IGNATIA dyspepsias are rather common, and definite in their symptoms. Most of the Ignatia cases one meets are typical examples of nervous dyspepsias of various kinds; and they are always associated with the unexpectedness that you meet with in Ignatia in any condition.
For instance, in your Ignatia dyspeptic you will get a combination of complete lack of appetite with a craving for food; or there is a feeling of intense nausea associated with hunger-a horrible, empty, dragging feeling in the abdomen, with complete aversion to taking any food at all. These are typical of the contradictory conditions which one associates with Ignatia in any of its disturbances.
The most constant symptom running through all Ignatia digestive disturbances is that feeling of emptiness; most Ignatia patients seem always to be nibbling food of some kind. They very often tell one that they are so uncomfortable, particularly in the evening and night, that they simply must have some biscuits by their bed or they get no rest at all; and the same sort of thing applies throughout the day as well.
The next striking thing is that almost invariably their desires and aversions for food are very inconstant. For a week they may have a craving for one thing, then that craving entirely disappears and, for the next weeks, they may have just as marked an aversion to it.
Associated with that there is the complaint that the patient starts a meal quite hungry and interested and then, in the middle of the meal, all desire for food suddenly disappears-everything tastes unpleasant, flat, or insipid, and they want nothing more.
With their digestive disturbances, the majority of these patients have a certain amount of nausea, and very often there is a sudden regurgitation of food. This is usually rather bitter in taste, and may be associated with a good deal of flatulence and eructation, which comes on immediately after eating.
With that, you can link up the symptom that Ignatia patients suffer from very troublesome, persistent attacks of hiccough. These attacks are often very painful and difficult to control, but frequently you will find that they are relieved by taking something to eat.
One constant Ignatia symptoms in their digestive disturbances is a complete intolerance of tobacco. The Ignatia patient is quite liable to feel sick, nauseated, or to get an acute attack of hiccough, if he smokes.
They suffer from a strange mixture of fullness and emptiness, Very often there is a feeling of extreme emptiness immediately after food, which is later followed by distension and fullness associated with a certain amount of shortness of breath and almost air-hunger or, even more frequently, a tendency to constant sighing.
Another symptom of which they often complain is definite colicky pains. And, again, the strange thing about these pains is that they are often relieved by eating.
The actual pathological condition from which Ignatia patients mostly suffer is simply flatulent dyspepsia, without any definite organic lesion. In that state they develop an acute aversion to any warm food, and to meat; peculiarly, they are often more comfortable after taking some sour fluid or sour food.
But you cannot rely on these symptoms, because one week you may get them and the next week you may get entirely the reverse. One thing that is constant in the Ignatia patient, in addition to the intolerance of tobacco, is a marked intolerance of coffee. It increases their digestive disturbance, very often gives them a crampy pain, and may even set up definite hiccough and regurgitation of food.
All Ignatia patients suffer from troublesome, generalised abdominal flatulence. Often they have great difficulty in getting rid of it, and it is associated with very marked constipation. The constipation in Ignatia is much the type one associates with Nux vomica, that is to say, the constant, ineffectual urging to stool.
One is sometimes apt to confuse Ignatia with Argentum nit. which also has this intense abdominal flatulence. In both the flatulence is much aggravated by sweets, but the point to remember is that in Ignatia you get this flatulence associated with colic and constipation, whereas in Argentum nit. you get it associated with colic and diarrhoea.
Ignatia patients do get attacks of diarrhoea, but it is most commonly entirely painless, and is usually associated with some emotional disturbance-fright, shock or something similar-it is not usually the result of indiscretion in diet, nor is it the anticipation diarrhoea of Argentum nit.
In addition to their abdominal flatulence, Ignatia patients mostly complain of a horrible feeling of weakness in the abdomen, a dragging down sensation; and they all, in that weak state, are aggravated by any stimulants-alcohol, tea, coffee and, particularly, spirits in any form.
There are one or two small points about Ignatia which are sometimes suggestive. With their digestive upsets they tend to get a good deal of salivation, with a sourish taste in the mouth. Again, they complain very often of a troublesome tendency to bite the inside of the cheek.
On looking inside the mouth, you will find that the ampulla at the end of the parotid duct is very definitely swollen: it is in this region that the patient has this difficulty and tends to bite the slightly pouting mucous membrane on the inside of the cheek.
Ignatia patients, with all their flatulence, often develop an insatiable desire for bread, which is, needless to say, very indivisible.
With their digestive upsets you find, of course, the ordinary unstable Ignatia make-up. These patients are excitable, or depressed and weeping, they want attention and sympathy, and yet they are very much more emotional if any sympathy is given to them.
And frequently the commencement of their digestive history dates from some acute emotional upsets, either emotional shock or nervous fright.
Ignatia is not a long-acting drug. In the typical Ignatia case I do not find that the action is much longer than three weeks, even in a very high potency.