Menstruation is the periodic discharge of blood and mucosal tissue from the inner lining of the uterus through the vagina.
- When the menstrual purgations appear in the wives, their husbands should not approach them, out of regard to the children to be begotten. For the Law has forbidden it when it says: “You will not come near your wife when she is in her separation” [Lev. 18:19]. Nor, indeed, let them have relations when their wives are with child. For [in that case] they are not doing it for the begetting of children, but only for the sake of pleasure. Now a lover of God should not be a lover of pleasure.
- Apostolic Constitutions, as compiled by Philip Schaff in Ante-Nicene Fathers, Volume 7, 463
- Why have eunuchs sore and ulcerated legs? Is it because this is also characteristic of women, and eunuchs are effeminate? Or, while this is true, is the cause in women as well this, that the heat has a downward tendency? (Menstruation shows that this is so.) So neither eunuchs nor women grow thick hair, owing to the presence of copious moisture in them.
- Aristotle, Problems
- Only a handful of countries in the developing world permit midwives to perform aspiration abortion (Cambodia (Long 2001) and South Africa) or paramedics to carry out ’menstrual regulation’ procedures (Bangladesh). In many countries, national policies limit access to medical abortion by restricting its prescription and provision to certified physicians (Yarnall 2009).
- Barnard, S; Kim, C; Park, MH; Ngo, TD (27 July 2015). "Doctors or mid-level providers for abortion" (PDF). The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (7): CD011242. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD011242.pub2. PMID 26214844. p.6
- [I]t's hard to find a society, a religion or a part of the world that does not find some way to make women feel dirty, guilty, unworthy or dangerous because of their monthly cycle. "Menstrual taboos are so widespread, they're almost a cultural universal," says Beverly Strassmann, evolutionary anthropologist and biologist at the University of Michigan who studies menstrual taboos.
Yet there are exceptions: societies that treat menstruating women with respect.
The negative associations with menstruation are well-known. Women may be prohibited from sexual intercourse, banned from places of worship or segregated in special huts. Various theories about the widespread prohibitions and restrictions range from false beliefs that menstrual blood carries toxic bacteria to fears that the blood triggers castration anxiety in men to beliefs that the smell of the blood disturbs animals and interferes with hunting.
- Susan Brink quoting Beverly Strassmann; “Some Cultures Treat Menstruation With Respect”, NPR, (August 11, 2015)
- In societies where women might have their period only every two years or so because of frequent pregnancies and long breastfeeding, there might be fewer negative associations with menstruation, says Alma Gottlieb, professor of anthropology and gender and women's studies at the University of Illinois and author of Blood Magic: The Anthropology of Menstruation.
"Yurok, a native tribe from the northwest coast of the United States stratified by class, had a group of aristocratic women who saw their periods as a time for purifying themselves," she says. As many women living in close proximity do, this group had their periods at the same time each month. "They were on a shared menstrual cycle and did a series of rituals during the cycle that they said was a period of their most heightened spiritual experience."
The Rungus women from Borneo, she says, are pretty blasé about their periods. "They don't say it's pure, they don't say it's polluting," says Gottlieb. "It's just a bodily fluid that needs to be evacuated. They don't make a big deal of it."
Among the Ulithi women of the South Pacific, she says, breastfeeding women join menstruating women in huts, along with their children. "It's kind of a party atmosphere." The huts can be a torturous experience for women in some places, but "there are many other variations on the theme," she says.
In some parts of Ghana, West Africa, young girls sit under beautiful, ceremonial umbrellas when they begin menstruating. "The family would give her gifts and pay her homage," says Gottlieb. "She is celebrated like a queen."
For the Beng women of Ivory Coast, Gottlieb found that male-imposed restrictions on menstruating women come with a more positive twist. "An older man, a religious leader in the local religion, told me menstruation is like the flower of a tree. You need the flower before the tree can fruit," she says. "That's a very different ideology than the ideology of sin, dirt, pollution."
- Susan Brink quoting Alma Gottlieb, “Some Cultures Treat Menstruation With Respect”, NPR, (August 11, 2015)
- In both developed and developing regions of the world, properly trained midwives, public health nurses, and comparable health and auxiliary personnel can conduct procedures early in pregnancy under adequate supervision. An advantage of their involvement may be their ability to provide a higher quality of pre- and post-abortion care and counseling than a busy physician can offer, thereby securing better and perhaps more confidential overall patient management. They already play an important role in fertility control, including menstrual regulation to which the earliest abortion is analogous.
- Rebecca J. Cook, Bernard M. Dickens; “A Decade of International Change in Abortion Law:1967-1977”, AJPH July, 1978, Vol. 68, No. 7 p.639
- Then he started his period.
one week in bed.
two doctors in.
three painkillers four times a day.
to the powers-that-be
demanding full-paid menstrual leave twelve weeks a year.
I see him now,
his selfish pale face peering at the moon
through the bathroom window.
The curse, he said, the curse
- Carol Ann Duffy, "Mrs Tiresias"
- To Strassmann and others in the field of evolutionary medicine, this shift from a hundred to four hundred lifetime menses is enormously significant. It means that women’s bodies are being subjected to changes and stresses that they were not necessarily designed by evolution to handle. In a brilliant and provocative book, “Is Menstruation Obsolete?,” Drs. Elsimar Coutinho and Sheldon S. Segal, two of the world’s most prominent contraceptive researchers, argue that this recent move to what they call “incessant ovulation” has become a serious problem for women’s health. It doesn’t mean that women are always better off the less they menstruate. There are times—particularly in the context of certain medical conditions—when women ought to be concerned if they aren’t menstruating: In obese women, a failure to menstruate can signal an increased risk of uterine cancer. In female athletes, a failure to menstruate can signal an increased risk of osteoporosis. But for most women, Coutinho and Segal say, incessant ovulation serves no purpose except to increase the occurrence of abdominal pain, mood shifts, migraines, endometriosis, fibroids, and anemia—the last of which, they point out, is “one of the most serious health problems in the world.”
