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ULCERATIVE COLITIS

Symptoms
• Abdominal pain on the left side.
• Diarrhea, with mucus and blood in the feces.
• In severe cases, fever and general malaise.
• Possible anemia and, if toxins get into the bloodstream, septicemia.
Causes
Although the exact cause of ulcerative colitis is unknown, it is believed that food allergy, infection, autoimmune problems, low levels of digestive enzymes and stomach acid, stress, and some antibiotics aggravate the condition. There may be a genetic tendency. Many sufferers are found to be emotionally stressed, especially if they are frustrated at work or grieving.
Conventional care
Diagnosis is by means of a barium enema and an endoscopy of the rectum and lower colon. If these are not conclusive, a biopsy, whereby a small piece of the bowel lining is removed, may be performed. Infections can be discounted by analyzing stool samples. Treatment is with sulfasalazine and its derivatives and possibly corticosteroid drugs. Ulcerative colitis is a potentially serious condition, and surgery may be necessary. In a few cases of persistent colitis, colonic cancer has been known to develop, so regular examinations are advisable.
Homeopathic medicine
Constitutional assessment is a prerequisite of effective homeopathic treatment. A full medical will include referral for colonic investigation if necessary. Specific symptoms will then be studied, along with any aggravating factors that have been observed, and emotional temperament.
The most important criteria in determining constitutional treatment are the individual’s symptoms. Some remedies have an affinity for the digestive tract, and are particularly effective in treating the symptoms of inflammation of the colon. Cantharis is prescribed for inflammation of the lining of the gut and the production of thick, sticky mucus. Colchicum is given for colitis with dysentery-like symptoms. Colocynthis is effective for colicky and neuralgic pains induced by irritation of the intestine; and Merc. corr. is used for constant straining of the rectum, which is not eased by passing stools. Arsen. alb., Nux vomica, and Sulphur are other commonly used constitutional remedies.
Remedies for acute flare-ups of colitis include Merc. corr., when there are hot, foul-smelling stools containing blood and mucus, and cutting pains in the abdomen on passing a stool, which are not relieved by emptying the bowel; Arsen. alb., for restlessness, anxiety, burning abdominal pains with vomiting, a frequent desire for sips of warm drinks, and attacks that come on around midnight; and Phosphorus, if stools are bloody, and pain is relieved by passing a stool but then the anus feels as though it is gaping.
Lifestyle
Changing to a high-fiber diet with few dairy products may reduce the likelihood of further attacks. Other foods and drinks that are best avoided include refined carbohydrates, those containing caffeine, and alcohol. A nutritionist will be able to advise further. Smoking is inadvisable. When consulting a doctor about infections, colitis sufferers should draw attention to their condition, which may be exacerbated by taking antibiotics. Relaxation techniques and meditation are advisable for those leading stressful lives. During a colitis attack, the most suitable foods are those that are easily digested.

CASE HISTORY
David was a 41-year-old stockbroker. Originally diagnosed as having irritable bowel syndrome, his condition had since been identified by a colonoscopy as ulcerative colitis. He believed that an infection picked up while traveling had made his condition worse. He was taking a corticosteroid and a sulfasalazine derivative, before which he had five or six watery bowel movements a day. His anus was raw and sore. He had great flatulence, with some pain, and had to get up in the early morning to empty his bowels.
PERSONAL DETAILS
David’s father had died when he was eight, and his mother had relied heavily on him. He felt great relief on going away to college, and did well in his work, although it was his main source of stress. He had lost a nine-month-old daughter, a victim of crib death. David was not sure he had gotten over this. He described himself as solid, but feared being incapacitated by illness.
FOOD PREFERENCES
David had a fairly sweet tooth. He liked vinegar and spices, but avoided them in case they upset him. He believed that milk and cheese upset his bowel. He loved tea, and had not smoked for 12 years.
GENERAL DETAILS
David felt better in dry heat and worse in humid conditions. He slept well and awoke refreshed, but had to get up immediately.
PRESCRIPTION & FOLLOW-UP
David was treated with Sulphur, after which his condition improved, with fewer and firmer bowel movements. The corticosteroid dosage was reduced, and David was able to sleep in later in the mornings. About this time he had dreams concerning his job and family, but he continued to improve, reducing his conventional drugs. He was then prescribed the nosode of measles since he had suffered a bad attack as a child. This remedy worked to good effect, so the potency was increased. David’s progress continued and he reduced his drugs further. When last seen, he was on a maintenance dose of mesalazine, and continued to improve.
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PNEUMONIA

