Horrifying Medical Practices from the Past
When we feel bad, we go to the doctors, but what happens if the doctor wants to drill a hole in your head? Today, we like to think that doctors know best. However, not all that long ago, a doctor might simply be the man or the woman holding the drill! A lot of surgery back in the good old days was done by the barber for some reason, and some of the things that doctors came up with as being good for you was anything but.
Check out these ten stunningly scary medical practices that will make you cringe!
If your head hurts, the doctor usually doesn’t promote drilling a hole in your head. However, trepanning is a procedure that is impressively old. Moreover, the skeletons that we discover with this distinctive hole show enough healing that many patients went on to live a full life. This is one medical horror that actually has a little basis in fact. Fluid in the skull causes immense pain, and a hole bored in the skull can relieve it.
Hot Pokers for Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the anal area, and they itch and hurt. Unfortunately, the medieval cure was often worse than the disease: doctors would press red hot pokers against the affected area! Things got a lot better when a Jewish doctor started recommending saltwater soaks instead.
They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but what about a leech a day? All the way up through the 1700s, people thought that putting leeches on various parts of the body would cure what ails you, from fevers to swelling from broken bones. Even more interestingly, some people continue to use them to this day.
Urine as Antiseptic
Thank goodness that today we have autoclaves and single use scalpels During the Enlightenment, it was recommended that surgical tools could be cleaned by urinating on them. On one hand, urine is sterile when it leaves the body. On the other hand… ew.
Up until the early part of the twentieth century, masturbation was called self-abuse and thought to encourage perverse behavior and thoughts. The Victorian solution to this supposed danger was to simply strap these nasty-looking devices over the privates of children and adolescents alike.
Pregnant Mare Urine
Transgender people have been present throughout all of history, and many cultures gave these people the tools that they needed to live out the lives that they wanted. The ancient Scythians recognized people who were diagnosed male at birth who needed to live as women, and that is where the urine of pregnant mares came in. This urine was chock-full of estrogen, leading to a reduction body hair, and the growth of breasts, among other things. Today, one of the drugs used to provide women with estrogen is in fact Premarin, which stands for pregnant mare urine.
Elderly people remember a fond time when soothing syrups really did the trick. You could give a suffering tot a bit of the syrup, and they’d be out like a light. What’s changed? Well, now we frown on giving children heroin. The opiates in soothing syrups used to be very powerful indeed, but perhaps we don’t need our kids to sleep that tight.
Male impotence has always been an issue, and the lengths that some people will go to get things going in that department have always been extreme. During the Victorian era, electric belts were all the rage to get things jump-started!
The ancient Egyptians have always been one step ahead of the game, and their medical system was no exception. Long before anyone came up with HMOs, they had doctors dedicated to different ailments and different body parts. They also recommended packing wounds with just about every kind of animal dung available. This has proven to be interesting effective, however, as there were often helpful bacteria in the dung they chose.
If you have a bad cut, one of the best things you could have done for it once upon a time was to pack the wound with moldy bread. Sometimes this fought off infection and helped the wound heal. As a matter of fact, this is how we developed penicillin.