I thought I'd skip the hysteria discussion for a while and move to Dr. West's views on "Incidents Attending Change of Life" Something for you young 'uns to look forward to. So put your teeth back in, tie up that babushka and let's go.
He starts off on a very up beat note:
"Most women at the change of life are often in feeble health. They are not infrequently stout (so what!) with flabby muscles (what's it to you). There is incapacity for exertion with palpitation on effort. The nervous system is often debilitated, self control is impaired (pass me that Snickers bar, please) and the sufferer becomes pettish (what?)fretful or nervous (only if they read this book).
A widow or spinster who hitherto has led a decorous life, suddenly develops strong erratic tendencies....and forms immoral and disreputable ties at the bidding of the recondicence (I haven't a clue either) of the sexual instinct. The annals of asylums, the dates on the tombstones in the church yard tell us of the severe strain put upon the system of the woman during the change of life.
(Women who are not looking for their car keys so they can go jump off a bridge may read on.)
Among the recurrent troubles he lists are: irregularity, flatulence, flux, palpitation, insomnia, alarming stoppage of the heart (that would be pretty disturbing), and (whatever the heck this is) griping.
The misery of womankind is, to a very great extent, the result of the reckless violation of physical law. Those who suffer lived to a very great extent in open rebellion to many, if not all the well established principles of physical life."
But take heart -put those smelling salts away -he does offer encouragement!
" To many who have been suffering invalids for many years and who have been battling with the terrors of nervous irritability or the rackings of disease resulting from physical derangement the lighthouse of restored health may be seen from the mast top (is my ship coming in??) and with these directions for a pilot, and prudence and common sense as a helm, (GET TO THE POINT) they will be able to land their fragile bark in the long-looked for haven, where they may pass the evening of life ( I'm gonna die???) in the enjoyment of almost perfect health. (oh)
No matter what your debility and suffering you may have many years to live in the enjoyment of reasonable health, Your latter days will be crowned with peace and pleasure. " (He obviously hasn't seen what's happened to my 401K during the last month)
That's enough out of him. He offers no explanation for this miraculous cure. The inference I get is he is encouraging the delicate women of money to take to their beds at a young age and stay there. Once the kids are gown, the Mister has learned how to do all of the housework and your trusty lifelong nurse is ready to retire you may jump out of bed and scream "I'm cured, I'm cured! Let's go out to dinner to celebrate - because if I have to cook or do dishes I shall hitherto have a flux and have to take to my bed again."