New this week: Instead, by Ariel Meadow Stallings - Menstrual Reflections, by Jessica Nathanson - Towards the Emergence of Menstruation, by Sibylle I. Preuschat

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Spring, finally!

Let's dance!! (Wait for the song to start.)

Letters to Your MUM

And let's sing of Lydia Pinkham!

Linda Semple, who works for a health board in Edinburgh, Scotland, sent this e-mail about the woman who was maybe the most famous maker of patent medicine in the U.S.A.

By the way, Americans in the nineteenth century, especially college students, also sang funny songs about Mrs. Pinkham, part of one being at the bottom of this page:

This is a wonderful site!

I've added a link to it on our internal network, just to see what happens when people stumble across it.

I'm sure that someone may already have told you about this [no], but there was a 'pop' group in the 1960s in Britain called 'Scaffold' whose main claim to fame was that one of them was Paul McCartney's brother and one was the Liverpool poet Roger McGough.

However, they had a long-running number one hit with what most people took to be a children's song called 'Lily the Pink':

We'll drink a drink a drink

To Lily the Pink the Pink the Pink

The saviour of the human race

For she invented medicinal compound

Most efficacious in every case.


Mr. Frears

Had sticky-out ears

And it made him awful shy

And so they gave him medicinal compound

And now he's learning how to fly.


Brother Tony

Was notably bony

He would never eat his meals

And so they gave him medicinal compound

Now they move him round on wheels.




Old Ebeneezer

Thought he was Julius Caesar

And so they put him in a Home

Where they gave him medicinal compound

And now he's Emperor of Rome.


Johnny Hammer

Had a terrible

He could hardly s..s..say a word

And so they gave him medicinal compound

Now he's seen (but never 'eard)!




Auntie Millie

Ran willy-nilly

When her legs, they did recede

And so they rubbed on medicinal compound

And now they call her Millipede.


Jennifer Eccles

Had terrible freckles

And the boys all called her names

But she changed with medicinal compound

And now he joins in all their games.




Lily the Pink, she

Turned to drink, she

Filled up with paraffin inside

and despite her medicinal compound

Sadly Picca-Lily died.


Up to Heaven

Her soul ascended

All the church bells they did ring

She took with her medicinal compound

Hark the herald angels sing.

(Incidentally, Picallilli is an English mustard and vegetable relish - hence the play on 'pickled.')

It is attributed to tradition, and arranged by McGough/McGear/Gorman which suggests that it may have had its origins in folk song. I would hazard a guess that it could have been a music hall (vaudeville) song which possibly became a children's rhyme - maybe it was a children's rhyme originally.

I'll keep searching - possibly there's something in the Peter and Iona Opie [famous English collectors of children's games and song] collection.

Keep up the incredible work.


Linda Semple

Research Assistant

Public Health

Lothian Health

148 Pleasance



Hi Harry,

I enjoyed visiting your museum. It was an assignment for a class but it is so interesting I am passing on the URL.

Good job, keep it up.

A man e-mails:

Mr. Finley,

I found your Web site very interesting and very informative! Good job on doing it with respect to a very natural occurrence! I have sent this link to many friends and family to educate them on something considered "Real Dark Information." I have added this to my list of "favorites" to share with others.

I was using Yahoo! to research "heating pads" and it listed the museum [!]. Since you were wondering. :-)

No need to explain yourself; it could happen to anyone.

Read more thoughts about menstrual cups

I really liked Instead [menstrual cup; picture at the bottom of the page, and compared with The Keeper. Read too this week's article Instead, by Ariel Meadow Stallings]. It allowed my husband and I to have sex during my period without any mess. Yes, I did have leakage when I coughed, but only once.

You may want to inform your visitors that they may still buy Instead on line at THE HOME PHARMACY [and by calling 1-800-INSTEAD; find them an many drug stores, too.]. They cost a little more than what some people are getting them for but if they are having as much trouble finding them in the stores as I am they may be willing to pay a little more.

By the way, I found your Web site VERY INTERESTING. Who knew the history of tampons, pads, and cups could be so entertaining? Although my husband thought it was weird but he isn't as open minded as you are.



I have used Instead for about a year. I think it's great. I was very dismayed to hear that the company may be failing. [It is risen from the dead. Call 1-800-INSTEAD.]

Tampons dry out my vaginal lining and are very irritating. Pads hold all the moisture next to my skin and are also irritating [see the "Dickinson Report," of 1945, which discusses this point and many others].

I had succumbed to tampons [No! Resist them, woman! Just kidding.], because they were the better of two evils. I love Instead. I am a college student, and it fits my lifestyle. I can do anything, and I have never had a problem with leakage. I have also never experienced any pain or damage from pulling it across my cervix. I did find that I had to get used to them, but I had to learn to use tampons, too. So, I didn't give up right away. I am now an avid user of Instead. And, being able to have sex during your period without mess is wonderful. One of my friends tried Instead, but was discouraged by the first use and didn't take the time to adjust. I think this is the major problem with cups. Not enough people use them regularly, and people don't have anyone to talk to about the insertion and removal.