Most serious of all is the greatly increased risk of some cancers. Cancer, after all, occurs because as cells divide and reproduce they sometimes make mistakes that cripple the cells’ defenses against runaway growth. That’s one of the reasons that our risk of cancer generally increases as we age: our cells have more time to make mistakes. But this also means that any change promoting cell division has the potential to increase cancer risk, and ovulation appears to be one of those changes. Whenever a woman ovulates, an egg literally bursts through the walls of her ovaries. To heal that puncture, the cells of the ovary wall have to divide and reproduce. Every time a woman gets pregnant and bears a child, her lifetime risk of ovarian cancer drops ten per cent. Why? Possibly because, between nine months of pregnancy and the suppression of ovulation associated with breast-feeding, she stops ovulating for twelve months—and saves her ovarian walls from twelve bouts of cell division. The argument is similar for endometrial cancer. When a woman is menstruating, the estrogen that flows through her uterus stimulates the growth of the uterine lining, causing a flurry of potentially dangerous cell division. Women who do not menstruate frequently spare the endometrium that risk. Ovarian and endometrial cancer are characteristically modern diseases, consequences, in part, of a century in which women have come to menstruate four hundred times in a lifetime.
- Malcolm Gladwell, “John Rock’s Error”, The New Yorker, (2000-03-10).
- As more companies bought into the idea, the week of placebo pills was here to stay. Doctors liked that they made explaining the instructions to women easy. Women liked having one fewer thing to remember about their birth control. Few questioned why women on the pill should be having a “period” at all. Today there are a small handful of options that reduce or eliminate monthly bleeding: Seasonale, a form of the pill sold in packets of 84 active pills and seven placebos that make it so bleeding happens just four times a year, became available in 2003. In 2007, the F.D.A. approved Lybrel, the first oral contraceptive to provide continuous active pills, with no breaks for withdrawal bleeding. Doctors agree that a menstrual cycle can be a useful indicator of overall health, and yet it still isn’t necessary. When Dr. Lori Picco’s patients ask if they can skip the inactive pills, she says she tells them to go right ahead. “It’s completely fine — there’s no medical concerns,” says Dr. Picco, a gynecologist at Capital Women’s Care in Washington and a fellow of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. “Honestly, I would think people would want to do it all the time.”
- Rachel E. Gross, “Why Women on the Pill Still ‘Need’ to Have Their Periods“, New York Times, (Dec. 11, 2019).
- Plato was aware that divination is something inferior that pertains to the non-rational soul. The main point is that they [clairvoyants] name their illnesses, especially chronic nervous disorders that are not yet fully developed. Also, rheumatism, toothaches, yield to magnetism. Remarkably, it seems to have an effect on the maladies of menstruation. The somnambulists especially know how to specify these disorders and it is easy to admit that they discover deficiencies. They describe these conditions, but in an entirely ordinary manner, not in the manner of one who understands anatomy. Then they indicate the remedy for their disease.
- Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Lectures on the Philosophy of Spirit, 1827-8
- Menstrual suppression to provide relief of menstrual-related symptoms or to manage medical conditions associated with menstrual morbidity or menstrual exacerbation has been used clinically since the development of steroid hormonal therapies. Options range from the extended or continuous use of combined hormonal oral contraceptives, to the use of combined hormonal patches and rings, progestins given in a variety of formulations from intramuscular injection to oral therapies to intrauterine devices, and other agents such as gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonists. The agents used for menstrual suppression have variable rates of success in inducing amenorrhea, but typically have increasing rates of amenorrhea over time. Therapy may be limited by side effects, most commonly irregular, unscheduled bleeding. These therapies can benefit women’s quality of life, and by stabilizing the hormonal milieu, potentially improve the course of underlying medical conditions such as diabetes or a seizure disorder. This review addresses situations in which menstrual suppression may be of benefit, and lists options which have been successful in inducing medical amenorrhea.
- Paula Adams Hillard, “Menstrual suppression: current perspectives”, Int J Womens Health. 2014; 6: 631–637. Published online 2014 Jun 23
- Suppression of menstrual periods to provide relief of menstrual-related symptoms has been used in a variety of medical conditions since the availability of steroid hormone therapy. This option has gained legitimacy through its use in treating symptoms, but is now being used more frequently by women for personal preference. A recent Cochrane review of trials comparing 28-day and extended cycles found comparable contraceptive efficacy and safety.1 The review found overall discontinuation rates and discontinuation for bleeding problems to be similar. Extended cycling resulted in improved headaches, genital irritation, tiredness, bloating, and menstrual pain.
- Paula Adams Hillard, “Menstrual suppression: current perspectives”, Int J Womens Health. 2014; 6: 631–637. Published online 2014 Jun 23
- A number of polls have cited women’s opinions about the frequency of preferred menstrual bleeding. Some polls suggest that up to half of women may prefer a menstrual frequency of “never”, although the acceptability of amenorrhea has cultural determinants and varies widely. An international study involving women in Nigeria, South Africa, Scotland, and the People’s Republic of China found that most women dislike menstruation, and in all of the countries studied except the People’s Republic of China, most women expressed a willingness to try a contraceptive method that induced amenorrhea.
