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Treatise on the Diseases of Women

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Experience a Perfect Teacher.—Do you know what it is to suffer pain? Have you had your body racked and torn with intense suffering? Have you ever experienced that indescribable agony which comes from overworked nerves?

Have you ever felt the sharp, stinging pain, the dull, heavy pain, the throbbing, jumping pain, the cramping, tearing pain, the sickening, nauseating pain? Then you know all about them. Nobody can tell you anything more. Experience is a perfect teacher.

Book-Learning Alone Not Sufficient.—Suppose you had never experienced pain, but had just read about it in a book, do you think you would have any kind of an idea of what genuine suffering was? Most certainly not.

Book knowledge is valuable. It teaches the location of countries, the use of figures, and the history of nations; but there are some things books cannot do, and the greatest of these is, they cannot describe physical and mental suffering. These are things that must be experienced.

Personal Experience Necessary.—After you have once suffered, how ready you are to sympathize with those who are going through the same severe trials. If a member of your own home or a friend is passing through the trying ordeal of motherhood, and you have suffered the same, how you can advise, suggest, comfort, guide! If you have had a personal experience of intense agony once every month, do you not think you are in a far better position to talk with one who is suffering in the same way than you would be if you had never gone through all this?

You Best Understand Yourself.—But let us go a little farther in this study. When you listen to an eminent orator, you have but little idea whether he is nervous or not, but little idea whether he is undergoing a severe strain or not; for you have never been in his place, cannot understand just that condition.

Men become greatly interested in political matters; perhaps it often seems to you that they become too much disturbed; and yet how can you judge, for you have never been in their place? And so we might go on, giving illustration after illustration as additional proof to this one great fact.


Man Cannot Know Woman's Suffering.—What does a man know about the thousand and one aches and pains peculiar to a woman? He may have seen manifestations of suffering, he may have read something about these things in books, but that is all. Even though he might be exceedingly learned in the medical profession, yet what more can he know aside from that which the books teach? Did a man ever have a backache like the dragging, pulling, tearing ache of a woman? No. It is impossible.

Even Medical Men Cannot Understand These Things.—To a man, all pain must be of his kind; it must be a man-pain, not a woman-pain. Take, for instance, the long list of diseases and discomforts which come directly from some derangement of the female generative organs; as, for instance, the bearing-down pains, excessive flowing, uterine cramps, and leucorrhœa. Do you think it possible for a man to understand these things? Granting that he may be the most learned man in the medical profession, how can he know anything about them only in a general way? You know, we know, everybody knows that he cannot.


Relief First Offered in 1873.—Away back in '73 these thoughts came to Lydia E. Pinkham. She saw the most intense suffering about her on every hand, and yet no one seemed able to give relief. Her thorough education enabled her to understand that nearly all the suffering of womankind was due to diseases and affections peculiar to her sex.

The whole question resolved itself into just this: If a remedy could be made that would relieve all inflammations and congestions of the ovaries, Fallopian tubes, uterus, and other female organs, the days of suffering for women would be largely over.

First Made on a Kitchen Stove.—Could this be done? Mrs. Pinkham believed with all her heart that it was possible. So on a kitchen stove she began the great work which has made her name a household word wherever civilization exists. Without money, but with a hopeful heart, she made up little batches of this remedy to give to neighbors and friends whom she felt could be relieved by it.

The story soon spread from house to house, from village to village, from city to city. Now it looked as if a business might be established upon a permanent basis, a basis resting upon the wonderful curative properties of the medicine itself.

"We Can Trust Her."—By judicious advertising the merits of this remarkable remedy were set forth; and before she was hardly aware of it, she found herself at the head of one of the largest enterprises ever established in this country.

That face so full of character and sympathy, soon after it was first published, years ago, began to attract marked attention wherever it was seen. Women said, "Here is one to whom we can tell our misery, one who will listen to our story of pain, one whom we can fully trust." And so the letters began to arrive from every quarter. Now hundreds of these letters are received every day. More than a hundred thousand were written in a single year. Everyone is opened by a woman, read by a woman, sacredly regarded as written strictly in confidence by one woman to another. Men do not see these letters.

Men Never See Your Letters.—Do you want a strange man to hear all about your particular disease? Would you feel like sitting down by the side of a stranger and telling him all those sacred things which should be known only by women? It isn't natural for a woman to do this; it isn't like her, isn't in keeping with her finer sense of refinement.

No Boys Around.—And then, how would it be when some boy opens the letters, steals time to read a few before they are handed to some other boy clerk to distribute (and probably read) around the office to the various departments? It makes one almost indignant to think how light and trivial these serious matters are so often regarded.

You Write to a Woman.—But when you know your letter is going to be seen only by a woman, one who sympathizes with you, feels sorry for you, knows all about you, how different all this seems.

Confidence Never Violated.—Although there are preserved in the secret files of Lydia E. Pinkham's laboratory many hundreds of thousands of letters from women from all parts of the world, yet in not a single instance has the writer accused Mrs. Pinkham of violating her confidence.

The Largest Experience in the World.—The one thing that qualifies a person to give advice on any subject is experience—experience creates knowledge....