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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Female Hysteria


Do you suffer from cramping, irritability, change in mood or appetite? Do you cause disagreements in your home with bouts of unladylike complaint?
You may suffer from Female Hysteria. Fear not, centuries of the greatest medical minds have been to work finding a solution to this problem.

This condition has been reported by Hippocrates, while the ancient Egyptians detailed the ailment on ancient payri. Plato had a theory about the wandering womb. A dangerous condition when the uterus wanders the body and interferes with the heart. Jeopardizing the very life of the lady in question. It was clear, a cure must be found!

Galen, a second century physician, noted the condition in sexually repressed women. it seemed to affect virgins, nuns, and widows frequently. He also noted a few married women suffered as well. Sexual activity was the recommended treatment.

In 1859 it was estimated a quarter of all women suffered from hysteria as was reported in a 75 page document of the time. By 1860 water treatments were widely used. The lady simply sat in a chair while given a pelvic massage with a steady flow of water. The treatment was successful when she reached a state of hysterical paroxysm.

The prescription for said ailment was increase sexual activity for the married, marriage for the unwed. As a last resort, a vaginal or pelvic massage could be provided by a skilled medical provider.

The Victorians took this condition very seriously. By 1870 a clockword vibrator was a tool used by doctors everywhere. In 1910, an advertisement assured "vibration is life". The vibrator became a vital tool to maintain a woman's health, and now, it was available for home use!
Sears catalogue advertised a vibrator and accessories in 1918. It was billed as a "very useful and satisfactory home device."

Thank Heaven, healthcare was finally in good hands!
Today the vibrator is a multi million dollar industry, so successful is this treatment that the syndrome is no longer included in medical texts.
That's alot of happy women.


Emma Lai said...


Thanks for the stimulating and uplifting article!


Mary Ricksen said...

This one surprised me. Now I know how to get rid of my hysteria. Very cool!

Jen Childers said...

My pleasure!

Let the treatments begin!