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A Case of Copious, Foul, Spluttering Diarrhoea

by Dr Neil Slade(more info)

listed in homeopathy, originally published in issue 177 - December 2010

Mary had been a patient of mine for several years; I had treated her for minor ailments and then also through her pregnancy, and prepared a small homeopathic remedy kit for her ready for the birth. All went according to plan, except for delayed and weak labour which a couple of doses of Pulsatilla 200c sorted out. She gave birth to Jake who was coming along nicely. On the day in question, she came to clinic with Jake who was then approximately 18 months old. He was a very healthy child, tall for his age, dark haired and a darker tone to his skin. He had a fine-boned appearance with the most fantastically long eyelashes.

He was presenting with diarrhoea that seemed to come out of nowhere, but oddly enough he didn't seem to be affected by it. Mary mentioned that she would see him stop; 'concentrate' and then she knew he had filled his nappy. His appetite was good and his thirst was increased, not surprisingly as he was losing more water, and his energy was good. The material he was passing was plentiful, not overly smelly and seemed to be more frequent in the morning. He was presenting very much as a case of Phosphorous (Phos.) diarrhoea. Mary herself had always done well on a remedy called Tuberculinum and Phosphorous is one of the main remedies in the tubercular miasm - thus there was a relationship in the remedy indication of mother and son, always a good sign. His appearance was also very typically Phos. I thought I was definitely onto a winner and prescribed Phos. 200c every hour for the first three hours, then one every 8 hours. Mary was to call me the next day to assess how Jake was doing. I also cautioned her that in a young child diarrhoea was not to be taken too lightly and that if it got worse or he showed signs of dehydration or he started vomiting as well, she must seek medical advice.

When Mary called she sounded very frazzled. She was having a dreadful time with Jake. His diarrhoea had not got any worse, and he still seemed quite well with plenty of energy, still thirsty and still a good appetite, but she could not really see what effect the Phos. had had on him. The worst thing was that Jake's diarrhoea had changed in form. Now he was very gassy. His tummy rumbled and rolled, but rather than this causing him discomfort he found it funny. The rumbling and rolling was followed by the foulest smelling diarrhoea Mary had ever had the misfortune to smell. When Jake passed it there was a lot of noise and bubbling. He could not be ignored as he smelt so badly and usually over filled his nappy with the putrid smelling, yellowish material. Mary was getting to the end of her tether.

By this stage I knew the remedy I wanted. There is only one remedy that fitted these new diarrhoea symptoms - Podophyllum (Podo). This is a plant remedy derived from the May Apple. Its diarrhoea symptoms are very clear and once Podophyllum diarrhoea has been seen, or rather smelt, along with all that spluttering at stool, it is not forgotten. It is also one of those remedies I refer to as a 'sure fire bet' - it rarely fails when the indicated symptoms are so clear. In this respect I would group it with Merc. sol. for ulcerated, very sore throats with smelly breath, and Calendula tincture for wound healing. They are remedies that almost always deliver in these acute conditions.

Podophyllum 200c was duly prepared and Mary was to give Jake a pill every hour for the first three hours, then one every 8 hours, as with the Phos prescription and call the next day.

When we spoke she sounded much more in control. She said that he only needed two pills and seemed to be much better, the diarrhoea had stopped and stools had become more formed and the smell and gurgling was better. I told her to resume the remedy if things came on again, otherwise just wait. The extra pills were not needed ................ well not by Jake!

Mary called again about five days later to say that she had whatever Jake had. Lots of gurgling and rumbling was followed by the foulest smelling diarrhoea that splattered and spluttered out. She was most embarrassed, as the smell went through the entire house and her husband said she would be bringing the tiles off the walls of the bathroom! She felt well in herself, except for a feeling that her abdomen was bloated and full of wind. Each time she rushed to the toilet she felt better for a short while until everything started rumbling again. The indication for Podo was almost textbook and Mary asked if she should finish Jake's pills. I said yes, one every hour for the first three hours etc and see how she went on. Mary needed 3 of them before the remedy effect kicked in and everything started to calm down.

After Mary had recovered she mentioned that she was amazed how fast the remedy had had its effect on both her and Jake. I explained that in such acute circumstances the right remedy at a frequently repeated dose will usually have a dramatic effect on a person's symptoms. As teachers we are always being asked about the strength of remedy and repetition of dose. In acute situations we usually choose 30c or 200c, both remedies that fit the physical realm of illness. If the symptoms are strong then the 200c has a better potency fit, as it is a higher energy strength remedy. I always tell students if there is a lot of energy in the symptoms you need to match this in the remedy strength. As for repetition, 30c is given more frequently than 200c, but the 'Golden Rule' is to always stop the remedy when symptoms improve (obviously also if symptoms worsen), and resume the remedy again if symptoms start to come on again. Treating chronic conditions though is a whole different ball game with regard to potency and repetition of dose, and future case discussion will be used to illustrate this.


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About Dr Neil Slade

Dr Neil Slade  PhD LCH RSHom. Neil is a senior lecturer at two leading complementary therapy colleges and has two busy homeopathic practices. He is the Deputy Director of Pure Medicine in London's Harley Street. He regularly contributes articles to the national press, radio and television. Neil can be contacted on Tel: 01372 361669;

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