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William Lee Howard.

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saved thousands of suffering girls and women. No, it does not interfere
with your proof of virginity. The snipping is too slight. But supposing
it should? What of it, as long as you know in your own heart that your
are a chaste girl? Do you want to be a miserable wreck of a woman just
on account of an ancient superstition, a foolish and harmful idea of a
lot of old women and medieval theologians?

It is a sad condition――this closed womb――and should not be allowed to
sicken a girl for one hour――IF SHE KNOWS.

Alas! she has not been allowed to know these things――just allowed to
suffer and be blamed.

If you have reached the age of fifteen years or thereabouts and
for a year or so have had all the nervous and mental symptoms of a
period occurring every month and no blood comes, then go at once to a
reputable physician. Be certain you go to one in good standing. Never
go to one who advertises “women’s troubles,” or to one whom you do not
know by the best of repute. Remember that honest and true physicians
do not advertise in the papers. So whenever you see an advertisement
of a doctor who says he can cure you of THAT trouble, keep away from
him. Never mind what the other girls tell you about a doctor or some
medicine that cured them, probably the cause for their trouble was an
entirely different one.

Naturally, your mother is the first one to consult, but I fear that if
you have a mother who has allowed you to suffer month after month, and
constantly said, “Oh, don’t bother about such matters; it will come out
all right when you get older;” such a mother will not exactly be the
one to go to――go to a RELIABLE physician.

Never, under any circumstances, take medicines for this trouble. Let
“regulating pills” alone as you would a rattlesnake. Now that you know
the cause, common-sense will tell you that pills, or any and all things
of the kind, are not only useless, but harmful.

“But, Doctor, how about the girl who has had several good periods and
then stops for several months, or even skips a month and only flows
every other month? There can be no closing of the mouth of the womb
under these circumstances?”

No, in such cases the cause is entirely different, or rather the
causes, for there are many. Most of you can find out for yourself just
what YOUR cause is for being irregular, after I point out to you some
facts.

Many times it is only Nature’s way of preserving your health. For
instance, if you have not sufficient blood in your system to allow
you to lose a certain amount every month, Nature will prevent it going
to the womb to be thrown away. Some girls will have “nose bleeds” once
or twice a month and this takes the place of the monthly flow. This is
not a sign of good health, just a sign that something is wrong――see a
good doctor, he will know and tell you what to do. If you are troubled
with headaches (especially in the back of the head and neck), if your
appetite is poor, if you lost too great an amount during your last
flow, or if your nervousness increases, it means that you are in poor
condition. Perhaps you have danced too much and lost too much sleep,
been unduly excited or had some great grief; any of these things will
affect in some way your menses. Anything, in fact, which lowers the
tone of your general health will affect the menses.

If you are over-fat and growing fatter every day, this unhealthful
condition will stop your menses. I don’t mean a plump, jolly, happy
amount of fat,――this is a good state for a growing girl,――but I mean an
overplus of fat with white cheeks, flabby flesh, swollen ankles and big
stomach. Such a condition indicates some disease.

There are many diseases which leave you in a condition of suppressed
or irregular menstruation; such as typhoid fever, kidney affections,
chlorosis――lack of red blood――consumption, scarlet fever. If you have
gone through any one of these illnesses and your periods are irregular
or scanty, don’t worry; time will put this matter right as you recover
from the general effects of the disease. If you have reason to fear
consumption, be grateful that Nature is preserving your blood to help
you get well; for, as you know, you can get well――can completely
recover from consumption――if you WILL EAT AND SLEEP IN THE OPEN
AIR――LIVE IN THE OPEN AIR.

Most of the causes for irregularities and scanty flows are due to your
unhygienic methods of living and playing. Sleeping in rooms where
fresh air only gets in through a crack, insufficient and improper food
and too much tea and coffee, will soon cause irregularities and other
menstrual troubles. Catching cold or getting wet feet, damp skirts
flapping around thinly-clad ankles just before or during the time of
your monthlies, will also bring you to some womb trouble.

