US 3079921 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Mgrch 5, 1963 e. BRECHT ETAL ABSORBENT PRODUCT Filed April 17. 1959 2a i i j inches to about two inches in length.
George Brecht, New Brunswick, and George C. Graham,
.lr., Colonia, N.J., assignors, by mesne assignments, to Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick, NJ., at corporation of New Jersey Filed Apr. 17, 1959, Ser. No. $07,083 3 Claims. (Cl. 128285) This invention relates to tampons and more particularly to novel and improved catamenia-l tampons which expand greatly when moistened to provide a more efiective barrier to the flow of menstrual fluid.
The average vagina is in the general form of a collapsed tube which defines a plane about three and onehalf to four inches long and tapering in width from about two to two and one-half inches wide at the cervix to substantially a closed tube at the vaginal orifice. The direction of the plane defined by the collapsed tube with respect to the body is determined by the position of the body; e.g. it shifts with respect to the body, depending upon whether the body is in the prone position, standing position, or is on the side.
' When a tampon is inserted into the vagina, it pushes the vaginal walls apart to provide an opening for the tampon. In the interests of ease of insertion and re- 'moval, and for comfort during use, conventional cata menial tampons are customarily made cylindrical in the shape of an elongated cylinder range in size from about seven-sixteenths of an inch to about five-eighths of an inch in diameter and from about one and one-half In view of the difierences in sizes between a conventional tampon and the vagina, the tampon does not fill the vagina and, in
many instances, is positioned next to a side wall when inserted therein. As a result, menstrual fluid bypasses the tampon and flows out through the vaginal orifice, resulting in tampon failure.
Further, since the vagina is in the form of a collapsed tube, a conventional tampon contacts only certain portions of the walls of the vagina and does not contact the remaining portions. In eflfect, the result is the same as inserting an object cylindrical in cross section into an elongated slot. The object may contact the top and bottom walls of'the slot, but does not contact the walls on either side.
In use, conventional highly compressed tampons expand to some extent. Upon absorbing menstrual fluid, some of the forces holding the absorbent fibrous materials in their setcondition are released, permitting the tampon to expand more or less uniformly and resulting -in an increase in tampon size.
However, the increase in size and the direction of the increase due to such expension is negligible and is insignificant in forming a more effective barrier to the flow of menstrual fluid. The size diiferentialbetween the vagina and the expanded tampon, particularly with respect to the diameter of the tampon and the width of the vagina, is substantially the same as that existing before the tampon expands.
It is an object of this invention to provide a tampon which expands appreciably after introduction into the vagina to provide a more effective barrier to the flow of It is another object of this invention to provide a catamenial tampon ofthe highly compressed type which expands greatly in a diametrical direction when moistened with menstrual fluid to a size substantially larger than its original size. It is a further object of this invention to provide a highly compressed catamenial' Y tampon which may contain conventional ice absorbent materials and a highly expansi-ble element of different material. It is a still further object of this invention to provide a compressed, cylindrical tampon of conventional size and of increased absorbency which may be readily and easily withdrawn from the vagina after use. Other and further objects of the invention will become apparent from a consideration of the attached drawing and the following specification wherein a preferred embodiment of the invention is illustrated and described.
Referring to the drawings,
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a tampon incorporating the invention contained within a conventional applicator for introducing the tampon into the vagina;
FIG. 2 is a view of the pelvic area of the female body taken in a plane through the cervix and vaginal orifice and illustrates a tampon of the invention in position directly after introduction in the vagina;
FIG. 3 is a view similar to FIG. 2 and illustrates the manner in which the tampon expands upon being moistened with menstrual fluid;
point of their length and secured with a withdrawal string prior to compressing into an elongated'cylindrical shape to form the tampon.
