US 3298369 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
MENSTRUAL DEVICE Filed June 13, 1963 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 J72 uerzibr:
Jan; 17, 1967 J. PIRIE 3,298,369
MENSTRUAL DEVICE Filed June 15, 1963 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 fan Pirzje United States Patent 3,298,369 MENSTRUAL DEVICE Jean Pirie, 1209 N. Astor St., Chicago, Ill.
Filed June 13, 1963, Ser. No. 287,547 12 Claims. (Ol. 12S285) trauma, odor, leakage, disposal problems, and a generally unhygienic and unesthetic characten Retentive means, as contrasted with absorptive, have been proposed in the past, including various intravaginal collecting devices. In practice, these proposals fall into two main classes; devices which are intended to cover or contact the cervix uteri, and devices which are intended to lie in the vaginal canal below the level of the cervix.
Devices of the first class include cervical caps which may consist of a collecting sac on a rigid ring, such as shown in US. Patent 1,986,504. US. Patent 2,309,868 teaches a similar device with a separate retaining ring to be fitted over the cervix, and U.S. Patents 2,616,426 and 2,613,670 teach other methods of providing cervical ring structures. Such devices have many important disadvantages, not the least of which is that they generally cannot be applied by the wearer but require application by a physician.
The conventional, flexible rimmed, contraceptive diaphragm covers the cervix by lying lengthwise in the vaginal canal, the diaphragm extending from behind the cervix to the symphysis pubis. US. Patent 2,195,065 teaches a modification of such a diaphragm adapting it to use as a menstrual device. Such devices must be carefully fitted necessitating at least one consultation with a physician; they cannot easily or conveniently be inserted for proper placement; and the fact that the diaphragm must be made in a variety of sizes to fit different wearers is disadvantageous from the standpoint of simplicity and cost.
Catemenial devices of the second class (i.e. those not coming in contact with the cervix) usually depend on frictional contact with the vaginal walls of a tube having a collecting sac or closure at the lower end. These devices have generally been made of an elastic material such as rubber so they may be folded for introduction into the vagina and released, whereupon they expand to their cylindrical shape and make occlusive contact with the vaginal wall. One such device is shown in US. Patent 1,891,761. It was early recognized, however, that such devices generally, and the flexible varieties specifically, tended to create a vacuum intravaginally which make subsequent withdrawal of the implement by the wearer difflcult or impossible. Thus, US. Patent 1,996,242 teaches a device of this class provided with air vents purported to relieve this undesirable negative pressure. The devices shown in US. Patents 2,089,113 and 2,534,900 provide vent-holes or tubes for the same reason. Such devices,
3,298,369 Patented Jan. 17, 1 967 'Food and 'Drug Administration to prohibit their sale except under a physicians prescription.
Other forms of devices of this general class, wherein prevention of leakage around the device is aided by absorbent means on the outer surface, are shown in US. Patent 2,061,384 and, adapted to a specialized tampon, in US. Patent 2,845,071.
Substantially all prior devices require the users manual contact with body parts and fluids, and further require cleaning for reuse of the device. Apart from such considerations of hygiene and aesthetics, an intravaginal device, for proper function per se, must meet several mutually contradictory desiderata, based upon the following facts: (1) The entrance to the vagina is provided with a functional sphincter comprising intrinsic musculature plus the external pubococcygeal and iliococcygeal muscles at the levator ani, and the puborectailis muscles, these latter being the main closures of the vagina. (Grant, Method of Anatomy, 4th Ed., p. 68, p. 359: Eastman, Williams Obstetrics, 10th Ed, p. 23-29.) Through their concerted action in the pelvic diaphragm of the perineum these muscles resist distention of the vaginal vestibule, hence, entry to the vagina proper. Consequently, the diameter of any intravaginal device should be small for easy, comfortable,.and safe introduction. (2) However, beyondthe sphincter, the vagina per se is a flaccid, functionally almost amuscular organ, the walls of which are normally collapsed, touching one another to give a cross section ofroughly H-shape and hence capable of relatively great radial distention without appreciable radial resistance. Consequently, .and contrary to the first requirement, an intravaginal occlusive device must, for satisfactory occlusion, .be of relatively large diameter. (3) Further, once introduced, an intravaginal device of large diameter receives maximum support and stability, and best resists inadvertent expulsion, if it rests upon or contacts closely, the shelf-like internal aspect of the sphincter of the vaginal orifice. '(4) Contact of an intravaginal appliance with the cervix uteri is preferably to be avoided; devices depending upon such contact are difficult to introduce and place properly, and usually must be individually measured and fitted. Moreover,'they are sources of possible tissue irritation and infection, and there is also medical evidence that undue or prolonged contact of foreign materials with the cervix may be a factor in the etiology of cervical (5) For safe use, introduction and removal of an intravaginal device must be accomplished without trauma to tissue.
