Dropsy is swelling from excessive and abnormal accumulation of fluid in interstitial space (The space between cells where extracellular fluid collects. Takes part in fluid exchange with capillaries).
Edema, or dropsy as it is sometimes known, is swelling due to an infiltration of fluid into the tissues. If it occurs in one specific area, it can cause the nearby skin to become taut and shiny, and the muscles become achy. A noticeable weight gain of several pounds can occur. Edema is most common around the feet and ankles, however bloating from fluid retention usually affects the whole body.
Main causes of dropsy/oedema
- Bacterial infection
- Liver disorders
- Renal disorders
- Cardiac disorders
- Certain medication
- Allergic conditions
- Thyroid disorders
- Premenstrual syndrome
- Taking too much salt
- Inadequate lymphatic system
Homeopathic treatment of dropsy/oedema
Homeopathy is one of the most popular holistic systems of medicine. The selection of remedy is based upon the theory of individualization and symptoms similarity by using holistic approach. This is the only way through which a state of complete health can be regained by removing all the sign and symptoms from which the patient is suffering. The aim of homeopathy is not only to treat dropsy/oedema but to address its underlying cause and individual susceptibility. As far as therapeutic medication is concerned, several remedies are available to treat dropsy/oedema that can be selected on the basis of cause, sensations and modalities of the complaints. For individualized remedy selection and treatment, the patient should consult a qualified homeopathic doctor in person. There are following remedies which are helpful in the treatment of dropsy/oedema
Apis Mel -Simple dropsy between the skin and the flesh with fever; unabsorbed effusion after inflammation of the serous cavities; Patient is no thirst; dropsical condition is aggravated by heat. In post scarlatinal dropsy and in acute febrile dropsy Apis is the remedy when the patient is thirstless; this seems to be characteristic.It is especially adapted to cases depending on kidney disease. The skin is pale and waxen, transparent, the urine is scanty and Apis speedily brings about an increase; there may be nettle-rash on the skin. If the dropsy be of cardiac origin there will be swelling of the feet; if hydrothorax, there will be dyspnoea and a feeling as if death were approaching, but no fear thereof as in Arsenicum and Aconite. Another characteistic indication is puffiness under the eyes, another is bruised, sore sensation all over the body. Apis, after serous inflammation where the effusion is not absorbed, is a most useful remedy, hence its use in ascites, hydrothorax, hydrocephalus, etc. Dropsy of the knee, also Iodine. Apis is better given in trituration in these cases.
Arsenic album – This remedy is suitable in all forms of dropsy, particularly in those depending on disorders of the heart and lungs. In dropsy of renal origin it also stands prominent. There is puffiness of the face with oedema about the eyelids, waxy transparent skin, thirst, vomiting, etc. Ulcers forming on the legs. In dropsy oozing of a serum is also and indication. This is found also under Rhus and Lycopodium. Arsenicum is an important diuretic.
Calcaria carb – dropsy is aggravated by bathing.
Apocynum – dropsy of serous membrane; acute, inflammatory; dropsy with thirst; water disagrees or is vomited; most cases uncomplicated with organic disease; after typhus, typhoid, scarlatina, cirrhosis; after abuse of quinine; acute hydrocephalus. This drug is useful for swelling anywhere of dropsical origin disease. It seldom does more than palliate, though in renal dropsy it may do more. The special symptoms calling for it are a gone feeling at the pit of the stomach, cannot tolerate food, great thirst, but drinking causes distress,irregular heart, torpidity and slow pulse. It seems to be a diuretic in small doses, hence this effect can only be palliative and when so used it should be freshly prepared.
Digitalis – dropsy is due to heart disease; nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea; urine scanty and contains albumin; swelling of feet, and genitals. Cardiac dropsies; feeble irregular heart, feeling as if it should still with desire to take a deep breath; scanty, dark, albuminous urine, slow pulse, scrotum and penis swollen. Hydropericardium, hydrothorax. Cold sweat. Dropsies of brain. Post scarlatinal dropsy, anasarca with a bluish cyanotic color. In dropsies of the chest Mercurius sulphuratus should be remembered. Muriatic acid. Dropsy from cirrhosed liver.
Squilla maritima – acute dropsical condition with suppression of urine
Aurum Mur – dropsical swelling with albumin in urine; from induration of abdominal organs, with intermittent fever; hectic fever; from disease of liver or spleen
Terebinthina. – From congestion kidneys; with renal affections, great prostration.
