Let's delve into the fascinating and sometimes downright strange history of menopause treatments. Menopause, a natural phase in a our lives, has been misunderstood and mismanaged for centuries. Let's take a journey through time to explore some of the most unusual ways menopause was treated.

Ancient Remedies: The Egyptian Approach

In ancient Egypt, women relied on herbal remedies to manage menopause symptoms. One notable treatment involved the use of ground-up ostrich eggs. These eggs were believed to have properties that could help balance hormones and alleviate hot flashes. While we might find this peculiar today, it highlights how ancient cultures turned to nature to address health concerns【7†source】.

Medieval Mysticism: The Power of Amulets

During the medieval period, menopause was often seen through a mystical lens. Women were sometimes given amulets or charms believed to ward off the "evil spirits" causing their symptoms. These amulets could be made from various materials, including animal bones and gemstones, each chosen for its supposed magical properties. The use of such charms underscores the era's reliance on superstition and magic in medical practices【7†source】

The Victorian Era: Ovarian Compresses and Electrical Belts

The Victorian era was a time of medical experimentation, and menopause treatments were no exception. One bizarre method involved the use of ovarian compresses. Women were instructed to apply these compresses, made from various herbal concoctions, directly to their abdomens. The belief was that these compresses could rejuvenate the ovaries and restore hormonal balance【8†source】.

Even more unusual was the use of electrical belts. These devices, which delivered mild electric shocks, were marketed as a cure for various ailments, including menopausal symptoms. The idea was that the electric currents would stimulate the ovaries and alleviate symptoms like hot flashes and mood swings. While this might sound shocking (pun intended), it was a popular treatment among those desperate for relief【9†source

20th Century Innovations: Hormone Therapy and Radium

The 20th century brought about some advancements in understanding menopause, but it also introduced some questionable treatments. In the early 1900s, radium was touted as a miracle cure for various ailments, including menopause. Women were encouraged to drink radium-infused water, believing it would restore vitality and balance hormones. Unfortunately, the dangerous effects of radium were not yet understood, leading to severe health consequences for many【9†source】.

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) also emerged in the 20th century. While HRT is still used today, its early forms were crude and not well-regulated. Initial treatments involved high doses of estrogen without the balancing effects of progesterone, leading to an increased risk of endometrial cancer. Over time, HRT has been refined and vastly improved, but its beginnings were far from perfect【10†source】

The Modern Era: A Holistic Approach

Today, we have a much better understanding of menopause (though we can do so much more!) and how to manage its symptoms (again, so much more work to be done in this space). Treatments are more scientifically based, ranging from hormone therapy to lifestyle changes and natural supplements. However, it’s essential to look back and appreciate the journey that has brought us here along with the many women before us who suffered 😪

Final Thoughts

Menopause has been a misunderstood phase of life for centuries (and some may say, even now!), leading to some truly bizarre treatments. From ancient herbal remedies and mystical amulets to Victorian electrical belts and radium water, the history of menopause treatments is as varied as it is fascinating. 

If you have any interesting stories or knowledge about historical menopause treatments, feel free to share them in the comments below. Until next time, stay curious and take care!

- [Dr. Sara Gottfried MD](https://www.saragottfriedmd.com)
- [Sanford Health News](https://news.sanfordhealth.org)
- [Mid-Atlantic Women's Care](https://www.midatlanticwomenscare.com)
June 13, 2024 — MICHELLE SHEARER

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