- Paula Adams Hillard, “Menstrual suppression: current perspectives”, Int J Womens Health. 2014; 6: 631–637. Published online 2014 Jun 23
- Three central contributions to the understanding of reproduction came from ‘’Blood Magic’’. First, it definitively challenged the image of a universal taboo which operated in the same way in all societies. Second, it argued persuasively against the idea that menstruation was marked because it was always linked to female subordination, based on associations with nature, the domestic, or the undervalued. Third, with nuanced case studies it demonstrated how menstrual fluids could be used in empowering ways, in love magic, in specially esteemed forms of cooking, in establishing and coordination a ritual calendar, and in providing images of creation and transformation. That volume did not, however, veer into the New Age fashion of glorifying menstruation, eclipsing mention of its reported dangers, or purging cultural associations with death, disease, and loss (cf. Owen 1998).
Since menstrual bleeding is both a sign of continued fertility and of the failure to conceive in a particular month, its regulation is of great importance to female reproductive health, and a recently published volume (Van de Walle and Renne 2000) brought together work on the medical history of menstrual regulation and the “native science” of female fertility, especially its relation to herbalism. Many herbs were used as both emmenagogues (to bring on menstruation) and abortifacients (to terminate pregnancy), and the fundamental ambiguity about the purposes for which they were employed seems to have been an important element of their popularity.
- Janet Hoskins, “Introduction: Blood Mysteries: Beyond Menstruation as Pollution”, Ethnology, Vol. 41, No. 4, Special Issue: Blood Mysteries: Beyond Menstruation as Pollution (Autumn, 2002), p. 299.
- Girls in the USA receive mixed messages about menarche: menarche is traumatic and upsetting-but act normal; menarche is an overt symbol of sexual maturity-but also a mysterious, secret event. Girls I interviewed reported another-dualism in their menstrual education. They perceive a clear distinction between two kinds of menstrual knowledge: scientific knowledge about the anatomy and physiological functioning, and what they termed `realistic', pragmatic knowledge about managing the lived experience of menstruation. Using methods of critical, feminist analysis, I examine social texts of menstrual socialization, including girls' conversation about their menstrual education; their mothers' discussions of the preparation for menstruation that girls received; and instructional materials presented in their health education classes, to discuss the communication and the silences of contemporary menstrual socialization, and to suggest possibilities for transformative language and action to teach girls about menstruation in ways that can help mend dualisms.
- Elizabeth Arveda Kissling, “Bleeding out Loud: Communication about Menstruation”, (November 1, 1996)
- Reclaiming the female body retrieving it piece by piece from the grip of patriarchal culture and medical practice, has been a central feminist goal for each of the last two decades. Menstruation-represented in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries by the American white middle and upper classes as a woman’s shame, her “curse,” as an agency of weakness and disability-is now front and center of the feminist agenda as topic that needs to be rethought.
- Anna Meigs, Thomas Buckley, Alma Gottlieb; “Blood Magic: The Anthropology of Menstruation”; Louise Lander, Images of Bleeding: Menstruation as Ideology, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Volume 16, Number 1, "From Hard Drive to Software: Gender, Computers, and Difference", (Autumn, 1990), p. 180.
- Males or females that are unclean through running issue, and a woman after childbirth, must in addition bring a sacrifice, because their uncleanness occurs less frequently than that of women in their separation. All these cases of uncleanliness, viz., running issue of males or females, menstruations, leprosy, dead bodies of human beings, carcases of beasts and creeping things, and issue of semen, are sources of dirt and filth.
- Moses Maimonides, The Guide for the Perplexed
- Their anger in darkness turning, unreleased, unspoken, it's mouth a red wound, its eyes hungry...hungry for the moon.
- Alan Moore, Swamp Thing #40 The Curse, September 1985
- Crosses her knees and wags left leg to rhythm. Type of by-words: a two-hundred-forty-two word area of the commonest pubescent slang fenced in by a number of obviously European polysyllabics. Sighs a good deal in class. Let me see. Yes. Now comes the last week in November. Sighs a good deal in class. Chews gum vehemently. Does not bite her nails though if she did, this would conform better to her general pattern — scientifically speaking, of course. Menstruation, according to the subject, well established. Belongs at present to no church organization. By the way, Mr. Haze, her mother was —? Oh, I see. And you are —? Nobody’s business is, I suppose, God’s business. Something else we wanted to know. She was no regular home duties, I understand. Making a princess of your Dolly, Mr. Haze, he? Well, what else have we got here? Handles books gracefully. Voice pleasant. Giggles rather often.
- Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita
- In the developing world, menstrual regulation is still a crucial strategy to circumvent anti-abortion laws.
- National Abortion Federation, Plan Parent Chall, International Planned Parenthood Newsletter (1): 30–1
- RU-486 is properly called an 'abortifacient.' Because it is a drug that can induce a menstrual period after the implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus, it can terminate a woman's pregnancy in its earliest stages.
- National Abortion Rights Action League, "Factsheet" promoting FDA approval of the RU-486 abortion pill, 1990.
- The more effective of the two post-coital methods of contraception is to induce menstruation before fertilization or implantation can take place. Many herbal recipes to induce menstruation were taught by Hippocrates, “the father of medicine,” who lived in ancient Athens 460–377 B.C.E. He had gathered his recipes from women whose traditions of medicine were already thousands of years old. Centuries later, some of these methods for inducing menstruation for contraception were published by Peter of Spain before he was made Pope John XXI in 1276. Despite their toxicity, herbs are still used worldwide in attempts to induce menstruation (Riddle, 1992).