Thyreoidinum – oedema of limbs and face without any apparent cause
Acetic acid – skin pale and waxy; dropsy with marked thirst; anasarca; ascites, abdomen and limbs swollen; sour belching, water brash and diarrhea, great emaciation. Here we have the waxen, emaciated, alabaster skin and dropsies especially about the lower limbs and abdomen. There is thirst, sour belching, water brash and diarrhea, a broken down constitution. It stands between Apis and Arsenicum, but it has great thirst, and the prominent gastric symptoms will separate it from Arsenicum. Profuse sweating is a prominent symptom.
Bryonia Alba – anasarca and oedema of the feet; hydrothorax; ascites; congestion of the head; lower eyelids edematous; great thirst and scanty urine; obstinate constipation; dropsy after scarlet fever; the swelling increasing in daytime and lessening in night.
Colchicum – dropsy after scarlatina, dropsy of cavities and internal organs, especially hydro pericardium; lower limbs edematous and cold; skin dry and pale.
Dulcamara – sudden anasarca from previous overheating and subsequent exposure to damp cold while in a state of perspiration; general oedema from intermittent fever, with bloated face, swelling of abdomen and limbs; anasarca after previous rheumatic fever.
Lachesis – dropsy of drunkards; after scarlatina; Skin over the edematous parts cyanotic; offensive smell of urine; complications with heart, liver and spleen troubles
Lycopodium – ascites from liver affections; abuse of alcoholic drinks; upper portion of body emaciated, lower enormously swollen; restless sleep; sad and sensitive; one foot cold, the other hot; hypertrophy of heart; hydrothorax; dyspnoea worse when lying on back and motion. Dropsy, urine dark and albuminous, dark skin or bluish white. Hydrothorax with suffocative fits after scarlet fever may indicate the remedy. Terebinth. Dropsy from congestion of the kidney, dull aching in renal region and dark, smoky urine. Colchicum. Dropsy with dark urine, especially as a complication of rheumatism may indicate this remedy. Lycopodium. Dropsy from liver disease; lower half of body and abdomen distended. Ulcers form on lower extremities.
Rhus Tox – dropsy of lower extremities with constant profuse oozing of water from the ulcerated spots which do not form pus.
Sulphur – hydrothorax; with sudden arrest of breathing at night in bed when turning to the other side; dropsy after suppressed eruptions, rough skin; bluish spots; quick pulse, cold feet.
Spigelia – hydrothorax; danger of suffocation when making the least or rising the arms.
Muriatic acid – great remedy for dropsy from cirrhosis of liver; drowsiness, emaciation; dry mouth; apthae; stool watery and involuntary, stomach weak and irritable, cannot retain food.
China – anasarca and ascites in organic disturbances of the liver and spleen; after loss of blood and other weakening discharges; dropsy in drunkards; skin pale and waxy, disinclination to mental or physical exertion; face hollow, pale and livid.
Helleborus – This is a very useful remedy in many forms of dropsy. There is a jelly-like diarrhea, urine dark and scanty. It may be used in general anasarea, ascites, post scarlatinal dropsies, and here it has proved a marvelous remedy. Sudden dropsies, acute dropsies accompanied by great debility. Hydrocephalus.
Types of dropsy/oedema
- Peripheral edema – swelling of the extremities
- Mostly swelling of lower legs, feet, and ankles, sparing the toes
- Usually painless; possibly discomfort and difficulty walking
- and peripheral polyneuropathy may occur in chronic edema.
- Either pitting or nonpitting edema (see “Causes” below)
- Anasarca: extreme generalized peripheral edema
- Internal edema – internal fluid accumulation in organs and body cavities
- Fluid retention
- Due to heart failure
- Pharmaceutical side effects (e.g., calcium channel blockers)
- Protein deficiency (mainly hypoalbuminemia : , liver cirrhosis, malnutrition, protein-losing enteropathy
- Hydrostatic: chronic venous insufficiency , pregnancy, , post-thrombotic syndrome
- Increased capillary permeability: inflammation, burns, allergic reactions, trauma
Non- pitting oedema
- Lymphedema: due to lymphatic obstruction.
- Myxedema: hypothyroidism (generalized), hyperthyroidism (typically pretibial)
Generalized vs. localized edema