When I first heard of the product [Instead menstrual cup], I had to try it immediately. That was a couple years ago and I still have the original box at home, mostly unused. It didn't work. It leaked, was uncomfortable during insertion, extraction and made a mess. I figured it failed because of my heavy menstrual flow. I tried the product again on a light flow day and had the same results.

I'll stick with tampons and pads. They may be archaic, but at least I have peace of mind while wearing them.


It's so great to have a resource that tries to look at the medical impacts of menstrual cups. I've been trying to find out if the FDA [Food and Drug Administration; you must read this, folks!] has checked out The Keeper or not [no, not for safety], and I blatantly refuse to put anything in an orifice that hasn't been tested. Hey, I'm an engineer, I LIKE scientific studies [me, too!!].

[There is an old study, financed by the manufacturer, of the defunct Tassaway cup.]

Anyway, I gathered from what I could find that neither the New England Journal of Medicine nor JAMA [Journal of the American Medical Association] or any other publications have run any studies on this, and (from your site) there doesn't seem to be much in the way of research. [You're right. But read what Dr. Philip Tierno has written.]

I'll keep checking out to see if anything shows, so if you hear of anything, please publish it! [I will!] I like the thought of a reusable menstrual product, but not the lack of concrete facts [I agree 100 percent].

Thanks for this great site, you're a boon to women (and men) everywhere! [Many thanks!]

Read comments older than about a year about menstrual cups, and more recent ones by clicking back through previous news sections. Here's more about the early Instead marketing campaign.

"I laughed, I cried, I gave up tampons!"

What an incredible site you've created - please, keep up the good work! I'm passing your Web address on to my friends and my three grown daughters.

Congratulations for your museum. It's very interesting and well-documented.

Yes, that's strange a woman did not this kind of museum [read why I started this museum and my ideas for its future], but you did a quite good job and may be more documented because you don't know anything (or so little) about wearing pads, tampons, etc.

Keep on - continue!

Good luck. [Thanks!]

Tell Your Congressperson You Support the Tampon Safety and Research Act of 1999! Here's How and Why

The BBC wants to hear from you if your cycle is a blessing, makes you creative, if you have experience with menstrual seclusion, or know about current research !

Here's your chance to say how you feel about menstruation!

Please, may I post a letter on your letter page?

I'm researching a documentary for the BBC [British Broadcasting Corporation] about menstruation - myths and facts and blessing or curse.

I have much information about the curse and predjudice but I am finding scant information about the blessing! I was thrilled to find medical information linking surgery for breast cancer and the menstrual cycle and the New Scientist report about differing medication levels required during the 28-day cycle, and the research about eating requirements differing during the cycle etc., but I want to hear from women who have evidence of the cycle as a blessing, for example, artists, writers, etc., who are at their most creative whilst menstruating.

I also want to meet women who practice menstrual seclusion, as with menstrual huts of the past [and of the present; women still use menstrual huts].

And anything and everything to do with research into menstruation.

Next week I am interviewing Mr Peter Redgrove and Penelope Shuttle who wrote the first book on menstruation that offered positive information, The Wise Wound, 1978. I am very excited about asking many questions resulting from the book. If you have any questions for them pertaining to the book or their second book, Alchemy for Women, about the dream cycle corresponding to the menstrual cycle, I would be delighted to forward them to them on your behalf. They are not on the net so any questions would have to have addresses!

Thank you so much for this glorious Web site [many thanks to you for saying that!] and I look forward to hearing from visitors to your site.

Ali Kedge. or

Help Wanted: This Museum Needs a Public Official For Its Board of Directors

Your MUM is doing the paper work necessary to become eligible to receive support from foundations as a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation. To achieve this status, it helps to have a American public official - an elected or appointed official of the government, federal, state or local - on its board of directors.

What public official out there will support a museum for the worldwide culture of women's health and menstruation?

Read about my ideas for the museum. What are yours?

Eventually I would also like to entice people experienced in the law, finances and fund raising to the board.

Any suggestions?

Do You Have Irregular Menses?

If so, you may have polycystic ovary syndrome [and here's a support association for it].

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.

New this week: Instead, by Ariel Meadow Stallings - Menstrual Reflections, by Jessica Nathanson - Towards the Emergence of Menstruation, by Sibylle I. Preuschat

PREVIOUS NEWS | First Page | Newest News | Contact the Museum | Menstrual Products Safety | FAQ | links | DIRECTORY OF ALL TOPICS

Take a short tour of MUM! (and on Web video!) - FAQ - Future of this museum - Tampon Safety Act - 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 - Religion and menstruation: A discussion - Safety of menstrual products (asbestos, dioxin, toxic shock syndrome, viscose rayon) - A Note from Germany/Neues aus Deutschland und Europa - Letters - Links

© 1999 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