Hot and Bothered: Women, Medicine, and Menopause in Modern by Judith A. Houck

By Judith A. Houck

How did menopause swap from being a typical (and usually welcome) finish to a woman's childbearing years to a deficiency disorder short of scientific and pharmacological intervention? As she lines the medicalization of menopause over the past a hundred years, historian Judith Houck demanding situations a few extensively held assumptions. Physicians not often foisted hormones on reluctant lady sufferers; relatively, physicians themselves have been frequently reluctant to say menopause as a clinical challenge and resisted the frequent use of hormone remedy for what used to be, in any case, an ordinary transition in a woman's lifespan. Houck argues that the scientific and well known understandings of menopause at any given time relied on either pharmacological strategies and cultural principles and anxieties of the instant. As girls behind schedule marriage and motherhood and entered the staff in higher numbers, the scientific knowing, cultural which means, and event of menopause replaced. through studying the background of menopause over the process the 20th century, Houck exhibits how the event and illustration of menopause has been profoundly motivated by way of biomedical advancements and via altering roles for girls and the altering definition of womanhood.

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27 Significantly, however, physicians did not claim that these women fell ill from untreated menopause; rather, they felt these women suffered from the effects of untreated diseases occurring at the time of menopause. Despite physicians’ belief that all women should submit to a medical exam at menopause, doctors frequently complained that menopausal women generally failed to show up. Physicians feared that misplaced female modesty contributed to women’s reluctance to seek medical care. To rectify the situation, physicians often used scare tactics in their popular works to propel women into their doctors’ offices for a complete internal exam.

124 These differences reflect the contrasting social positions between male and female physicians. As women, female physicians confronted argu- 38 “Menopause Is Not a Dangerous Time” ments claiming that their own bodies made them unfit for certain jobs. As women physicians, they saw their position within the medical profession dissolving, both in terms of absolute numbers and in terms of professional opportunities. As aging women, they rejected the notion that their usefulness was behind them.

While they agreed that apprehension of menopause could exacerbate symptoms, male physicians believed that medical advice and reassurance, rather than female control, would ease the difficulties. Indeed, many male physicians maintained that women should not be held accountable for their behaviors because their actions were not within their control. Gynecologist James King, for example, recommended that “man should . . ”124 These differences reflect the contrasting social positions between male and female physicians.

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