Is menstruation necessary?

Most women in our society accept monthly periods as a fact of life – despite it being annoying sometimes. During menstruation, the mucous membrane that builds up in the uterus is expelled if a pregnancy does not occur. But does that mean it’s normal for a woman to have a period every four weeks?

Scientific studies show that evolution did not intend for women to experience frequent menstruation. Rather, this is an artifact of our modern life. Women used to have far fewer periods because they were pregnant more often compared to women today, plus they nursed their children much longer.


Historically, women had far fewer periods – about 150 over a lifetime – because they had more pregnancies and long lactations. Modern women are experiencing a new phenomenon – 450 periods during their lives.


Naturally Today
12-15 pregnancies 2 pregnancies
9-12 births 1-2 births
6-7 surviving children All children survive
2 years breastfeeding (each child) 0-4 months breastfeeding (each child)
160 ovulations 450 ovulations
(Effective prevention for almost all)

For more information, read this fascinating article: “Energy Economy in the Evolution of Menstruation” by anthropologist Beverly I. Strassmann. [download pdf]