Diarrhoea, or Looseness, is a frequent and copious evacuation of liquid excrement by stool.
This malady is \cry common, being either a primary disease, or only a symptom or effect of another. In many cases, it is a salutary effort of Nature, and therefore should never be stopped, unless it continue too long, or evidently weaken the patient. Infants, adults of tender and delicate constitutions, and those who are of a choleric, or a sanguine habit, are peculiarly liable to this disorder, which may be occasioned by too great a quantity of aliment being taken into the stomach ; by the acrid or flatulent nature of the food ; by an impaired state of digestion; by va-rious passions of the mind; by diseases of other parts, or of the general system. Many other causes might be enumerated, but these will be sufficient to shew the propriety of not attempting to adopt, in this instance, an uniform mode of treatment.
Where looseness is occasioned by excess, or repletion, or from improper food, a gentle emetic may be safely administered, as it will not only cleanse the stomach, but promote all the secretions. The patient ought then chiefly to live on light vegetable dishes, and to drink whey, thin gruel, or barley-water. If a diarrhoea be the consequence of violent passions, or affections of the mind, it requires to be treated with the utmost caution. Very mild laxatives, sometimes gentle opiates, and other antispasmodics, are in such cases the most proper; particular care ought to be taken, to restore chearfulness, and tranquillity of mind ; as, without this, medicines will be of little or no service.
Those persons who, from a peculiar weakness, or too great an irritability of the bowels,' are liable. to periodical or frequent returns of this disease, ought.to. live with a constant regard to temperance, and-avoid all crude summer fruit, and provisions of difficult digestion. They should, likewise, strictly guard against cold, moisture, or whatever may tend to obstruct per spiration $ wear flannel next their skin; and carefully avoid every inducement to the, depressing passions of fear, anger, etc. Nutritive drinks, such as broths, gruel, etc. with the addition of rice, or toasted bread, may be taken freely; but, beyond these, the patient should not venture without medical aid, unless he be able clearly to ascertain the cause on which his complaint depends. - See Bile.