Colic: Agony in The Belly

Words: Dr Narayan C DESHPANDE

One of my good, old teachers of clinical medicine would often articulate, in his impeccable Queen’s English, that the abdomen is a ‘temple of surprises.’

The abdomen is unquestionably a difficult-to-fathom ‘customer’ — it is not just the abdominal pain, or colic, which starts and ends that matters. The whole mosaic is more than what meets the eye. Besides, it is not surprising that many a time the pain in the abdomen is tantalisingly vague.

Classification  

Abdominal pain, or colic, may be divided, for easy comprehension, into the following types —

Gastric — with severe flatulence [gas]; hyperchlorhydria [gastric acidity]; acute poisoning; gastric ulcer; acute gastritis; cancer; pyloric stenosis [narrowing of the pylorus, the muscle between the stomach and the intestines]; bleeding disorders, like purpura; leukaemia etc.

Intestinal — with excess flatulence, acute intestinal infections, food poisoning, cancer, diverticulitis [small bulging pouches in the digestive tract]; volvulus [twisted intestinal loop]; obstructed, or strangulated hernia; acute, or chronic intussusception [where a part of the intestine slides into an adjacent part of the intestine]; ulcerative colitis [inflammation of the colon and rectum]; cholera; chemical poisoning; excessive use of purgatives etc.

Appendicular — appendicitis, or adhesions thereof.

Biliary — stone in gallbladder, or bile ducts; acute, or subacute cholecystitis [inflammation of the gallbladder]; cancer of gallbladder, or bile ducts.

Pancreatic, or urogenital — stone in the pancreatic duct, kidney, ureter, urinary bladder.

Uterine —  endometriosis [a disease in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus]; dysmenorrhoea [painful periods]; tumours, anywhere in the area.

When the patient gets relief from an acute attack of abdominal pain, with symptomatic [SOS] treatment, a detailed enquiry by your homeopathic physician is initiated, regarding their medical history and duration — to unearthing the precise cause of the agonised misery. Routine investigations, followed by CT, PET, may further help in deciphering the exact location of pain. Once the full details are available, your homeopathic physician would be in the best position to prescribe the most suitable homeopathic medicine, or remedy.

Analysing Abdominal Colic

Following relief from abdominal pain, or colic, as a symptom, your homeopathic physician will meticulously aim at diagnosing the aetiology [cause] of pain.

The patient is part of the process. They are often encouraged to point out to the exact site of the pain, as well as the ‘place,’ or position, of maximum severity, preferably with one finger only. They are also asked to describe the type of pain and/or whether it is ‘pressure-like,’ burning, cutting, pricking, piercing, lancinating, shooting, sharp, etc.

The patient is further asked, if any factors may aggravate, or relieve the pain.

  • Peptic ulcer pain, for instance, is made worse by pressure. Pain due to gallstones is triggered by jolting, for instance, while riding in a car, or any other vehicle over a rough road. This may also precipitate, or aggravate, the pain in urinary calculi [stone]
  • Pain of pyloric stenosis is aggravated by taking food, but is relieved by vomiting
  • A stone in urinary bladder may aggravate the pain during micturition [urination]
  • In peritonitis [inflammation of the lining of your belly, or abdomen], pressure aggravates the pain
  • Excessive food, or eating indigestible articles of food, may also trigger intestinal colic.

Besides, the patient, while pointing with one finger, may also be urged to relate vis-à-vis radiating pain; for example, pain over the tip of the right shoulder in the presence of gallstones.

The patient is also, likewise, asked about the circumstances in which the onset of the pain first occurred.

Healing With Homeopathy

Colocynthis.  This homeopathic remedy is most useful for acute abdominal pain when the patient has relief from pain while bending forwards. This holds good for colic with inflammation in the umbilical region. The remedy is also handy for ‘fringe’ colic — from the stomach to the liver.

Dioscoria Villosa. This is a remedy that is frequently indicated in acute abdominal pain, when pain is relieved by bending backwards.

Nux Vomica. This remedy is indicated in a variety of abdominal conditions, especially in patients who love a sedentary life — with dietetic excesses. It is also useful for colic from uncovering, or colic with upward pressure, along with shortness of breath.

Robinia Pseudoacacia. This is a useful remedy in acute abdominal complaints, where there is pronounced hyperacidity.

Carbo Vegetabilis. This remedy is useful when abdominal complaints are relieved by passing of gas from the intestines in the form of flatulence, or eructations. ‘Pain as from lifting weight, or colic from riding in a carriage.’ Pain in liver. Can’t bear tight clothing around waist and abdomen.

Chelidonium majus and Cardus marianus are also useful in liver complaints.

Lycopodium Clavatum. Is especially useful for right-sided complaints and pain moving diagonally across the body, from above downwards. Aggravation of pain from 4:00pm to 8:00 pm. Pain, shooting across lower abdomen

Fel Touri. This a ‘specific’ remedy for gallstones.

Sarsaparilla Officinalis. This is most useful for complaints of the urinary system; also, renal colic, where urine dribbles while sitting. Colic and backache, at the same time. Pain in right kidney, downwards. Renal colic and dysuria [painful urination] in infants, who scream before urinating.

