When trying to come up with a name for my shop, I was researching the history of women's health. This excerpt is taken from an article, written by Natalie Fraize, which can be found here.
"One of the more well-known theories of hysteria is the early idea of the wandering womb. What this diagnosis implied was that the afflicted female’s uterus was roaming the body interfering with other areas, resulting in the symptoms that they had. Because of the way the theory is constructed, it could be used to explain ailments in nearly every part of the body. This was thought to have originated with the Greeks and Hippocrates however there are earlier reports of this with the Egyptians."
Wait. Hippocrates? Like, that guy who the Hippocratic Oath is named after and all that? Yep, him.
In fact, "Hippocrates also believed that the human uterus had as many as seven chambers and was lined with "tentacles" or "suckers." (From Woman: An Intimate Geography by Natalie Angier, page 85)
The uterus, because it was so misunderstood, had a bad rap for a while. Check out this section from The Uterine Health Companion by Eve Agee (page 8):
"At the birth of biomedicine, the uterus came to be considred a polluting factor for women's health. The first physicians deemed the uterus unstable, citing as the reason behind insanity in their female patients. In fact, "hysteria" (derived from hyster, the Greek term for uterus) was considered a condition in which a woman's insanity was caused by her uterus.
In more recent eras, Victorian doctors believed that removing the female organs would allow women and girls to gain mental stability and become better wives. Surgeries such as hysterectomies, clitoridectomies, and oophorectomies (removal of the ovaries) were employed in poorly executed attempts to "heal" kleptomania, epilepsy, melancholy, and hysteria in the United States and England."
Ridiculous, right? We know so now, sure, but there are still so many questions about these organs and not enough answers. Solutions for erectile dysfunction abound, but nobody can explain why endometriosis happens. So, as medicine keeps moving forward, we hope that someday they'll look back on this time and find it just as ridiculous!