Stricture of the Urethra, or water passage, is a very common complication and, even when quite slight, generally interferes very seriously with the cure of the spermatorrhea when overlooked by the attending physician, as is very commonly done, especially when the constriction of the water passage is only slight. Very often it occurs in our practice that on examining a case of this disease that has been the rounds of the doctors, we find a stricture, which had been entirely overlooked by other practitioners, being so slight as not to occasion serious obstruction to the flow of urine but yet sufficient to interfere very much with the cure of the spermatorrhea. The size of the urethra, or water passage, should bear an exact and proportionate relation to that of the penis, and when from any cause the urethra is contracted below this normal size, it should receive attention, as otherwise the stricture is likely to increase and the passage becomes so constricted as to produce serious disease of the bladder, and not fail to perpetuate spermatorrhea, when this disease exists.
Hydrocele (Dropsy of the Scrotum) consists of an undue secretion of the fluid which moistens the tunica vaginalis, and may arise from an irritation of the testicle, produced by masturbation. This subject is fully considered in the Medical Adviser.
Varicocele is a dilatation of the veins of the spermatic cord and scrotum, and is frequently a result of masturbation. It is readily distinguished under the form of a soft, doughy, compressible, knotty, and unequal enlargement of the veins, and a tumid condition of the adjacent parts. One writer, speaking of the enlargement of the spermatic vessels, describes them as "feeling like a coiled up bundle of worms."
Disease of the Prostate Gland is frequently caused by solitary indulgence. Venereal excesses produce congestion and the gland is overnourished. It becomes greatly enlarged, a condition called hypertrophy. This affection gives rise to a heavy feeling or pressure in the region below the bladder, and often interferes seriously with urination, and gives great pain and uneasiness, and often results in grave and dangerous complications.
Prostatorrhea consists of an unnatural flowing or wasting of the prostatic secretion, which may be known by its mucous-like appearance, and, when placed within the field of the miscroscope, by the absence of spermatozoa or fecundating germs. It is often mistaken for spermatorrhea, or for gleet, by inexperienced and careless physicians. For a full consideration of diseases of the prostate gland, see Part IX of our Dime Series of pamphlets, which will be sent on receipt of ten cents in postage stamps.
Again, the habit of self-pollution weakens all the structures of the genital organs, and induces seminal waste, which may lead to a morbid diminution in the size of the prostate gland. This condition, which is exactly the opposite of the one above described, is atrophy. Any disease which renders the circulation in the prostate gland languid and feeble interferes with the nutrition of that organ and impairs its function.
Impotency (Loss of Sexual Power). Masturbation prevents the excitability of the nervous system and sexual organs and causes debility, which is indicated by the premature discharge of semen during sexual intercourse. These premature emissions indicate not only partial impotency, but also that the nerve-centres have become morbidly sensitive by the practice of solitary vice, or marital excesses. At length the powers of the erectile tissues are diminished, and there is weakness which prevents the act of copulation, or the erection may be slow and not last long enough, on account of a faulty functional condition of the spinal cord.
A Peculiar Form of Impotency is associated with certain abnormal nutritive changes which give rise to a lymphatic or fat condition of the system. Not that the temperament in all these cases is originally lymphatic, but the system degenerates in consequence of nutritive perversion. With the loss of sexual ardor, there is also apathy of mind, loss of manliness, and the victim becomes cold, dispassionate, and treacherous, devoid of any admiration or love for the opposite sex. He acquires rotundity of person, the face is fat, smooth, often beardless, and the voice is feminine.
The victims of this disease represent two distinct classes, viz.: (1) those who are fearfully tormented by the consciousness that they are losing their virile powers, and become irritable, jealous and often desperate; and (2) those who are completely indifferent to this deprivation.
(1.) Patients of the former class are readily restored to health by proper treatment, for they are willing to make an effort for the recovery of their manly powers. There is not complete loss of sexual desire, yet their disappointment is so great that they may entertain suicidal thoughts. They are moody, fickle, discontented, excitable, and remarkably impulsive. With proper treatment, they regain tone of body, vigor of mind, an increase of sexual desire, and become more attentive to business affairs, and less indifferent to the gentler sex. With the restoration of the general health and the sexual functions, remarkable constitutional changes occur. It is often the case that their intimate friends hardly recognize them by looks or acts.