Then the influence of the mind upon all these matters plays a very
important part in your health. Evil suggestions from girls or youths,
seeing plays which you ought not to see, reading all that rotten
stuff put out for young women and girls to read and dream over――I
don’t mean the nasty ones, but all those which unduly excite the
imagination and throw a false light upon life――the Duke, the Prince
and Villain kind――the virtuous blonde maiden and the hard-working hero
stuff, you all know what I mean. There is plenty of good literature,
exciting stories, to be read without reading a lot of cheap tinsel and
ready-made romances which have no more to do with real life than a mask
has to do with the human features.

You can over-exercise, become too much excited over contests in the
gymnasium, use up force to such an extent that your growing womanly
functions become weakened and sometimes dried up. No girl of a nervous
temperament should go into any athletic contest, team or personal. Such
a girl should not play basketball, attempt any stunts on horizontal
bars or flying rings; nothing, in fact, which calls for a strain upon
the nervous system. The function of the womb, as well as of all the sex
organs, are directly affected by the nervous system. You can never be a
strong woman, complete in all that belongs to a woman and her career,
if you, as a young woman, over-strain the nervous system.

Hundreds of girls who are playing contests of basketball, to see
which team is to be the champion of the state or the town, are going
to suffer from all this excitement. Your teachers do not take into
serious consideration your growing sex organs. They do not seem to know
what it means for a girl to get over-excited at any time during her
development, that there is nothing except alcohol which will arouse
dangerous impulses more than athletic excitement. So do be careful of
your exercise.

On the other hand, no exercise will also produce some disturbance of
the menstrual period. If you do not take some form of useful exercise,
poisons accumulate in your system. This causes unnatural fat to pile up
around your ovaries and kidneys; in fact, it will bring you to a sad
state in middle life if you have neglected to exercise in a careful and
regular manner when you are growing.

The girl who works in the shop, the department store, or follows any
of the numerous careers which are open to her, as a rule gets plenty
of exercise. To be sure it is not the best kind of exercise by any
means, but as she has to be on her feet almost all the day, for her
to take any gymnasium work at night is harmful. She needs the fresh
air, to eat proper food and to obtain plenty of sleep――all she can get
or steal. The girl who is so situated that she can walk to and from
her place of employment, is fortunate; the girl who cannot, must get
walking exercise in the open air some way if she wishes her periods
and general health to be perfect.

Profuse menstruation, that is, too much blood flowing and for too long
a time, is always a sign that something is wrong with the womb as well
as with your general health. It is not a sign that “you have too much
blood in your system,” but a symptom that the womb is weak, has lost
its tone and does not close up tightly at the finish as it should.
The cause is one of the many I have told you about; too long standing
on the feet, going to parties or dances when you should have been in
bed, improper food or too little of it, undue excitement at a time
when you should have been quiet. Search well your own heart, and some
of the causes you will be able to discover yourself. In other words,
any irregularity or little errors in your conduct will bring about
irregularity in your menstrual functions.

No girl should use the sewing machine when she is unwell, or do any
work which involves the movement of the thighs and legs.

Food, nourishment and clothing have a lot to do with all the
irregularities and disturbances of the sex organs, but we shall have
to chat about these important matters when dealing with the skin and
complexion, so leave them here. It will save repeating.

One great curse――for that is what it really is――of all American girls
and women, is constipation. False modesty, ignorance and not drinking
enough water are the principal causes for this injurious state. But
never mind the causes, let us get at the effects.

Every portion of your body, including the bones, can be in a state of
good health only when constantly supplied with fresh water. Coffee,
soda water, chocolate or other makeshifts do not take the place of
pure water. You should get the water into you daily, by the quart. I
wish I could go into this matter so thoroughly as to make you all see
and understand the importance of this fact. However, I can show you in
these Chats how necessary it is even to your sex organs and what they
throw off, to make you, I hope, drink plenty of water throughout all
your lives.