It is, accordingly, the general object of this invention to provide a new and useful menstrual device.
It is a further object of this invention to provide such a device in the form of an intravaginal occlusive device which is easy and atraumati-c to introduce into the vagina, which does not require individual fitting or measuring for fitting to a particular user, which remains remote from the cervix uteri when in position yet makes effective occlusive contact with the vaginal wall, and which is readily and atraumatically withdrawn by the user when desired.
It is another object of the invention to provide a new and useful intravaginal occlusive device having a diameter which is variable, whereby it may be introduced while at a small diameter and may then be expanded to a larger diameter while in position in the vagina.
It is a further object of the invention to provide such a variable diameter device, the diameter of which may be reduced by the user for withdrawal of the device after its use.
Another object of the invention is to provide an intravaginal occlusive menstrual device which may be safely withdrawn without thereby creating traumatic intravaginal negative pressures.
Another object of the invention is to provide a device of this class which is suitably and safely disposable by being flushed down a conventional toilet.
Still another object is to provide a menstrual device of improved daintiness in use, by obviating the necessity of the users manual contact with the introitus, vagina, or menstrual product.
Other objects and advantages will be apparent to those in the art from the following detailed description taken in conjunction with the drawings, wherein:
FIGURE 1a is a perspective view of the component parts of a preferred embodiment, shown disassembled;
FIGURE 11) shows the preferred embodiment assembled, partially cut away;
FIGURE 10 is a perspective view of the embodiment being manually adjusted to a small diameter;
FIGURE 1a shows the small diameter configuration of the embodiment of FIGURE 1c in place. in the vagina while being subjected to longitudinal tension;
FIGURE 2 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the invention;
FIGURE 3 is a perspective view of a modification of the body element of FIGURE 2;
FIGURE 4 is a perspective view of the body element of another embodiment of the invention;
FIGURE 5 is a side view in cross section of still another embodiment of the invention;
FIGURE 6a is a sectional view of a modification applicable to the embodiments shown in FIGURES 1, 2 and 3, adapting them to use with an applicator;
FIGURE 6b shows another form of applicator;
FIGURE 7 is a sectional view of a modification of the embodiment shown in FIGURE 5 adapting it to use with an applicator;
FIGURE 8a is a plan view partially in section of another embodiment of the invention;
FIGURE 8b illustrates an applicator adapted for use with the embodiment of FIGURE 8a; and
FIGURE 9 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the invention.
Referring to FIGURES 1a and 1b, a preferred embodiment of the invention is provided by a semi-rigid, tubular body member 10 having opposed open ends 11 and 12. Body 10 is woven or braided or otherwise composed of crosswise-arranged semifiexible or resilient strands, including woven strands, monofilaments, or strips of material, such as nylon, hair, cellulose acetate, or other material arranged in such a way that body 10 forms a conduit, the diameter of which may be varied by movement of ends 11 and 12 toward or away from one another. Collecting sac 14, having an open end 14a defined by edge 14b, and a closed end 140, is made of flexible elastic material such as rubber, and preferably is chosen to have a resting, that is, unstretched, diameter somewhat greater than that of an undistended vaginal canal.
In the assembled unit, body 10 lies inside sac 14, and occupies approximately the area indicated by 14d in FIG- URE la; and 14b of sac 14 may be flush with end 12 of body 10, or alternatively, may extend beyond it. Sac 14 is secured, as by adhesive or stitching, to body 10 at or near end 12, and the remaining portion of sac 14 is directed back through body 10 from end 11, in the manner of turning the finger of a glove inside out. The portion of sac 14 lining body 10 may be again secured internally to body 10 at or near end 12 as shown, or, alternatively, if edge 14b has been arranged to extend beyond body end 12, may be secured to the projecting portion.
Body 10 is thus encased in an inner and outer layer formed by the sac 14, and is thereby maintained at the relatively large resting diameter of unstretched sac 14. The closed end of the sac 14 may extend beyond the end 12. Optionally, one or more strings or cords 15 may be attached to body 10. As shown, these extend past end 12 and beyond sac end 140.
