I found this story on @HistoryWeird's blog here. The original source was Ira Warren's The Household Physician, 1898 edition.
"Dr Ira Warren’s The Household Physician was one of the 19th century’s most popular medical guides, remaining in print for more than four decades. It offered extensive advice on sexual and reproductive issues, as well as menstrual health and hygiene (then furtively known as ‘women’s troubles’). According to Dr Warren, the age of first menstruation is determined by a number of factors:
"'It occurs much earlier in warm than cold climates. It is hastened by high living; by the whirl and bustle and excitement of city life; by reading novels which are full of love incidents; by attending balls, theatres and parties; and by mingling much in the society of gentlemen.'
"Warren also warns against the practice of intentionally suppressing or delaying or the monthly cycle. Some ladies do this to continue their social activities, he maintains, but it can be deadly:
"'Girls sometimes in their utter thoughtlessness or ignorance dip their feet in cold water, when their courses are upon them, and bring on a suppression of a most dangerous character. The most lovely and innocent girls have done this for the purpose of attending a party; and in some instances the stoppage induced has ended in death within a few hours.'"
Wow! Who knew that stopping your period was so easy?
I don't even have the time to recount all of the things wrong with this, or how the medical rhetoric reinforces the patriarchy. The idea that a woman's central organ was the uterus, to the point where stopping its natural function would kill her, goes into aaaaaall sorts of gender stuff that I don't have the strength to get into. *hands up, walking away*