New this week: Mrs. Pinkham's Fruits and Candies booklet (late 1920s) - Camelia ad (French, 1970s) - Menstrual humor - DIRECTORY OF ALL TOPICS - newest news

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

Your MUM Picks a New Member of the Board of Directors

The museum welcomes Rachel K. Sobel, a senior history-of-science major at Harvard University, who joins the board of directors of this museum. Her interests include the tampon and menstrual cup industries, especially their advertising. She is from Hollywood, Florida.

Ms. Sobel wrote two articles for the 3 August issue of U.S. News and World Report, "Irradiation kills E. coli, not taste," and "Copying a multitude of mice."

Reminder: The Museum Closes Until 7 November, But This Site Marches On

Read more about this.

Letters to Your MUM


My name is [name withheld] and I'm from England.

Although we're all supposed to be as (or more) "uptight" than Americans, most of us (or at least the ones I've met) are quite down to earth when it comes to the body.

Touching oneself is not forbidden, talking about it is forbidden! [Isn't that interesting? It's true of many things.]

Anyway, to the reason I'm writing this e-mail: I'm in my early 30s and I have heard of, and seen, a huge variety of sanitary pads and tampons available in the past or now, but I've never heard of menstrual cups before, and I know that neither my mother nor her mother (who have tried many varieties themselves over the years) have ever heard of these either.

Maybe if the companies who offer these innovations were to try marketing them in the U.K. (where the National Health Service allows resentment for having to pay for sanitary protection) they might pick up in sales and even recover (after all, we saved "Baywatch" [an American television program] - NOTHING to do with me, I might add!).

Well, it's just a thought, anything that may save me spending hundreds of pounds for something that I can't control, and isn't my fault (unlike dangerous sports and drug taking, the effects if which are treated for free), would make me a lot happier!

That's got that off my chest, now before I go I would like to say I love your site, and if ever I'm in the U.S.A. I will visit your museum.


an English wife and mother.

P.S. If cups ever do make it to [the writer's hometown], I will make sure my daughter is also aware of them.

A letter from Malaysia:


We used cloth folded to make into a pad. We had difficulty walking because during the heavy flow and we had to make the cloth thicker. We always got a stained skirt. We were very ashamed.


I am so totally fascinated by this Web site. I am 41 1/12 years old, fairly well educated, intelligent and have ALWAYS wondered what women did in the past during their menses. I have speculated with family and friends over the years, guessing about the use of washable rags.

I remember those horrible belts and but never saw the new washable pads [and here are some Norwegian knitted washable pads, probably from the 19th century]. (Was I glad when beltless came around.) [It appeared in the early 1970s.] It was very interesting to me how the word Kotex came about (COTton - like TEXture); I am always fascinated by those types of things.

At first, I have to admit, for a fleeting second I thought, "this guy is strange." [Please!] However, I am sure I am like many women (or just people) in general who wonder about this bit of real-life history.

I am sending your Web site to my niece and maybe she will send it around as well. I would just like to thank you for MUM.

And more on the Keeper and Instead menstrual cups:

Hi! Can you stand one more [comment about menstrual cups]?

I've just finished my third period with The Keeper. I tried Instead, but just as one of your other readers commented, I have a uterus that is tipped backwards. Instead popped out and it was very hard to insert for me. In fact, I even had my doctor insert it! That's how frustrated I got. Finally I gave up.

The Keeper is much better. It never leaks and I can wear it for an extended period of time. It is a little painful to insert, though. It's very eager to pop open and so I'm finding I'm having to insert two fingers and the twice-folded Keeper. It's certainly worth it, though.

I've taken to looking for "private" (single-person) washrooms near my usual haunts. For example, there is a coffee shop near my office with a private bathroom and I go there to empty my Keeper rather than the office bathroom because I can be alone and wash the Keeper with hot, soapy water. Other users may want to start looking for "private" bathrooms, too.

Incidentally I am extremely susceptible to yeast infections; however, I have not had a single once since I began using the Keeper.

Hi, Harry (G'day from Australia)!

I think your museum is the BEST idea I have ever seen in my life!!! [Good Lord!]

