New this week: Petra Habiger's A Note from Germany (Some information about the earliest menstruating animals, etc.) - Neues aus Deutschland und Europa (Frühgeschichte der Menstruation) - Toxic Shock Poem - Dr. Pierce's patent medicine - Menstrual humor - DIRECTORY OF ALL TOPICS - newest news

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

Letters to Your MUM

Hear a Voice from the Ozark Mountains (in the American South):

Dear Harry Finley,

What a Web site, and I laughed and laughed, and had to print it to look at again when I needed a lift!

I am an old gal of 63, and my first experience of menstruation at 10 years old was awesome. I was roller skating near my home, and we had few slacks then, so of course I was kicking my legs up when somebody told me I was bleeding from my leg. (A boy, of course.) So I ran home to find out where I cut myself.

My mother was in the hospital having an operation and an old aunt, long past menopause, was there babysitting my baby sister.

She fit me with this dumb sheet get-up and big diaper safety pins. I was so mad because she told me that I couldn't skate anymore. I found she was embarrassed, so when my Dad came home, I asked him why I was bleeding all over the place. He was a guy that always gave straight answers and told me a few facts.

I sat on my front steps and felt somebody played a big trick on me. Not only did I have this big wag of rags between my legs, but I was getting these big breast things and the boys I once wrestled with were starting to get curious. My older brother didn't have to put up with this stuff. Luckily I had an older girl friend and she gave me a sanitary belt and a Kotex pad and I used my little stash of money and bought my own pads later. It changed my whole life, and I was soon calling it the curse like some others I knew.

Your museum is long overdue, and as far as I am concerned the boys should learn about wet dreams and what it means, and little boys learn early in life that they sometimes get erections for no reason they know. [You're right!]

No wonder we live in such a crazy world. So thank you for being a man who had the foresight to show how it was, how it changed, and what it could be. [Take a tour of the museum when you're done with this page.] Human bodies are just that, and one of these days people will admit they masturbate and have itches and twinges, and menopause, and male and female hormones. All of us have, unless we are so repressed and ill we can't.

My foreign girlfriends I met through the years think we are all odd in America. We pass gas and never say excuse me, and we do all sorts of rude things and pretend we didn't. Isn't it laughable?

Bless you for your MUM.

[Name withheld] of the Ozarks

And the writer sent this when I asked her if I could use her letter:

Dear dear Harry,

You just put my letter in, because I am too old to care what others will think. Anyway, leave my husband's name off, he would be blushing at work! Ha!

I am the outspoken one. I grew up on the West Coast where we were treated somewhat more equally than they treat women here in this area [somewhere in the American South]. I still chuckle when some redneck thinks I might be nervous about sitting in the "good-ole-boy" section of the early morning spitters at the local cafe.

Ha! Have a ball. I would love to see your replies. [Start writing, folks!]

Do Women Ever Menstruate in the Movies?

Dear Harry,

I just wanted to comment that this stuff about Lydia Pinkham is interesting cultural commentary on that time period. In the movie "Terms of Endearment," there is a scene in a grocery store where the Debra Winger character doesn't have enough money for groceries, and she's trying to decide which items to put back. One of her children picks up a bottle of Midol [menstrual pain reliever] as a possibility, and she grabs it out of his hands, saying, "Oh, no you don't!"

And it just occurred to me that in all these "period" movies (pun?), like the (I thought very stupid) "Wings of the Dove," set in 19th century Venice, none of the women ever get their periods!!! I think it would be wonderful to go to one of these Henry-James-novel-adaption movies, and see one of the women grab for Lydia Pinkham's Vegetable Compound, in the same way that the Debra Winger character grabbed for the Midol. That would be an interesting tack, I think, "Menstruation in the Movies." Or "Menstruation NOT in the Movies," as the case would be.

An English Keeper User Tells How Happy She Is:

Yet another correspondence on The Keeper menstrual cup. I live in England and they are available here in case any other visitors to the site are interested. I got the address for mine from Cosmopolitan magazine (of all places!). I was a little worried to hear about the risk of toxic shock syndrome [TSS] on your Web site [because of the porosity of the rubber, it's possible that bacteria can lodge and grow there, but I do not know of any cases of TSS from The Keeper], but since I was using tampons beforehand, I don't expect the risk would be that much higher.

