This question is a bit strange, is there any information about women’s menstrual hygiene during Tudors times? Were they considered “unclean” during their menstual cycle?

This is something that I've been curious about too but it is entirely skipped over in history books on the period, I think because it was not something that was really spoken about. We have had discussions over at The Elizabeth Files forum about menstruation - see and we think that women would have used rags (cotton cloth) to 'mop up' the flow.

There is an interesting article on Elizabethan attitudes to menstruation at and another one at ATTITUDES TO MENSTRUATION IN SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY ENGLAND by Patricia Crawford which can be purchased for $25. Medieval Blood by Bettina Bildhauer - and on Amazon - looks good too.


9 thoughts on “This question is a bit strange, is there any information about women’s menstrual hygiene during Tudors times? Were they considered “unclean” during their menstual cycle?”

  1. Mya says:

    Yeah and did the women have to walk around and have…blood go everywhere..?

    1. Claire says:

      I think that they would have used cloth/rags to absorb the flow. The fact that the Queen’s sheets were checked to make sure she was still menstruating means that it was natural for the sheets to get bloodied. Not nice!

  2. Mya says:

    I asked that because i’m not sure…well actually i doubt they had pads or tampons.

  3. Mya says:

    Ugh, i’d hate to lay in a bed of blood though. And that sounds like an invasion of privacy but i guess they had to do what they had to do back then.

  4. Molly Housego says:

    There is evidence that ‘course cloths’ were used as a kind of pad, held in place by the Tudor equivalent of the ‘sanitary belt’ (some of the older generation might remember those!)

  5. Bethan Jordan says:

    They were considered unclean, yes, although certain individuals actively embraced their wives’ menstrual periods. One such man was John Dee, the famous astronomer of the day.

  6. Christina Callinan says:

    Have always been fascinated in Tudor History even the word and the symbol of the Red flower as well as the War of the Roses with the Red and White rose has interested me over the years.
    Found today several tudor history websites when googling and most fascinated as to how Tudor women and women of later times handled being a women with mensuration, childbirth and other related topics.
    Sanitary napkins and tampons have been used since Egyptian times and even the ancient Greeks had a combined remedy for colleciton the menses, bloating and controlling pain experienced for the time of the month by using honey and herbs applied internally.

    The most interesting site is one by a writer entitles her well written book with the term “The Flowers” a much more interesting name for periods or mensuration.

  7. sandra fox says:

    just been watching The Tudors and am fascinated to know how they behaved regarding cleanliness, and underwear the ladies wore NEXT STOP LIBRARY

  8. Sophie says:

    I a trying to find out about all of the sanitary of the Tudors things like the water, hygine of women and about the streets can anyone help me?????

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