The WaPo has a popular Health article today about the increasing practice of women skipping their periods entirely. (Period: Full stop?) I’ve seen the issue come up a few times in the last year or so. While it may seem “unnatural” or even unhealthy, I thought I’d point out something that the WaPo article didn’t mention.
Throughout history, women have traditionally been married at a young age, often having children much younger than they do in this day and age. Life expectancies were shorter, and when women were being married at 15 and 16, and having children right away, and then dying arounf 30, this meant that they wouldn’t be menstruating as much as they are today. Assuming menopause comes at 50 today, and a girl began menstruating at age 13 (not at all unheard of today), and she has two children (as opposed to 8 or 9), she menstruates 463 times during her life:
(50-13) x (52/4) - (2x9) = 463
Contrast this with a typical medieval scenario: a woman begins menstruation at 15, has 8 children (child mortality was around 30%), and death coming at age 30 (the average life expectancy during the this period):
(30-15) x (52/4) - (8x9) = 123
That’s 340 fewer menstrual cycles. It is my opinion that the human body wasn’t meant to bleed that often, so menstruating once every three months doesn’t seem like it would be that detrimental to a woman’s health, save for the hormones one is ingesting. Like the article says, though, time will have to be the judge of that, but women are certainly having far more periods than they have at any other point in history.
[tags]Medicine, pharmacy, menstruation, monthly period, gynecology, oral contraception, birth control, history[/tags]