Let’s face it. “Menstruation” as it’s technically known has never been especially pleasant to experience, or even talk about.
I mean, there’s more to a period than just being uncomfortable — a woman’s body has decided that cramps, bloating and hormonal swings are the perfect way to let her know that everything’s OK. Makes sense, right? The severity of these side effects can very greatly from woman to woman, but there is an “opt-out” button to stop the suffering completely.
Which made me wonder: What did ladies do back in the day when their “Aunt Flow” came to visit? They obviously couldn’t just pop over to their corner drug store for some sanitary napkins or tampons to keep themselves tidy. It’s shocking how little people from the past really knew about the female body.
This got me thinking: what did women do to take care of this problem in ancient times? They couldn’t send their husbands to Wal-Mart for a box of pads or put a quarter into one of those bathroom vending machines.
Strange or not I did a little research to see how the women of the past took care of business.
And don’t forget to SHARE these strange period practices with your friends!
1. The Tampon of Hippocrates
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.
Sure he was of the greatest minds of his time, but the man invented a wooden tampon. Seriously, he slapped some lint on the end of a wooden rod and called it good…
Fingers crossed that no one got splinters!
2. The Wooly Witches of Ancient Rome
It’s common sense that women on their periods need to be given some space, but in ancient Rome Pliny the Elder taught that menstruating women had power to make dogs go crazy, kill crops and even CONTROL THE FREAKING WEATHER. I’d be mad too if the period treatment of the day was scratchy, itchy wool.
3. Medieval Toad Talismans
Thank God for progress. In the Middle Ages, women were told that they could ease their flow by wearing the ashes of a dead frog in a pouch hung between their legs…Uh huh…
Now in addition to feeling crappy from the period, she would also smell like dead frog. Don’t worry! Instead of wearing deodorant, many women just carried flowers around all the time. No joke.
4. Explain those Cramps Away!
Oh, so you’re having bad cramps? You need to see a psychiatrist!
Sigmund Freud asserted that the side effects of menstruation stemmed from “penis envy.”
5. West African Love Spells
Some ancient women in West Africa actually embraced their periods and even COLLECTED THEIR OWN MENSTRUATION.
Have a special someone you’d love to have fall for you? Don’t try talking to them. That’s weird. Instead, you should boil all that blood you collected and put it in their tea. That should do the trick!
6. Ancient Egyptians Invented Pads
Turns out that papyrus was just as good for soaking up blood as it was good for writing on. Congrats Egypt, you were 5,000 years ahead of your time.
7. Grab A Rag
Up until the 20 century, women just didn’t prioritize their periods like they do today. Many women just grabbed whatever they had available to stop the flow.
8. Free Falling Pioneer Women
Pioneer women were too busy being badasses to care about their periods. While not much information on the topic available, historians believe that many of these women simply allowed their blood to soak through their clothes.
Some might have worn black underwear, but that didn’t stop the flow from completely soaking through their clothes.
9. Spermicide Sponges
Used mostly for contraception, but hey, sponges are great for soaking up lots of different liquids!
10. The Tampon Panty
These period pioneers were headed in the right direction when they created underwear with an extra absorbent crotch.
11. Menstruation Belts
Somehow these terrifying contraptions were widely used from the late 1890s all the way through the 1960s. It’s a belt with a tampon inside. Could they seriously not find a better way?
Do you have any crazy stories about how women used to deal with their periods back in the day? Let us know below and don’t forget to SHARE!