In larger doses colchicum or colchicine acts as a most violent gastrointestinal irritant, causing terrible pain, colic,vomiting, diarrhoea, haemorrhage from the bowel, thirst and ultimately death from collapse.
In certain rare cases the whole of the stomach has been removed, the bowel being brought up and spliced to the end of the gullet.
Its combined action on the bowel and the uterus is of especial value in chlorosis, of which amenorrhoea is an almost constant symptom.
Sometimes a gall-stone which has found its way into the intestine is large enough to block the bowel and give rise to intestinal obstruction which demands abdominal section.
Their aperient action is dependent upon the minimum of irritation of the bowel, and is exercised by their abstraction from the blood of water, which passes into the bowel to act as a diluent of the salt.
The stronger the solution administered, the greater is the quantity of water that passes into the bowel, a fact to be borne in mind when the salt is administered for the purpose of draining superfluous fluid from the system, as in dropsy.
It acts in about five hours, affecting the entire length of the bowel, but not increasing the flow of bile except in very large doses.
Intermittent and remittent fevers are very prevalent; bowel complaints are common, and often fatal in the autumn.
The universal custom of sleeping on the house-top in summer promotes rheumatic and neuralgic affections; and in the Koh Daman of Kabul, which the natives regard as having the finest of climates, the mortality from fever and bowel complaint, between July and October, is great, the immoderate use of fruit predisposing to such ailments.
Similarly the beneficial effects of purgation may be due not only to the elimination which takes place through the bowel, but also to the internal secretion from the intestinal glands.
For this purpose solutions of sulphate of copper or of nitrate of silver may be gently introduced into the bowel in quantities of a quart at a time.
The last acts chiefly upon the lower bowel, and forms a constituent of nearly every purgative pill.
In some cases of chronic inflammation of the kidneys, where the disease is not extensive, the patient may continue in fair health for a number of years, provided attention be paid to the following rules: - (i) The body must be kept warm, and chills must be scrupulously avoided; (2) the digestion must be attended to carefully, so that no excess of poisonous bodies is formed in the intestine or absorbed from it; (3) eliminating channels such as the skin and bowel must be kept active.
It often relieves hunger, by arresting the secretion of gastric j uice and the movements of the stomach and bowel,'* and it frequently upsets digestion from the same cause.
Lower down in the bowel these compounds are converted into ferrous sulphide and tannate, and are eliminated with the faeces, turning them black.
The amount of iron existing in the human blood is only 38 gr.; therefore, when an excess of iron is absorbed, part is excreted immediately by the bowel and kidneys, and part is stored in the liver and spleen.
The third theory is that of Bunge, who says that in chlorotic conditions there is an excess of sulphuretted hydrogen in the bowel, changing the food iron into sulphide of iron, which Bunge states cannot be absorbed.
In large doses oil of turpentine causes purging and may induce much haemorrhage from the bowel; it should be combined with some trustworthy aperient, such as castor oil, when given as an anthelmintic. It is readily absorbed unchanged and has a marked contractile action upon the blood vessels.
Commencing in and around the solitary glands of the large intestine in the form of exudations, these ulcers, small at first, enlarge and run into each other, till a large portion of the bowel may be implicated in the ulcerative process.
Latterly, free irrigation of the bowel with astringents, such as silver nitrate, tannalbin, &c., has been attended with success in those cases which have been able to tolerate the injections.
They may be applied externally as fomentations, for the relief of tormina; by rectal injection for the relief of the tenesmus and irritability of the bowel; hypodermically in advanced cases, for the relief of the general distress.