From Health magazine
From epidurals (ahh!) to vagina lifts (boo!), here's Health magazine's list of the famous highs and lows in the last 20 years of female wellness.
1. The (modern) tampon is invented
Look, we’re not trying to knock the ancient Egyptians, who used softened papyrus to stem the monthly menstrual flood. (That definitely beats the lint wrapped around a piece of wood that the ancient Greeks favored.) But if Earle Haas, who devised the modern tampon in 1929, were alive today, we’d all wear white pants in his honor. Haas adapted a cotton surgical plug (“plug” translates to “tampon” in French) with two concentric cardboard tubes for easy insertion; he filed for the first patent for his “catamenial [menstrual] device” in 1931. Haas, a Denver osteopath, dubbed his new invention Tampax.
2. The Pap smear makes its debut
The next time your gynecologist tells you to “just relax” as she pokes at your cervix with a cotton swab, lie back and think of George Papanicolaou, the guy behind the roughly 75 percent drop in mortality rates from cervical cancer in the United States since 1941. Papanicolaou invented the Pap smear in 1941; the screening susses out iffy-looking cervical cells before they have a chance to become full-blown cancer.
3. Shirley Temple Black takes mastectomy out of the closet
Back when cancer was the whispered “C word,” before Betty Ford and Happy Rockefeller spoke out about their breast-cancer diagnoses, former child star Shirley Temple Black revealed that she’d had a mastectomy in 1972. Her action helped lift the disease’s stigma. Since then, the Pink Ribbon campaign has raised awareness and research dollars to find a cure, and women worldwide know to get screened.
4. The epidural is born
After his wife almost died from complications with anesthesia during the birth of their first child, John Bonica, MD, invented the epidural in the 1940s and used it on his wife the second time around. Nice, right? Tell your husband that the least he could do is take out the recycling.