The French, perhaps, more than any other people, have studied the effects of retained feces. Stercorœmia is a common word in their writings. Bouchardat particularly has investigated this subject, and has studied its relations to impairment of hepatic functions. It is not, however, my purpose to review the literature, but to call attention briefly to a few features of the subject, with a view to opening a discussion.
From experience gained by the frequent use of lavage of the bowels, I am almost ready to believe that a greater or less retention of old feces is a normal condition. At least I have frequently washed out from bowels that were apparently normal, old scybalous masses, which could hardly be charged with either local or remote effects.
Feces stranded in the cæcum may do no harm, but they are a constant menace. Sooner or later they may set up typhlitis, a