- “Planned Parenthood”, “A History of Birth Control Methods“,pp.10-11
- How reliable is the woman's menstrual history in determining where she is in her cycle, namely that she is preovulatory? In a study by Novikova et al., they found the history of the first day of the last period to be unreliable 39 percent of the time (Novikova et al. 2007). In addition they found a wide range of cycle lengths with the first day of one period to the first day of the next to be 21 to 35 days. With a longer cycle the woman could be on day 17 of her cycle but still be preovulatory and with a shorter cycle she could be on day 13 of her cycle and be postovulatory. Although one may suspect the woman is approaching ovulation on pelvic exam with the presence of highly fertile mucus at the cervical os, it is impossible for a physician to determine whether the woman is preovulatory on a pelvic exam, in particular in a woman who has just been sexually assaulted.
How reliable are LH testing and progesterone levels done stat in the emergency room in determining where the woman is in her cycle? The LH surge goes on over a twenty-four-hour period, and is usually detected by testing a first-morning concentrated urine. A random urine specimen, particularly late at night, may not detect the LH surge. In addition, serum progesterone levels are not emergency tests, and the results often are not available for twenty-four hours, even in major metropolitan hospitals, and even longer in small community hospitals. Therefore, this protocol may not have a timely progesterone level available to help determine if a woman is preovulatory in the emergency room.
- Kathleen Mary Raviele “Levonorgestrel in cases of rape: How does it work?”, Linacre Q. May, 2014; 81(2): 117–129.
- In India, the lunar calendar, possibly one of the first of its type, is still in use today ... the total for 28 days is both a menstrual and lunar cycle, with the full moon as a cosmic representation of pregnancy, and the new moon standing for the promise of rebirth. These beliefs are apparently universal, for the lunar markings found on prehistoric bone fragments are thought by many to represent women's cycles.
- Beth Richards, Herizons Magazine, Winter 1994, vol. 7
- Worldwide, the amount of ethnographic and textual work on menstruation is disproportionately larger than the amount of archaeological work on the subject. While researching for my project at Deir el-Medina, I found only four published studies that attempt to identify menstruation in the archaeological record: Claassen 2011, Faust and Katz 2017, Bengtson 2017, and Crown 1985. I was not surprised by this result, as menstruation is still taboo in the western world, but the result also stems from the lack of visibility of menstruation in the archaeological record. Patricia Galloway’s “Where have all the menstrual huts gone?” rightfully points out that this is unsubstantiated assumption, one not supported by the ethnographic and textual descriptions of these practices.
- Sherfield, Anne, 2018 AAA Annual Meeting in San José; as quoted in Sherfield, Anne. 2019. “Archaeology of Menstruation”, Anthropology News, July 17, 2019.
- Archaeologically, understanding cultural behaviors surrounding menstruation is important because it can provide glimpses into gender relations and gender roles that allow us to understand the social structuring of past societies. However, it is equally important that menstruation be studied in order to personify and connect to the people of the past. As a teenager, I felt removed from the great women of history due to the elimination of menstruation from their stories. This removal is discussed often in literary circles, but it also needs to be tackled in archaeology. Menstruation is a biological continuity that has always occurred to half of the human population and there needs to be a cultural history that is representative of this reality.
- Sherfield, Anne. 2019. “Archaeology of Menstruation”, Anthropology News, July 17, 2019.
- The purpose of this study was to examine the messages conveyed in menstrual product advertisements with specific concern given to information that could be learned about menstruation and the female body by menarcheal girls. Over 200 advertisements from popular women's magazines were analyzed using constant comparative analysis. The core variable was Heightening Insecurities . The themes identified in menstrual product advertisements function to heighten insecurities in the female adolescent reader. The findings revealed that the advertisements were a reflection of the negative societal views of menstruation and, because the advertisements function to heighten insecurities, they also function to perpetuate and maintain the silence and shame which surrounds menstruation in our society.
- M. R. Simes, D. H. Berg , ”SURREPTITIOUS LEARNING: MENARCHE AND MENSTRUAL PRODUCT ADVERTISEMENTS”, Health Care for Women International Volume 22, 2001 - Issue 5, pp.455-469, (11 Nov 2010)
- So what would happen if suddenly, magically, men could menstruate and women could not? Clearly, menstruation would become an enviable, worthy, masculine event. … The truth is that, if men could menstruate, the power justifications would go on and on. If we let them.
- Gloria Steinem, "If Men Could Menstruate"
- According to a recent hypothesis, menstruation evolved to protect the uterus oviducts from sperm-borne pathogens by dislodging infected endometrial tissue and delivering immune cells to the uterine cavity. This hypothesis predicts the following: (1) uterine pathogens should be more prevalent before menses than after menses, (2) in the life histories of females, the timing of menstruation should track pathogen burden, and (3) in primates, the copiousness of menstruation should increase with the promiscuity of the breeding system. I tested these predictions and they were not upheld by the evidence.
I propose the alternative hypothesis that the uterine endometrium is shed/resorbed whenever implantation fails because cyclical regression and renewal is energetically less costly than maintaining the endometrium in the metabolically active state required for implantation. In the regressed state, oxygen consumption (per mg protein/h) in human endometria declines nearly sevenfold. The cyclicity in endometrial oxygen consumption is one component of the whole body cyclicity in metabolic rate caused by the action of the ovarian steroids on both endometrial and nonendometrial tissue. Metabolic rate is at least 7% lower, on average, during the follicular phase than during the luteal phase in women, which signifies an estimated energy savings of 53 MJ over four cycles, or nearly six days worth of food. Thus, the menstrual cycle revs up and revs down, economizing on the energy costs of reproduction. This economy is greatest during the nonbreeding season and other periods of amenorrhea when the endometrium remains in a regressed state and ovarian cycling is absent for a prolonged period of time. Twelve months of amenorrhea save an estimated 130 MJ, or the energy required by one woman for nearly half a month. By helping females to maintain body mass, energy economy will promote female fitness in any environment in which fecundity and survivorship is constrained by the food supply. Endometrial economy may be of ancient evolutionary origin because similar reproductive structures, such as the oviduct of lizards, also regress when a fertilized egg is unlikely to be present.
