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RESULTS OF SECRET VICE.
The physician rarely meets more forlorn objects than the victims of
prolonged self-abuse. These unfortunate beings he meets every day of
his life, and listens so often to the same story of shameful abuse and
retributive suffering that he dreads to hear it repeated. In these cases,
there is usually a horrid sameness--the same cause, the same inevitable
results. In most cases, the patient need not utter a word, for the
physician can read in his countenance his whole history, as can most
other people at all conversant with the subject.
In order to secure the greatest completeness consistent with necessary
brevity, we will describe the effects observed in males and those in
females under separate heads, noticing the symptoms of each morbid
condition in connection with its description.
EFFECTS IN MALES.
We shall describe, first, the local effects, then the general effects,
physical and mental.
Local Effects.--Excitement of the genital organs produces the most
intense congestion. No other organs in the body are capable of such
rapid and enormous engorgement. When the act is frequently repeated,
this condition becomes permanent in some of the tissues, particularly
in the mucous membrane lining the urethra. This same membrane continues
into and lines throughout the bladder, kidneys, and all the urinary
organs, together with the vesiculae seminales, the ejaculatory ducts,
the vasa deferentia, and the testes. In consequence of this continuity
of tissue, any irritation affecting one part is liable to extend to
another, or to all the rest. We mention this anatomical fact here as
a help to the understanding of the different morbid conditions which
will be noticed.
_Urethral Irritation_.--The chronic congestion of the urethra after
a time becomes chronic irritability. The tissue is unusually sensitive,
this condition being often indicated by a slight smarting in urination.
It often extends throughout the whole length of the urethra, and becomes
so intense that the passage of a sound, which would occasion little
if any sensation in a healthy organ, produces the most acute pain, as
we have observed in numerous instances, even when the greatest care
was used in the introduction of the instrument.
Shooting pains are often felt in the organ, due to this irritation.
Pain is in some cases most felt at the root, in others, at the head.
It often darts from one point to another. Just before and just after
urination the pain is most severe.
_Stricture_.--Long-continued irritation of the mucous membrane of the
urethra produces, ultimately, inflammation and swelling of the same
in some portion of its extent. This condition may become permanent,
and then constitutes real stricture, a most serious disease. More often
the swelling is but transient, being due to some unusual excess, and
will subside. Sometimes, also, a temporary stricture is produced by
spasmodic contraction of the muscular fibers surrounding the urethra,
which is excited by the local irritation. This kind of stricture is
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