New this week: "Are you sure I'll still be a virgin?" ad, Tampax tampons (American, February 1990) - (in German) Ein Beitrag zum Diskussionsforum: "Wenn Frauen sich riechen können"


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

Letters to Your MUM

A writer says the FDA never approved the cervical cap, and why:

As a former Enforcement Attorney for the FDA [Food and Drug Administration], and a user of the cervical cap, I can tell you that the writer has her facts wrong [an earlier writer wrote about the supposed dangers of cups, etc., but never sent me supporting information when I requested it]. The cervical cap has NEVER been approved in the U.S.; therefore, it never could have been withdrawn by the FDA. [According to the Web site of Cervical Cap Limited, the FDA approved their Prentif cavity-rim cervical cap in May 1988.] It was never approved simply because the manufacturer did not apply for FDA approval, which involves conducting lengthy clinical testing. It is approved in Europe, and knowledgeable insiders at the FDA (as well as my ObGyn) have told me it is safe and effective.

I don't know about the claims of increased bacterial contamination with the cup, but it sounds wrong to me. (I was involved in the Rely tampon recall, so I know a bit about the subject.) Both tampons and cups collect blood and bacteria and should be changed (tampons) or removed/rinsed (cup) regularly. [The Cervical Cap Limited people do not recommend their cap's use as a collector for menstruation because of the potential danger of toxic shock syndrome, even though no cases have been reported. It's made of latex, which is what the Instead cup is made of, and it was approved by the FDA. I have heard of no cases of toxic shock resulting from it.]

I do have a question: Is the cup similar in size to my cervical cap? [See photos of cups with measurements at the bottom of the menstrual cup page.] I.e., could I use it for menstruation? [The Cervical Cap people, above, don't recommend it for menstruation - see the comment above - and I believe it wouldn't hold much discharge; it looks much smaller than The Keeper, for example. According to their question-and-answer section, the cervical cap costs between $40 and $70, and a doctor must fit it, which would cost additional money. The Keeper menstrual cup runs about $35, is in two sizes, and doesn't require fitting. The Keeper does not surround the cervix; it sits low in the vagina. Read more comments about menstrual cups.]

An Australian reader chats about MUM and helping friends in a jam:

Hello from Australia!

I love your Web site.

I was actually looking up menopause and this museum site came up.

I am at the end of having menstrual problems and loved reading about menstruation and how women coped in the past.

When I was about twelve years old a school friend asked me to help her to use tampons as she was having difficulty. To this day I do not know why she asked me to help. I am nearly 44 years old. Needless to say I helped my friend and I have never been asked to help again, which is a relief. I guess she was embarrassed to ask anyone else.

[A museum of menstruation visitor, an undergraduate at the University of Maryland, who came with 14 of her classmates two years ago, told us that the tenderest moment she ever had with her mother was when the latter actually inserted the very first tampon into her daughter, who was lying on her bed, when the visitor asked for help.

At the other end of the spectrum, another member of the same group said her mother, a doctor, saw that she had started menstruating and handed her a box of Kotex, only saying, "You'll need these."

By the way, the group was about equally divided between the sexes, a demonstration that your MUM promotes an atmosphere for discussion, and that people can talk about the subject, even with the other sex. They should.]

Actually, it is quite strange, as a few days ago I was just wondering what it must have been like for women hundreds of years ago to menstruate and low and behold, I find your site.

Well done, even though it was started by a man. [!]

Nature magazine, which published Prof. Martha McClintock's extraordinary articles about menstrual synchrony and pheromones, announces a Web site for medicine:

Dear Colleague,

I am delighted to announce the launch of the entirely new Nature Medicine Web site, including the complete contents of the September issue. As always, you will find us at (

Until the end of October, all registered users will have free and unlimited access to the site - complete with searchable full-text articles and features, color charts and figures, free downloadable PDF files, and much more. At the end of this trial period, only our paid subscribers (to the print journal) will have this unlimited access.

Registered users will still be able to use many of the facilities on the site free of charge, including the search facilities and access to the complete tables of contents. Those who have neither subscribed nor registered will always have access to information about the journal and details of how to contact us.

Under Wraps Has a Web Site

The hour-long video Under Wraps, a great Canadian production dealing with people and events in current menstruation (so to speak), has pages on the National Film Board of Canada Web site. Canadians saw the show on television in 1997. Americans must buy it to see it, but it's worth it.

The video shows this museum and talks with me and some visitors; you'll also see artist Judy Chicago, writer Judy Blume, Dr. Philip Tierno, Jr., (a board member of this museum) and many others prominent in the field.

You will also see and hear a woman who lost several parts of her body to toxic shock.

This MUM site also has information about the film.

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.

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New this week: "Are you sure I'll still be a virgin?" ad, Tampax tampons (American, February 1990) - (in German) Ein Beitrag zum Diskussionsforum: "Wenn Frauen sich riechen können"



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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