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How did cave women deal with periods?

(256 Posts)
howmanyleftfeet Mon 22-Apr-19 10:38:42

How did our ancient ancestor women deal with periods before we wore clothes?

Periods must have been terribly inconvenient then - did they have periods the same as us?

Do the kind of apes we're close relatives of, have periods like us? Do other animals? Do they really just walk around bleeding?

I can't help wondering if maybe they didn't have periods as heavy / as long as ours. Am I right in thinking, sportswomen who are super fit often don't have regular periods? Presumably cave women would have been super fit and on the move a lot. (Or they wouldn't have survived). Did they perhaps menstruate less often?

Could it be that women didn't ovulate / menstruate except in quieter seasons when not on the move?

DaisyDreaming Mon 22-Apr-19 10:44:32

I’ve wondered this before. I met someone who went and stayed with a naked tribe, she was naked and just bled, the shocking bit to me was she wasn’t allowed to eat for the duration of her period! She felt quite unwell towards the end of it

I wonder if cave women’s low weight helped too?

MadisonMontgomery Mon 22-Apr-19 10:44:50

Women who are malnourished often don’t have regular periods, so that might have been a factor.

Kpo58 Mon 22-Apr-19 10:47:26

Why are we assuming that cave people were malnourished? They were probably much healthier than we are today.

Saisong Mon 22-Apr-19 10:47:32

Between pregnancy, breast-feeding, stress, poor nourishment and low life-expectancy they probably didn't have many periods.

Usingmyindoorvoice Mon 22-Apr-19 10:48:31

A combination of being pregnant and extended breastfeeding, until pregnant again.

RevealTheLegend Mon 22-Apr-19 10:49:57

You’d be pregnant or breastfeeding most of the time.

Thanks to lower rates of infant mortality, the existence of contraception, etc we spend far less time pregnant than nature intended. We really aren’t meant to have this many periods.

RevealTheLegend Mon 22-Apr-19 10:50:35

Oops. Slow typing. Xpost x lots

Dressless Mon 22-Apr-19 10:51:30

@Kpo hmm

I would imagine it was a combination of infrequent menstruation and just bleeding out.

A friend of mine has a female dog that hasn’t been sterilised. She puts a nappy on her when she menstruates (I don’t think you are supposed to though!).

stucknoue Mon 22-Apr-19 10:53:21

They wouldn't have had many - pregnant and fully breastfeeding most of their lives with an early death. Today's last remaining peoples who live this sort life space their kids 3-4 years this way as do great apes. I also heard some use moss/ plants so soak blood

howmanyleftfeet Mon 22-Apr-19 10:54:43

A combination of being pregnant and extended breastfeeding, until pregnant again

Of course, this makes sense. Bleeding every month (i.e. not being pregnant or BFing all the time) is a modern things isn't it?

But even then I'm not sure it's the whole story. e.g I exclusively BF but my period came back at 5 months.

Also, cavewomen would have been super fit - is our period going away when we're really fit (and coming back when we're not) an evolutionary advantage? Could it be that ancient women didn't ovulate when on the move, then did when they were more stationary? (Perhaps following the seasons / migration of their prey?).

Weenurse Mon 22-Apr-19 10:56:04

Wool gathered from shedding animals and leather undies. Others used moss and other plant materials as per Clan of te Cave Bear series.

AllTheChickensIHaveLoved Mon 22-Apr-19 10:56:21

Agree with pp they would have been pregnant or breastfeeding fully which inhibits periods.and you'd die young possibly in child birth.

JasperSIn Mon 22-Apr-19 10:58:34

I wish people wouldn’t say being thin or low weight stops periods.

I’ve weighed seven and a half stone most of my adult life and my periods are regular as hell. You have to be seriously underweight to mess with your periods

howmanyleftfeet Mon 22-Apr-19 11:01:21

Wool gathered from shedding animals and leather undies

And what about before that? Before they wore clothes?

ShivD Mon 22-Apr-19 11:03:42

They probably weren’t ask squeamish as we are today either so it wouldn’t have been such a ‘thing’

JasperSIn Mon 22-Apr-19 11:04:06

Some kind of animal skin thing?

howmanyleftfeet Mon 22-Apr-19 11:06:23

They probably weren’t ask squeamish as we are today either so it wouldn’t have been such a ‘thing’

Yes I suppose this crucial isn't it.

TerryWogansWilly Mon 22-Apr-19 11:09:13

I don't think it's about squamishness. It wouldn't have been great to smell of blood with wild animals about.

Butteredghost Mon 22-Apr-19 11:12:05

They would have had far fewer periods due to later puberty, many pregnancies and extended breastfeeding.

But apart from that I suppose they just let it run down their leg like any other animal would - we are animals after all.

Wineott Mon 22-Apr-19 11:14:09

Ugh I wish bf stopped mine. I'm feeding my nearly 4 year old and mine started again when she was 5 months 😭

Dahlietta Mon 22-Apr-19 11:16:35

I’m not convinced by your assertion that cave women would have been super-fit. I always envision them pottering about looking after babies. I don’t think they did marathon training.

Cel982 Mon 22-Apr-19 11:21:21

It's not fitness that suppresses ovulation (and thus menstruation), it's being significantly underweight. It's seen in women with anorexia nervous, and in athletes who overtrain to the point that it interferes with normal hormonal regulation.

AcidityRegulated Mon 22-Apr-19 11:21:43

What was the life expectancy of a cavewoman?

If she survived childbirth, and her periods started again quite quickly, she would probably just get pregnant again, no?

I wonder how many pregnancies the average cavewoman carried to term.

EnthusiasmIsDisturbed Mon 22-Apr-19 11:22:07

Moss was used like a pad

I saw this on Bear Grylls

I guess many were pregnant or bf much of the time

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