Of these iron and ammonium citrate is much used as a haematinic, and as it has hardly any tendency to cause gastric irritation or constipation it can be taken when the ordinary forms of iron are inadmissible.
These purgative sodium salts are most useful in the treatment of chronic constipation, and of the constipation associated with gout and hepatic dyspepsia.
Its value, however, in certain cases of constipation of hepatic origin is undeniable.
In consequence of the absence of mechanical stimulant the bowels act more slowly, and constipation is the result.
Some sufferers from constipation find that they get greater relief from salts dissolved in water, or from natural aperient water taken on rising in the morning, and others again find that the best way of opening the bowels is to inject one or two drachms of glycerine into the rectum, or use it as a suppository.
It is an invaluable drug in temporary constipation and whenever a mild action is essential, as in pregnancy.
Fatigue from physical exertion is a predisposing cause of heat-stroke, and constipation and alcoholic indulgence should be avoided.
Physical symptoms also appear; the face assumes an earthy colour, the body wastes, constipation is usually present to an extreme degree, the secretions become arrested, loss of appetite and indigestion follow and the mouth is parched.
In medicine it is frequently employed as a hydragogue purgative, specially valuable in febrile diseases, in congestion of the portal system, and in the obstinate constipation of painters' colic. In the last case it is combined with potassium iodide, the two salts being exceedingly effective in causing the elimination of lead from the system.
In a number of cases there are colicky pains in the abdomen, with diarrhoea or constipation and more or less anaemia, while the Dibothriocephalus latus is capable of producing a profound and severe anaemia closely resembling pernicious anaemia.