Home Stories

A Bloody History of Menopause

  • Series
Digital collage artwork made up of pink, red and black and white hues. At the centre is a large image of the moon. Overlaid on top are two sheets of red fabric billowing and flowing as if in the wind. One flows to the left and the other to the right. In between them is a staircase rising up. At the top is the back of a woman who has just reach the top. In front of her are fragments of two large female torsos which are transparent and through which the moon behind can be seen. At the base of the staircase are a collection of objects, a poppy seed head, a syringe, a leech, grasses and 2 bottles with XXX printed on the label.
Blood. © Asma Istwani for Wellcome Collection.

For a long time, nobody talked about menopause, and there is little evidence in the historical record of how women would have experienced this life stage in the past, if they even lived long enough to experience it. Using audio extracts from interviews with contemporary women as a starting point, Helen Foster explores the uncomfortable and sometimes violent history of menopause. By examining the historical record through these six themes, she uncovers the myths, taboos and concerns that still resonate with people's experiences of menopause today.