In the illustrated embodiment of the invention, there is shown a tampon 1 in the form of an elongated cylinder containing absorbent material, such as absorbentcotton, rayon, paper or wood pulp, and formed by compressing one or more bats or sheets of such material into the desired shape. The tampon may be inserted into the vaginal cavity by means of an applicator 2 consisting of an outer tube 3 and an inner tube 4 arranged in a telescopic fashion, with the inner tube longitudinally'movable in the outer tube. The tampon fits snugly within one end of the outer tube and may be ejected from the tube by moving the inner tube longitudinally within the outer tube in the direction of the tampon. A withdrawal string 5 is preferably attached to one end of the tampon to facilitate its removal from the vagina after use. The ends of the string extend through and beyond the inner tube so that they are accessible. i
When an elongated cylindrical tampon of conventional shape and size is introduced into the vagina 6, it generally assumes a position therein similar to that shown in FIG. 2. The tampon does not fill the vagina because the vagina is in the form of a collapsed tube and because of the differences in size between it and the 'yagina. The tampon may lie adjacent aside wall 7, or in the middleof the vagina as shown, thereby leaving an unobstructed path along which vaginal fluid may flow from'the cervix 8 out through the vaginal orifice 9. I
In accordance with this invention, a more effective barrier to the flow of menstrual fluid may be obtained by providing a tampon which when moistened expands, particularly in a direction more or less diametrically, to a size considerably larger than its original size and contacts more of the surface of the vaginal walls than earlier tmpons. In addition, due to the increase in volume resulting from expansion, the tampon of the invention presents more absorbing surfaces, thereby increasing its effective absorbing capacity. r
A tampon having these advantages may be formed of a plurality of layers of absorbent'material arranged as a laminate extending in the direction of the'length of the tampon. The layers of absorbent material adjacent each and size.
other are in intimate contact over a portion of their surfaces and are mutually adherent to some extent due to the compression applied to form the tampon. However,
the layers are not fixed in position and at least portions thereof may be moved away from each other.
The absorbent layers are so arranged that they may be moved from their original positions to increase the size of the tampon to contact more of the vaginal wall surfaces to form a more eltective barrier to the flow of fluid from the cervix to the vaginal orifice. Such movement of the layers may be obtained by incorporating into the tampon a highly compressed material, also preferably absorbent, which expands sufliciently when moistened to urge the layers of absorbent material in an outward direction away from each other and towards the walls of the vagina. A compressed, absorbent sponge of regenerated cellulose is particularly suitable for this purpose because it may be compressed to a narrow width and then expanded to an appreciable extent when moistened. Other suitable materials may be satisfactorily employed including natural sponges, other synthetic sponge-like materials, such as the various types of vinyl sponges made from vinyl alcohol,
.vinyl chloride and copolymers, and fibrous materials, in-
cluding synthetic fibers. The material used should be highly compressible, capable of retaining its compressed form until moistened, and should expand sufiiciently when moistened to move the adjacent absorbent layers as desired.
In one form of the invention, a suitable tampon approximately one-half inch in diameter and one and three-quarter inches long may be prepared by forming a laminate of the type illustrated in FIG. consisting of the upper layer and lower layer 11 of absorbent cotton each about four inches long and about one inch wide. The lower layer 11, which becomes the outer layer in the finished tampon, is preferably made lighter in weight than the iPPer layer 10 to minimize any restricting effect the outer layer may exert against the expansion of the expandable material in the interior of the tampon. By way of example, the lower layer may weigh about one-half gram and the upper layer about one and one-half grams. An inner strip of highly compressed regenerated cellulose sponge 12 about three and one-half inches long, three-sixteenths of an inch wide and one-eighth of an inch thick and expandable to a thickness of about five-eighths of an inch when moistened with menstrual fluid is positioned centrally between the layers of absorbent material and in longitudinal alignment therewith. In the completed tampon, a total expansion after moistening of about one and one-quarter inches may be obtained in the illustrated example because the sponge is doubled upon itself. The sponge is so positioned that it will expand towards the adjacent absorbent layers. The ends 13 of the sponge preferably terminate short of the ends 14 of the absorbent layers, which are normally softer, so that the ends of the sponge will be covered with the absorbent layers in the finished tampon to impart comfort.
The laminate so formed may then be tied together at the midpoint of its length so that the thicker upper layer 19 forms inner layers 15 in the finished tampon and the thinner lower layer 11 forms outer layers 16. The layers extend in the direction of the length of the tampon with the strip of the cellulosic sponge '12 intermediate the inner and outer layers and extend in the same direction. The folded laminate is then placed in an elongated cylindrical die of the desired dimensions and compressed to shape. Upon removal from the mold, it may be placed in the applicator of the type shown in PEG. 1.