Benzoic acid and Sabal Serrulata also act on a variety of urinary complaints.

Pulsatilla nigricans, Sepia officinalis, Secale cornutum and Lachesis muta are useful, especially in women, for colicky pain and pain of the reproductive organs. Sepia is useful for menopausal distress. Dysmenorrhea is often treated with Pulsatilla in young ladies.

Clinical Study-1

Objectives. Infantile colic is a common benign disease occurring in early infancy that may have a great impact on family life. In the present study, the effectiveness and safety of the complex homeopathic medicine Enterokind was compared with Simethicone for treating infantile colic.

Design and setting. Current data were drawn from a prospective, multicentre, randomised, open-label, controlled clinical trial that was conducted in 2009 in three Russian outpatient clinics. Children received either Enterokind [Chamomilla D6, Cina D6, Colocynthis D6, Lac defloratum D6 and Magnesium chloratum D6], or Simethicone. Data from infants ≤ 6 months with infantile colic are presented here.

Main outcome measures. The main outcomes assessments were the change of total complaints score [maximum 17 points] and total objective symptoms score [maximum 22 points] after 10 days of treatment.

Results. Data from 125 infants ≤ 6 months with infantile colic were analysed. The differences in total complaints and objective symptoms scores between baseline and day-10, estimated from the ANCOVA model, were found to be highly significant [p < 0.0001; ITT] in favour of Enterokind, both for complaints [Δ=-2.38; 95% confidence interval [CI]: [-2.87; -1.89]] and for objective symptoms [Δ=-2.07; 95% CI: (-2.65; -1.49)]. 1 adverse event [AE], vomiting, occurred under Enterokind and was rated to be unlikely related to it; 4 AEs occurred under Simethicone. All AEs were non-serious.

Conclusions. The current study indicates that Enterokind is an effective and safe homeopathic treatment for functional intestinal colic in infants ≤ 6 months.

  • Christa Raak, et al, “Effectiveness of A Homeopathic Complex Medicine in Infantile Colic: A Randomised Multicentre Study,” Complementary Therapies in Medicine, Vol 45, August 2019, Pgs 136-141.

Clinical Study-2

The term ‘acute abdomen’ defines a clinical syndrome characterised by sudden onset of severe abdominal pain requiring emergent medical, or surgical intervention. A prompt and accurate diagnosis is essential to minimise morbidity and mortality. The clinical diagnosis ‘acute abdomen’ is a challenge for homeopathic management. Homeopathy is a complete, most advanced modern science which takes into account the human being in disease. Hence, limitations and scope of homeopathy is the homeopath himself.

To study the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies in acute abdomen cases were collected from homeopathic clinics in South India. All 34 acute abdominal cases treated in the last year were selected for the study. Those cases were either purely acute in the onset, or acute exacerbation of chronic conditions.

Detailed case studies were done based on standard homeopathic case records. Necessary physical examinations, laboratory investigations and imaging techniques were applied at appropriate times. Specialist opinions were considered to confirm the diagnosis and prognosis. Then, they were treated with the homeopathic simillimum [the most appropriate, or exact remedy, in a given case]. Homeopathicity was considered from 3-36 hours, based on nature, seat and extent of pathology of the patient. Homeopathic remedies showed improvements in 26 cases of 34 and no improvements were found in 8 cases. Fair improvements were noted in 19 of 26 cases. Mild improvements were noted in 7 cases, which meant life saving for the patients. There was overall improvement in 76.47 per cent of the cases. No improvements were found in 23.52 per cent of the cases. Moderate to good improvements in 55.88 per cent, mild improvement in 20.58 per cent cases. This study clearly exhibits that homeopathic remedies are most effective and evidence-based in life-threatening acute abdominal emergencies.

  • S Manonmani, Sampath Suresh, Lakshmanan Ganesh, “Efficacy of Homeopathic Medicine in Treating Acute Abdomen, Observed in A Private Homeopathic Centre in India,” Allgemeine Homöopathische Zeitung; March 2017; 262[02]:2-76.

Conclusion

Abdominal pain, or colic, may have complex underpinnings. They are not as conspicuous as they generally appear to be. It is imperative that homeopathic treatment for abdominal pain, or any other illness, is best taken under the guidance and supervision of a professional homeopathic physician.

Dr NARAYAN C DESHPANDE, BSc, MD [Hom], is Author & Ambassador, ThinkWellness360. He’s formerly Officiating Professor & HOD, A H Medical College, Bengaluru, Professor Emeritus, and former in-charge Principal, Government Homeopathic Medical College & Hospital, Bengaluru, former PG Guide, Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences, Karnataka, former PG Examiner, Mangalore University, MGR University of Health Sciences, Chennai, Health University, Salem, and former Health Expert, Karnataka Public Service Commission, Bengaluru. A recipient of the prestigious Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Award for his 35+ years of commendable service to homeopathic education and alternative healthcare, Dr Deshpande lives in Bengaluru, India.

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