(2.) It is equally true that those who are wholly indifferent to the loss of virile power, uninterested in the evidences of their manhood, are sometimes incurable. In fact, it is useless to treat the latter class, because they will neither co-operate with the physician, nor persist in the treatment necessary to effect a radical and constitutional change.
Masturbation perverts and finally destroys the secretory functions of the testicles. It sometimes causes chronic inflammation, which may result in obliteration of the minute seminal canals, or obstruction of the conveying ducts. The sperm is imperfectly elaborated and totally unfit for procreative purposes. Sometimes the spermatazoa are entirely absent, and, when present, are very few in number, incomplete in structure, diseased, and deficient in power as well as in organization. Fig. 3 represents the spermatozoa in a healthy condition, and Fig. 4, when they are sickly, deficient and inanimate. The husband may appear to be healthy, and his inability to procreate may be erroneously considered a defect in his wife.
Symptoms of Spermatorrhea. The indications of abuse of the sexual organs are loss of nervous energy, dullness of the mental faculties, and delight in obscene stories. The expression of the face becomes coarse, and the movements slow; the eye is sunken, the face bloated and pale, and the disposition is fretful and irritable; the appetite is capricious, the throat irritated, and the patient makes frequent attempts to clear it, in order to speak distinctly. There are pains in the chest, wakefulness, and during the night lascivious thoughts and desires. The relish for play or labor is gone, and a growing distaste for business is apparent; there is a determination of blood to the head, headache, noises and roaring sounds in the ears, the eyes may be blood-shot and watery, weak or painful, the patient imagines bright spots or flashes passing before them, and there may be partial blindness. There is increasing stolidity of expression, the eye is without sparkle, and the face becomes blotched and animal-like in its expression. The victim is careless of his personal appearance, not unscrupulously neat, and not unfrequently a rank odor exhales from the body.
There are troublesome sensations, as of itching and crawling, in and about the scrotum. Subsequently, there is obstinate constipation, and all the symptoms of dyspepsia follow. Gradually the pallor deepens, the patient becomes emaciated. There is a shortness of breath, palpitation after even moderate exercise, trembling of the knees, and eruptions on the skin. There may also be cough, hoarseness, stitch in the side, loss of voice. The sleep is not refreshing, the patient has frequent nightmare, or the dreams are lascivious, and the involuntary emissions of semen become more frequent. The weakness increasing, the sufferer experiences a weakness in his legs and staggers like a drunken man, his hands, tremble and he stammers.
The victim is unable to concentrate his thoughts, cannot remember what he reads, and is mentally indolent. He begins to be suspicious of his friends, has less confidence in others, and desires to be alone, is despondent and has suicidal thoughts. He has pain in the back, does not like to walk, and is inclined to lie down. The semen is prematurely discharged upon attempting coition, and if there be offspring, it is apt to be feeble or subject to scrofula, consumption, or convulsions. The genital organs, especially the penis and testicles, diminish in size, as the disease progresses, lose their energy, and the glands of the penis become cold and flaccid. There is frequent desire to urinate, chronic irritation in the neck of the bladder, and pain in the spermatic cord and testicle, and sometimes in the end of the penis. The microscope shows that semen involuntarily discharged may be devoid of spermatozoa, or if present, they are defective, their heads being without tails. The urine is loaded with mucus or bears up a filmy, membranous, transparent matter, or it may be covered with a thin fluid having an oily appearance, but in rare cases is clear. Again, it may hold substances in solution, which are deposited in crystals or incrust the urine, or it may precipitate a material having the appearance of brick-dust, and sometimes semen tinged with blood. The dyspeptic symptoms when present are followed by diarrhea. The limbs are cramped and rigid, the feet bloated, and the patient becomes melancholy and relinquishes all hope of recovery. As the disease progresses, the patient lacks firmness and is absent-minded.
When the erections are imperfect and the semen is prematurely discharged, or when a lengthy coition is required before the sperm can he ejected, it is evident that the patient is rapidly becoming impotent; the virile powers are vanishing and manhood is surrendering sway to a merciless foe. We frequently witness this condition in men, even at the age of thirty-five, when the summit of vigor and strength should only have been reached. How often are we solicited to restore these lost hopes and powers! To what tales of ignorance and recklessness, or submission and remorse, do we repeatedly listen from these unfortunate sufferers! In patients of this class, sexual intercourse prevents spontaneous emissions, but it does not remove the functional and organic derangements of the nerve-centres; hence, at a time when the victims of this disease should be in the prime of life, they are impotent, and epilepsy, apoplexy, paralysis, softening of the brain, or insanity, frequently results.