Alternatively, the sac may be placed inside body 10 and folded back on the outside.
In use, the assembled unit may be held in one hand as shown in FIGURE 10, and the forefinger of the other hand introduced at end 12. Forward motion of the forefinger pushes end 140 inside body 10, but this motion is limited by the attachment of sac 14 to body 10, so that the unit may be milked down along the forefinger, as by pulling on end 12, elongating body 10 and thereby concurrently decreasing its diameter, whereupon it may be safely and easily introduced into the vagina by means of the forefinger. It will be seen that the fingers at no time contact any part of the anatomy. In introducing the device, tafter forward end 11 has passed the vaginal sphincter, its further forward progress is somewhat resisted by the cylindrical vaginal wall. The continued application of longitudinal force on the portion of the device still outside of vagina causes the device further to enter the vagina, but in so doing both the compressive force resulting from the forward progress of the device, and the compressive elastic urging of the rubber sac, cause the device to shorten, hence to assume its maximum diameter when entirely intravaginal. It will thus be seen that, While introduction through the introitus takes place at small diameter, final positioning within the vagina alters the device to a larger diameter, the particular diameter being determined by the initial size of body 10, size and elasticity'of sac 14, and the resistance of the vaginal walls. Further, it will be seen that the elasticity of sac 14 serves to urge the unit when in small diameter configuration to large diameter configuration, and thus to maintain the large diameter configuration when the device is in position. Fluid entering the sac-lined conduit of body 10 at end 11 accumulates within the sac, causing end 14c to assume again the external position shown in FIGURE 1b.
When it is desired to remove the appliance of my invention from the vagina, end 140 of sac 14 is accessible to be grasped, or, alternatively, one or more strings 15 may be provided to be grasped by the fingers. It is contemplated that end 140 and/ or strings 15 remain outside of the introitus during use, hence are always readily accessible. As shown in FIGURE 1d, wherein the vagina is represented schematically in cross section, longitudinal traction, as on string 15, causes the device to elongate, and thus to assume a small diameter. Continued traction and consequent continued decrease in the devices diameter leads finally to its easy and atraumatic withdrawal from the vagina, following which it may be immediately disposed of in the toilet bowl along with the contained menstrual discharge.
It will be further seen that, unlike conventional absorptive tampons, the external surfaces of sac end 14c and strings 15 are not contaminated with the menstrual discharge, and further, unlike prior occlusive collecting devices, the character and lightness of my device permits its disposal simultaneously with its removal, thus obviating the need for emptying and cleaning for reuse. There is thus provided a daintiness in use heretofore not possible.
As an alternative method of construction, the mesh body may be thinly coated, as by dipping, with an elastic materialin order to achieve the elasticity desired. Sac 14 may be attached by an adhesive, or other means as by molding during the dipping of body 10. If the dipping process is used to close the mesh interstices, making body 10 impervious to fiuid, separate sac 14 may be short, and need extend only from end 12 of body 10 to a position indicated by 140, since the dipped coating is then in efiect a continuation of sac 14. If only the mesh elements and crossings are coated, the interstices being left open, sac 14 should extend from end 11 through end 12. This modified form of construction serves to maintain the interrelationships of the mesh elements with minimal added wall thickness of body 10, and the relatively coarser weave texture remaining on the outer side of body 10 serves further to minimize displacement of the device when it is in position.
Referring to FIGURE 2 of the drawing, an alternative embodiment of the invention is provided in a body member 20, comparable in construction to body 10, and having opposed open ends 21 and 22. Mounted within body portion 20 is an elongated sac or bag 24, comparable in construction to sac 14, the mouth 24a of the sac being attached at its periphery 24b to end 21. The length of sac 24 with reference to body 20 is selected so that the closed base 240 extends outside of body 20 beyond end 22, when the device is at its large diameter. A portion of body 20 and sac 24 have been shown cut away in FIGURE 2 to illustrate these features. Sac 24 is secured at least to both ends of body 20, the elastic sac thus serving to provide a compressive or contractive force tending normally to urge body 20 back to a large diameter configuration after it has been extended into elongated, small diameter configuration.
Alternatively, sac 24 may be arranged outside body 20. One or more strings 25 may be secured to body 20 tofacilitate removal of the device.
The manner of use of this embodiment is in all respects similar to that described with reference to the embodiment of FIGURE 1.
