Is Menstruation Obsolete?

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Oxford University Press, Oct 14, 1999 - Health & Fitness - 208 pages
Is Menstruation Obsolete? argues that regular monthly bleeding is not the "natural" state of women, and that it actually places them at risk of several medical conditions of varying severity. The authors maintain that while menstruation may be culturally significant, it is not medically meaningful. Moreover, they propose that suppressing menstruation has remarkable health advantages. Because of cultural changes, shorter durations of breast feeding, and birth control, the reproductive patterns of modern women no longer resemble that of their Stone age ancestors. Women have moved from the age of incessant reproduction to the age of incessant menstruation. Consequently, they often suffer from clinical disorders related to menstruation: anemia, endometriosis, and PMS, just to name a few. The authors encourage readers to recognize what has gone previously unnoticed that this monthly discomfort is simply not obligatory. They present compelling evidence that the suppression of menstruation is a viable option for women today, and that it can be easily attained through the use of birth control pills. In fact, they reveal that contraceptive manufacturers, knowing that many women equate menstruation with femininity and that without monthly bleeding would fear that they were pregnant, engineered pill dosage regimens to ensure the continuation of their cycles. Indeed, throughout history societies have assigned menstruation powerful meaning, and Is Menstruation Obsolete? presents a fascinating history of how menstruation inspired doctors to try therapeutic bleeding for a variety of ailments, and how this therapy remained dominant in Western medicine until the early 20th century. Is Menstruation Obsolete? offers women a fresh view of menstruation, providing them with the information they need to make progressive choices about their health. This is a message whose time has come.


1 Menstruation in Western Civilization
The Basis of Therapeutic Bloodletting
3 Why Women Menstruate
4 Premenstrual Syndrome
5 Menstrual CycleRelated Disorders
6 Natural Suppression of Menstruation
7 Medical Suppression of Menstruation
8 In Support of Menstruation
9 Absence of Menstruation and Disease
10 Conclusion
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Page 172 - Schmidt PJ. Nieman LK. Danaceau MA. et al. Differential behavioral effects of gonadal steroids in women with and in those without premenstrual syndrome.
Page xiv - R. (1983). Early menarche, a risk factor for breast cancer, indicates early onset of ovulatory cycles.
Page 177 - Casper RF, Hearn MT. The effect of hysterectomy and bilateral oophorectomy in women with severe premenstrual syndrome. Am] Obstet Gynecol.

About the author (1999)

A recognized expert in uterine and Fallopian tube physiology and pharmacology, Dr. Elsimar M. Coutinho is a pioneer in the development of contraceptive methods. Full Professor of Gynecology, Obstetrics and Human Reproduction at Federal University of Bahia School of Medicine, Brazil, he is the author of three books on sexuality and conception control and has published over 300 scientific articles in medical journals. He has been a key figure in Brazil and Latin America in promoting family planning, reproductive health, and sex education. He lives in Bahia, Brazil. Sheldon J. Segal, Ph.D., is Distinguished Scientist at the Population Council, New York, and is former Director for Population Sciences at The Rockefeller Foundation. He is a biomedical scientist who has authored over 350 publications in the fields of embryology, endocrinology, contraceptive development,and family planning. A founding director of the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy, he continues to serve as a Trustee. He lives in Hartsdale, New York.

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