Iliac Passion, or Ileus, one of the most dangerous maladies with which mankind is afflicted, and in which the motion of the bowels is totally inverted. It generally arises from spasms, or obstructions in the alimentary canal, by which the passage or descent of the excrements is impeded; an unnatural stricture of the intestines, ruptures, etc.; violent exertions of the body, such as leaping, running, or riding; the lifting of great weights; eating of unripe fruity especially pears and nuts; the drinking of sour and ill-fermented liquors; the use of too strong laxatives, worms, and obstinate cos-tiveness, are among the many causes which generate this fatal disorder.
Where the iliac passion proceeds from a distortion of the intestines, there is little hope of recovery. Various remedies, however, have been used, with different degrees of success. Thus, large blisters applied to the most painful part, while emollient clysters are injected; fomentations; camphor externally and internally) ipecacuanha in the smallest doses frequently repeated; linseed oil, both in small draughts, and in the form of clysters; as well as the warm bath, have all been found sometimes of service, but more frequently unavailing. And though experience has but too often evinced, that this obstinate disorder is not under the control of medicine, yet it may, in many instances, be arrested in its progress, and perhaps eventually cured, when a just diagnosis can be formed of its nature.—The writer of these pages had lately an opportunity of seeing the most inveterate iliac passion, with all its horrors, in an aged patient whose memory he reveres; but who, in consequence of constant nausea, hiccough, and vomiting, could not be prevailed upon to take those appropriate medicines which might have been attended with the desired effect. On this occasion, several of the most experienced practitioners in the metropolis were consulted, one of whom was bold enough to prescribe a combination of arsenic and hemlock, with a view to effect such a change in the whole alimentary canal, or to stimulate Nature to such exertions, as appeared to be necessary for removing a supposed cancer of the colon, or the largest of the intestines. Unfortunately, however, this powerful medicine produced the most alarming prostration of strength, such as might have been expected in a patient who was already reduced to a state of exhaustion and despair. Hence we are firmly persuaded, that, in similar cases, no other remedy can with advantage and safety be employed, than frequent doses of castor-oil; and, if this fail to procure relief, that quicksilver, in a native state, is the only medicine on which any reliance can be placed. Had these simple means been adopted, we venture to pronounce, that the life of our venerable patient would, in all probability, have been protracted.
The diet of patients affected with the iliac passion, ought to consist of very light food, taken in moderate quantities, and neither too warm nor too cold. Wines, spirits, acrimonious and irritating substances, as well as heating liquors, ought to be carefully avoided; because they are always produŁtive of bad consequences. Thin gruel, prepared from barley or oatmeal, or weak chicken broth, are equally proper; and the patient's drink ought to consist of decoctions of emollient vegetables, or water in which toasted bread has been boiled, or clear whey.—Particular attention ought also to be paid to the mind, which should be preserved in a state of cheerfulness and serenity.