New this week: World War II Tampax sign - Books about menstruation and religion - Menstrual humor - DIRECTORY OF ALL TOPICS - newest news

Call Your Congressman About the Proposed Tampon Safety and Research Act! Here's How and Why.

Get Menopause Information on Public Broadcasting

Dan Horowitz asked me to tell you to click on because

Beginning June 19th, a HealthWeek special focusing on menopause will air nationally for one week. The program objectively explores the range of options (both traditional and alternative) that are available to women for managing.menopause. It features Dr.Susan Love, author of the best-selling Dr. Susan Love's Hormone Book [she spoke at the last conference of The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research] and Dr. Marianne Legato, Director of the Partnership for Women's Health at Columbia University. It also details the personal stories of five women.

Healthweek is a weekly PBS consumer health magazine.

Your MUM Gets Nice Mail

Hi Harry,

I found your Web site informative and fascinating. Every page is interesting. I have spent a lot of time reading about it. Your approach is good and not what I expected. I suppose your perspective is different because you have never experienced it. [Very true!]

Putting it in the perspective of social and cultural history is very important. It also shows that the subject is relevant to all men and women. [I agree.]

Although women are aware of social and cultural implications, we may be more focused on the emotional and spiritual aspects. Whether I like it or not, menstruation is a big part of my life. It is not just a bodily function. It is an emotional experience and it marks the time when girls become women.

At first I was surprised to learn that a man had built the museum and Web site. But I released all my prejudices a minute after I started reading.

It is interesting that you have become part of the controversy and taboo surrounding the subject of menstruation. Keep up the fantastic work. I hope lots of men and women read and learn from your effort.

Peace, Love, Unity and Respect

I have been looking at your Web site over the past couple of evenings. (My husband comes into the room to see what I am doing and leaves grumbling!)

Today, I did the tour, and the Norwegian tour. One thing that came to mind during the part of the tour about belted napkins is that if you have to go into the hospital and you are "on the rag," you have to wear a belted napkin, because you don't get to wear anything else under those drafty little gowns! They don't allow tampons or cups, especially after having a baby. At least this was true 10 years ago, when I had my son, in a Canadian hospital.

I will return to view the rest of your site later, in spite of my husband.

Your Travelin' MUM

This e-mail arrived recently:

Dear Harry,

I am a [female] general practitioner (medical) in southeast Australia and have just been enjoying your Web pages on MUM. I want to let you know that I very much admire your courage and what seems to me to be a large amount of common sense and imagination. More power to you and to your establishment!

By the way, I agree entirely that it should NEVER be housed in a medical school if you really want people to see it. The thought has just occurred to me . . . what about a traveling version which could be set up even in major shopping malls, etc? [It might work, but see here.] Too ambitious perhaps? Oh well, one can live in hope!

The General's Knocking!

A male New Yorker writer sent this one:

Hi. I thought you might like to know that two traditional Chinese terms for menstruation are "Little red sister has come" and "The red general has grasped the door." [Both seem fitting for a communist country!]

Also, I write historical fiction set in the 1850's and was wondering if you could direct me to any information as to what women used at that time. Unfortunately, the Victorians did not advertise!

Actually, to some extent they did. At least by the late 1800s women could buy napkin belts advertised in mail-order catalogs.

I suspect the vast majority of women used washable rags and some kind of belt to hold them. There were too many reasons not to use homemade tampons (see the letter Why You Shouldn't Use Tampons below).

Can Talking Cause Menstruation?

Does this e-mailer discuss speech or pheromones?

I enjoyed reading your Web page. I was impressed with the awareness of menstrual timing or lunar cycles, and it is suggested that the only significant factors seem to be the amount of time the women spend together and the lengths of their cycles.

There is another psychological (or maybe not) aspect that happened with the females in my family, namely my mom and my sister. Every time one of us mentioned that we had our period - bingo - at least one of us, regardless if it was early, would get her period. At the age of 35, I am noticing it now with my friends and colleagues that the same thing is happening.

