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- The Royal Road to Health - 6/34 -


being refuse. This waste product passes into the colon, or large intestine, and should be promptly expelled. If prompt expulsion does not take place, this is what happens: The fluid portion of this semi- liquid waste is re-absorbed through the walls of the colon directly into the circulation, a percentage of the solids being deposited on the walls of the intestine. This process of accretion goes on from day to day, week to week, month to month, until it not infrequently happens that the colon becomes distended to several times its natural size. Instances are on record, where these abnormal accumulations of faecal matter in the colon have been mistaken for enlargement of the liver, and even pregnancy. A surgeon in London has a preparation of the colon measuring some twenty inches in circumference, containing three gallons of faecal matter, and even larger accumulations have been reported. The foregoing instances are, of course, exceptional ones, but it is safe to assert that seventy per cent. of the colons of the human family (living under civilized conditions) are impacted, and some of them terribly so. It is impossible to estimate the amount of evil caused by an engorged colon monopolizing two or three times its allotted space in the abdominal cavity, crowding and hampering the other organs in their work.

But the effects of direct mechanical pressure are not the only ones. The accumulations in the colon necessarily arrest the free passage of the product of the small intestine, and that, in turn, causes undue retention of food in the stomach, with consequent fermentation; while the irritation, due to pressure on the nerve terminals by the distension, and by the encrusted matter adhering to the intestinal wall, is simply incalculable.

The effects of gaseous accumulations in the alimentary canal are not thoroughly understood at present--that is--the pathological effects. The more direct effects, as manifested in abdominal distension, and the terrible distress that frequently follows eating, are unfortunately, but too well known. The reader does not need to be told that during the decomposition of organic substances, gases are evolved, and no matter where the process goes on, the results are always the same. Owing to the causes previously mentioned, the intestinal canal usually offers special facilities for the production of gases, owing to the retention of partially digested food, in a medium highly favorable to fermentation. A moderate amount of sulphuretted hydrogen, and also carburetted hydrogen is always present in the colon, normally, to preserve moderate distention of the walls, while the gases usually found in the stomach and small intestine, are oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen and carbonic acid. What functional disturbances may arise from the presence of these gaseous substances in excess in the system is, at present, largely a matter of conjecture, but it is known that a stream of carbonic acid gas, or hydrogen continuously directed against a muscle will cause paralysis of that structure. The expansive force of gases is too well known to need comment, and the force with which they will at times distend the abdominal wall points irresistibly to the conclusion that such an amount of force exerted against vital organs cannot be otherwise than productive of serious harm. It is not at all improbable that many cases of hernia and uterine displacement may be due to this hitherto unsuspected cause. That they penetrate the neighboring tissues is an established fact, and it is quite conceivable that their action upon the nervous system though the medium of the circulation may lie at the root of many of the cases of neurasthenia that are now so prevalent.

But the auto-infection that results from the absorption of the liquid waste into the blood supply is by far the most serious feature. The blood is the life. From it the system obtains all the material for the formation of fresh tissue, and it is a practical impossibility for good, healthy structures to be built up from a tainted blood current. Why is it that the vegetation on the banks of a stream, on which a manufacturing town is located, is invariably stunted and withered? Because the water that should nourish it is polluted by the refuse poured into it, and no amount of deodorants or disinfectants will prove of any avail to restore the devitalized vegetation, but will rather aggravate the trouble. But cut off the source of pollution, and in an incredibly short space of time the vegetation will take on a new 1ease of life.

This liquid refuse in the colon is composed of substances for which the system has no further use--it has rejected them; consequently they are foreign bodies, and as such, are the equivalent of poisons. The colon, in this condition, is a perfect hot-bed for the breeding of all kinds of poisonous germs, and the action of cathartics aggravates the condition by filling the pouched portions of the colon with a foul liquid which facilitates the absorption of the ptomaines and leucomaines through the mucous coat of the intestine. It is known now, that as much as three-fourths of this foul putrid substance may be absorbed, carrying into the system poisonous germs and excrementitious matter. Dr. Murchison states, "that a circulation is constantly taking place between the fluid contents of the bowel and the blood, the existence of which, till within the last few years, was quite unknown, and which even now is too little heeded." And Dr. Parker says, "It is now known, that in varying degrees there is a constant transit of fluid from the blood into the alimentary canal, and as rapid absorption." It is also stated on reliable authority, "that every portion of the blood may, and possibly does, pass several times into the alimentary canal in twenty-four hours." Prof. I. I. Metchinkoff recently stated in a lecture at Paris: "Particularly injurious are the microbes of the large intestines. Thence, they penetrate into the blood and impair it alike by their presence and the products they yield--ptomaines, alkaloids, etc. The auto intoxication of the organism and poisoning through microbes is an established fact."

