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A Case of Bloody Diarrhoea Responds to Homoeopathy

by Dr Angela Jones(more info)

listed in homeopathy, originally published in issue 34 - November 1998

Adam was in dire straits when he came to see me. He had been suffering from diarrhoea for nine months and was getting nowhere with conventional therapy. The story had begun in the previous autumn when he had several chest infections and took several courses of antibiotics. His doctor was generally quite free with the antibiotics as Adam had several episodes in the past when his lung had burst, once on the right and several times on the left. He needed surgical treatment of the lungs to prevent these episodes from recurring and both he and his doctor were naturally afraid that too much coughing could lead to a recurrence.

About a month later, Adam developed a curious red circular rash, not itchy and distributed mainly over the trunk. Shortly after, the diarrhoea started. From that time onward, he rarely passed a formed stool. The motion was watery or pasty and at times, bloody. The diarrhoea even drove him out of bed at night on occasion. Adam was particularly distressed by a fairly recent development, whereby he had begun to pass some diarrhoea without realising it, while standing up to pass urine. With this occurrence, he decided that he had to get further help.

Adam had already been to his GP who had done some investigations and then referred him on to a consultant gastroenterologist. This specialist had tested Adam intensively, including an endoscopic examination of the colon. He had been unable to explain Adam's symptoms and proposed that Adam should carry on, for the time being, taking codeine phosphate, a bowel-slowing agent, for symptomatic relief. As serious conditions such as cancer and inflammatory colitis had been ruled out by the specialist, I felt happy to prescribe for Adam. I should add that I would not have agreed to treat Adam homoeopathically without these tests having been done beforehand, because of the obvious risk of a surgically correctable cancer being missed, or a toxic state developing from colitis which can lead to death of the entire colon (and of the patient, if left untreated).

Apart from the bowel symptoms, Adam was also feeling generally below par. He was suffering from hot and cold sweats, was very tired indeed, but interestingly, had little or no pain. He had lost about a stone in weight, all told, during this illness. Most of all, he was worried; this new symptom of incontinence was particularly anxiety-provoking.

Adam's past medical history was quite eventful with the lung problems previously mentioned. He also had a strong tendency to nosebleeds and suffered from a recurrent burning irritation on the skin of his neck as well as some acne on the back. He had quite a lot of cancer in his family history and also heart disease, but no TB or diabetes.

During this illness, Adam had become more thirsty especially for very cold drinks. He was sleeping fitfully, mostly on the right side.

Foodwise, he liked chips and vinegar, but most especially, chocolate and ice cream. He did not perspire a great deal, except when anxious, and then, from the face mostly.

Adam's job was as a care assistant with the mentally handicapped. He described himself as sensitive, with a definite tendency to take his work home with him. He admitted to being a worrier but was not disabled by anxiety. He cared about his appearance, keeping neat and tidy and liking fashionable clothes. However, he was not tidy in the home, his room being, by his own admission, a tip.

In analysing Adam's case, there were several keynotes to be considered, in particular the bloody diarrhoea, the thirst for cold liquids (which was more important because it was recent), the past history of pneumothorax (which is more common in persons of a certain bodily type with thin upper body and long chest), history of nosebleeds and sensitive caring nature. All these pointed to the medicine, Phosphorus. This is a highly reactive element which is found in the Earth's crust and which can catch fire spontaneously.

Persons who respond to the medicine, Phosphorus are typically reactive and sparkly, with a tendency to bleeding and chest complaints. They are noted for their sympathetic attitude. This sensitivity can extend to an ability to detect supernatural presences; Phosphorus characters have frequently seen or been aware of ghosts.

Adam took a single dose of Phosphorus 30c, a very small dose. However, I felt that I must proceed very cautiously in view of the potentially serious nature of the symptoms. I wanted to avoid a serious aggravation of the symptoms if at all possible. When I saw Adam again, five weeks later, he reported an aggravation, despite my softly-softly approach. He'd had profuse diarrhoea for the first seven days but no incontinence. The thirst had intensified. There was no recurrence of the rash nor of the bleeding from the bowel.

On the positive side, Adam's weight was steady. He had managed to stop taking his codeine phosphate (which he had been taking previously at approximately three per day). He also felt that his energy had improved especially during the last week. I interpreted the whole picture as a positive action of the medicine and decided to take no further action. In these circumstances, it is always best to wait and see and to give no further medicine while the previous dose is still acting. I therefore arranged to speak to Adam on the telephone, two weeks later.

Two weeks went by, and then three, with no word from Adam on his progress. It is difficult to know whether patients do not call because all is well or because they have decided that the homoeopathy does not suit them. I was very relieved to receive a letter four weeks later. In it, Adam confirmed that all was well. The diarrhoea had settled completely, and he was feeling almost 100%. His final paragraph echoed my own sentiments: "It is about time that homoeopathy was available to all GPs on referral, as it obviously has benefits, even in conditions where ordinary consultants cannot help."

Homoeopathy is, in fact, integrated into the NHS. There are five NHS Homoeopathic Hospitals and over 200 qualified medical homoeopaths across the country. Sadly, a number of health authorities have decided to stop paying for their patients to go to these NHS facilities, ostensibly because of a lack of scientific evidence for the action of homoeopathy. This decision is doubly destructive as it not only forces homoeopathy to become a medicine only available to those who can afford a private consultation, but also puts the NHS hospitals at risk, as they cannot continue to run unless they are sent patients, and paid to treat them. We all need to be aware of the effect of the new NHS legislation so that we can be poised to protect our rights as NHS patients. Please write to your local community health council to express your wish that homoeopathy should continue to be available, free at the point of delivery, on the NHS.

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About Dr Angela Jones

Dr Angela Jones works in NHS general practice and also privately, using homeopathy alongside conventional medicine. Dr Jones can be contacted via the Faculty of Homeopathy on Tel: 020-7566 7800.

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