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11 Bizarre Ways Women Dealt With Their Periods Throughout History

Although the Tampon is a relatively new invention, women have been having their perios for tens of thousands of years.  Today, girls and women complain about the burden of dealing with that monthly visitor.  Show me someone who doesn’t think it’s that tough and I’ll show you a man.  But, speaking from a different perspective, women have it much easier today than they did years ago.  Here, you will learn of 11 ways women have dealt with their periods through history, and believe me it’s not a pretty sight.

1. Hippocrates’ Tampon
Wikimedia Commons
The philosopher may have been one of the smartest minds of his time, but I don’t know how much women loved his early idea of a tampon made out of lint fixed to a small piece of wood. They also used this as contraceptive.

1. Hippocrates' Tampon

I just hope there weren’t any issues with splinters.

2. Ancient Roman Wooly Witches
Wikimedia Commons
While Pliny the Elder spread the belief that menstruating women had the power to kill crops, control the weather, and drive dogs mad, the ladies were using itchy wool to absorb their time of the month.

2. Ancient Roman Wooly Witches

3. Medieval Toad Talismans
Flickr / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region
Sounding even spookier, European women suffering from some of the painful side effects of their period were instructed to boil a toad and wear the ashes in a pouch near their nether region to somehow ease their heavy flow.

They also carried bouquets of flowers to mask any unfortunate odor, which I’m sure wasn’t helped by the toads.

3. Medieval Toad Talismans

4. Therapeutic Cramp Relief
Wikimedia Commons
Historical physicians wouldn’t treat women suffering those pesky abdominal pangs with any pain reliever, but instead by recommending them to a psychiatrist to discuss their clear rejection of femininity.

For his part, Sigmund Freud asserted the condition further, saying it stemmed from “penis envy.”

4. Therapeutic Cramp Relief

5. West African Love Spells
Giphy
Some women in West Africa used to embrace their periods and even collect their menstruation.

For those who believed in the folk magic of hoodoo, they recommended boiling the blood shed during menstruation and putting it in your crush’s drink in order to make them fall head over heels for you, although the opposite reaction seems far more likely.

5. West African Love Spells

6. Ancient Egyptian Pads
Wikimedia Commons
They beat us to the punch on disposable sanitary napkins by about 5,000 years when they realized how absorbent papyrus paper was, in addition to being great writing material.

6. Ancient Egyptian Pads

7. Grabbing A Rag
Wikimedia Commons
The phrase “on the rag” might sound uncouth, but it does derive from the real women who would use whatever was handy — regardless of how recently or not it had been washed — to take care of “Aunt Flow.”

They weren’t just being lazy, though. Before the 20th century, women ate less, were pregnant more often, and died much earlier in life, so menstruation was a somewhat rarer occurrence and simply not a priority.

7. Grabbing A Rag

8. Free Flowing Prairie Women
Wikimedia Commons
Research shows that pioneering ladies didn’t bother adding anything extra to their ordinary underwear, and just let it bleed through their clothes.

There are some reports that they would wear black underwear, but that definitely wouldn’t stop it from reaching the rest of their outfit.

8. Free Flowing Prairie Women

9. Spermicide Sponges
Wikimedia Commons
While they were well known as contraceptives used in the past, these springy orbs were also used on a regular basis to soak up menstruation.

9. Spermicide Sponges

10. Tampon Panties
Pinterest / Dolly Sarrio
Tampon technology was still in its early days when these helpful undies hit the shelves with an extra-absorbent crotch to catch whatever the product might let leak.

10. Tampon Panties

11. Menstruation Belts
Wikimedia Commons
These ultra-constrictive and often painful contraptions were all the rage from 1890 all the way until 1970 rolled around with the self-adhesive options women are more familiar with today.

11. Menstruation Belts

H/T Little Things

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