This electronic edition is funded by the National Library of Medicine History of Medicine Division. This text has been proofread to a high degree of accuracy. It was converted to electronic form using Data Entry. (Medical Information Disclaimer:
It is not the intention of NLM to provide specific medical advice but rather to provide users with information to better understand their health and their diagnosed disorders. Specific medical advice will not be provided, and NLM urges you to consult with a qualified physician for diagnosis and for answers to your personal questions.)
[p. 239]an abnormally long time in the stomach, as would be natural if their digestion were slow. Indeed, the chief way in which these people will surprise one is in the length of time that not food alone but even fluids will remain in their stomachs. Now, the actual cause of this is not, as one would imagine, that the lower outlet of the stomach,
being fairly narrow, will allow nothing to pass before being reduced to a fine state of division.
There are a great many people who frequently swallow large quantities of big fruit-stones; one person who was holding a gold ring in his mouth, inadvertently swallowed it; another swallowed a coin, and various people have swallowed various hard and indigestible objects; yet all these people easily passed by the bowel what they had swallowed, without there being any subsequent symptoms. Now surely if narrowness of the gastric outlet were the cause of untriturated food remaining for an abnormally long time, none of these articles I have mentioned would ever have escaped. Furthermore, the fact that it is liquids which remain longest in these people's stomachs is sufficient to put the idea of narrowness of the outlet out of court. For, supposing a rapid descent were dependent upon emulsification,
"Chylosis," chylification. cf. p. 240, note 1.
then soups, milk, and barley-emulsion
Lit. barley-chyle," i.e. barley-water.
would at once pass along in every case. But as a matter of fact this is not so. For in people who are extremely asthenic it is just these fluids which remain undigested, which accumulate and produce gurglings, and which oppress and overload the stomach, whereas in strong persons not merely do none of these
things happen, but even a large quantity of bread or meat passes rapidly down.