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Description - Is Menstruation Obsolete? by Elsimar M. Coutinho

Is Menstruation Obsolete? argues that regular monthly bleeding is not the "natural" state of women, and that it actually places them at risk of several medical conditions of varying severity. The authors maintain that while menstruation may be culturally significant, it is not medically meaningful. Moreover, they propose that suppressing menstruation has remarkable health advantages. Because of cultural changes, shorter durations of breast feeding, and birth control, the reproductive patterns of modern women no longer resemble that of their Stone age ancestors. Women have moved from the age of incessant reproduction to the age of incessant menstruation. Consequently, they often suffer from clinical disorders related to menstruation: anemia, endometriosis, and PMS, just to name a few. The authors encourage readers to recognize what has gone previously unnoticed that this monthly discomfort is simply not obligatory. They present compelling evidence that the suppression of menstruation is a viable option for women today, and that it can be easily attained through the use of birth control pills. In fact, they reveal that contraceptive manufacturers, knowing that many women equate menstruation with femininity and that without monthly bleeding would fear that they were pregnant, engineered pill dosage regimens to ensure the continuation of their cycles. Indeed, throughout history societies have assigned menstruation powerful meaning, and Is Menstruation Obsolete? presents a fascinating history of how menstruation inspired doctors to try therapeutic bleeding for a variety of ailments, and how this therapy remained dominant in Western medicine until the early 20th century. Is Menstruation Obsolete? offers women a fresh view of menstruation, providing them with the information they need to make progressive choices about their health. This is a message whose time has come.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780195130218
ISBN-10: 0195130219
Format: Hardback
(217mm x 146mm x 21mm)
Pages: 208
Imprint: Oxford University Press Inc
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Publish Date: 6-Jan-2000
Country of Publication: United States

Book Reviews - Is Menstruation Obsolete? by Elsimar M. Coutinho

US Kirkus Review » Women have evolved past the need for menstruation, goes this questionable argument, and now should be relieved of the problem of an unnecessary monthly loss of blood. Coutinho (Gynecology, Obstetrics and Human Reproduction/Federal University of Bahia School of Medicine in Brazil) first advanced this startling opinion in a 1996 Portuguese edition of this work. Here he teams up with Segal (Distinguished Scientist at the Population Council in New York) to make the case that "recurrent menstruation is unnecessary and can be harmful to women. It is a needless loss of blood." Biologically, the authors contend, women were designed to live shorter lives and to spend most of their reproductive lives pregnant or lactating, and so not ovulating. Longer human life spans and many fewer children mean more menstrual cycles, more cycle-related illnesses, an increased risk of such dangerous diseases as ovarian and endometrial cancers, and a serious worldwide problem of female anemia. "The attitude that menstruation is a 'natural event' and therefore beneficial to women has no basis in scientific fact," conclude Coutinho and Segal, who therefore advise using long-acting contraceptives or continuously using oral contraceptives (with no monthly break to allow pointless bleeding) to achieve "freedom from menstruation." "Under proper medical supervision," they further suggest, "it can also be attained through natural means such as a conscientious regimen of rigorous exercise." It's difficult to imagine a world in which women would have the time for an exercise regimen of the level required to stop menstruation (literally hours each day), more difficult still to imagine this entire argument holding much appeal or even interest for readers of either sex. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Elsimar M. Coutinho

A recognized expert in uterine and Fallopian tube physiology and pharmacology, Elsimar Coutinho is a pioneer in the development of contraceptive methods. He is the author of three books on sexuality and conception control and has published over 300 scientific articles in medical journals. He has been a key figure in Brazil and Latin America in promoting family planning, reproductive health, and sex education. Sheldon Segal is the former Director for Population Sciences at The Rockefeller Foundation. He is a biomedical scientist who has authored over 350 publications in the fields of embryology, endocrinology, contraceptive development,and family planning. A founding director of the Center for Reproductive Law and Policy, he continues to serve as a Trustee.