I wonder if this has been researched yet [not that I know of]. It is really mind boggling that some female colleague mentions her period and my body or other friend's body responds automatically. I get my periods almost within a few hours of someone telling me about her menstruation.

This is not male-researched subject, but something I want to ask other women out there.

Why You Shouldn't Use Tampons

An e-mailer from Knoxville, Tennessee (U.S.A.) sent this:

Dear Mr. Finley,

I am 23 years old, and I have learned more about menstruation from your little Web site than I have learned in a lifetime.

My mother also told me about the "being on the rag." She also was poor and had to use them. She also told me that later on she used a belt-like device.

However, she herself, and I find most older women here in the South, still use maxipads.

Why? Well, here is the social reason, and I kid you not. (Of course this does not apply to all classes in the South, just the social/country club set which set up rules for conduct.) First, I was told that if I wore tampons, I would not be a virgin. Second, you are told that no nice girls wear tampons until they are married. Next, you are actually told that they will stretch you out and men won't like you as much [!]. Of course, these probably all seem silly to you, and to most of my generation. However, most older women down South still will not wear them, because of the indication given: that they are not "ladies" or "nice women."

I myself wear tampons to the disdain of my mother since I am not married and ignore the social conventions.

Thank you for the wonderful information.

Has Anyone Heard of Dorval Napkins?

A surfer e-mailed me that he found this information in a question-and-answer site:

"1909 - The mill begins manufacturing sanitary napkins for women under the name Dorval Napkins."

If Dorval was disposable, it would greatly predate Kotex (1921) and be very early in the history of throwaway culture.

Your Thoughts on Menstrual Cups

(And read your earlier comments)

I used Tassaway and loved it. I hadn't had any children then and wasn't as heavy a bleeder.

Now I have an IUD [intrauterine device] and am a heavy, seven-day bleeder. I saw the ads for Instead (picture) and was SO excited; not now. The mess (and I am not a priss) was EXCESSIVE. [This is a common complaint; the company is in bankruptcy.] Perhaps because I knew I had to reach up and in so as not to risk compromising my IUD.

I am going to try The Keeper because of the tab that gives you more ease of removal. Wish me luck!!! But I cannot bear the Instead. Also, internally it is uncomfortably large (and I have had six children and 2 miscarriages!)

Thanks . . .

to the recent anonymous donor of a box of the menstrual cup Tassaway!

Menopause is the topic of a lecture and discussion in Baltimore, Maryland (U.S.A.), on Friday, 26 June 1998. Read more!

Do You Have Irregular Menses?

If so, you may have polycystic ovary syndrome.

Jane Newman, Clinical Research Coordinator at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard University School of Medicine, asked me to tell you that

Irregular menses identify women at high risk for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which exists in 6-10% of women of reproductive age. PCOS is a major cause of infertility and is linked to diabetes.

Learn more about current research on PCOS at Brigham and Women's Hospital, the University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania State University - or contact Jane Newman..

If you have fewer than six periods a year, you may be eligible to participate in the study!

See more medical and scientific information about menstruation.

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New this week: World War II Tampax sign - Books about menstruation and religion - Menstrual humor - DIRECTORY OF ALL TOPICS


Take a short tour of MUM! (and on Web video!) - FAQ - Future of this museum - Tampon Safety Act - Visit or contact the actual museum - Board of Directors - Norwegian menstruation exhibit - The media and the MUM - Menstrual odor - Prof. Mack C. Padd: Fat Cat - The science and medicine of menstruation - Early tampons - Books about menstruation - Menstrual cups: history, comments - A Note from Germany/Neues aus Deutschland und Europa - Letters - Links

© 1998 Harry Finley. It is illegal to reproduce or distribute work on this Web site in any manner or medium without written permission of the author. Please report suspected violations to