0. Hysterics; 7. Acrid food or drink; 8. The inhalation of vapours arising from the decomposition of lead; 9. Rheumatism; 10. The use of sour wines and cyder; 11. The gout; 12, A sudden catarrh; 13. An acid generated in the first passages; 14. Obstructions in the intestinal canal; and, 15. Poisonous substances introduced into the stomach.
Consistently with our plan, we shall but briefly treat, here, of those colics which originate from the 2d, 7th, 10th, and 13th of the causes before enumerated; as the reader will find the other species discussed under their respective heads of the alphabet; andi the last, or 15th, under the articles Antidotes and Arsenic, in our first volume.
If' the colic proceed from the second cause, it is attended with frequent evacuations of viscid and glossy humours, which produce only occasional relief from pain. Camphor and rhubarb ought to be taken in small doses, namely, one grain of the former, and two grains of the latter, every three hours, or oftener; and after the spasms have subsided, an infusion of catechu (which see) or solutions of alum, will be found the most effectual remedies.
When acrid food, or tart and corrupt beverage, has occasioned the complaint, it will first be necessary to take a gentle emetic, or if some time has elapsed, to open the boweis by the mildest laxatives, such as castor-oil, a solution of manna, with a few grains of rhubarb, etc.
Colics arising from the use of sour wines and cyder, are generally attended with excruciating pain, and paralytic symptoms. The most proper remedies in such cases are, the tepid bath; emollient fomentations made of chamomile flowers, with the addition of laudanum, applied to the abdomen; all such remedies as promote perspiration, and especially the volatile tincture of guaiacum. But the safest, and perhaps most effectual means of procuring relief from pain, are antispasmodic clysters • they should be prepared of a weak decoction of ipecacuanha; for instance,one dram boiled in three-quarters of a pint of water, till the third part be evaporated, adding to every clyster from 30 to 40 drops of laudanum ; and fe eating the injection every six or eight hours, at a temperature of about 90°.
A similar treatment may be adopted in those colics, which frequently attack persons who have a peculiar tendency to generate an acid in their stomach and bowels : but as this acidity is generally the consequence of obstipations, or obstructions of the abdomen, these ought to be previously removed by the useof laxative clysters (which see), assisted by gentle aperients taken by the mouth, for instance,-calcined magnesia and rhubarb, in doses of one scruple of the former, and three grains of the latter, repeated every four or six hours.
Lastly, we think it our duty to caution the reader against the use of heating, stimulating, or spirituous remedies, in every kind of colic, except that arising solely from flatulency, without any other predisposing cause: as, however, no ordinary observer will be able to ascertain whether the expulsion of wind, which generally accompanies this complaint, be its generating cause, or only a concomitant symptom, we seriously recommend, in such a state of uncertainty, to abstain from all violent remedies ; to apply no other but emollient clysters and fomentations; and to drink large portions of lilac-flower or chamomile tea, or take any other diluent beverage, till the spasms be relieved, and the nature of the dis-easemore clearly understood. These remedies are not fraught with danger; and, if properly persisted in, have frequently been attended with the most desirable effects. - For treating the colic of infants, see Bile, vol. i. p. 257.