Menstruation: where physiology, history and inequality meet

Menstruation: where physiology, history and inequality meet

VOLUME 118, ISSUE 2, P260-261


Isobel G. Marshall, Robert J. Norman, M.D.


There is no physiological function quite like menstruation. Every 28 days on average, the uterus dutifully regenerates its internal lining, and in a final act, expresses its frustrations in the dramatic form of a menstrual period. Despite the cycle offering a month of hormonal fluctuations and subsequent symptoms to navigate, it is the menstrual period that receives the utmost attention.

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Go to the profile of Pandiyan  Natarajan
7 months ago

Is menstruation really a physiological function?

I read with considerable interest the Inklings on Menstruation. The authors have rightly pointed out the considerable hardship women face during periods, besides Dysmenorrhea. Menstruation is intertwined with innumerable myths, religious and cultural practices which require untangling and  unraveling before any substantial change could be made in alleviating Period Poverty.

Many Educated people and even gynecologists following Hindu religion wrongly believe that the women is unclean during menstruation and should not visit a Temple. In some temples,  women of menstruating age are not even allowed. All these require careful, culturally sensitive public education before we can expect any substantial change in addressing Period Poverty Problem.

Incidentally, Menstruation is really a Biomarker of failed physiology. It serves the women no useful conceivable function. (1)) Human female is one of the few species of mammal which  menstruate. It is probably a Developmental anomaly. This is, of course,  besides the point raised in the Inklings. 

1) Menstruation : A Sign or Symptom of Physiology or Failed Physiology? –A Hypothesis.

Professor Dr Pandiyan Natarajan,

Chief Consultant in Andrology and Reproductive Sciences,


Chettinad Super Speciality Hospital ( Retired )

Professor Emeritus, The Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University.