I for one am heartily sick of the great taboo surrounding menstruation. As a woman, I'd prefer to be "allowed" (societally speaking) to revel in what I think is a most amazing process. OK, it can be messy, and - personally, very crampy - but when I think of how complicated all the hormone interactions involved are, it strikes me as an incredible thing! It pleases me more to know a MAN thought up the museum, and WANTED to find out about the culture/history etc. of menstruation.

I thought this joke would be a good one for the collection:

Why do pubic-hair crabs like tampons?

Because they can go bungee jumping on the string!!!

I'd really like some information (addresses, pricing, range of the pads they offer) on any companies which manufacture and supply washable menstrual pads in Australia or New Zealand. I am prepared to order them from the U.S .if no one provides for their Aussie 'sisters,' but with our Australian dollar being so weak against the greenback (U.S. dollar) at present, it adds about 40% to the cost of anything I order. [I do have an address for a New Zealand company that I will post when it surfaces.]

Look forward to your response, and keep the jokes and news coming!

By the way, has the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research had another conference since their '97 one? [No. The next one is in June 1998 in Arizona.]

The Portuguese joke - see the joke and its comments scattered about on this page - gets clearer:

Dear Harry,

I was just reading your humor pages and thought I might be able to clarify a word for you. Espantado, in Spanish (which I speak) in addition to meaning frightened also means amazed, awed, etc. I believe the manager would have felt these rather than having been afraid of the salesman's skill.

I had heard this joke before from my father in a slightly expanded version. It's easier to say jokes than write them down with proper comedic effect.

Humorously Yours!

Urgent request! Does any English speaker reading this know Italian well? I have what looks like a series of jokes, sent from Italy, but I can't read them. Please contact your MUM!

Here's a press release:

For Immediate Release


"The Midlife Health Center"


Website Responds to Women's Needs for Mastery of Menopausal Health

Women's Health Interactive (WHI) announced the introduction of its newest Web-based learning center, "The Midlife Health Center." The "Center" responds to hundreds of direct requests for information received each month from women who are approaching menopause (or perimenopause).

Marilyn Hodge, Managing Partner for Women's Health Interactive, said, "when we developed the Web site in 1995, we were ahead of the curve. In general, women were just beginning to see the need to have control over their lives; women's use of the Web was relatively light; and most potential sponsors saw limited value in the interactive medium. Times have changed! We now see tremendous activism by women who want to have personal mastery of their health; the activity on the Web site clearly indicates that the midlife woman is looking to this medium for knowledge; and potential sponsors are recognizing the value of our unique interactive learning environment."

"The Midlife Health Center" follows two other major resource centers introduced by Women's Health Interactive: The Gynecologic Health Center, and The Infertility Center. Sponsorships for these Centers are provided by Valleylab/US Surgical and Serono Laboratories respectively. Additionally, the company offers WHI's Center for Women's Health Services, a national directory of women-centered service providers, and the Consumer Research Center. It now features the Quality of Life Study: Perimenopause/Menopause (

Our goal is to continue to develop information and education that supports women's health care needs.

Many thanks. If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Marilyn Hodge

Managing Partner

For real?

Is this for real?

Have you considered locating it [this museum] in Philly [Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.]? Philly has been trying to grab the spotlight for anything and everything in the last few years, and we LOVE to have something that New York doesn't have. You'd probably get a lot of free media coverage for your grand opening.

I was looking up gymnasts on the Internet when I stumbled upon this and it sure caught my eye! [She was probably looking for former Olympians Cathy Rigby or Mary Lou Retton, who made ads for menstrual products.]

Help is on the way!

I just visited your Web site for the first time, having seen a reference to it in The New York Times section on women's health. I'm a teacher of women's studies so I am especially interested. I don't have any good ideas about how to make your dream of the museum a reality but I will share this with my students next semester.

Dear Mr. Finley:

Very nice site!!

We have done a lot of research over the last few years and have discovered that a lot of people menstruate, so we thought it was about time that someone made an album of music for them - so we did. You can see our Web page at:

There are song clips on the song page, and if you e-mail us we would be very happy to send you a cd. [Yes!]

Rag On,

The Duncan Guy Band


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: Mrs. Pinkham's Fruits and Candies booklet (late 1920s) - Camelia ad (French, 1970s) - 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

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