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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 144 pages of information about The Four Epochs of Woman's Life; a study in hygiene.

Another question which is still sub judice is the necessity for and the frequency with which vaginal douches should be taken; all physicians are agreed that a vaginal douche taken immediately after the menstrual period is beneficial, as it removes all the debris of the flow, which is sometimes very irritating.

Exercise.—­ A moderate amount of exercise should be taken every day; this is needed now quite as much as at any other time, and only good can result from it.  And no harm comes of a woman going out in the rain or in cold weather; as has been shown, the menstrual process is going on for a large part of the time, and the flow is only the external appearance, but during the time of the flow the woman must be unusually careful not to get her feet wet or to sit down with damp clothing on.  Violent exercise of all kinds is to be prohibited at this time, as dancing, rides on the bicycle, gymnastics, and walks of over three miles.  The reason for this is very obvious; the uterus has now reached the height of its turgescence, and is heavier than at any other time, hence the danger that displacements or a very profuse flow would be caused by any kind of violent exercise.

Treatment.—­ If the woman has been so unfortunate as to get caught out in a heavy rain so that her clothes have been wet through, or if in the cold weather she should come into the house thoroughly chilled, the best thing to do is to take off her wet things as quickly as possible, be well rubbed down with hot, rough towels, drink a cup of hot tea, go to bed at once and place a hot-water bag over the abdomen.  She should remain in bed until the next morning, to the end that the circulation may regain its equilibrium as quickly as possible by the immediate relief of the pelvic congestion.  If this exposure should have caused the sudden cessation of the flow, a hot mustard foot-bath should be taken.  One tablespoonful of mustard is used to a gallon of water as hot as can be borne; the pail should be made as full as can be without running over, and a blanket wrapped around the pail and woman, so as to cause a profuse perspiration; this should be kept up for ten minutes; if the water cools off, hot water may be added.

CHAPTER V.

THE ANOMALIES OF MENSTRUATION.

Menorrhagia and Metrorrhagia; Dysmenorrhea; Amenorrhea; Leuchorrhea;
Pruritus Vulvae.

“Defer not till to-morrow to be wise,
To-morrow’s sun on thee may never rise.”

—­Congreve

Menorrhagia and Metrorrhagia.—­ By menorrhagia is meant an excessive or too profuse menstrual flow; by metrorrhagia, a flow of blood between the menstrual periods.  Neither one constitutes a disease by itself, but is a symptom of some pathologic condition.

It has already been stated that the excretory organs, by constantly eliminating from the system the worn-out material, keep the machine healthy and in good working order.  Kept within natural limits, this elimination is the source of strength and health; beyond these limits, the menstrual flow becomes an actual hemorrhage that, by draining away the life, becomes the source of weakness and disease.

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