Vicarious Menstruation, 1851

“Vicarious Menstruation” – was there ever a headline that so should be the title of a Carcass song?

Here’s some Victorian cases of vicarious menstruation – that is, bleeding from other parts of the body instead of, or during, a period. I have heard of women getting nose bleeds just before their period starts so perhaps there’s something in it – the capillaries become more permeable around this time, which could explain it. There were more untreated infections around in the 19th century as well, so possibly weaker immune systems could make this more likely, however bizarre it sounds. All these cases are taken from the Dublin Medical Press.

A woman suffers bleeding on her shins during her period – it sounds like this could be leg ulcers affected by the more permeable capillaries.

Dublin Medical Press, 2nd April, 1851

Dublin Medical Press, 2nd April, 1851

This is an odd one. The patient had never menstruated, but suffered many pains and strangely, discovered small, white, gelatinous balls coming from her bladder, uterus, stomach and rectum. Then “glairy matter” came up from her stomach, she vomited blood infested with roundworms, and also found roundworms in her vagina. Poor cow.
Incidentally, this is the definition of “glairy”: having a slimy viscid consistency suggestive of an egg white, “cough productive of glairy mucoid sputum” —Journal of the American Medical Association. Glairy mucoid sputum – we’re back to Carcass again.

Dublin Medical Press, 4th February 1852

Dublin Medical Press, 4th February 1852

This woman bled from her toes. All very strange….

Dublin Medical Press, 1st October 1856

Dublin Medical Press, 1st October 1856

I can’t say I’ve ever experienced anything like this. Anyone?

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