Culpeper's directory for midwives: or, A guide for women. The second part. Discovering, 1. The diseases in the privities of women. 2. The diseases of the privie part. 3. The diseases of the womb ... 14. The diseases and symptoms in children.
Culpeper, Nicholas, 1616-1654.
Chap. 13. Of a Gonorrhaea.

THe running of the Reins may be in all wo∣men that are fit for a man, for it is the flux of natural seed. It is in men and women from the French pox, but when stinking humors do flow, it is not properly called a Gonorrhaea.

* The chief Cause is the weakness of the reten∣tive faculty, and the loosness and largeness of the seed-vessels: the causes of these are shewed in the Gonorrhaea of men.

* The women will declare it, and the greatness and the colour; for if it be white and little and thick, and at distance, it is a true Gonorrhaea.

* If it continue, it brings a Consumption and barrenness.

* The Cure of Gonorrhaea and night pollution is Pact. 3. but I shall add this, if it come from plenty of seed. The Buds of the Salix o Willow, 〈2 pages missing〉Page  97〈…〉 called the Closing of the Womb. 〈…〉 famous Physitians and Anatomists say 〈…〉 is a Hymen, which is the sign of Virginity. 〈…〉 they say a membrane wrinkled with 〈…〉 like Mitleberries, like the bud of a Rose half 〈…〉 hence came the word 〈◊〉

I think with the Ancients, that 〈◊〉 is some∣thing in these parts that distinguis•••n Virgins from women, which is violated in the fi••• copu∣ltion: many say they have it: and we may be∣lieve them. For it is certain that hre is an al∣teration at first in Vigins which causeth pain, and bleeding which is a sign of Virginity.

But what this is, it is not yet known mai••••∣ly. Some say it is a nervous membrane, with small veins, which bleed at the first bout. Some say there are our Caruncles tied together with small membranes. Some have observed a fleshy Circle about the Nymphae with obscure little veins, which makes the membrane not to be ner∣vous but fleshy.

To be short. I suppose it to be certain, that the part which receives the Yard, is not in them that have used a man, as in Virgins, nor is it a∣like in all; and this hath caused the diversity of opinions in Anatomists. Moreover this is not found in all Virgins, because some are very lust∣ful and when it itcheth, they put in their finger, o some other thing, and break the membrane: sotimes the Midwives break it.

Question 2. Whether do all Virgins at the first bout, or Copulation, bleed?

The Africans had a custom to shut the Bride* groom and the Bride up in a Chamber, after they Page  98 were married, till they prepared the Wedding∣dinner. And an old woman stood at the door, to receive a bloody sheet from the Bridegroom, that she might shew it in triumph to all the guess, and that then they might east with joy. And if there was no blood to be seen, the Bride was to be sent home o her friends with disgrace, and the guess went adly home without their Din∣ners.

Some say from experience, that some honest Virgins have lost their Maiden-heads without bleeding, and that it is a certain sign of Virgini∣ty when they bleed, and when they do not, they ar not to be censured as unchast. I hold that young Virgins will bleed but when they are in years, by reason of the long continuance of the terms, the parts are harder and larger; and if the mans Yard be small, there is no necessity of bleeding. Or if the girl was wanton asore, and by long handling, hath dilated the part, or broke it, there is no blood after copulation. Therefore Deut. chap 22. the Law of Moses is taken for that which happeneth often, and for the most part. And there can be no more gahered fom hence, but bleeding is an undoubted sign of Vir∣ginity. The same may be said of the African cu∣stom.

Question 3. Whether is the straitness of the pri∣viies a sign of Virginity?

The privities are straiter in some according t age, habit of body, and other circumstances, and Virgins are straiter then women that have been at it. But I deny that straitness is a certain ar∣gument of Virginity. For after many acts of Ve∣nery, it may be made so strait by astringent MedicinesPage  99 that Whores may be taken for Virgins; as we shewed concerning a Wench that was mar∣ried, and to appear a Virgin, she used a Bath of Comrey roots.

Question 4 Wh••her is Mik i the breasts a sig o Virginity lost?

Some say that there can be no milk in the beasts, til a woman hath conceived: and Vir∣gins have neither the cause nor the end why milk is made. And the terms stot do rather corupt then turn to milk. And though there be alwaies in the breasts a faculty to make milk, yet doth it not shew its power, but upon an object, and for some end.

Some say that Virgins may have milk, and* urge this Saying of Hipporaes, If any have milk whn she is neither with child nor breeding thir erms are stopt. Galen is of the same opinion, and* though it be seldom, et he saith it is possible And Alexander Benedictus and Christopher de Ve∣ga saw it.

We shall not contradict Hippocrates and expe∣ience, but there is a twoold milk. The one of Virgins. The other of those that have brought forth or conceived. The first is made of blood, that cannot get out at the womb, but goes to the breasts; and this is nothing but a superfluous nourishment of the breasts, that turns milk by he faculty of the breasts, without the company f a man or concpion. Te other is only when here is a child: of this milk it is true what Hip∣•••rates* writes, It is a certain sign of a Mole, when rat bll••d women hae no milk in their breasts.nd true milk in the breasts is a sign of a live hild in the womb.

Page  100 These milks differ in respect of the blood, and diversity of the veins that bring it to the breasts, and though both are white, yet that of Virgins is thinnest, no is it so much, nor so sweet; this* may breed in the veins according to Aristotle, from the supersuous nourishment of the breasts: and if Virgins have it, they are not to be termed nchast.