It's my first successful day of wearing The Keeper and like another visitor to your side, I just want to tell everybody about it!

I have almost told everybody at work, (whether they wanted to know or not) and have bored my boyfriend to death about how much I love it already. I am still finding it slightly difficult to use, but then it took me about a year to use tampons properly when I first started my periods, so I know I'll manage it with ease eventually. It has a habit of 'plopping' open before I've inserted it properly, but I'm sure I'll get the hang of that. It's just weird, it's made me feel incredibly liberated and I want to tell the world. It's nice too, to know that I won't have to buy any more tampons, nor carry them around, nor worry about forgetting one when I go out.

I've not encountered the public bathroom problem yet, but I'm sure I'll tackle it with no problem. At least I hope so. And I'm travelling to Nepal in October and I know it will be a lot better to use that while trekking, than to worry about disposal of anything else.

Thanks for giving me some space to tell the world. I can't wait for my next period, it's that exciting!

And how to clean the Keeper menstrual cup:

The instructions for the Keeper explicitly state that you should not boil or bleach the Keeper. Industrial dishwashers and possibly even household dishwashers may be far too hot to put the Keeper in without damaging it. Also, some industrial dishwashers spray a bleach solution onto the dishes (or the menstrual cups if that's what your using it for), which may damage the Keeper.

I am quite eager to learn about any studies or tests done on the Keeper, regarding its safety and any incidence of TSS with the Keeper. Please keep us informed if you should learn anything new!

And thanks for devoting so much time and energy to the Museum. It's a wonderful resource for women AND men.

Oh, I received an e-mail from Eco Logique:


The Keeper has never had any health problems associated with it that have been reported to the FDA and Health Canada. A cousin of The Keeper has been around since the 1930s.

We suggest to our customers washing The Keeper in vinegar and water. I've been using my Keeper for five years and simply use vinegar and water with no problem.

There are no actual health studies on The Keeper that we could refer you to (other than testimonials from thousands of women).

We believe that this product is the safest menstrual product out there, along with washable pads.

Hope this helps.


Eco Logique Inc

How to Use the Instead Menstrual Cup, which now has a new owner:


I've used Instead for nearly two years. Previously I had used o.b. [tampons] and Always pads together on heavy days. Sometimes that didn't even work.

When I began using Instead I had a few accidents, but I paid attention to my flow and the clock and now do not have any problems. I can also feel (I must be very sensitive) when a gush is going to overfill and get to the toilet in time.

I have been told I have a tipped uterus, if this helps anyone else.

I began reusing them almost immediately [although the company sells them for one use only], when it occurred to me women reuse diaphragms and the cost of the cup was going to be prohibitive.

Single occupancy public restrooms are not a problem. For multi-use restrooms with stalls I simply use tissue in both hands to keep excess blood from my fingers and wipe the cup inside and out and reinsert. Be sure to have washed your hands before toileting (and afterwards, of course). The blood is not poison [see the second item down], so you should be OK until you can get elsewhere to wash it thoroughly. If this still presents a problem, bring an extra Instead along and wipe the used one and put it in a plastic zipper bag in your purse to clean later.

A woman just needs to pay attention to herself. I like the Instead as I didn't like the feeling of wearing a diaper and the accompanying hot, sweaty feeling and sometimes heat rash.

Since hygiene can be discussed here: make your own bidet of your bathtub. I have an old clawfoot tub that I attached a simple faucet tube-and-spray attachment to clean myself, without the bother of an entire bath or shower. I just straddle the outside rim with my foot bracing on the other side. Very simple. Your hand and soap and water are gentler than a washrag. I believe the combination of Instead and my 'bidet' have put yeast infections out of my life.

I originally attached the spray to the tub faucet to mini-shower my boys when they were little. I wasn't a mom who wanted to sit in the bathroom while they played in the water for every bath. Sometimes a bath with bubbles was enough for them.

I am interested in The Keeper, however. And if I remember I will post my experience, if I purchase one.

Thanks for the site. You're a swell guy. [Thank you!]

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

Read more about this.

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.

PREVIOUS NEWS | newest news | first page | contact the museum

New this week: Petra Habiger's A Note from Germany (Some information about the earliest menstruating animals, etc.) - Neues aus Deutschland und Europa (Frühgeschichte der Menstruation) - Toxic Shock Poem - Dr. Pierce's patent medicine - 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