I defined health as the biological, physical, and psychological state of a person. I defined illness as any condition or disease that affects the biological, physical, or psychological wellness of a person. I think these definitions come from my belief that the health of an individual should be viewed from a holistic approach rather than just strictly the biological state of a person. I have come to lean towards this approach towards health because I have been gearing my studies towards getting into an osteopathic school of medicine, and so the courses and the experiences I have had have taught me the importance of looking at the individuals health as a composition of these different aspects of their wellbeing rather than just whether or not they are exhibiting a set of symptoms.

    I pretty much viewed all of these conditions as illnesses based on my definition because all of these conditions affected either one or all of the different states of an individual’s well being whether it was psychological, physical, or biological. The one condition I had the hardest time categorizing as an illness or not was menstruation. I ended up categorizing it as an illness because although it only affects an individually mildly and temporarily it still does have an effect on an individual’s physical, biological, and psychological state of well being.

      I categorized anxiety as an illness because it definitely affects the physical and psychological state of an individual. For example, a person with anxiety may physically feel like their life is endangered most of the day. Due to this others may judge this person, and this individual will begin to question whether or not they are sane which will affect their psychological well being. I categorized ADHD as an illness because it definitely effects the physical, and psychological state of a person. For example, a person with ADHD physically has a hard time focusing on a given activity and because of this may view themselves in a negative light. I categorized cancer as an illness because this will affect this individual’s physical, biological, and psychological well being. For example, a person diagnosed with cancer will have to undergo a certain schedule of treatments that will most likely prevent them from doing some things that they had previously planned on doing, and as a result they may view themselves differently ultimately affecting both their physical and psychological well being.

2 thoughts on “MENSTRUATION

  1. I believe that anxiety is an illness because it causes discomfort to the patients. I am from Egypt, and most people would consider it a shame to tell someone that they have anxiety or that they are going to see a psychiatrist. One of the reasons most people do not feel safe to tell others about such conditions is that from generation to generation families continue to hide such issues from their loved ones; another reason is also because of the lack of medical awareness and education in schools and colleges; the third reason is that such illness not frequent among patients.

    I believe that ADHA is a disease; because it could be managed but it is easy for the patient to retain back their symptoms. I researched for treatments provided by other countries, and I was surprised that Brazil does not prescribe medication to their ADHA patients. As stated by Heidi Aase, “In Brazil the dominant approach is psychoanalytical and Brazilians tend to disregard biological mechanisms”.

    I also believe that cancer is a disease, because it could be managed and in most cases it can’t be cured. In Mexico they offer retreats for their cancer patients. They also provide alternative treatments such as Laetrile, Issels treatment, nutrition therapy, and oxygen therapy.




  2. Despite being a universal phenomenon that bypasses cultural lines, the perception of menstruation is culturally situated and embedded within ideology about gender, life cycle, and bodily functioning. For example, in 1970 Skultans found two divergent opinions held by women of a mining community of South Wales. The first group saw menstruation as detrimental to health and menstrual blood as ‘life’s blood’ to be retained; thus, periods were seen as ‘a nuisance’ and amenorrhea and menopause were looked upon favorably since cessation of menstruation occurs. In contrast, the other group subscribed to a plumbing or balance model of the body, such that the uninterrupted flow of menstrual blood was ‘good clearance’ and menorrhagia was not cause for concern since they sought maximal evacuation of ‘excess’ or ‘bad blood’. In a sense, this group saw menstrual blood as representative of impurity or toxin necessitating purgative measures to restore equilibrium. Along similar lines, in some African cultures, women are relegated to ‘menstrual huts’ because of taboos surrounding menstruation, where menstruating women are seen as harboring a ‘contagious pollution’ (Helman 2007). For instance, in Ngubane’s 1977 research of South African Zulu, he found the belief that masculinity and male fertility was weakened by menstrual blood. In this society, menstruating women are prohibited from sex and contact with the infirm or their medicines. Similarly, in 1992 Furth and Shu-Yueh found that poisonous attributes are ascribed to menstrual blood in Taiwan, where menstruation is culturally constructed to be an amplified state of susceptibility. As such, cultural precautions to preclude infection include sexual abstinence, as well as “herbal medicines, keeping warm, not washing one’s hair, and avoiding baths, heavy exercise, iced or raw foods” (Helman 2007). Each of these cultural definitions implies elements of illness, such as deviation from normal functioning, a state of vulnerability, and contamination.


    Furth, C., & Shu-yueh, Ch’en. (1992). Chinese Medicine and Anthropology of Menstruation in Contemporary Taiwan. Medical Anthropology Quarterly, 6(1), 27-48.

    Helman, Cecil G. (2007). Culture, Health, and Illness (5th ed.). UK: Hodder Arnold.

    Ngubane, H. (1977). Body and mind in Zulu medicine: an ethnography of health and disease in Nyuswa-Zulu thought and practice. xvi-184. London-New York: Academic Press.

    Skultans, Vieda. (1970). The Symbolic Significance of Menstruation and the Menopause. Man, 5(4), 639-651.

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