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Books, Journals, New Media
January 16, 2002

MenstruationRegulating Menstruation: Beliefs, Practices, Interpretations

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorDavid H.MorseMS, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


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JAMA. 2002;287(3):383-384. doi:10.1001/jama.287.3.383-JBK0116-4-1

Menstruation is almost universally considered to be a symbol of women's health and fertility. This potent symbolism means that "menstrual regulation" is often the source of tension between a woman and others in her family or culture. Control of women's fertility has generally been assumed by religious leaders, constrained by social mores, and enacted through legal mandate. Because physicians in Western nations viewed "suppressed menses" as the cause of medical disease prior to the 20th century, women's menstrual cycles and fertility have also come under the purview and control of medical practitioners.

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