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probable that such would be the case were it not for the fact that some
ancient superstitions still exert their power over the mind of many
women, in regard to the use of water during the menstrual period. While
it is true that cold baths, or cold-water bathing, are not advisable for
the average woman during the menstrual period (although some especially
robust women bathe and swim as usual during this period), this
prohibition does not apply to the use of WARM water during the period.
Lukewarm baths are permissible at this time; and the woman should wash
the external genital parts with warm water, with soap if desired, every
morning and evening of the period. A vaginal douche of lukewarm water is
an excellent adjunct to the bathing of the parts.
It is astonishing to meet with the superstitious prejudice existing in
the minds of some women concerning the use of the vaginal douche; these
good creatures seem to think that it is either unnatural and unhealthy,
or else is something "not respectable," and fit only for the use of
immoral women. These women should get in touch with modern hygienic
methods, and learn to use the douche at least during their menstrual
periods. At this time, if the plain rules of cleanliness are not
observed, there often occurs a decomposition of the blood which has
gathered in or about the genitals, and an offensive odor is manifested.
Some women, while feeling distressed about this odor, are afraid to use
lukewarm water in washing themselves, owing to some old unexplored
superstition handed down from the great-grandmother's time.
The napkins should be changed at least every morning and evening.
Unclean napkins may lead to infection, and it is probable that many
cases of leucorrhea have their origin in lack of cleanliness concerning
the napkins, cloths, or rags, used during menstruation. It may seem
almost incredible to the average woman reader, but physicians know of
cases (usually among the poorer and more ignorant foreign classes) in
which the girl is instructed by her mother, grandmother, or aunts, that
she must wear the original cloth or rag during the entire period, as she
will "catch cold" by a change to a clean, fresh cloth while the flow
continued. Imagine the result of such a practice! This last is an
extreme instance, of course, but it will serve to show the absurd and
harmful notions prevalent concerning this important natural function,
and its incidents.
LEUCORRHEA. A very common disorder among women is that known as
Leucorrhea, or "the whites." It consists of a discharge from the Vagina,
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