The definition of Health, to me, is the well being of one’s own mind, body, and spirit. I approached this definition from a psychological, physical/biological, and religious points of view. As individuals, I believe we tend to depend on these three factors of life when it comes to our health (especially in American Society). If the mind, body, and spirit are not hindered in some way, then we consider ourselves healthy. Also, not having to rely on any medication or healing methods is a sign of being healthy.

The definition of Illness, to me, is any disease or ‘sickness’ that can affect one’s well being. I also defined it as any ailment that can cause breakdown of the body, mind, and spirit. For example, conditions that may cause breakdowns in these areas are the ‘common’ cold (physical), Bipolar Disorder (mind), and spirit possession (spirit). Again, conditions such as these are what American society view as Illnesses. It is important to keep in mind that Health and Illness can be reversed in some cultures and societies. What we (Americans) may view as Health, other societies may view as an Illness and vice versa.

The first of the two conditions I picked is Menstruation. Menstruation can be viewed as healthy or as an illness. I look at it on both spectrums. The healthy spectrum is the natural ‘cleansing’ of the female reproductive system. As we know, Menstruation is supposed to occur every 28 days. However, it varies among females and among societies. If a female have a ‘cycle’ twice a month, does it mean she is ill? Again, it varies among females and societies, and it also depends on the perception of the individual.

Now for the Illness side of the spectrum of Menstruation, females can suffer in many different ways. One way is severe cramping or the tightening of the muscles in the uterine lining. Another is excessive bleeding. This means a female can ‘bleed out’ heavily and cause other illnesses such as Anemia. Physical appearances can also be an illness. Conditions such as bloating, water- weight gain, excessive fluid, and poor diet (during this time of month) are all considered illnesses. Lastly, psychological and emotional illnesses can occur during Menstruation. Illnesses such as depression, anxiety, and mood swings can all play a part in the psychological breakdown of a female’s well being.

My second condition is Poverty. I do not consider poverty healthy at all. First, people who live in poverty cannot afford to visit the doctor. They only go to the Emergency Room or free clinics when the illness allows something extreme to occur. For example, a 52 year old man with a swollen right foot ignores this issue until the foot loses feeling and changes colors. He goes to the doctor to find out he has Type II Diabetes. Secondly, people who live in poverty cannot afford to eat a healthy diet. Instead of buying fruits and vegetables and organic whole foods, they buy the cheapest foods such as processed foods and ‘junk’ food. Lastly, people who live in poverty are most likely living in urban, violent environments. Therefore, their psychological well being is hindered due to their living conditions which can lead to conditions such as Depression, Anxiety, and emotional debilitation.

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  1. whitsel2 says:

    Hi Keiana,

    I agree that menstruation can be viewed as healthy or an illness in the American culture. In most cases, the menstruation cycle assures that a woman’s reproductive organs are functioning properly and she can conceive a child. I would categorize my menstrual cycle as an illness because I experience dysmenorrhea and excessive bleeding for nine days. Eventually, the excessive bleeding caused me to become an anemic.

    In 2006, a study was conducted to study the reproductive health of Indian women in North India. The researchers interviewed 1205 women to learn about their traditional beliefs and perception of menstruation. The researchers discovered that discussions of the female reproduction health are taboo. Menstruation was considered a dirty act; therefore during menstruation a woman is viewed as impure and contaminated. Menstruating women are forbidden to engage in activities that are considered holy or sacred. Indian women are forbidden to cook and attend church, while menstruating. Menstruation places various restrictions on the Indian women daily routines. In contrast, in the United States, menstruation is discussed freely and not considered dirty. Also, menstruation does not place many restrictions on American women. The majority of American women continue to cook, work, and attend church while menstruating.

    AJ Singh .Place of menstruation in the reproductive lives of women of rural North India. Indian J Community Med. (2006): 10-14, accessed July 6, 2013,

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