- Beverly I. Strassmann, “The Evolution of Endometrial Cycles and Menstruation”, The Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 71, No. 2 (Jun., 1996), pp. 181-182.
- Regression of the endometrium is usually accompained by reabsorption, but in some species as much as one third of the endometrial and vascular tissue is shed as the menses. Rather than having and adaptive basis in ecology or behavior, variation in the degree of menstrual bleeding in primates shows a striking correlation with phylogeny. The endometrial microvasculature is designed to provide the blood supply to the endometrium and the placenta, and external bleeding appears to be a side effect of endometrial regression that arises when there is too much blood and other tissue for complete reabsortion. The copious bleeding of humans and chimps can be attributed to the large size of the uterus relative to adult female size and to the design of the microvasculature in catarrhines.
- Beverly I. Strassmann, “The Evolution of Endometrial Cycles and Menstruation”, The Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 71, No. 2 (Jun., 1996), pp. 181-182.
- Taking advantage of the natural experiment afforded by the ongoing religious transition in the Dogon, we found genetic support for the hypothesis that menstrual huts help to assure paternity. Although the world religions do not have menstrual huts, they do share common tenets that may foster cuckoldry avoidance (SI Discussion). For example, in Judaism, menstrual purity laws increase coital frequency around the time of ovulation. In Islam, paternity confusion is prevented by the Qur’an’s rule that, after divorce, a woman must wait for three menstrual periods before remarrying. The Hindu text, The Laws of Manu, admonishes against cuckoldry or “sowing in another man’s field”. Strong statements against adultery and extramarital children are found in the Bible, and, in Buddhism, adultery is a form of sexual misconduct. In preventing cuckoldry, religions use the dual strategy of social control in the public sphere (attendance at a place of worship or at a menstrual hut) and the fear of divine or supernatural punishment. In the United States, frequent church attendance and belief that the Bible is the word of God were the two most robust predictors of lower rates of self-reported EPCs. We posit that the ideological and tactical similarities between the world religions and the Dogon religion have arisen in response to the same biological pressures.
- Beverly I. Strassmann, Nikhil T. Kurapati, Brendan F. Hug, Erin E. Burke, Brenda W. Gillespie, Tatiana M. Karafet, and Michael F. Hammer; “Religion as a means to assure paternity”, PNAS June 19, 2012 109 (25) 9781-9785
- Apart from her personal pain-body, every woman has her share in what could be described as the collective female pain-body - unless she is fully conscious. This consists of accumulated pain suffered by women partly through male subjugation of the female, through slavery, exploitation, rape, childbirth, child loss, and so on, over thousands of years. The emotional or physical pain that for many women precedes and coincides with the menstrual flow is the pain-body in its collective aspect that awakens from its dormancy at that time, although it can be triggered at other times too. It restricts the free flow of life energy through the body, of which menstruation is a physical expression... Often a woman is "taken over" by the pain-body at that time. It has an extremely powerful energetic charge that can easily pull you into unconscious identification with it. You are then actively possessed by an energy field that occupies your inner space and pretends to be you - but, of course, is not you at all. It speaks through you, acts through you, thinks through you. It will create negative situations in your life so that it can feed on the energy. It wants more pain, in whatever form... It is pure pain, past pain - and it is not you... The number of women who are now approaching the fully conscious state already exceeds that of men and will be growing even faster in the years to come. p. 106
- Knowing that a woman is fertile (generally speaking) only for about three to five days out of the month and that her fertility is naturally obstructed (e.g. by the sticky mucous produced by progesterone around the cervix) the other days of the month, I do not want to say that the mere fact of a woman's fertility being obstructed is intrinsically wrong. Otherwise God would be immoral for creating a cycle which includes infertile periods!
What I want to say is that a woman's cycle, on a biological level, is ordered toward fertility, toward the procreation of life. For example, the purpose the follicle stimulating hormone is to cause the maturation of an inchoate egg which is to be released into the fallopian tubes after ovulation. As the egg is maturing, the follicle which contains it releases estrogen which builds up the endometrium to prepare a home for the possible child that is conceived when the egg is fertilized. Furthermore, about day fourteen in a normal cycle, the luteinizing hormone causes ovulation, the egg is released into the fallopian tubes, the follicle where the egg had been is transformed (also by the luteinizing hormone) into the corpus luteum which then secretes progesterone which further prepares the endometrium to receive the child and also causes a change in the mucous around the cervix . . .
. . . the mucous becomes thick, sticky, infertile; it will not allow sperm to pass through the uterus into the fallopian tubes where fertilization of the egg occurs. If fertilization does not occur the corpus luteum dies and therefore no longer secretes progesterone, the endometrium is no longer sustained by the progesterone; it is sloughed off, menstruation occurs, and a new, fresh release of the follicle stimulating hormone begins the cycle all over again. However, if fertilization did occur then the zygote floats down the fallopian tube, implants itself in the blood-rich endometrium with hair like roots; these roots (villi) just so happen to produce human chorionic gonadotropin which just so happens to keep the corpus luteum alive which just so happens to continue to secrete progesterone for the three months necessary before the placenta develops to the state where it can secrete a hormone to keep the endometrium intact so that they baby can grow and flourish.