Where the sac itself is not used normally to urge the device to large diameter, added elastic or other means, such as dipping or coating hereinabove referred to, may advantageously be used. For example, as shown in FIG- URE 3, body 30, which is similar to body 14) or body 20, is provided with elastic strips 35 secured at their ends to opposite ends 31 and 32 of body 30. The unstretched or normal length of these strips with referenceto body 30 is selected so that these strips are under tension when body 30 is elongated and thus tend to shorten it and thereby urge it to a large diameter.
This embodiment of the body element is particularly adapted to a form of the invention characterized by a disposable sac detachably secured to a reusable body.
Thus, for example, referring to FIGURE 1b, body It may be replaced by body 30, in which case the body elements self-contained elastic means obviate the necessity of fastening sac '14 to the body to achieve the elastic force. In this case sac 14 need merely be folded over the body element as shown, but need be nowhere fastened'to the body. In introducing the device into the vagina, the thumb, in conjunction with the introducing forefinger, by pressing the sac edge to the body element, prevents dislodging the body element from its position within the sac. Optionally, the free edge of the sac, that is edge 14b, may extend beyond end 12 of the body, to ensure coverage of the body element by the sac. In withdrawing the device from the vagina after use, longitudinal tension on strings will remove the body element, and, if the sac portion should remain in place it may then be removed separately, and discarded, by pulling upon end 140. Body 30 may then be placed within a fresh sac, for re-use. It is obvious that this embodiment of the invention is not restricted to use with body 30, but is 6 applicable to any body element having elastic means inherent in the body per se and distinct from the sac.
For example, other means such as one or more spiral springs as indicated in FIGURE 4, wherein body 40 has opposite ends 41 and 42 and is composed of metallic or rubber or plastic materials and having a set at a large diameter, may be incorporated in a body such as 10, 20 or 30. Alternatively, one or more strands of a body such as 10, 20 or 30 may be of spring-1ike or sufiiciently resilient material to provide a tension coil spring effect normally urging the tubular body to large diameter configuration but capable of elongation and concurrent decrease in diameter.
The above described embodiments thus provide a hollow body member having an opening at one end, an axial passage continuous through to the other end which is occluded by a sac either at or external to said other end. The body member is accessible from the occluded end for increasing and/ or decreasing the diameter of the device. Reduction in diameter may be achieved by external manipulation (pulling the ends apart) before introduction of the device into the vagina and, upon introduction, the device may be reexpanded to large diameter position.
FIGURE 5 illustrates another embodiment of the invention wherein a body having an axial opening at one end 51 is tapered to a closure at the opposite end 52. Body 50 is otherwise analogous in construction to the above described embodiments. A sac 54 open at one end, and closed at end 546 lies within body 50, and may be attached at its open end at end 51, and also inwardly of the open end to provide an elastic force urging body 50 toward large diameter configuration. Alternatively, other elastic means, such as one of those described herein with reference to other embodiments may be used. Tapered closure of end 52 is preferably achieved by bringing together the ends of the strands or strips making up body 50, e.g. as by decreasing the weave mesh spacing and fastening the ends of the strands at 53 by means of adhesive, or other suitable means, such as a clip, wrap, heat seal, or the like. Secured to closure 53 is a flexible cord or string 55, or a prolongation of one or more of the strands or strips held by 53. The device may be withdrawn by pulling cord 55 after use without the necessity of grasping body 50.
This embodiment is used in much the same manner a those previously described, but since closed end 52 prevents introduction of the forefinger into the device, it is manually drawn to a small diameter and held externally by thumb and forefinger for introduction into the vagina. Thereupon, release of body 50 and final longitudinal pressure on end 52 allow it to regain its large diameter position, in which form it is retained in place intravaginally- Withdrawal is accomplished by pulling on cord 55, which causes body 5% to elongate and hence to assume a small diameter configuration.
The embodiment of FIGURE 5 thus provides a hollow tubular member or conduit having an axial opening at one end and an axial passage therefrom terminating at a closed end, said conduit defining a closed chamber open at one end. The closed end is accessible with the device inserted for use, for increasing or decreasing the diameter of the body member.
