How do we know what's wrong with our bodies? We may be aware of symptoms – of pains, twinges, immobility. We can also aware of some of our bodily fluids: our saliva, sweat, urine, menses or semen. Sometimes a fluid which is clearly abnormal emerges from an orifice or a wound. If we seek medical treatment, our blood… Continue reading Humoral medicine: a beginner’s guide
Why did Pythagoras advise against beans at bedtime? and what do dreams mean?
In an infamous and much-repeated comment made in 2012, US Republican Todd Akin claimed that ‘if it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down’. Not surprisingly, he was ridiculed for the lack of knowledge of biology that this comment betrays. It didn’t take long, though, before history started to… Continue reading Women have ways? Seeds, wombs and ‘legitimate rape’
What did menstrual bleeding mean to the people of the past? And what expectations did that raise?
One aspect of the history of menstruation that is fascinating to a modern reader is the phenomenon of ‘vicarious menstruation’, in which a woman bleeds regularly from another orifice, or even from a wound. While modern medicine still recognises conditions in which other mucous membranes bleed along with, or instead of, the womb lining, the cases… Continue reading Vicarious menstruation