Hippocrates of Cos, Diseases of Women 1

LCL 538: 10-11



μῆτραι καὶ τὸ σῶμά ἐστι πληροῦσθαι, ἅτε ἐν γαστρὶ ἐχούσῃ, καὶ ἅμα εὐρυχωρίη ἐστὶν ἐν τῷ σώματι πλείων τῷ αἵματι, ἐπὴν τέκῃ, οἷα τοῦ σώματος καταρραγέντος, καὶ ἐν εὐρυχωρίῃ ἐὸν τὸ αἷμα ἀπονώτερον γίνεται, ἢν μὴ ὑπερπιμπλῶνται αἱ φλέβες καὶ ὑπερτονέωσιν.

Ἀτόκῳ | 12δὲ ἐούσῃ, τοῦ τε σώματος οὐ ξυνήθεος ἐόντος, ἐπὴν πληρωθῇ, ἰσχυροῦ4 καὶ στερεωτέρου καὶ πυκνοτέρου ἐόντος ἢ εἰ λοχείων ἔμπειρος γένοιτο, καὶ τῶν μητρέων ἀστομωτέρων ἐουσέων, τὰ ἐπιμήνια ἐπιπονωτέρως χωρέει, καὶ τὰ παθήματα προσπίπτει πλείονα, ὥστε τὰ καταμήνια ἀποφράσσεσθαι, ἐπὴν ἄτοκος ᾖ. ἔχει δὲ ὧδε ὥς μοι καὶ πρῶτον5 εἴρηται· φημὶ τὴν γυναῖκα ἀραιοσαρκοτέρην καὶ ἁπαλωτέρην εἶναι ἢ τὸν ἄνδρα· καὶ τούτου ὧδε ἔχοντος, ἀπὸ τῆς κοιλίης ἕλκει τὴν ἰκμάδα καὶ τάχιον καὶ μᾶλλον τὸ σῶμα τῆς γυναικὸς ἢ τοῦ ἀνδρός.

Καὶ γὰρ εἴ τις ὑπὲρ ὕδατος ἢ καὶ χωρίου ὑδρηλοῦ δύο ἡμέρας καὶ δύο εὐφρόνας θείη εἴρια καθαρὰ καὶ εἷμα καθαρὸν καὶ βεβυσμένον εὖ, στάθμῳ6 ἴσον τοῖσιν εἰρίοισιν, ἀνελὼν εὑρήσει στήσας πολλὸν βαρύτερα τὰ εἴρια ἢ τὸ εἷμα· ὅτι δὲ τοῦτο γίνεται, αἰεὶ ἀποχωρέει ἐς τὸ ἀνεκὰς ἀπὸ τοῦ ὕδατος ἐν ἀγγείῳ εὐρυστόμῳ ἐόντος, καὶ τὰ μὲν εἴρια, ἅτε ἀραιά τε καὶ μαλθακὰ ἐόντα, ἀναδέξεται τοῦ ἐπιχωρέοντος πλέον, τὸ δὲ εἷμα, ἅτε πλῆρες ἐὸν καὶ βεβυσμένον, ἀποπληρώσεται τὸ πολλὸν οὐκ ἐπιδεχόμενον τοῦ ἐπιχωρέοντος.



body are accustomed to being full, just as they are in a woman who is pregnant, and at the same time there is more open space for blood in her body after she has given birth, since her body has involuted, so that the blood, being in an open space, will be less troublesome, as long as the vessels do not overfill and overstretch.

Since in a woman who has not given birth the body is not accustomed to being filled up (sc. with blood), but is robust, solider and denser than if she had experienced the lochia, and her uterus has not been dilated, her menstrual flow will be accompanied by more pain, and more troubles will be present: i.e., her menses will be obstructed when she has not given birth. This is so for the reason I first indicated when I contended that a woman is more porous and softer than a man; this being so, a woman’s body draws what is being exhaled from her cavity more quickly and in a greater amount than does a man’s.

Thus, if someone sets both some clean flocks of wool and a clean densely woven carpet of exactly the same weight as the flocks over water or a moist location for two days and two nights, on removing them he will discover, on weighing them, that the flocks have become much heavier than the carpet. This happens because (sc. moisture) always moves up away from water present in a wide-necked vessel, and flocks, being porous and soft, take up a greater quantity of what is moving away, while a carpet, being compact and densely woven, becomes saturated without accepting much of what is moving toward it.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.hippocrates_cos-diseases_women_i.2018