For reasons of aesthetics and hygiene, it may be desirable also to provide applicator means for introducing devices of this invention. A modification applicable to the embodiments shown in FIGURES 1-4 is illustrated in FIGURE 6a, wherein the entering end is provided with at least one inwardly projecting tab 61, which may be provided by an inwardly rolled flange portion 61 of body 60. A simple stick-like applicator 65 may be introduced from end 62 to engage tab/flange 61. In this embodiment sac 64 inside body is attached only at end 61, so it may be pushed ahead of applicator 65 without harm. A user thus can push the device into the vagina while keeping the fingers remote from the introitus. Alternatively, as shown in FIGURE 6!), an applicator 65 having, for example, a hollow engaging end 63, may be used.
When an applicator cannot be positioned inside the device of the invention, as is the case with the embodiment in FIGURE 5, an external applicator may be used, as shown in FIGURE 7. Here, optional flange 71. may be provided on body 70'; in other respects the construction is the same as in FIGURE 5, and the reference numerals are analogous. The diameter of applicator tube 76 is such as to maintain the device at its small diameter, elongated configuration. In use, the applicator is introduced into the vagina, and a forefinger, or optionally, applicator 77, is then used to push the device out of applicator tube 76, leaving the device in place intravaginally, and permitting the withdrawal of the applicator 76 along with the finger or applicator 77. The act of pushing the device out from Within applicator tube 76 enables the elastic force of the rubber sac or other elastic means to act to restore the device to its large diameter configuration intravaginally. While pusher 77 is shown as hollow, it may alternatively be solid or solid with a recessed end.
Another embodiment is shown in FIGURE 8a, comprising a tubular member 80 of barrel-like configuration formed of rubber or other elastic material, the member 80 having an open entering end 81, and an inwardly directed flange 83 at said open end. The other end 82, which may have a larger diameter opening than 81, is closed off by a collecting sac 84 attached to body 80 at its open end 84b. The base 840 of the sac is located outside member 80. Applicator 88, shown in FIGURE 8b, is hornlike in appearance and has a conically recessed end 89 of a size suitable to engage flange 83 when the applicator is inserted in body 8t from end 82. Sac 84 is of suitable length and/ or flexibility to permit its being pushed ahead of the applicator 83 when the applicator is applied from end 82. By this means 'body 80 is elongated and the central portion conveniently assumes a smaller diameter;
subsequent Withdrawal of applicator 88 permits body 80,
by virtue of its elasticity, to resume a large diameter. The use of one or more tabs 8% on applicator end 89 permits the engagement of flange 83 by the applicator while body 8d is at its large diameter, thus facilitating preparation of the device for introduction. One or more cords or strings 85 may be provided to permit withdrawal without requiring introduction of the fingers for such purpose if end 840 of sac 84 is not readily accessible.
Thus, in use, the devices of FIGURES l8 are elongated to achieve a small diameter for introduction into the vagina, the forward, open end being the end first introduced. With the release of the longitudinal elongating force as the device is pushed into the vagina, the elasticity of the device, which is sufficient to overcome the slight resistance of the flaccid vaginal wall, causes the distance between the occluded trailing end of the appliance and the forward open end to be reduced, thereby causing the diameter of the device to increase, and thus hear more strongly against the vaginal wall. Introduction is completed by pushing the trailing end beyond the vaginal vestibule, whereby the sphincter action of the vagina serves further to maintain the device in place. By proper choice of diameter of the device, in its expanded, large diameter, configuration, relative to vaginal wall diameter, secure fixation is achieved. Withdrawal of the device may be accomplished by applying :a longitudinal tension on the trailing end, e.g., by pulling upon the closed end of the collecting sac, or upon cords, which extend through the vaginal introitus for exterior accessibility. Longitudinal tension on the accessible trailing end causes the device to assume a smaller diameter, facilitating its ready and atraumatic withdrawal.
Another form of the invention is shown in FIGURE 9. Body 90 is formed of a flat coil of suitable resilient material such as polystyrene or polyethylene, having a set tending to urge it to unwind toward a large diameter configuration. Edges 96 and 97 are thus circumferentially movable with respect to each other to move tube between larger and smaller diameter positions; an intermediate position is shown. End 91 is open and is the forward end, and end 92 is the trailing accessible end on which is mounted a tab 93 for manual adjustment of body diameter. Sac 94, open at 94:: and closed at 94c, is attached or secured to body 90 along margin 941). It will be seen that sac 94 should have a diameter, or be extendible to a diameter, at the line of attachment, at least as large as the maximum diameter to be achieved by body 90. For this reason, a fold or slack portion 94d is shown in the drawing. In use, sac 94 may be flexible but inelastic, to limit the expansion of body 90 to maximum diameter and thereby insure that fluid entering at end 91 will enter sac 94 without leakage between sac 94 and the inner wall of body 90. For introduction, the device may be manually rolled to small diameter; for withdrawal, tab 93 may be grasped by the fingers to twist or roll body 90 to small diameter configuration.
