Frightening Medical Treatments of the 1800's

Ah, the Victorian age,  often brings to mind grand estates with beautifully manicured gardens and glamorous women in romantic dresses, walking in the park with perfect gentlemen.  

But what about the other side of the Victorian era?  The side that everyone would rather push under the rug. The scary medical treatments of the 1800's when people were killed frequently, by dangerous tactics that were supposed to make them well.

Here are some of the most frightening medical treatments of the 1800's:

Before 1870 patients were not put  under general anesthesia prior to surgery. They were in fact awake and in terrible pain. Brandy was often offered to them to help with the excruciating pain they felt.  The physicians biggest goal at that time was to perform the procedure as quickly as possible so as to lessen the pain of their patient as much as they could. 


Consumption, which is also known as tuberculosis was thought to be a disease that only affected people who were  sinning. People who drank alcohol, masturbated, smoked or committed infidelity.  The treatment used in these cases was a mixture of gas that was inserted into the patients rectum. 

Laudanum  was a mixture of opium and alcohol and was used to treat dying, to ease their pain. It was also used for a wide variety of other health ailments, such as cholera, colds, dysentery, PMS and cholera.  It was easily found at any pharmacy and was very inexpensive.

This terrible disease killed thousands of people during the 1800's.  It caused severe cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and dehydration.  The treatment for this disease was turpentine enemas and pouring boiling water on them.

In the 1800's women who had symptoms such as, moodiness, headache, and lower abdominal cramping (what we today know as PMS) would be treated by bringing the woman to an orgasm. They were called paroxysms in those days, because it was widely believed that women could not achieve  orgasms or sexual satisfaction. If the case of hysteria was severe, it was treated with a hysterectomy.   Although, this was a last resort because hysterectomies at that time had only a 30 percent survival rate, because of sepsis.

Teething babies were often given a mix of gin and opium, which was supposed to calm them. Unfortunately many babies died from this lethal combination. 

A highly toxic mineral called calomel was used to treat STDs. It was actually mercury chloride and would be given in the form of a tablet or an injection. It would frequently demolish a person's intestinal lining and the lining of their stomach and they would die a slow painful death. 

What do you think about these frightening medical treatments? Comment below!