Symptoms
• Breathlessness even when resting.
• Fever with alternate sweats and chills.
• Cough that produces yellow or green sputum. When the chest is listened to, there may be an absence of breathing sounds, or there may be wheezing or crackling sounds.
Causes
Pneumonia occurs when an infection of the upper airway spreads deep into the lung tissue and invades the alveoli. It may develop from a cold virus, but it is usually caused by bacteria, especially pneumococcal bacteria. Other, more obscure sources of infection are carried by mycoplasma and rickettsia (microorganisms). Pneumonia may be associated with immunodeficiency disorders, in which case unusual fungi or protozoa may be responsible. Pneumocystis pneumonia— common among AIDS sufferers—is an example of this. People taking inflammatory or immunosuppressive drugs long-term, or who smoke, are more likely to develop pneumonia than those who do not. The disease may also be caused by inhaling liquids or poisonous gases such as chlorine.
Conventional care
Diagnosis is by examination, chest X-ray, blood test, and sputum test, whereby a culture is grown in a laboratory. Patients with lobar pneumonia were once said to heal “by lysis or crisis” within five days. That is to say, the disease came to a head and then abated, or death followed from respiratory failure. Modern drugs enable recovery from pneumonia within about two weeks unless the patient is debilitated or old. In severe cases, oxygen therapy or artificial ventilation may be necessary.
Homeopathic medicine
In the initial stages of mild, viral pneumonia, treatment by an experienced homeopathic physician may be beneficial. With recurrent pneumonia, constitutional homeopathic treatment is certainly advisable in addition to conventional treatment. A person’s specific symptoms will largely determine constitutional prescription , but certain remedies have an affinity with the lungs. Arsen. alb. is prescribed for bronchial constriction; while Bacillinum may be used for those with respiratory problems in whom chronic catarrh may easily give rise to infection, such as the elderly. Calc. carb. is effective for complications arising out of restrictions in the movement of the rib cage; and either Pulsatilla or Phosphorus may be used to treat irritation of the mucous membranes lining the respiratory tract.
In acute cases of pneumonia, Aconite may be prescribed if the onset is sudden, particularly in cold, dry weather, and there is chest pain, fever, anxiety, and a fear of dying. Phosphorus is given for a cough producing rust-colored sputum, with weakness, trembling, nervousness, and numb extremities, and symptoms that are worse for lying on the left side. Bryonia is prescribed for chest pain that is worse for the slightest movement but better for lying on the affected side.
Lifestyle
Plenty of vitamin C, which can also be taken as a preventative measure, and a good deal of rest, preferably sitting up in bed, are beneficial. Since dry air tends to make pneumonia worse, rooms should be humidified. Inhalations of steam or herbs such as echinacea may help. The diet should ideally be low in refined carbohydrates and include plenty of fluids. It is advisable not to smoke. Manipulation by an osteopath or a physiotherapist may help to clear the lungs of sputum.
CASE HISTORY
Fiona, a 38-year-old dental technician, suffered from whooping cough at age six, and had a history of recurrent pneumonia. She was also a migraine sufferer. The pneumonia would be heralded by a sudden drop in energy levels, cold sweats and shakiness, constipation, a characteristic cough, and the production of sputum.
PERSONAL DETAILS
Of medium build and slightly plump, Fiona described herself as having a quick temper and being overemotional, crying easily when angry or frustrated. She craved sympathy and reassurance, especially when unwell, and hated being alone. She had a high sex drive, which was based more on an emotional than a physical need.
FOOD PREFERENCES
Fiona had a strong craving for sweets, especially before a migraine or attack of pneumonia. Even when she had a fever, she was not thirsty. She had an intolerance of, and an aversion to, anything fatty, although she liked butter and cream. She disliked warm foods and drinks. Rich foods, ice cream, and pork gave her indigestion.
GENERAL DETAILS
Fiona preferred hot weather, but disliked being in stuffy rooms, where she craved cool air. She felt worse by the sea and was disturbed by noise. Her energy levels were low, and she had never slept well, even as a child. The pneumonia tended to occur when she was premenstrual.
PRESCRIPTION & FOLLOW-UP
A diet was devised to strengthen Fiona’s liver and make her bowels more efficient. This relieved the constipation, and her energy levels rose. She then developed a cold that went on to her chest. She was prescribed Pulsatilla, and advised to take antibiotics, although she chose not to. She recovered from the acute attack within a week. She still had a cough, which responded to Sticta, although she remained catarrhal. She was then given Merc. sol. and has been healthy ever since. She takes this remedy at the first signs of a cold.

