CESSATION OF MENSTRUATION
The time when the menstrual dis- charge ceases is regulated by its first appearance, commonly con- tinuing for the space of thirty years. Cases are, however, on record, where the catamenial function has regularly continued for a much longer period, the female, for example, begins to menstru- ate about her fifteenth year, but does not cease until the fiftieth, fifty-fifth, and in some very rare instances not until the sixtieth year ; but it is generally found that about the forty-fifth year indi- cations are experienced of the coming event.
In some rare cases the discharge due to cessation of menstruation gradually diminishes, and at length totally disappears without producing any feelings of inconvenience, but this is not common ; there are generally irregularities, the discharge some- times being absent for six or seven weeks, and then appearing either more copiously than natural, or in deficient quantities. Again, you may, on the other hand, have the discharge not only profuse, but frequently repeated, and often sanguineous ; in truth* in almost every case where there is profuse discharge, blood is effused; this, you will recollect, is easily distinguished by its power of coagulation. This period is usually designated by women "the dodging time," an epithet which characterises their condition with tolerable exactness.
There is often during cessation of menstruation a considerable degree of constitutional irritation, with an increased determination of blood to the head, or to some other part of the body. If you are consulted by a female at this period, you will see "the great necessity of directing attention not to the uterus alone, but to the state of the constitution at large. Most women look upon the cessation of menstruation as a critical time, which they call " the turn of life," and although their fears are often ground- less, for it is not reasonable to suppose that the cessation of this function (which is as natural as its commencement) should inva- riably and of necessity give rise to disease, yet it is an unques-
tionable fact, that if there be a morbid disposition in any part of the body, more especially should it exist in the womb or in the breast, there will be a more rapid progress at this, than at any previous period.
The older authors attempted to explain this cessation of menstruation circumstance by the supposition that the " menstruous blood" pos- sessed qualities of a peculiar noxious quality, and, therefore, very naturally considered its retention to be the cause of disease in some part of the body.