In a horrifying tweet for the ages, a woman who says she is a nurse claimed she had seen several patients this week who had attempted to speed up their period through the misuse of a vacuum cleaner.
The woman said that two women, aged 19 and 23, tried to suck out their menstrual blood in a misguided attempt to end their period early.
“Ladies… Please stop using your vacuum hose to end your period early,” Twitter user OdesseyT99 said in a tweet. “You’re gonna wind up sucking out a lot more than blood! There were 2 cases of this so far this week and both women had to be admitted. Just… STOP!”
People had a lot of questions.
“They used the suction hose to suck out their periods hoping to end them early. They both sent themselves into shock instead,” OdesseyT99 explained over several replies. “I don’t know if it was Eureka, Dyson, Hoover or some Walmart brand, but yes… An actual vacuum cleaner.”
“[It’s] dangerous. Today’s vacuums are extremely powerful. They could have sucked out a lot more than blood.”
“Your period has a steady flow of its own that for all intents and purposes your body can tolerate. A vacuum increases that flow over 1,000 times which your body can’t tolerate, therefore sending you into shock.”
It’s not clear why the women would attempt this, though several people pointed out that this sounded like a home attempt at “menstrual extraction”.
Menstrual extraction was developed in 1971 by members of a reproductive health self-help clinic before Roe v Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling that established a woman’s right to decide for herself to bring a pregnancy to term as guaranteed under the Fourteenth Amendment, and any attempt to intervene by the state is a violation of her constitutional right to privacy.
Feminist activists Lorraine Rothman and Carol Downer invented the “Del-Em”, a homemade suction device. Whilst purportedly for removing menstrual blood, the kits were used as a way to perform home abortions.
The inventors downplayed it as an abortion device in order to avoid legal issues, instead claiming the primary purpose was to suck out menstrual blood so women could pass their entire period in one go, and trained other women to use the Del-Em to induce abortions.
The device is not safe by today’s standards, and was used primarily because safe abortions were not legally available by medical professionals at that time. Using a vacuum cleaner for the same purpose would be a lot more dangerous.
“You could damage the surface of your vagina, and you could risk bleeding or infection,” Dr Shazia Malik, a gynecologist at The Portland Hospital for Women and Children in London told Vice.
“You can imagine the germs on the end of your vacuum cleaner and the power of its suction. You could end up with genital trauma. You could damage your cervix and end up in excruciating pain.”
If you were to attempt to use it to speed up a period, it’s not only dangerous but it wouldn’t work either.
“Menstrual bleeding is an active and natural process, it’s not just sitting in the uterus in a pool that can be sucked out,” Dr Adeeti Gupta, an OBGYN and founder of Walk In GYN Care told the Mail.
Legal abortion means the procedures are regulated and performed by trained medical experts, resulting in safer procedures for women.
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