The female sex, from their physical organization, are subject to a large class of affections peculiar to themselves. When the female is in a state of health and all the organs fulfil their duty correctly, the successive steps of nature are attended with but little if any pain, and but slight functional disturbance. But let the system become deranged, from almost any cause, and a disturbance is very liable to be created in the generative organs. Diseases of these organs, more or less severe, are exceedingly common, and are attended with prostration and sometimes severe pain.

At the age of fourteen or fifteen menstruation should commence, and continue at intervals of about twenty-eight days until the age of forty-five or forty-six, lasting from three to five days at each time, and throwing off from four to six ounces of fluid. During gestation and lactation, these monthly periods, as a general thing, cease. Menstruation commences earlier in warm climates than in cold, and the time may vary even in health, in all climates, and also the intervals between the periods may be a week shorter in some than in others.

In a perfectly healthy female these periods should return with the utmost regularity, and be attended with but little if any pain, but owing to a variety of causes, the menstrual functions are liable to serious derangements. These derangements are often brought on either through the carelessness or ignorance of the patient. In certain circles of society, obeying the arbitary dictates of foolish and absurd fashion, does much to undermine health, and scatter, broad cast, in the young frame, those seeds with soon ripen in a harvest of disease and suffering, terminating often, after years of suffering in death.

We pity the poor, who poorly fed and badly clothed, living in damp and unhealthy air, sink into an early grave. But what shall we say of those who with the luxuries of life at their command, clothe themselves in garments which cannot afford sufficient warmth, walk the streets with shoes impossible to protect their feet from the dampness of the ground, and with the absurd idea of adding beauty to their form and complexion, compress the chest with corsets, and smear their face with cosmetics. The more comfortably a person is clad, and the more closely she obeys the laws of health in every respect, the less liable will she be to this variety of disease. See also the chapter on Hygiene and the causes of disease.