The bowels must be emptied every day. Any keeping of the cast-off
material of the intestines in the bowels means an odorous skin, foul
breath and other disagreeable odors, no matter how clean you may
be OUTWARDLY. Then there is another very important feature of this
dried-up state. As you grow older the arteries harden, they cannot
expand and contract as the blood pressure demands they should, and when
any strain comes upon the heart or blood vessels, these latter burst
and apoplexy is the result.

But before this takes place there has been a failing of the memory,
perhaps of the intellect, because the proper amount of blood needed to
nourish the brain cannot pass through the tiny, but important arteries
of the brain. So some kind of softening of the brain follows. “She
died from apoplexy” is said. No, she died because, when a young woman,
she would not drink water in sufficient quantities to keep her organs
flushed and clear of accumulated material. Now, if this absence of
water in the system so affects the brain, its arteries and veins, just
imagine what trouble the womb will have in getting enough water for all
its needed blood.

But there is a more important effect that the absence of plenty of
water in the system has upon the girl. It is a very serious matter to
her, as it affects her attractiveness and happiness, and this is what
we want to get at in these Chats.

You all know that at certain times girls will have more or less an odor
from their skins and breaths. It is very noticeable in some girls,
and in others of the most careful cleanliness and habits it will be
detected. Perfumery only makes matters worse; the attempt to cover the
natural odors is too marked.

These odors are all caused by acids and other chemical materials which
exist in the natural secretions of the body; the perspiration, breath
and other secretions. The less water there is in the human system, the
more will these chemical odors pervade the atmosphere surrounding the
girl.

It is the lack of plenty of water that causes the skin to give forth
odors. If you have exercised to the extent of bringing on profuse
perspiration and have not drank plenty of water before, during and
after the exercise, no amount of bathing will prevent an odor coming
from the skin. If you are going out to a dance or any place where you
will be in a warm room, you will not be able to disguise the chemical
odors coming from the skin.

But if you have filled your system with water two or three hours before
going out, your skin will have a delicious, natural odor.

During the menstrual period every gland in the growing girl is very
active. The skin throws off an extra amount of perspiration, the
glands under the arms are very, extremely, active. Then at this time
the breath comes faster than usual and throws off its poisons in large
quantities. All these off-castings of the body are loaded with material
that must leave the body if we are to keep in good health. But here is
the point. You can so saturate your system with pure water that all
these fatty and acid odors become highly diluted and scarcely any of
them will make their presence known to those around you.

Drinking water will make you fat? Nonsense. That is some old woman’s
tale――some old woman who tries to excuse herself from drinking water.
Water will not make you fat nor make you lean; just keep you in the
good health and state you were born to be in. Then it helps keep the
bowels clean, gives a good flow to the blood and keeps the womb free
from any little clots being left over from your last menstruation.

How much water shall I drink? Two tumblerfuls every morning before
breakfast, two between each meal and as much at meals as you want.
Don’t bother yourself about the fads of drinking water, such as none at
meals, for instance.

Look at a horse; he drinks when he is thirsty and he drinks all he
wants. Take water away from a horse, keep it away from him as it has
been kept away from girls and young women, and you would soon see his
coat become dull, sticky, and the light go from his eyes.

Remember that a horse’s coat of hair corresponds to your skin; it is
his complexion. Deprive yourself of water and your skin becomes dull,
sticky and malodorous. But we shall have a lot to say about the skin,
so nothing more now.

With all this good habit of drinking plenty of water must go the
application of water to the outside of the body. This you must do
to wash away the dried crystals of all the chemical materials sent
out from the skin and glands. Warm SPONGE baths, while you are
menstruating, are necessary. I know that you all have been told never
to take a bath while your period was on, but you see that you must get
rid of these tell-tale odors now that you are out in the world. Of
course you must be careful not to take cold; you should not use any but
warm water, and then jump into bed warmly covered. Use no scented soap,
not even under the arms, just plain castile or a similar PURE soap.
After the flow has ceased be certain to wash your external parts with
a soft sponge and pure soap. You want to consider this part of your
toilet just as important as washing the teeth or ears, and it should be
done in the same unconcerned and unthinking manner.




