LYCOPODIUM is one of the common digestive drugs-it is probably more often prescribed for ingestion than any other drug in the materia medica. Almost everyone suffering from flatulence is given Lycopodium at some time or other.
Lycopodium patients do suffer from flatulence and you may have indications for it in a simple flatulent dyspepsia, but you will find it frequently indicated in the flatulent dyspepsias associated with some pyloric delay or obstruction, either a simple scarring or a definitely malignant pyloric obstruction.
In most of the cases suffering from flatulent dyspepsia in which Lycopodium is well indicated, there is a history of prolonged and intense mental strain for some months preceding the development of the digestive failure. And there are definite Lycopodium indications apart from the local conditions.
The Lycopodium patient tends to be underweight, many of them are definitely emaciated. They are all tired mentally, finding mental work a great effort; they find themselves making mistakes in routine occupations that they do without thought in the ordinary way; if they go back over their work, they find it is full of mistakes.
Either as a result of this, or independently, they develop a state of timidity, apprehension, general dread and a weak kind of melancholy.
They may show some perverted sensitiveness. They are apt to go to pieces if anyone is kind to them, they break down and may actually weep. But they are equally likely to develop a suspicious, distrustful streak and, if they link this up with their anxiety and general dread, they very often become parsimonious, really from fear rather than from a desire to hoard.
If irritated, Lycopodium patients often develop attacks of acute anger, and they always appear to be over-sensitive to pain. Usually they have a sallow complexion, which may be definitely yellowish or yellowish grey; and most typical Lycopodium patients I have seen have had a very suggestive yellow discoloration of the teeth.
Frequently their earliest complaints are that they wake up in the morning with a nasty, bitter, dry taste in the mouth, and after meals are liable to have incomplete, unsatisfactory eructations, with a burning sensation in the pharynx and a sour taste in the mouth.
They complain constantly of having a soured stomach and of suffering from attacks of waterbrash, acute acidity, and recurring attacks of hiccough. These attacks of hiccough come on more particularly in the late afternoon or evening, or immediately after a meal.
One constant thing about Lycopodium patients is that they are hungry. Even though they are suffering from this feeling of acidity and flatulence, and having constant eructations, they are still hungry and, if they do not have their meals at regular intervals, they are liable to have greater distress.
A meal will often relieve their acidity and, if their meals are delayed, they develop a troublesome, heavy headache. They tell you that frequently they sit down to a meal hungry but feel full up after a few mouthfuls; then the acid eructations start, nd they get rid of a quantity of gas and can continue the meal quite comfortably.
They will say that they must eat at regular intervals, otherwise they feel very ill; they have no appetite when they start their delayed meal but, after a few mouthfuls, it returns and they can eat quite a big meal.
All Lycopodium patients are aggravated by cold food, and the gastric discomfort is lessened by warm meals. Most of them have a definite desire for sweets which seem to increase the flatulence.
They very often develop an aversion to tobacco, which seems to give them hiccough and increase their acidity;and they often have an aversion to coffee, which also seems to increase their distress. Quite often they have a liking for starchy foods and an aversion to meat.
With an acute abdominal distension of this type, they are uncomfortable if they have anything tight round their waists, and they dislike all tight clothing.
They complain that they have not only the attacks of acute abdominal distension but also small patches of distension through out the bowel-localised patches of flatus which are painful for a time, then there is a gurgle and the discomfort disappears. Often they say that by sitting up and rubbing the abdomen, they can shift the flatus on, with almost immediate relief.
The same sort of story is associated with the pyloric obstruction. There is a localised epigastric distension, with definite cramping sensation in the stomach as if it were being squeezed, then there is a gurgle and the whole thing subsides.
With these pyloric obstructions, the patients may feel as if they had a tight cord tied round the upper abdomen and, as the gurgle takes place, the cord seems to slacken off. They also complain of an acute burning pain in the pyloric region.
Most Lycopodium patients have a sensation of abdominal weakness : they feel as if he abdominal contents were sagging down, and they want to support the lower abdomen.
Some Lycopodium patients suffer from gall-bladder attacks, and may actually develop gallstones. They complain of a constant bruised pain in the hepatic region, and on deep inspiration they get a sharp stitch in the neighbourhood of the gall-bladder.
All Lycopodium patients seem to suffer from very obstinate constipation, with which they are liable to develop attacks of acute piles which are extremely painful. But, quite apart from piles, there is often great pain in the anus on attempting to defecate.
Lycopodium cases have a marked aggravation from oysters: you will find it is equally common for Lycopodium patients to have a marked desire for oysters, even though they are upset by them.