It will be seen that this embodiment may also be used with applicators for insertion, such as those applicators discussed hereinabove, for some of which a tab or flange may be provided at end 91; withdrawal after use is accomplished by use of tab 93 to wind the coil to a small diameter.
This embodiment, therefore, illustrates a form of the invention in which the diameter is variable while maintaining the length fixed.
In the light of considerations hereinabove discussed, such as vaginal anatomy and physiology, requirements for safety and avoidance of tissue damage, and desirable features of hygiene and simplicity of use and disposal, it will accordingly be seen that the present invention offers important advantages over existing catamenial devices of both the absorptive and occlusive classes.
It is suited to general use without the need for exacting preliminary measuring or fitting; it may be quickly, simply and safely applied by a wearer, and without need for the users hands or fingers to come in contact with the introitus or the menstrual product; the device is introduced at a configuration which specifically minimizes risk of tissue damage, and introduction simultaneously alters the configuration to one insuring adequate occlusion after introduction; while in situ the device is remote from the cervix uteri; in Withdrawing the device, the fingers are again protected from contact with the genitalia or the menstrual product; moreover, in withdrawing the device, internal negative pressures will not only not unduly inhibit or prevent withdrawal, but such pressures are reduced and relieved entirely by application of the withdrawing force at the accessible end of the device, so that removal is thus accomplished atraumatically as well as readily; disposal of the used device is normally accomplished by dropping it and its contents in a toilet bowl simultaneously with removal, thus further minimizing handling.
There is thus provided a device of improved safety and utility, and also one of a daintiness suited to the most delicate sensibilities of a user.
What is claimed is:
1. A menstrual device which comprises a generally tubular member, an opening in at least one end of said tubular member for passage of fluid into said tubular member, a portion of said tubular member being adapted to hold said tubular member in a vagina, said portion of said tubular member being radially adjustable toward and away from the axis thereof between a smaller di ameter and a larger diameter, respectively, in response to longitudinal force, while in smaller diameter position said tubular member being insertable with said open end as the leading end through the orifice formed by a vaginal sphincter, said tubular member while in its larger diameter being of sufficient diameter to be retained against passage through the orifice of a vaginal sphincter,
means normally applying a longitudinal force to said portion of said tubular member to urge said portion of said tubular member to its larger diameter position, said portion of said tubular member being adapted to move to its smaller diameter position'by elongation there of, and a flexible fluid-collecting membrane secured to said tubular member and disposed'to collect fluid which enters said opening.
2. A menstrual device comprising a generally tubular conduit formed of a flexible material so arranged that the diameter of said conduit may be reduced substantially throughout its length by longitudinal tension applied to the opposed ends thereof and an elongated sac attached adjacentits open end to one end of said conduit and attached also to said conduit at a point remote from said openend, said sac being formed of a resilient material and the second point of attachment selected so that said sac applies a longitudinal compressive force to said conduit.
3. A menstrual device which comprises a generally tubular member, said tubular member comprising a cylindrical body of woven material of semifiexible strands, said strands being spaced from each other and helically disposed throughout a portion of said body, said material being of'a two directional weave with alternate crossing strands having a similar helical angle in a different direction from a plane perpendicular to the axis of said cylindrical body, annular frame means securing ends of said strands adjacent one end of said tubular member to define an opening for passage of fluid into the tubular member, said tubular member being radially adjustable toward and away from the axis thereof between a smaller diameter position and a larger diameter position respectively; and fluid-collection means mounted across the flow path from said opening in said tubular member and disposed to collect fluid which enters said opening,
4. A menstrual device which comprises a generally tubular member, .having open ends, said tubular member comprising a cylindrical body of woven material of semiflexible strands, said strands being spaced from each other and helically disposed throughout said body, said material being, of a two-directional weave with alternate crossing strands having a similar helical angle in a different direction from a plane perpendicular to the axis of said cylindrical body, and at least one" of said open ends providing a .passage for fluid entering the tubular member; said tubular member being radially adjustable toward and away from the axis thereof between a smaller diameter position and a larger diameter position respectively; and fluidhollection means securedto said tubular member and disposed to collect fluid which enters said opening.