Epilepsy (OR FITS). This dread disease is one of the most common and serious complications of the more advanced stages of spermatorrhea. The injury done to the nerve-centres by the practice of masturbation is manifested in epileptic convulsions, more or less frequent. If proper treatment be early adopted, and faithfully pursued, the case is not yet hopeless; though, in the majority of cases, the patient never recovers after the disease assumes this phase.
Paralysis. Paralysis, or Palsy, when occurring as a complication of spermatorrhea, may be preceded by an attack of apoplexy, in which the patient loses consciousness, and lays in a condition of profound stupor for a time, and on recovery from his unconscious state, finds himself unable to use one or more of his limbs, or the disability and loss of power, which may also be accompanied by more or less loss of sensation, may come on gradually, without any premonition or marked manifestation of its approach. In either case, its appearance is to be regarded as a matter of serious importance. Paralysis, when occurring as a consequence of masturbation or sexual excesses, is usually difficult of cure; yet, now and then, cases are cured at our Institutions even after this grave malady has appeared as a complication.
Softening of the Brain. This malady, although less common as a result of masturbation than the complications mentioned in the preceding paragraphs, is of sufficiently frequent occurrence to entitle it to a passing notice here. This condition usually results ultimately in complete dementia, or loss of reason. It is an incurable disease.
Insanity. This deplorable malady is not a very uncommon result of masturbation and its various resultant morbid conditions, as the records of the many institutions for the unfortunate class of sufferers from this disease bear abundant witness. Sometimes it manifests itself in the milder forms of hallucination, or monomania, but in the majority of cases, the patient sinks into a despondent hypochondria, which is many times followed, sooner or later, by a raving mania.
In cases of monomania resulting from masturbation, the mental derangement is often so slight as to escape detection by the patient's friends, the peculiar freaks of disposition being regarded rather as eccentricities of character than as symptoms of serious disease. Fits of despondency are usually common with such sufferers. The mental derangement is not always accompanied or preceded by spermatorrhea or frequent seminal emissions, the injury done to the nervous system by the practice of self-abuse, or sexual excesses, being first noticeable in various phantasms or imaginings on the part of the patient. These are, in different cases, so various, both in character and degree, as not to admit of any classification, each case presenting phases peculiar to itself. In many cases, the patient imagines that his best friends are conspiring to injure him, or that some great calamity is about to befall him. In most cases there is danger of the patient's committing suicide, if not closely watched. Especially is this true of those who suffer from fits of hypochondria.
Except in its milder forms, insanity resulting from masturbation and sexual excesses, is rarely curable.
Don't be Alarmed. A nocturnal seminal emmission now and then, or at long intervals is not, in and of itself, evidence of the existence of spermatorrhea or other serious disease. A full blooded, strong, passionate man, in vigorous health, and who has never abused himself, may now and then, at long intervals, if his sexual passions be not gratified naturally, or if he permit his mind to run much upon lascivious subjects, experience an emission while asleep and dreaming. As to whether such occurrences are evidence of disease or not, in any given case, depends upon their frequency, and as to whether they are the result of a weakness of the organs and are followed by more or less depression and debility, or are merely the overflow of a robust system, or the outburst of restrained, pent-up, and ungratified passions. In the latter case, and when only occurring at long intervals, the emissions are not followed by any perceptible enervating or weakening effects.
Quackery Rampant. This country is flooded with cheap circulars and pamphlets, circulated openly and broad-cast, wherein ignorant, pretentious, blattant quacks endeavor to frighten young men who may never have practiced self-abuse, or been guilty of excesses in any way, and yet who experience, now and then, at long intervals, nocturnal seminal emissions. In such cases, it is the duty of the conscientious, honest, and sympathetic practitioner of the healing art to give assurance, and not to unnecessarily alarm those who experience nothing inconsistent with a state of fairly good health. To frighten such young men into believing themselves diseased, when in reality they experience nothing but what may occasionally occur in the experiences of any robust, healthy man, is the most detestable, downright quackery.