Having shown that the average colon is a fertile breeding ground for all kinds of poisonous germs, and that they are conveyed into the circulation by the interchange of fluids in that organ, it may be interesting to explain how these germs are conveyed to, and deposited in the various organs of the body.

We have in our bodies a system of canals called arteries and veins, having their head at the heart, which is the main pump that keeps the blood in motion. The arterial circulation consists of those channels which convey the blood--supposed pure blood--away from the heart to the different parts of the body, loaded with the life-giving principle of sustenance, invigoration and heat, while the veins or venous circulation conveys to the heart and lungs the impure blood, loaded many times with disease-breeding germs.

Now, in the blood, as it courses through our bodies, are myriads of little vessels called corpuscles; these are what give the blood a red color. There are also a smaller number of white corpuscles, that are known as phagocytes, whose mission is to destroy micro-organisms that are prejudicial to life. In order that you may know their use, I, for convenience sake and to make my meaning better understood, will call them little war vessels, loaded with soldiers, and the soldiers have in their vessels a furnace whose fire never goes out. These vessels and their little warriors are continually sailing through our bodies, hunting for germs of disease, that they catch and throw into their furnace and burn them up. Now, suppose we take a violent cold, thus closing the pores of the skin, and that at the same time the colon is engorged, two of the most important outlets for the filth and decayed matter of our bodies are closed up--for the life of our bodies is one continual process of building anew and tearing down; these two most important sewers are now closed. These little vessels now have their hands full, catching disease-bearing germs that nature cannot throw out through the colon or pores of the skin--both being closed--and we call this condition of things fever. The white corpuscle has but two dumping places now, the lungs or kidneys. Suppose that in the colon is the tubercular ulcer, breeding the bacillus of consumption, and they are absorbed into the circulation. Ordinarily the white corpuscles would be able to destroy them, but now they are so overworked that the tubercular germ lands in the lung tissue alive and well, ready to commence his work of destruction and death. The person developes a hacking cough, and finally goes to the doctor, and he, if he knows his business, probably finds tuberculosis well established. Typhoid fever has its nursery solely in the colon, and gets possession of the citadel of life in the same way as any other germ or contagious disease. What a terrible battle there must be going on in us between our life-preservers and the germs of disease.

Is it any wonder that people die of premature old age, of apoplexy, paralysis, dropsy, consumption, and the thousand and one maladies that scourge humanity? And is it not unreasonable to pour a few grains of diluted drugs into the stomach to purify the blood--even granting for the sake of argument that such a purpose could be accomplished by that means--when occupying nearly one-half of the abdominal cavity is an engorged intestine reeking with filth so foul that carrion is as the odor of roses compared to it, and which is being steadily absorbed into the circulation? If a man were to act as foolishly as that in his business, his friends would quickly petition the courts to appoint a guardian for him.

It may be asked, why has not this discovery been made before? In the first place, the colon has had but scant attention paid to it in the dissecting room, until of late years the appendicitis craze has awakened some interest in it. Its importance was not realized--the circulatory and nervous systems receiving the lion's share of attention. In the second place, in holding post-mortems the organ was avoided, cut off, if in the way, and thrown into the slop bucket. It was known to be always full, but no one ever asked whether or not it was natural in its fullness of faecal matter, and as a result, probably the profession knows the least about this important organ, of any in the human body. Strange, is it not, that among the seven thousand physicians ground out and polished in the mills of wisdom each year, that there was not one who had originality enough to ask the question, Is it natural that this scent bag of filth should always be so full of putrid matter that we cannot abide one moment with it? And, inasmuch as it is so, is it not a great detriment at least to our health to carry this mass of filth around with us, from day to day, from week to week, and from year to year--absorbing its poison back into the circulation? Strange that these questions did not present themselves to some one of the enterprising youths of our original young America.

The muscular fibres of the intestines are circular and longitudinal. In the large intestine the longitudinal fibres are shorter than the tube itself, which length permits the formation of loculi (cavities). These become the seat of faecal accumulations, only too often unnoticed by the physician. It is undoubtedly a fact that the loculi of the colon contain small faecal accumulations extending over weeks, months, or even years. Their presence produces symptoms varying all the way from a little catarrhal irritation up to the most diverse, and in some instances serious, reflex disturbances. When the loculi only are filled, the main channel of the colon is undisturbed. The most common parts of the colon to become enlarged are the sigmoid flexure and the caecum (see diagram in beginning of book), but accumulations may occur in any part of the colon. The ascending colon is much more often filled in life than the books would lead us to believe; indeed, it may be said that chronic accumulations are oftener to be found in the ascending than in the descending colon, which is also contrary to the assertions of the authors. This is due partly to the fact that the contents of the colon have to rise in opposition to gravity, and partly to the semi-paralyzed condition of the muscular coat of the colon through inactivity. When the accumulations are large, the increased weight of the colon tends to displace it; and if in the transverse colon, that portion may be depressed, even into the pelvis.


The Royal Road to Health - 6/34

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