CHAPTER IV

THE CARE OF THE SKIN AND COMPLEXION


All girls want a good complexion and a clear skin. The skin and hair
are the glories of a healthy woman. Most of you can have this desired
state of a clear skin and pure complexion. A good complexion merely
means a perfect state of health. A clear skin does not depend on what
you apply to it, but what you keep off it.

The clear, satin-like skin, the skin which looks like a transparent
piece of silk laid upon a soft cushion of white flesh, and that sheeny
skin resembling fine velvet, seen in the pure blonde type of girls, are
all the effects of the blood beneath and how that blood is treated by
the emotions.

Muddy and contaminating thoughts will cause a muddy skin. Clean and
clear thoughts will give you a clear skin. Jealousy and anger will, in
time, affect the flow of blood through your tiny skin-veins and give
you the appearance of age. Any emotion which causes indigestion will do
the same thing. In fact, the state of mind and the manner in which you
control your thoughts and temper are reflected in the tone of the skin.

It is during the first few years of menstruating that the girl who does
not understand these matters commences to ruin her complexion. While
your body is developing, the tiny glands in the skin are undergoing
great changes. These changes cause the glands to pour out oily matter,
perspiration and other material, all of which naturally bring about a
muddy complexion in some girls and redness of the nose, or pimples on
the face, in others.

These conditions are natural to the growing girl. The skin is clearing
itself of all the little girl’s activities and making ready for the
woman’s complexion. It is Springtime with the skin, and this dirt――or
what looks like dirt――is the result of all this skin-cleaning. Hair
is appearing on certain parts of the body; that almost invisible
down which all women possess, is growing on all portions of the body
and face. The monthly periods are causing congested blood vessels
throughout the whole body and especially the tiny arteries of the skin.
Every part of your system is really undergoing a great change and does
not get into a state of perfect health until you are eighteen years
of age and over. As in all things in which a decided revolution takes
place, there is more or less of a disturbance.

This is the time when a girl commences to worry about her complexion.
She frets and becomes anxious about the little spots appearing upon
her face. If she has not the proper home advice, but hears all sorts
of tales and sees all sorts of things in the school or shop, she soon
resorts to the drug stores for a face lotion, powder or cream. She may
have been told by an older girl that, “No, I never had anything but a
good complexion; you’d better take something for yours, I would,” and
much more of this kind of foolish advice.

Some girls go through the period of development without any marked
change in their complexion; others, especially brunettes, will have a
“broken-out-face,” a hot and oily skin and not infrequently pimples
on some part of their bodies. Girls of nervous temperament are apt to
have more or less of a spotted complexion during the first few years of
menstruation. In all these girls it is more of a sign of good health
than otherwise, and if the skin had been left alone,――which it has not,
because you have never known the truth,――the quack advertisements of
“face creams,” “skin food,” “complexion wafers,” and all the other skin
poisons and complexion-destroyers, would never have been put out to
swindle girls and women.

Pimples most frequently show on the shoulders and upper arms, and
unless the girl knows that these really mean a splendid complexion
when she has grown to full womanhood, she worries herself to a point
that makes her little life miserable.

This is the point in a girl’s life where she starts in to ruin her
complexion forever. She commences to fill in the openings made to let
out the fatty and other substances in her skin, by powdering, applying
some ointment which keeps these pores closed, or goes to bed with
greasy or other injurious “skin foods” upon her face. In fact, she
does just what in the end will give her a pasty complexion instead of
a clear one. Of course she will later on take to the rouge and powder
puffs and have to keep them in constant use until her skin becomes like
that of a dried codfish.

