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Cessation of the Periodical Discharge in the
decline of life, and the disorders arifing from that critical change of conftitution.
S long as the prime of life continues, A
with that extraordinary faculty of preparing redundant blood for the service of the child, fo long its circulating force will be more than equal to the resistance of the uterine vessels, and the periodical discharge will continue; but when they become more firm and strong, from the effect of age, it will then totally cease.
At this time, the female constitution is in a state, the very reverse of what happened at maturity, when the discharge first appeared. The circulating force of the blood and resifting power of its vessels, may be considered as an unequal balance to each other, at different periods of life, producing those two natural changes, which bring on the menses at maturity, and carry them off in advanced age, as the one
or other alternately prevail.
The mass of blood being the source from which the periodical discharge is derived, from that failure of appetite and digestion attending advanced age, it will then gradually become less copious ; and consequently its monthly returns will be more irregular.
Thus the tide of nature being turned, and as it were on the ebb, this long accustomed evacuation will at last entirely cease, and with it the faculty of having children. Hence, from a dissipation of blood and juices, together with the consequent emptiness, and rigidity of the vessels, they will gradually shrink up and contract ; so that instead of that wonted freshness and smoothness of the skin when replete with moisture, age, and wrinkles, those unwelcome intruders, will come at last.
At this critical time of life, the female sex are often visited with various diseases of the chronic kind: I have observed, more women die about this age, than at any other period, during the years of maturity; for, as many constitutional infirmities, or hereditary difciders were relieved by the first approach of the menfes ; so they often return at the cefsation of that discharge. If, for instance, the patient had naturally weak lungs, pains at her stomach, head-ach, or complaints of the breast and bowels, inclining her to confumption; the will probably, now again be attacked with those disorders more violently than ever.
Several, indeed, who have lived temperately, and are naturally healthy, escape without much inconvenience ; and I have known fome delicate women inclined to hysterics, and nervous disorders, who
were relieved by this change, and became more strong and healthy than before ; whilft others on the contrary, of a sanguine conftitution, who used little exercise, and indulged their appetites to excess, often suffered severely at this juncture, particularly when bleeding and evacuations had been neglected.
Some are subject to pain and giddiness of the head, hysteric disorders, colic pains, and female weakness. The bleeding piles, strangury, or intolerable itching at the neck of the bladder and contiguous parts, are often very troublesome to others. The rheumatism and scurvy, pains in the limbs, ulcers in the legs, and eruptions on the skin, at this time frequently appear; also obstruction of the glands, with the most grievous and distresving of all human maladies, cancerous tumors of the breaft or womb.
Women are likewise sometimes affected with low spirits and melancholy, which,
together with the principal disorders already mentioned, will hereafter be particularly considered under their proper titles. It will now be sufficient to point out the methods most successful, at this critical juncture, on a due attention to which, their future health greatly depends.
Perhaps it may appear extraordinary that so many disorders should happen from a change that is usual with every female; but it would be unreasonable to expect that nature should always be obedient to her own laws, when they are so often interrupted and transgressed from the many exceffes introduced by luxury, the irregularity of the paffions, and other accidental inconveniencies.
To fuch causes, may diseases peculiar to the human species, are certainly owing, from which quadrupeds and other animals are free, by living comfortable to their own natural feelings, wninfluenced by era