Treating the Wrong Disease. Not only are many men subjected to useless treatment by general practitioners who overlook the real disease, caused by pernicious youthful habits pursued in solitude, or later excesses in venery, but the female sex are also quite as often subjected to treatment for diseases which do not exist, the real trouble being nervous debility and other weaknesses that have resulted from the youthful pernicious practices common to both sexes, or later excesses in marital pleasures.
Moral Considerations. Masturbation is a habit which tyrannizes over the mind, perverts the imagination, and forces upon the victim venereal desires, even while he is forming the strongest resolutions to reform. It constrains into its service the higher faculties, such as friendship, confidence, love, reason, and imagination, to make its ideal graceful and beautiful.
Sensual Lust. The fancy creates an attractive partner, possessed of girlish beauty, a perfect type of goodness, blended with sexuality, and whom the subject worships with all the ardor of passion. Around this beau ideal all his affections are clustered; to her the purest of his blood is offered in sacrifice, and it is no wonder that female associates seem tame and unattractive when such imaginary and consummate divinity is courted. In the sensual delirium is conceived an elysium of carnal bliss, where half-nude nymphs display their charms and invite to sensual enjoyments. Thus we see how this habit makes the spiritual faculties subservient to morbid passion, and by what means elevating influences are prostituted to vulgar and base-born creations.
Symptoms Vary in Different Cases. We can only partially delineate the terrible effects resulting from the abuse of the sexual organs. The symptoms are multitudinous, but, as we have before stated, no two persons are similarly influenced by this disease. The symptoms will vary according to the severity of the affection, the age of the patient, and his constitutional peculiarities. The presence of only a few of the symptoms which we have enumerated is evidence of abnormal weakness, which demands treatment.
Montaigne says : "We must see and get acquainted with our sins if we expect to correct them." Virtue presupposes trials just as much as victory implies warfare. The triumph of virtue is to defeat morbid or excessive passion, for virtue is only realized when it is a conquering force. Innocence is passive, but virtue is an active quality, purified in the fiery furnace of temptation. As men have in all ages been influenced by passions, so temptation has ever found its victims. It is an obligation that one owes to himself to overcome every evil passion or weakness to which he is subject, and the discharge of this personal duty requires moral courage.
The Reward of Virtue. Our Saviour invited all erring mortals to enter upon a higher life when He said, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." The invitation is accompanied with a promise. To all who are weary of excess and bowed down by passion, rest and restoration are promised, if they will but reform and employ proper means to that end.
The Sufferers Must Reform. Just as there is no spiritual restoration without obeying the Saviour, so there can be no physical restoration unless we fulfill nature's imposed conditions. There can be no salvation unless sin be discarded, and so there can be no redemption from the bad effects of a practice, so long as it is continued. It is no easy task to master a despotic passion. Appetite is often stronger than the will. The treatment must begin with moral reformation. Every manly impulse, and all the higher qualities of the patient's nature, must be enlisted in the struggle for virtue and health.
If the passions are restrained, then the capital of health increases, for the saving of the vital secretions is equal to compound interest. This illustrates the truth of the Latin proverb: "No gain is so certain as that which proceeds from the economical use of what you have"! The patient actually acquires confidence and manly courage by the retention of the seminal fluid, which directly increases his virile powers.
Hygienic Advice to Patients. Daily physical exercise and regular habits must be established. It is important that the mind, as well as the physical powers, be directed into active and wholesome channels. There must be restraint and discipline. It is useless to begin medical treatment while the patient continues to read exciting, amorous stories and obscene books, which are suggestive of lewd thoughts. Something practical ought to occupy the thoughts and engage the hands.
Regular and vigorous physical exercise is necessary to assist the circulation of the blood, and compel its determination into the minute and extreme parts of the vascular system. When the blood is thus directed, nutrition is more vigorous and the activity of all the functions is augmented.
Not only should there be regularity in eating, but sound discretion should be exercised in selecting a plain, wholesome diet, consisting of such articles of food as best favor a daily and free evacuation of the bowels. Avoid the use of those articles of food which produce excessive acidity of the stomach. Hearty or late suppers we not allowable. The patient should use no alcoholic beverages, and should abstain from such stimulants as tea, coffee, beer, wine, and tobacco. We cannot even recommend their moderate use, for total abstinence is the better plan.
The patient should sleep in a well-ventilated room, on a hard bed, and have only sufficient covering for warmth and comfort. He should not lie upon the back, because in this position nightly emissions are more likely to occur. The patient should go to bed when he feels sleepy, and not resist the inclination until wakefulness is induced.