TUBERCULOSIS

Symptoms
• A mild attack of tuberculosis has the same symptoms as mild influenza.
• In second-stage tuberculosis, there may be a slight fever, night sweats, fatigue, weight loss, a dry cough that eventually produces pus or bloody sputum, breathlessness, and chest pain.
• If the disease progresses further still, it may cause a pleural effusion (fluid between the linings, or pleura, of the lung and that of the chest cavity) or pneumothorax (air between the pleurae).
Causes
Tuberculosis is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and is spread in droplets of mucus expelled in coughs and sneezes. If the infection is fought off successfully, a small scar forms in the lung tissue. The person is then immune unless they become undernourished or generally unwell in the future, in which case tuberculosis may flare up again. Occasionally, the primary infection spreads to other parts of the body via the lymphatic system and the bloodstream, a condition known as miliary tuberculosis, which is occasionally fatal. Tuberculosis is most common among the elderly, alcoholics, and people living in economically deprived areas.
Conventional care
In many industrialized countries, preventative measures are taken against tuberculosis in the form of inoculation of all children by the age of 13 with a live strain of the bacterium that causes tuberculosis in cattle. This is too weak to cause the disease in humans, yet it stimulates the immune system. Diagnosis of tuberculosis is by a primary test followed by a chest X-ray if the test is positive. The most common treatment is with three drugs—usually isoniazid, rifampicin, and pyrazinamide—taken over a long period. There is concern in some regions of the world that the disease has become resistant to these drugs. Other, shorter treatment regimens are therefore being tried.
Homeopathic medicine
It is rare for a homeopathic practitioner to treat a tuberculosis patient exclusively. The disease has to be reported to the medical authorities, and will inevitably, and justifiably, be treated conventionally. Homeopathy can, however, play an important supportive role, and if indeed the disease is developing a resistance to conventional drugs, complementary treatment may become important—for example, in boosting the immune system.
The patient’s specific symptoms will be the main criteria in determining constitutional prescription . Certain remedies, however, have an affinity with respiratory ailments. Arsen. alb. is indicated for bronchial constriction and Lycopodium with infection of the right lung. Phosphorus is effective for treating inflammation of the mucous membranes; and Calc. carb. is prescribed for gland enlargement.
For acute attacks, remedies include Bacillinum for head sweats; Calc. carb. if the extremities are cold and clammy, with weakness and apprehension; and Arsen. alb. if there is chilliness, exhaustion, anxiety, and a desire for sips of water.
Lifestyle
Tuberculosis tends to affect people who are generally run down and otherwise in poor health. Adequate rest is important, as is a good diet, which should include plenty of potassium-rich foods, raw vegetables, fruits, and protein from legumes and whole grains as well as fish and meat. Plenty of fresh air is beneficial. Bad habits such as smoking, drinking excess alcohol, and taking recreational drugs should be avoided.
CASE HISTORY
The author has not personally treated a case of tuberculosis. The following is based on a report in French homeopathic literature by Dr. Nebel of Monteau at the beginning of the 20th century.
Charles had suffered from pulmonary tuberculosis for ten years. His father and three siblings had died from it. Clinically, he showed signs of extensive tuberculosis, mainly affecting the left lung, with a cough and copious green sputum, which frequently contained blood.
PERSONAL DETAILS
Charles was very tall and thin, with an emaciated chest. He suffered sleeplessness and weariness. He was extremely depressed and worried about his health, being convinced that he would die.
FOOD PREFERENCES
A lover of acidic foods and fat, particularly meat fat, Charles had been known to eat lard. He also liked smoked meats and salty foods. He had a great thirst, sipping water constantly. His stomach was upset by acidic foods and very cold drinks. He would become very hungry during the night and have to eat something.
GENERAL DETAILS
Charles was often constipated and, although he felt the cold, he experienced night sweats. His symptoms were worse between midnight and 2 a.m. He exuded from his armpits and chest what his doctor described as the smell of tuberculosis.
PRESCRIPTION & FOLLOW-UP
Charles was prescribed Tuberculinum, which gave him chest pains. Within a few days, however, his cough and perspiration reduced significantly, although he lost a little more weight. He tried other remedies. After taking Silica, his weight dropped further but his general health improved. After taking Arsen. alb., he coughed only slightly in the morning and evening, he produced no sputum, his chest sounded better to his doctor, and he started gaining weight. After ten weeks his appetite was good, and he could walk farther than before without feeling breathless. He felt stronger than he had for years, and was hopeful for a complete recovery.