Based on my personal understandings, I define health as a point at which all biological aspects of the body, such as the internal organs, muscles, blood and brain, are functioning properly. With this understanding I can conclude that illness is defined as having diseases or medical conditions that hinders the body from performing basic tasks that necessitates proper functionality. These tasks include but are not limited to walking, breathing, digestion, cognitive recognition and excretion.

The definitions I utilized to define the terms health and disease were influenced by two main factors, family and personal experiences. Being a person that was born and raised for part of her life in the south, the members within my family and community refers to anyone that suffers from any sort of internal physical ailment as a person that is ill. Whether the ailment is a stomach or indigestion, the physical discomfort is categorized as an illness. Personal life experiences have also aided in my personal understanding of health and illness. Throughout my life I have suffered from a variety of illnesses. Issues such as chronic bronchitis, stomach ulcers, severe respiratory inflammation and infections and pneumonia are a few of the health complications that I have experienced. The physical responses my body made to the illness has greatly influenced how I perceive health. Normal human functions were often hindered giving rise to the need of assistance and medical attention.

In the illness activity, there were three conditions that I felt were not illnesses. The first condition was menstruation. I felt this condition was not an illness because being a woman that has had personal experience with this I do not feel that my basic bodily functions are hindered. Eating, breathing and walking are all functions that I can accomplish without any medical assistance. The second condition was erectile dysfunction. Though one part of the male anatomy does not function fully, a man is still able to carry out living a normal functioning lifestyle and utilize certain aspects of the organ as intended. The final condition evaluated is infertility. I categorize it within the same confines as erectile dysfunction. The rest of a woman’s internal organs function in their proper manner.

2 thoughts on “Sadness

  1. Menstruation like most things that are even vaguely sexual, carries with it strong opinions in many cultures. Most religions and cultures heavily influenced by it think of it as an illness. The Bible in Levitius 20:18 instructs believers to ostracize menstruating women and any men who associate with them:

    “And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, … both of them
    shall be cut off from among their people.
    (KJV Bible).

    While the bible speaks of menstruation as a sickness and as spiritually impure in many verses; I counted Leviticus 18-30 and Eziekial 18. The Qoran has one instance of it and it is:

    “They will ask you about menstruation. Say, ‘It is harmful, so keep away
    from women during it. Do not approach them until they are purified of
    it, when they are purified you may approach them as Allah has ordained (Qur’an 2:222)

    Some say that “it is harmful” is only in biological terms and not spiritual but like all things it is up to interpretation (Qoranic Path).

    During the time of Christ and well into the 1700s moral character and disease went hand in hand (Allen). Often times people confused normal sexual functions for disease. Ejaculated sperm, until the early 1900s was confused for the exudates experienced by an infection of gonorrhea (Allen). While many in modern western cultures believe that “menstruation is a normal, healthy biological function that results in the elimination and rebuilding of uterine tissue on a regular basis” (Natural News). Many pharmaceutical companies are developing drugs to lessen the affects of it (Natural News).

    Mensturation in Dharmic cultures/religions of the east i.e. Buddishim, Jainisim, and Siskism generally regard mensuration with neutrality with the exception of Japanese Buddisim which does not allow menstruating women into the temple (Dharmacari).

    King James version Bible

    Allen, Peter Lewis;
    The Wages of Sin: Sex and Disease, Past and Present

    Natural News; Menstruation is a Disease (And Other Ridiculous Myths Believed by Mainstream Consumers)

    Qorananic Path; “Glorious Qur’an on Menstruation”

    Dharmacari Jnanavira, “A Mirror for Women? Reflections of the Feminine in Japanese Buddhism”, Western Buddhist Review 4

  2. I also agree that menstruation should not be considered to be an illness, although I did not discuss it in my Activity Post. Historically, menstruation is often viewed either as a nuisance during which the woman involved should rest, with the most common rule being no marital intercourse. Some cultures considered menstruating women to have enhanced magical abilities.
    Scientifically speaking, menstruation only occurs in primates, and not in any of the other mammals which have placental linings. In humans, ~2/3 of the endometrium is reabsorbed, while the rest is lost during menstruation. It has been suggested by Beverly Strassmann that the purpose of building up and breaking down the uterine lining every fertility cycle is that continuously maintaining a uterine lining is not as energy efficient. Strassmann also suggests that the reason why ~1/3 of the endometrium is not reabsorbed is that the species which undergo menstruation require a highly developed endometrium in order to sustain a pregnancy, and that this highly developed endometrium is too thick to be fully absorbed.
    Regarding how different cultures perceive and treat menstruation, I did not find examples of any present day cultures that treat menstruation as a true illness. While cultural explanations for why menstruation occurs vary wildly, few cultures treat menstruation as if it were an illness.
    Strassmann, B. I. (1996). “The evolution of endometrial cycles and menstruation”. The Quarterly review of biology 71 (2): 181–220
    Kathleen O’Grady (2000). Is Menstruation Obsolete?. The Canadian Women’s Health Network.

    Magic in the Roman World: Pagans, Jews, and Christians By Naomi Janowitz

Leave a Reply