Hot Oil Enemata.


All acute inflammatory processes of the abdominal viscera and of the pelvic organs can be modified and the pain arrested at once, if seen before pus has formed, by an enema of oil at a temperature of from 105° to 108°.

The oil is the kind sold by Italian grocers in bulk at from sixty cents to one dollar per gallon. They call it salad oil and claim it is imported olive oil, while in reality it is cotton seed oil. I keep one gallon of this oil at home, and another gallon at the office, to have it handy at any call. I have had a tinsmith make two oil cans of one gallon each, to fit snugly inside the gallon douche can (enameled), and I have a bag made to carry the outfit in.

If the pain is on the left side usually from one to two quarts will suffice, but if there is general involvement, or if the cecum has to be reached, it is necessary to have the whole gallon heated. The higher the temperature the hotter the oil requires to be, and the patient stands it sometimes up to 110° F. if the fever is very high. Hang the douche can only from 12 to 18 inches above the bed to avoid pressure, and use only the rectal nozzle; the oil enters easier than the colon tube.

The heat so close to the inflamed structures soon brings relief. Oil readily and painlessly enters, and there is no difficulty unless the ascending colon has to be filled; in such case I turn the patient on the right side, use very little pressure in the tube, stop it entirely each time it causes pain and take every precaution to go as gently as possible until the limit is reached. Then I lower the douche can to the floor and siphon off enough to give relief from all pressure, thus generally enabling the patient to retain most of the oil for a considerable time.

I can praise the oil for its usefulness in impactions; where there are no obstructions from adhesions, stenosis or other abnormalities the oil facilitates the evacuations; but in bad cases it is not reliable. It is as a carrier of heat, gently and directly applied, that it does the best service.

COMMENT:—To me the above is a new and important suggestion. It seems to be rational and of ready application. It will probably control undue peristalsis, and relieve irritation of the mucous membranes, as well as act as nutrition both local and general. I trust our readers will apply the method and report freely as to the results.

Ellingwood's Therapeutist, Vol. 2, 1908, was edited by Finley Ellingwood M.D.