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Bryan Applications, M

An excessive loss during menstruation (q.v.) is described as menorrhagia.

The periodical discharges in women referred to as “the monthlies,” the menstrua, the menses, the period, and by other names, are associated with the function of child-bearing. The lining of the womb undergoes changes to fit it for the reception of a fertilized ovum, but when pregnancy does not occur part of the lining is shed and this occasions more or less bleeding.

As contrasted with an ordinary bleeding, however, the blood shed at this time usually shows no tendency to clot.

Menstruation goes on from puberty to the change of life, lasting probably about thirty years. In temperate climates it begins about the age of fourteen as a rule, but may be earlier or later in some girls; in hot countries it usually begins at an earlier age. Generally the time elapsing between the beginning of one, period and that of the next is twenty-eight days, but some women normally menstruate every three weeks, and others at intervals just short of five weeks. If, however, the intervals are longer or shorter than these limits there is something wrong.

The ordinary duration of a period is four or five days, and the amount of discharge usually lost may vary from two to eight ounces. Sometimes it is more, but if very profuse or if it causes exhaustion the possibility of some abnormality must be considered. A period may be preceded and accompanied by a feeling of fullness in the lower part of the abdomen and by a feeling of lassitude. Sometimes there is definite pain, or dysmenorrhea.

Although a woman who is menstruating commonly refers to herself as “unwell,” this is not to be taken literally, as formerly it very often was. Menstruation also involves a psychological process that calls for no great change in the ordinary habits. A moderate amount of open-air exercise is more beneficial than otherwise, but chilling the feet and legs should be avoided as far as possible. Baths, provided they are not cold, may be taken throughout the period.

Vicarious menstruation is the name applied to a discharge of blood from the nose, the stomach or elsewhere which sometimes replaces a discharge from the womb when there is some gross maldevelopment of the genital organs.

Cessation of menstruation, or amenorrhea, is a normal incident in pregnancy and lactation. Otherwise it may be due to a local or a general disorder. See: Amenorrhea.. Dysmenorrhea..

Application and treatment:

See: Amenorrhea.. Dysmenorrhea.. Menses., etc. for more applications.