Please remember that what you need during the first years of your
menstrual life is to allow full freedom for the skin to get rid of
all the material your state is producing behind the outer skin. This
material must come away if the skin is to be a clear and healthy one.
Banking up, stopping this sweating process of the glands of the body,
will ruin your complexion in time. You would not attempt to clean a
room by sweeping all the dust under the carpet and not expect this dust
to be always flying up and making the room dusty and ill-smelling? But
you do about the same thing when you do not let all the dirt and dust
come away through the spring cleaning of the skin.

The period of your development is the Springtime of your life, and you
must expect all kinds of disagreeable feelings and little annoyances to
occur during this period.

Each month, just as your menses are coming on, you will find little
pimples or some redness on your face, nose or shoulders; perhaps on
the arms. You should not want to go to dances or entertainments at
these times; in fact you should not; but at no time during your growth
into full womanhood should you wear gowns with short sleeves and low
necks. For even between the menstrual periods there will be some
indications upon the face or skin which tell the story. To hide these
little eruptions or redness of the skin you have to apply powder to the
neck, shoulders and arms. What are the consequences? The perspiration,
due to the heat of the room and the exercise of dancing, keeps the
inflammation active under the powder and may cause such pimples that
the scars are left forever.

And right here is where you “catch cold.” Drafts, sleeping by an open
window or going from a warm room to a colder one do not give you a
cold. You may catch cold by doing these things, but the cause is
something which has brought about a too rapid loss of heat from the
body; such as any wrong way of clothing or underclothing yourself;
low-neck dresses for winter; or covering the skin with powder or
enamel, through which the perspiration cannot have free play and keep
the temperature of the body equal; these are the reasons you “catch
cold.”

Those girls you occasionally see with a pitted skin on their faces
and shoulders, are those who in all probability prevented the natural
grease and other substances from getting out when they were in the
first two or three years of their development. They have generally
brought about this disagreeable complexion by attempting to dress as
full-grown women and covering face, shoulders and backs with some kind
of lotion, powder or cream.

The girl who was noted for her fine, soft and smooth skin when she was
eight or ten years of age, commences at puberty to have pimples and
blackheads on her nose, cheeks and forehead. This being about the time
she takes more notice of herself and others around her, these little
facial blotches worry her. It is the opening of a new life and much
attention is given dress, hair and complexion; to her whole appearance.
She brushes and fixes her hair with great care; tries all sorts of
experiments. She probably uses the brush of her older sister or one
belonging to some of her family, or more frequently it is the common
one at school or in the store. She does not intentionally use a dirty
brush, nor will she use one which she has the least suspicion has been
used by the unclean. But even the brush of her mother or sister carries
germs that at this time do much injury to her skin and scalp, because
the skin of the forehead is affected by the germs which get to the
scalp.

This germ is one which is always to be found in the glands of any
person’s scalp or hairy portions of the body. These glands are known
as the sebaceous glands. They are the ones which secrete the oily
substance that is necessary for the health of the skin and hair. You
have enough of the oily substances in your own hair and skin, and it
is usually free from germs at this time if you have used only YOUR
OWN BRUSH. But the moment you use a brush belonging to some older and
full-grown woman you carry to your own scalp these germs. If some of
the other germs which are sometimes found upon common brushes get onto
your scalp, there is another trouble for you to combat――dandruff.
In the first case you simply add oily stuff to your own supply, get
over-much of the oil; in the other case, dandruff is piled thick with
the fatty material and then comes scalp disease.

This may go on for some time and not noticeably affect you, but it may
cause in a few weeks a certain form of eczema about the forehead and
even the face. This is a very important matter for all girls and young
women to remember. I have shown you that on the approach and for some
time after puberty, all the tiny glands of the skin are enlarged and
very active, so you can now see that there are hundreds of thousands of
little holes for the germs to get into, and they do so from the brushes
you are in the habit of using――that is, most of you. When these germs


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Online LibraryWilliam Lee HowardConfidential Chats with Girls → online text (page 3 of 7)