He should rise early in the morning and immediately take a cold hand bath. For this purpose a quart or two of water and a common hand towel only are required. After bathing, rub the surface of the body with the dry hand or a crash towel, and continue the friction until the skin is red and a reaction is established. Do not excuse yourself from following these hygienic suggestions. A refreshing bath changes the morbid sensibilities to a more healthful state by the reaction of the nervous system.
It is beneficial to apply a towel saturated with cold water to the genital organs fifteen minutes before leaving the bed. Douching, or showering the genital organs with cold water once or twice a day will also be beneficial. It should not be practiced, however, just before going to bed. It is well to bathe the head with cold water, and this can be done much better if the hair be kept closely cut.
Horseback riding, climbing, and all exercises which rub, chafe, or excite the genital organs, should be avoided. Even the clothing should be loose, so that walking will not produce friction or cause any excitement of these organs. The calls of nature should receive prompt attention, and the urine be voided at any time (especially during the night) when there is an inclination. If there be irritation of the bladder and lower bowels, the patient will receive decided benefit from the daily use of an injection of cold water into the bowels. Prom a half pint to a pint of cold water may be used at one time, and the injection should be retained for a few minutes before going to bed. The bowels will thus be relieved, the heat and irritation subdued, and the liability to seminal emissions lessened.
Patients afflicted with spermatorrhea should not allow their thoughts to dwell upon their ailments, for they are apt to become moody, self-deceived, and even insane upon this subject. To avoid this, harmless amusements should be indulged in, and good moral company cultivated. They become suspicious, skeptical, and believe that they are victims of imposture. When they lose self-reliance, their faith and trust in others begins to waver, especially if their health does not improve so rapidly as they had anticipated. As much depends upon the faithful observance of the hygienic rules as upon the constant and proper use of medicines. The rapidity of recovery depends upon the constitutional energies and the vigor of the vital resources. If the blood be greatly impoverished, or the nervous system much impaired, recovery will be necessarily slow. Time, patience, and perseverance, are just as essential to a recovery from the effects of these abuses as the best medical treatment that can be employed.
The Medical Treatment of Spermatorrhea and Impotency. Few diseases require so many modifications of treatment, to suit the peculiarities of individual cases as Spermatorrhea, because it is attended with so many complications and morbid functional and structural changes. Every complication must be considered, and great judgment exercised in the selection of remedies. As this selection must depend upon the peculiarities of the case involved, it is impossible to impart to the non-professional readers sufficient medical knowledge to enable them to choose the appropriate remedies for these intricate disorders. Hence it would be useless to specify the various medicines which our specialists employ in treating them. It would only lead to many fruitless experiments, which might result in great harm to the afflicted. For remedies powerful enough to effect cures of Spermatorrhea and impotency are capable, when improperly employed, of doing great harm. Especially should all ready-made, proprietary or put-up medicines, such as are sold in drug stores and chemists' shops, be avoided, for reasons already mentioned. Great harm, also, often results from the employment of "galvanic belts," "galvanic batteries and pads," and other catch-penny devices, with which the too confiding are not only duped and swindled, but terribly injured. They are all worse than useless, and often render the mildest case very difficult to cure by inducing serious complications. It is better to take no medical treatment, but rely solely on the hygienic advice we have given, rather than to resort to any of the so-called "specifics" found in the drug shops, or to any such silly, good-for-nothing trash as the various "Pastilles," "Boluses," "Curative Rings," "Voltaic Belts," or other quackish medicines and contrivances.
Importance of Hygienic Discipline. The invalid should restrict his attention to hygiene, and learn that patient endurance and heroic perseverance are necessary, even when taking the most efficient remedies. His entire system having gradually become deranged, corrective medicines must necessarily be chronic in their operations; in other words, they must act insensibly, slowly, and progressively. Some of the symptoms of sexual weakness will, under proper hygienic and medical treatment, generally begin to disappear within a month. If the nervous system be very much impaired, however, a longer time will elapse before the restorative effects of treatment will be observed. Neither the physician nor the patient should expect that a broken-down constitution can be immediately repaired. The day of miracles is past. The most rational method of treating the sick promises nothing supernatural, nothing which is not in accordance with science. Diseases of this character are always slow in their inception, or development and progress, and must be cured in like manner, step by step. Nature never hurries; atom by atom, little by little, she achieves her work.