Happy 200th birthday, dear menopause
Whether it leaves people indifferent, causes a feeling of rejection or fear, or on the contrary generates a positive feeling, the term « menopause » seems to be familiar to everyone nowdays.
However, this terminology is relatively recent and blows its 200 candles in 2021.
It was a French doctor, Charles Pierre Louis de Gardanne, who used it for the first time in 1821 in the second edition of his book « Avis aux femmes qui entrent dans l’âge critique ».
The first edition in 1816 used the term “menespausie”1,3.
The term “menopause” is constructed from two Greek words, “menos” (menses) and “pausis” (pause).
This terminology, which could be qualified as « factual », replaces, to quote Gardanne2, expressions such as « critical time, critical period, critical age, return age, return of age, decline in age, green old age , hell of women, winter of women, death of sex ”.
With such a starting point, one can understand the persistence of a real taboo around menopause.
But we can also appreciate how far we’ve come as a society, and see it as a strong stimulus for the years to come.
Are you interested in the experiences of women at different stages of their menopause? Would you like a reminder of the physiology of menopause and the main symptoms? Download our free ebook, Menopause Story(ies).
1: source « Un âge critique. La ménopause sous le regard des médecins des XVIIIe et XIXe siècles » https://doi.org/10.4000/clio.1471
2: source « Âge de retour et retour d’âge : l’asymétrie entre les sexes dans les discours médicaux en France (1770-1836) » https://doi.org/10.4000/clio.12740
3: first use as a French word in English in 1845 (etymonline.com)