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the female are more intense than at other times. This fact is
particularly manifest in lower animals. The following remark by Prof.
Dalton is especially significant to those who care to appreciate its
"It is a remarkable fact, in this connection, that the female of these
[domestic] animals will allow the approaches of the male only during
and immediately after the oestrual period [rut]; that is, just when
the egg is recently discharged, and ready for impregnation. At other
times, when sexual intercourse would be necessarily fruitless, the
instinct of the animal leads her to avoid it; and the concourse of the
sexes is accordingly made to correspond in time with the maturity of
the egg and its aptitude for fecundation."
The amount of fluid lost during the menstrual flow varies greatly with
different individuals. It is estimated at from three ounces to half
a pint. In cases of deranged function, it may be much greater than this.
It is not all blood, however, a considerable portion being mucus. It
is rather difficult to understand why the discharge of so considerable
a quantity of blood is required. There is no benefit derived from a
very copious discharge, as some suppose. Facts seem to indicate that
in general those enjoy the best health who lose but small quantities
of blood in this manner.
A Critical Period.--As the first occurrence of menstruation is a very
critical period in the life of a female, and as each recurrence of the
function renders her especially susceptible to morbid influences, and
liable to serious derangements, a few hints respecting the proper care
of an individual at these periods may be acceptable.
Important Hints.--1. Avoid taking cold. To do this, it is necessary
to avoid exposure; not that a person must be constantly confined in
a warm room, for such a course would be the surest way in which to
increase the susceptibility to cold. Nothing will disturb the menstrual
process more quickly than a sudden chilling of the body when in a state
of perspiration, or after confinement in a warm room, by exposure,
without sufficient protection, to cold air. A daily bath and daily
exercise in the open air are the best known means of preventing colds.
2. Intense mental excitement, as well as severe physical labor, is to
be sedulously avoided during this period. At the time of its first
occurrence, special care should be observed in this direction. Intense
study, a fit of anger, sudden grief, or even great merriment, will
sometimes arrest the process prematurely. The feeling of _malaise_
which usually accompanies the discharge is by nature intended as a
warning that rest and quiet are required; and the hint should be
followed. Every endeavor should be made to keep the individual
comfortable, calm, and cheerful. Feelings of apprehension arising from
a continual watching of symptoms are very depressing, and should be
avoided by occupying the mind in some agreeable manner not demanding
severe effort, either mental or physical.
There is no doubt that many young women have permanently injured their
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