Upon introduction into the vaginal cavity with the applicator, the tampon assumes a position similar to that shown in FIG. 2 and retains essentially its original shape When vaginal fluid moistens the tampon, the sponge 12 expands in the direction of the layers of absorbent material on either side thereof, as shown in FiGS. 3' and 4, forcing outer layers 16 outwardly in a direction away from the longitudinal axis of the tampon and towards the vaginal walls. The inner layers are not moved appreciably since they are in intimate contact with each other. The end of the tampon to which withdrawal string 5 is attached will not expand appreciably because its movement is restricted by the string. Also, in the form illustrated, the opposite end of the tampon does not expand to any great extent because the sponge terminates short of the end of the tampon. The ends of the layers of absorbent material which extend beyond the ends' of sponge become mutually adherent to some extent when compressedand consequently restrict expansion of the tampon. However, the sponge may, if desired, be extended to the end of the tampon to obtain expansion at that part.
When fully expanded, the tampon. illustrate-d assumes an oval configuration along its longitudinal axis with its major dimension in alignment with the length of the vagina. In its expanded form, the tampon is increased in size considerably and thus forms a more effective barrier to the flow of menstrual fluid. It may easily be withdrawn after use because of its generally curved configuration.
The above described tampon expands mainly outwardly in a direction diametrically of the tampon. The tampon is, therefore, desirably so inserted in the 'vagina'that it will expand in the direction of the plane defined by the collapsed tube form which the vagina assumes. However, if the tampon is not so inserted intravaginally, it will function satisfactorily because the tampon, after expansion, will tend to shift so that it will locate itself in alignment with the defined plane. In addition, the plane will also shift somewhat and tend to conform in alignment with the form of the expanded'tampon. Iflit is desired to provide a tampon incorporating the same principles and which expands in more than two directions, suitable constructions embodying the invention may be utilized. For example, a tampon which expands mainly in two diametrical directions may be obtained by forming two sets of laminar constructions similar to that illustrated in FIG. '5 which overlie each other and are positioned to form a cross, folding each set in the manner illustrated in FIG. 6 and then compressing to form the tampon. In another form, the width of the sponge, or its eqiiival'eut, may be made wider than that described above, and may even be made coextensive with the inner and outer layers if desired. In this form, the main expansion of the tentpon will still be in a diametrical direction, but appreciable expansion will be obtained in other directions. It is apparent, therefore, that in providing tampons embodying the invention, the tampon dimensions, the amount of material used, the extent to which they are compressed to form the tampon, and other features of constnuction and other factors regarding tampon dimensions and tampon preparation may be suitably varied within wide ranges while still rem-ainin within the spirit and scope of the in vention.
What is claimed is:
1. A highly expansible tampon comprising an elongated cylindrical body of compressed absorbent material,
said absorbent material being arranged as a plurality 2. A highly expan-sible tampon comprising an elon gated cylindrical body of compressed absorbent material, said absorbent material being arranged to form at least two individual interior and exterior sections extending lengthwise of the tampon, said exterior sections being movable outwardly with respect to said interior sections, and a layer of compressed, absorbent, highly expansible material in the interior of the said tampon intermediate said interior and exterior sections, said expansible material, when moistened, causing said tampon to expand primarily diametrically by moving said exterior sections outwardly.
3. A highly expansible tampon comprising an elongated cylindrical body of compressed absorbent material, said absorbent material being arranged as a plurality of individual interior and exterior sections extending lengthwise of the tampon, said exterior sections being lighter in weight thanrsaid interior sections and being movable outwardly, and compressed, absorbent, highly expansible means in the interior of the said tampon intermediate said interior and exterior sections, said expansible means, when moistened, causing said tampon to expand primarily diametrically by moving said exterior sections outwardly.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,254,272 Crockford Sept. 2, 1941 2,328,795 Pinks Sept. 7, 1943 2,845,071 Wade July 29, 1958