5. The device of claim 4, wherein said tubular member is provided with elastic tension means tending to urge together the opposite ends of said member along a longitudinal axis of said member.
6. A menstrual device whichcomprises a generally tubular rubbery solid member, an opening in each end thereof for passage of fluid into the tubular member, said tubular member being normally in a larger diameter position and being longitudinally extensible and radially compressible to an axially elongated and smaller diameter position whereby the length of said tubular member is extended and said opening is reduced releasable means for extending the length and thereby decreasing the diameter of said member, and fluid-collection means secured to said tubular member and disposed to collect fluid which enters one of said openings.
7. A device for collecting menstrual eflluvium which comprises a generally tubular member having a diameter variable substantially throughout its length between a small diameter position and a larger diameter position in response to longitudinal force, an axial opening and passage into said tubular member, and a sac member secured to said tubular member, said sac member disposed across said passage and adapted to collect fluids v which may enter said :passage through said axial opening, said tubular memberbeingadapted insmall diameter position to be introduced through the sphincter-like vaginal orifice, the end of said tubular member opposite said axial opening being accessible and adapted for moving said tubular member in response to longitudinal force to larger diameter position to contact. or .rest upon the internal surface of the vaginal wall, saidtubularmember in large diameter position being adapted to be in spaced relation with respect to the cervix uteri and disposed to receive menstrual effluvium therefrom, said accessible end being adapted for moving said tubular member to small diameter position, said small diameter position being sufficiently small for introduction and removal of the tubular member through the vaginal orifice substantially without trauma to tissue.
8. A menstrual device comprising an elongated, generally tubular body section adapted to hold said men strual device in a vagina, said body section contracting diametrally in response to a longitudinal force extending the length of said body section, said body section expanding diametrally in response to a longitudinal force reducing the length of said body section, means for supplying a longitudinal force to said body section to reduce the length of said body section, and means associated with said body section for receiving and collecting fluid.
9. A menstrual device comprising an elongated, generally tubular body section adapted to hold said menstrual device; in a vagina, said body section contracting diametrally in response to a longitudinal force extending the length of said body section, said body section expanding diametrally in response to a longitudinal force reducing the length of said body section, said body section comprising strands arranged helically, alternating rows of said strands being disposed at substantially different helical angles and crossing each other, said strands disposed in each helical direction being spaced from each other, said strands contacting each other at their crossings and being movable with respect to each other, and means associated with said body section for receiving and collecting fluid.
10. A menstrual device comprising an elongated generally tubular body section adapted to hold said menstrual device in a vagina, said body section contracting diametrally in response to a longitudinal force extending the length of said body section, said body section expand ing diametrally in response to a longitudinal force reducing the length of said body section, said body section normally being expanded diametrally and having reduced length, said body section having an inwardly extending annular flange, means for cooperating with said flange to supply a longitudinal force to said body section to increase the length of said body section, and means associated with said body section for receiving and collecting fluid.
11. A menstrual device which comprises a generally tubular member adapted to hold said menstrual device in a vagina, said tubular member comprising strands of resilient material arranged helically in the form of a cylinder forming at least a portion of said tubular member, alternating rows of said strands being disposed at substantially diflerent helical angles and crossing each other, the strands disposed in each helical direction being spaced from each other, said strands slidably contacting each other at their crossings and movable with respect to each other, an opening in at least one end of said tubular member for passage of fluid into said tubular member, said tubular member and said opening being radially adjustable toward and away from the axis thereof between a smaller diameter and a larger diameter, respectively, said tubular member being elongated while in said smaller diameter position and being shortened while in said larger diameter position, while elongated and in said smaller position said tubular member being insertable through the orifice of a vaginal sphincter and when in shortened and said larger diameter position being restrained from 1 1 Withdrawal through said orifice, means normally urging 'said tubular member to shortened length and larger diameter position, and a flexible fluid-collecting membrane secured to said tubular member and disposed to collect fluid -which enters said opening.
12. The menstrual device of claim 11 wherein the spacing between said strands in each helical direction gradually decreases at one end of the cylindrical form to form a closure at one end of said tubular member.
References Cited by the Examiner I UNITED STATES PATENTS 3,102,541 9/1963 Adams l28-285 RICHARD A. GAUDET, Primary Examiner.
C. F. ROSENBAUM, AssistantExamiher.