My point is that a woman's biological cycle is ordered marvelously, wondrously toward life. Yet, this cycle is not merely a biological phenomena; it is part of who the woman is. The human person does not ‘have' a body. The human person "is an incarnate spirit: a soul which expresses itself in a body and a body informed by an immortal spirit"
- Fr. Emmanuel Vita; in Fr. Augustine Mary “Contraception, What's Allowed?“, EWTN, (1996)
“The multi-functional roles of menstrual blood-derived stem cells in regenerative medicine” (03 January, 2019)Edit
Lijun Chen, Jingjing Qu & Charlie Xiang; “The multi-functional roles of menstrual blood-derived stem cells in regenerative medicine”, Stem Cell Research & Therapy volume 10, (03 January 2019)
- Menstrual blood-derived stem cells (MenSCs) are a novel source of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). MenSCs are attracting more and more attention since their discovery in 2007. MenSCs also have no moral dilemma and show some unique features of known adult-derived stem cells, which provide an alternative source for the research and application in regenerative medicine. Currently, people are increasingly interested in their clinical potential due to their high proliferation, remarkable versatility, and periodic acquisition in a non-invasive manner with no other sources of MSCs that are comparable in adult tissue. In this review, the plasticity of pluripotent biological characteristics, immunophenotype and function, differentiative potential, and immunomodulatory properties are assessed. Furthermore, we also summarize their therapeutic effects and functional characteristics in various diseases, including liver disease, diabetes, stroke, Duchenne muscular dystrophy, ovarian-related disease, myocardial infarction, Asherman syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, acute lung injury, cutaneous wound, endometriosis, and neurodegenerative diseases. Subsequently, the clinical potential of MenSCs is investigated. There is a need for a deeper understanding of its immunomodulatory and diagnostic properties with safety concern on a variety of environmental conditions (such as epidemiological backgrounds, age, hormonal status, and pre-contraceptive). In summary, MenSC has a great potential for reducing mortality and improving the quality of life of severe patients. As a kind of adult stem cells, MenSCs have multiple properties in treating a variety of diseases in regenerative medicine for future clinical applications.
- Approximately a decade ago, Meng et al. and Cui et al. discovered a novel source of MSCs from human menstrual fluid, named menstrual blood-derived stem cells (MenSCs). Throughout these years, more and more studies are focusing on MenSCs, a representative comparison was presented in six sources of MSCs, suggesting that MenSCs possessed higher proliferation rates and painless procedures, and almost no ethical issues.
- Studies by Meng et al. and our group have reported that MenSCs from young and healthy women could increase to one doubling every 20 h supplied with sufficient culture conditions, which was twice as fast as BM-MSCs (estimated 40–45 h). MenSCs have similar phenotypes and properties compared with BM-MSCs, including spindles, classical three-line differentiation, and surface marker expression. A high rate of proliferation was contributed to the high expression of embryonic trophic factors and extracellular matrix (ECM) in MenSCs. A high proliferative capacity is critical for future clinical research because cell-based treatment is usually dose-dependent along with cells from the lower passages; therefore, increasing the yield of the preliminary cells is necessary and considerable in clinical research. In addition, MenSCs have been extensively expanded in vitro and hardly showed obvious chromosomal abnormalities by our group and others. Such a highly proliferating rate and stably genetic characteristic, as well as the apparent pluripotency, suggest that the novel stem cells may exhibit unexpected therapeutic properties.
MenSCs are also remarkable for their broad differentiation capacity. Currently, MenSCs can be induced as endothelial, cardiomyocytic, neurocytic, cartilaginous, myocytic, respiratory epithelial, pancreatic, hepatic, adipocytic, and osteogenic parts using appropriate differentiation techniques. Hida et al. found that MenSCs exhibited cardiogenic differentiation in a scaffold culture system. Lai’s team has confirmed that the differentiation of MenSCs into germ cells was induced in the appropriate medium. Similarly, Liu et.al also proved that MenSCs had the capacity to differentiate into ovarian tissue-like cells. Furthermore, our group and Khanjani et al. have shown that MenSCs could differentiate into functional hepatocyte-like cells by checking mature hepatocyte functions. In addition, MenSCs had a potential for differentiation into glial lineages (neurosphere-like cells) by examining the expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein, oligosaccharide-2, and myelin basic protein.
- At present, more and more registrations for a variety of diseases support the therapeutic benefits of MSC transplantation in clinical trials (www.clinicaltrials.gov). In contrast, the registrations of MenSCs are still few, and no more than 10 clinical trials are presented by searching “menstrual blood stem cells”. Actually, the therapeutic potential of MenSCs has already been recognized in several kinds of diseases in pre-clinical research, which is fundamental for future clinical applications in tissue repair and regenerative medicine. Similar to BM-MSCs, MenSCs also have several merits, including the ability to migrate into injury sites, differentiation into different cell lineages, secretion of soluble factors, and regulation of immune responses. Therefore, more researches need to be explored before MenSC becomes a common use in clinical application and treatment.
- Because MenSCs possess good immunosuppressive properties, they are able to intravenously inject large amounts of cells to injured body. From short-term studies, they are safe and reliable after cell transplantation, and they migrate into the inflammatory or injured sites, which has a regenerative inhibitory effect on inflammation. Currently, no evidence of tumor or toxicity following administration of MenSC has been found in nude mice. Moreover, we assessed that MenSCs had significant inhibitory effects on tumor growth in a mouse glioma model. No obvious physiological or serological abnormalities were observed in four patients with multiple sclerosis for the use of MenSCs. Although researches indicate that MenSCs are rapidly evolving, it is not yet determined how long MenSCs can survive in foreign bodies and there are no data guaranteeing their long-term safety owing to lack of specific markers to monitor these cells in vivo.
