This section is from the "Nature Cure: Philosophy and Practice Based on the Unity of Disease and Cure" book, by Henry Lindlahr.
Under our artificial methods of living, the climacteric or change of life, has become the bugbear of womanhood. It seems to be universally assumed that this period in a woman's life must be fraught with manifold sufferings and dangers. It is taken as a matter of course that during these changes in her organism a woman is assailed by the most serious physical, mental, and psychic ailments which may endanger her sanity and often her life.
Like rheumatism, neurasthenia, neuralgia and hundreds of other medical terms, "change of life" is a convenient phrase to cover the doctor's ignorance. No matter what ailments befall a woman during the years from forty to fifty, may the causes be ever so obscure, the diagnosis is easy. "You are in the climacteric, you are suffering from the change of life," says the doctor, and the patient is satisfied and resigns herself to the inevitable.
Frequently women come to us for consultation, and after reciting a long string of troubles they conclude with the remark: "Of course, doctor, I'm in the change, and I know that lots of these things are natural at my time of life."
Is it true that all this suffering is natural and inevitable?Among the primitive races of the earth suffering incident to the change of life is practically unknown. The same is true in a lesser degree of the country population of Europe. The causes of it must, therefore, be sought in the artificial modes of living peculiar to our hypercivilization and in the unnatural methods of treating disease as commonly practiced.
Which are the specific causes of the profound disturbances so often accompanying the organic changes of the climacteric?
Aside from their other physiological functions, the menses are for the woman a monthly cleansing crisis through which Nature eliminates from her system considerable amounts of waste and morbid matter which, under a natural regime of life, would be discharged by means of the organs of depuration, that is, the lungs, skin, kidneys and bowels.
The more natural the life and the more normal, as the result of this, the woman's physical condition, the shorter and less annoying and painful, within certain limits, will be the menstrual periods.
Through unnatural habits of eating, drinking, dressing, breathing and through equally unnatural methods of medical treatment, the kidneys, skin and bowels have become inactive, benumbed or paralyzed. As long as the vicarious monthly purification by means of the menses continues, the evil results of the torpid condition of the regular organs of depuration do not become so apparent. The organism has learned to adapt itself to this mode of elimination.
But when, on account of the organic changes of the climacteric, menstruation ceases, then the systemic poisons, which formerly were eliminated by means of this monthly purification, accumulate in the system and become the source of all manner of trouble. All tendencies to physical, mental or psychic disease are greatly intensified. The poisonous taints circulating in the blood overstimulate or else depress and paralyze the brain and the nervous system. As a consequence, mental and psychic disorders are of common occurrence; the more so because the waning of the sex functions is accompanied by a tendency to negativity and hypersensitiveness.