Menstrual blood was treated ambiguously. It was generally considered to have a healing effect and was used for producing drugs for women. There is no evidence that menstrual blood was used as a remedy for men, and there are indications that menstrual blood was considered impure for a man to touch. Women viewed menstruation as a ‘time for cleansing’. It is generally understood that Ancient Egyptians used menstrual ‘loin cloths’ and throw-away tampons, probably made by papyrus or a similar grass (during the Roman era the tampons were probably made out of cotton instead). Read more here at the Museum of Menstruation. The hieroglyph for menstruation (‘hsmn’) is above right.
Menarche usually began in the girl’s fourteenth year (according to medical texts). Linen rags were used as pads (they were called phulakia, meaning “protection against” in Greek). Marriage usually happened soon after menarche. Artemis was the goddess who presided marriage & childbirth (on the wedding night girls dedicated all their childhood toys to Artemis at her shrine as a parting to adolescence).
Medical texts refer to a “wandering womb” disease that struck pre-menstrual women & continued into early womanhood (particularly if the woman could not easily conceive). It was believed that if a woman did not menstruate or have children quickly the womb would wander the body causing hysteria, headaches, dizziness, vomiting, and suicidal thoughts.
Read more here at the Museum of Menstruation (MUM) website.