- In order to achieve the end goal of the use of MenSCs in clinical implementation, the standard criterion of sample collections is needed to produce high quality and high consistency of MenSCs; more importantly, fundamental pre-clinical research is demanded for establishing more treatment strategies and exploring precise signaling pathways. Finally, the long-term safety of MenSCs should be assessed before they are used in clinical medicine. In summary, although more work needs to be done, MenSCs have been proved to play multi-functional roles in treating a variety of diseases through diversely therapeutic strategies in preclinical research, which will be contributed to the development of MenSC-based treatment in regenerative medicine and clinical applications.
“The Man Behind the Pill Decided Women 'Need' to Have Periods—But They Don't“ (Sep 21, 2017)Edit
Leila Ettachfini, “The Man Behind the Pill Decided Women 'Need' to Have Periods—But They Don't“, Vice, (Sep 21 2017)
- Many women are unaware that consistently skipping withdrawal bleeding is an option, let alone that extended cycle pills exist, or that menstrual suppression can also be accomplished with hormonal IUDs, NuvaRing, birth control injections, and contraceptive patches.
- The normalization of placebo pills and subsequent withdrawal bleeding means that even in 2017, many women do not know that extended cycle pills exist, let alone that menstrual suppression is a safe option. Combined with the fact that the percentage of schools teaching students about contraception has declined drastically since 2000, this means that many women are likely to stay in the dark about their options when it comes to choosing whether or not they want to bleed once a month.
- On a philosophical level, Seasonale and other extended cycle pills ignited a conversation about what it means to have a period, and whether our eagerness to suppress our menses is reflective of internalized patriarchal forces. In 2006, a filmmaker named Giovanna Chesler tackled the surprisingly controversial subject in an hourlong documentary, Period: The End of Menstruation? "Women are not sick," she told the New York Times in an interview the following year. "They don't need to control their periods for 30 or 40 years."
A vocal group of feminist activists agreed with this assessment, arguing that skipping your periods is unnatural and that marketing menstrual suppression products sends the wrong message to girls: that there is something wrong with menstruating. "These messages underscore that women's natural functions are defective, dysfunctional, and in need of medical intervention," Chris Bobel, a women's studies professor and author, told Ms. magazine in 2010, neatly summing up this line of criticism. "How is this feminist?"
- Other women had a less political reason for wanting to keep their monthly withdrawal bleeding: Many use it as a way to ascertain whether or not they're pregnant, a method that gynecologists confirm is reliable. (Though, they warn, bleeding is not uncommon during the first trimester of pregnancy.)
Those in favor of menstrual suppression—including many feminists—argued that allowing women to choose whether or not they wanted to endure their periods or withdrawal bleeding was a long-awaited step in the right direction, especially since the side effects hardly differ from those of regular oral contraceptives. This group also disliked the idea of equating menstruation with womanhood, which they saw as reductive gender essentialism. A majority of menstruating people seem sympathetic to this side: A 2006 survey on menstrual suppression by the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals found that "few women have an emotional connection to their period," and that only eight percent of women "enjoy their period in some way."
“The Potential of Menstrual Blood-Derived Stem Cells in Differentiation to Epidermal Lineage: A Preliminary Report” (Jan 2016)Edit
Hossein Faramarzi, Davood Mehrabani, Maryam Fard, Maryam Akhavan, Sona Zare, Shabnam Bakhshalizadeh, Amir Manafi, Somaieh Kazemnejad, and Reza Shirazi; “The Potential of Menstrual Blood-Derived Stem Cells in Differentiation to Epidermal Lineage: A Preliminary Report”, World J Plast Surg. 2016 Jan; 5(1): 26–31.
- Menstrual blood-derived stem cells (MenSCs) are a novel source of stem cells that can be easily isolated non-invasively from female volunteered donor without ethical consideration. These mesenchymal-like stem cells have high rate of proliferation and possess multi lineage differentiation potency.
- The newly defined adult stem cells are menstrual blood-derived stem cells (MenSCs), giving rise to hopes in clinical application of these cells. They are mesenchymal-like stem cells that can be harvested from human menstrual blood shedding of endometrium monthly. MenSCs have a highly proliferation and differentiation capability under specific differentiation conditions. The easy and simple way to get MenSCs without any invasive surgical intervention or hospitalization and absence of any ethical issues to isolate them are advantages of these MSCs.
- Here, we designed a novel study to assess the differentiation potential of MenSCs into epidermal lineage for future repair of skin and dermatological lesions caused by ultraviolet rays, burn and chemicals damaging the integrity of skin tissue. MSCs were shown to be an effective and attractive cell population in cell therapy to induce dermal repair and regeneration following acquired lesions and wounds. They can provide essential trophic support to regenerate the injured tissue.
- The newly defined mesenchymal-like stem cells from MB called MenSCs are a new source of stem cells with good proliferation rate and capability in differentiation into various cell types similar to many other kinds of adult stem cells. Kazemnejad et al. investigated hepatic differentiation capacity of MenSCs compared to mesenchymal stem cells derived from bone marrow. The derivation of adipogenic lineage, glial cells, and cardiogenic lineage were also demonstrated in other studies.
In addition, these easily accessible adult stem cells have the capacity to trans-differentiate into neuronal cells, pancreatic cells, and osteocytes. These investigations suggest this new source as a safe alternative to other adult stem cells for cell therapies in different diseases. So we concluded the MenSCs could provide a suitable cell sources in repair and regenerate of skin diseases and naturally photoaging of skin. We are on the line to develop and suggest the standard inducing media and protocols to derive epidermal lineage from MenSCs. By achieving this goal, novel cell-based therapies will be proposed to use in many experimental and clinical studies.
“Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation” (2009)Edit
Elissa Stein and Susan Kim, “Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation”, St. Martin’s Griffin New York, (2009)
- The sad fact is that menstruation-the process, the images, the word itself- is as unspeakable and undercover as it ever was. Think about it-even in movies, TV shows, and commercials that actually mention menstruation by name, you never, ever see any sign of it. In fact, although you can watch buckets of fake blood merrily sploodging out of heads and torsos because of fists, bullets, knives, car accidents, grenades, bombs, breaking glass, garrotes, machetes, falling buildings, swords, laser beams, airline crashes, or hungry mutant zombies, rarely will you ever see a single drop as a result of menstruation.
- Even in the most up-to-date print ad or TV commercial, you will never once see a menstrual product being unwrapped, applied, inserted, tugged at, tanked out, pulled off, wadded up, wrapped in toilet paper, flushed, or thrown away-God forbid showing a before-and-after shot of a tampon (now that’s a memorable visual!) or what it looks like when you accidentally spring a leak. The ads don’t even show the inside of a bathroom, which is weird, considering that’s where most tampons and pads are inserted or applied in the first place.
- In her book The Curse: Confronting the Last Unmentionable Taboo: Menstruation, Karen Houppert makes the point that even in these supposedly modern times, menstruation is always referred to with depressing, loser-ish verbs (“decay,” “shred,” “shrink,” “disintegrate,” “dribble” discharge”), whereas ejaculation gets all the sexy, empowered, action-hero verbs (like “spurt,” “spray,” “pump,” “shoot”). Be honest-with verbs like those if you had to be a biological process, which would you rather choose?
- In terms of language, there were no separate words for female genitalia for thousands of years. That was mostly because women were considered pretty much the same as men, only of course flimsier, more poorly designed, and incapable of writing in the snow. As a result, people used the same words to describe male and female organs; the ovaries were considered the female testicles, the vagina a penis, and so on. So how did anyone talk about menstruation, you might wonder? The answer: rarely, and in the vaguest possible terms.
Even today, advertisers and manufacturers tiptoe around the actual words, which are presumably too scary and horrible for our ladylike ears. Commercial menstrual products are commonly referred to as feminine “protection”; but this begs the question, protection against what? Against our big, mean uteruses and those psychokiller ovaries? Not to put too fine a point on it, but would you ever call a tissue “nose protection”?
Even the expression “ feminine hygiene” implies that menstruation is fundamentally dirty, techy, bad, ad does the expression “sanitary pad.” Depending on your taste, menstrual flow may not be the most aesthetically bewitching substance you’ll hold in your hand, but it’s certainly not inherently unsanitary, either. Yet advertising, by continuing to refer to menstruation in such unrelentingly negative terms, reinforces the same message, over and over: that our monthly flow is a disgusting problem, a hygienic Three Mile Island, something so scary and awful that it definitely needs a solution. And don’t worry, little lad: like a fortune 500 knight in shining armor, guess who’s volunteering to come rescue us from all that blood, that mess, our bodies?
- Not to sound paranoid or anything, but we can’t help but note that very few, if any, science foundations, universities, and places of higher learning frankly give a rat’s ass about healthy menstruation. The U.S. government itself created the National Institutes of Health’s Office of Women’s Health in 1990, and for a while, their single most burning question about menstruation was “Does it make women unfit for combat?”
- It’s downright bizarre that what’s called “discussion” about this most complex yet universal of processes has become one almost completely moderated by business and medicine. We’ve been taught our talking points by people who are frankly far more concerned with their bottom line than with any of those pesky questions we might have.
Hey, look-we’re not saying that the pharmaceutical companies and femcare manufacturers are evil per se, or that their decisions are necessarily driven by some deep-seated misogyny or sexism. But business is business, and as of 2001, the so-called feminine hygiene business was a cool $2 billion industry-and that’s just for the products themselves, not including related drugs or advertising.
Whether we’re aware of it or not, our relationship to menstruation is one that has been brokered not in our own homes, but at the supermarket, the pharmacy, and the doctor’s office. The conversation about menstruation (if you can call it that) is strictly one-sided and has been smoothly co-opted by big business, with a little help from religion, history, and society…and boy oh boy, do they have a lot to say.
- First, let’s keep in mind that commercially produced femcare-pads, belts, tampons-has been around for only a hundred years or so. Since their launch, there have been noticeable improvements that we, for the most part, applaud madly. Who doesn’t prefer that today’s superabsorbent pads are wafer-thin, meaning that one no longer had to waddle around with the Manhattan Yellow Pages stuffed between her legs? Or that there’s such a variety of tampon styles sizes, and applicators, even a first-timer twelve-year old can generally find something she can insert without the need for heavy sedatives?
And yet, even the most sanguine of businessmen realized long ago that there’s ultimately a limit to what kinds of products can actually be made and sold to women when it comes to sopping up a few spoonfuls of blood every month. How many improvements can one make to a pad, anyway? If there’s anything you can figure out about making a pad, say, even more absorbent, with even better wings, or perhaps an even prettier tampon with a glideier applicator, you can rest assured there are many teams of scientists feverishly working on it this very second. Yet dealing with the actual effluent of menstruation is just the tip of the revenue iceberg. Sure, there’s money to be made from pads and tampons; but there’s potentially huge money, monster dollars, to be harvested from tinkering with the actual process itself-something the medical community and pharmaceutical giants figured out years ago.