Algunas consideraciones antropológicas y religiosas alrededor de la menstruación

  • Miguel Ángel Alarcón-Nivia


Este trabajo comprende una revisión de los nombres populares que se le dan a la menstruación en Colombia, las creencias indígenas alrededor del tema en diferentes partes del mundo, las precauciones y prohibiciones que se tienen respecto a las mujeres menstruantes desde la mira de algunas religiones. Se presentan también algunas explicaciones sobre las causas de la menstruación, según filósofos de la antigüedad y pensadores modernos.

Biografía del autor/a

Miguel Ángel Alarcón-Nivia
Profesor del Departamento de Ginecoobstetricia, Universidad Industrial de Santander.


Vox. Diccionario Latino-Español y Español–Latino. Barcelona: Edit. Bibliograf.; 1986.

Diccionario terminológico de ciencias médicas. Barcelona: Salvat editores; 1974.

Flórez L. Léxico del cuerpo humano en Colombia. Bogotá: Instituto Caro y Cuervo; 1969.

Beauvoir S. El Segundo Sexo. Buenos Aires: Edit. Sudamericana; 2002.

Strassmann BI. The evolution of endometrial cycles and menstruation. Q Rev Biol 1996;71:181-220.

Sellares Biel E, Mallorqui Ayuso N. The myth of menstruation and its social repercussions. The midwife’s role in demystification. Rev Enferm 1981;5:19-24.

Buckey T, Gottlieb A. Blood magic: the anthropology of menstruation. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press; 1998.

Valdiserri RO. Menstruation and medical theory: an historical overview. J Am Med Womens Assoc 1983;38:66-70.

Datta B, Gupta D. The age of menarche in classical India. Ann Hum Biol 1981; 8:351-9.

Walker B. “Menstruation” in The Women’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets. New Jersey: Castle Books; 1983.

Biblioteca Virtual Banco de la República, Colombia. Geografía Humana de Colombia. Región de la Orinoquía, Los U´Wa. Tomo III - Volúmen 2. Disponible en:

Goodman D. Women´s seclusion and men´s honor: sex roles in North India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Phoenix: University of Arizona Press; 1988.

Andrews J, Digby A. Sex and Seclusion, Class and Custody. Perspectives on Gender and Class in the History of British and Irish Psychiatry. Amsterdam: Editions Rodopi V.B.; 2004.

Engineer AA (ed.). Status of Women in Islam. Delhi: Ajanta Publications; 1987. p. 38-41.

Hallak K, Hallak KM. El Corán Sagrado y la Traducción de su sentido en lengua española (Spanish Qur’an with Arabic text) Betsville, MD: Amana Pubis; 1997.

Walther W. Women in Islam. New York: Markus Wiener Publishing Inc.; 1993.

Mernissi F. The Veil and the Male Elite. A Feminist Interpretation of Women’s Rights in Islam. Trans. Lakeland MJ. New York: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company; 1992.

Ahmed L. Women and Gender in Islam. Historical Roots of a Modern Debate. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press; 1992.

Sagrada Biblia. Versión castellana del Ilmo Sr. Torres Felix Amat. New York: Edit. Grolier; 1958. Libro levítico, capítulo XV. p. 113-14.

Ben-Noun LL. What is the biblical attitude towards personal hygiene during vaginal bleeding? Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol 2003;106:99-101.

Selvidge MJ. “Mark 5:25-34 and Leviticus 15:19-20. A Reaction to Restrictive Purity Regulations”. J Bibl Lit 1984;103:619-24.

Schwarz D. Menstruation and the woman in Judaism. Zentralbl Gynakol 1988;110:970-4.

Antonelli JS. “Menstruation”. In: The Image of God. A Feminist Commentary on the Torah. London: Jason Aronson; 1995. p. 276-87.

Cohen SJD. Purity and Piety: The Separation of Menstruants from the Sancta. In: Grossman S, Haut R (eds.). Daughters of the King: Women and the Synagogue. New York: Jewish Publication Society; 1992. p. 103-15.

Camp C. A Female Initiation Rite in the Neigrie Area. In: Habel NC (ed.). Powers, Plumes, and Piglets: Phenomena of Melanesian Religion. Bedford Park, South Australia: Australian Association for the Study of Religions; 1979. p. 68-83.

Peters FE. The Menstruant. In: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The Classical Texts and Their Interpretation. Princeton: Edit. Princeton University Press; 1990. p. 731-34.

Opie IA, Tatem M. Menstruating Woman. In: A Dictionary of Superstitions. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 1989. p. 247.

O’Grady K. “Menstruation” in Women and World Religions. New York: Macmillan; 1999.

Phipps WE. The Menstrual Taboo in the Judeo-Christian Tradition. J Relig Health 1980;19:298-303.

- Carey S. Pliny´s Catalogue of Culture. Art and Empire in the Natural History. New York: Oxford University Press Inc.; 2001.

Healy JF. Pliny the Elder on Science and Technology. London: Oxford University Press Inc.; 2000.

Marco Polo. El libro de Marco Polo. Las apostillas a la Historia Natural de Plinio el Viejo. Universidad de Sevilla; 1992.

Momoko T. “Menstruation Sutra Belief in Japan”. Japanese J Relig Stud 1983;10:229-45.

Skibola CF. The effect of Fucus vesiculosus, an edible brown seaweed, upon menstrual cycle length and hormonal status in three pre-menopausal women: a case report. BMC Complement Altern Med 2004;4:10.

Backe J. Tainted femininity--traces of traditional menstruation myths in product advertising of feminine hygiene products. Gynakol Geburtshilfliche Rundsch 1997;37:30-8.

Bergqvist A. [Menstruation still full of myths]. Lakartidningen 1999 14;96:1860-76.

Bonnet-Cadilhac C. Translation and commentary of the Hippocrates treatise ‘The illness of girls’. Hist Philos Life Sci 1993;15:147-63.

Backe J. History of menstruation--an aspect of the medical history of the woman. Gynakol Geburtshilfliche Rundsch 1996;36:201-7.

Delaney J, Lupton MJ, Toth E. The Course. A Cultural History of Menstruation. Springfield: University Illinois Press; 1988.

Ferro-Luzzi G. Food Avoidances at Puberty and Menstruation in Tamilnad: An Anthropological Study. In: Robson JRK (ed.). Food, Ecology and Culture. Readings in the Anthropology of Dietary Practices. New York: Gordon and Breach Science Publishers; 1980. p. 93-100.

Grahn J. Blood, bread and roses. How menstruation created the world. Washington: Beacon Press;1994.

Roberts SJ, Garling J. The menstrual myth revisited. Nurs Forum. 1981;20:267-73.

Finn CA. Why do women menstruate? Historical and evolutionary review. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol 1996;70:3-8.

Finn CA Why do women and some other primates menstruate? Perspect Biol Med 1987;30:566-74.

Finn CA. Menstruation: a nonadaptive consequence of uterine evolution. Q Rev Biol 1998;73:163-73.

Wellmann KF. Menstruation, pregnancy, and birth in prehistoric rock drawings of North America.Dtsch Med Wochenschr 1972;97:1670-1.

Kamiyama S, Teruya Y, Nohara M, Kanazawa K. Bacterial endotoxin in the endometrium and its clinical significance in reproduction. Fertil Steril 2004; 82:805.

Romero R, Espinosa J, Mazor M. Can endometrial infection/inflammation explain implantation failure, spontaneous abortion, and preterm birth after in vitro fertilization? Fertil Steril 2004;82:799-804.

Lucrezio T. Historical considerations on the interpretation of the menstrual phenomenon from antiquity to our times. Atti Mem Accad Stor Arte Sanit 1966;32:103-8.

McPherson ME, Korfine L. Menstruation across time: menarche, menstrual attitudes, experiences, and behaviors. Womens Health Issues 2004;14:193-200.

Mansfield PK, Stubbs ML. Tracking the course of menstrual life: contributions from the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research. Womens Health Issues 2004;14:174-6.

Artículo de Reflexión