US 3626942 A
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United States Patent References Cited s55 7 888 2 222 l //l l 888 8 222 2 Ill 1 S mmm m m m N EW MB T mum Am P. m mmmAu mm mm m AmSmNe TlmdGm ll hd Em @CAWflF H738 4 N366 5 Uwww w l// 890 3 l 312 4 148 9 56 1 3M w 6. 233 In nm H m t .7 mm m o nc 79nC Ma 9 it u I. 9d 0 w mm? mm ZuM BL4J TS 0. de m N 68 m mm. i. m wmmu l AFPA l. 11]] 2 253 7 2247 [[[l Primary Examiner-Charles F. Rosenbaum Attorney-Charles E. Temko  VAGINAL CUP HAVING RADIALLY ARRANGED INTERNAL SUPPORTING RIBS 3 Claims, 3 Drawing Figs.
ABSTRACT: An improved vaginal cup having axially aligned inwardly extending ribs disposed on an inner surface adjacent 50 n 3 81 2' all 6 A [5i] lnt.Cl...........  FieldolSearch..
simultaneously decrease the effective diameter to facilitate such withdrawal.
VAGINAL CUP HAVING RADIALLY ARRANGED INTERNAL SUPPORTING RIBS This invention relates generally to the field of vaginal cups suitable for the collection of menstrual fluids of the type disclosed in the Chalmers US. Pat. No. 2,089,l 13 of Aug. 3, 1937, and my prior U.S. Pat. No. 3,404,682 of Aug. 8, 1968. Devices of this general type are widely known in the art, and the invention lies in specific constructional details.
In earlier prior art devices, such as the above-mentioned Chalmers patent, the device has been provided with a relatively smooth outer surface having a rim and a projecting ring intended to create a seal with the walls of the vaginal canal. This type of seal, although not without utility, has proven ineffective in many cases, due to improper physiological fit caused by the irregular convolutions or folds in the vaginal mucosa and wide individual differences to which a single commercially produced size cannot be readily adapted. A poor seal, permitting leakage of menstrual fluid, negates the purpose of the entire product.
In devices of the type exemplified by the Chalmers patent, the construction normally includes a tapered cup which incorporates a thickened wall portion along the point to be placed posteriorly, and which tenninates in a bulge or keel-like appendage. This construction has not only proven impractical from a positioning standpoint, as it is very difficult to fold and insert, but also has been found to be extremely uncomfortable due to the hard mass of the thickened wall portion which tends to exert pressure on the colon, especially when full.
in my prior US. Pat. No. 3,404,682, I have disclosed an embodiment in which the effectiveness of the sealing means positioned at the mouth of the cup has been vastly improved, and the relatively hard appendage has been substantially modified. in order to facilitate removal of the device, in view of the above-mentioned seal, it has been necessary to provide venting orifices which are opened with the resilient stretching of the device upon removal, so that atmospheric pressure need not be additionally overcome, and the force necessary to withdraw the device may be correspondingly reduced.
However, some difficulty has been experienced in breaking the seal existing at the closed end of the device, so that air may flow up to the venting orifices, this difficulty being principally due to the rigidity of the quasi-spherical end portion, which is of somewhat thicker cross section than the frustoconical portion with which it communicates. While, obviously, sufficient rigidity must be provided so that the closed end portion of the device will not deform so readily as to be unstable, nevertheless increased flexibility is desirable for purposes of removal of the device at periodic intervals.
I have found that by providing a plurality of planar axially aligned, radially positioned ribs which extend from the inner surface of the device toward the principal longitudinal axis thereof, sufficient rigidity during use can be obtained, while flexibility can be increased during the period of removal. The ribs are so positioned as to resist bending of the wall of the device about an axis substantially perpendicular to the principal longitudinal axis of the device, but permitting limited bending of the wall about an axis substantially parallel to said principal axis.
It is therefore among the principal objects of the present invention to provide an improved menstrual cup of the class described in which improved facility of removal is obtained, without sacrifice of sealing action when the device is positioned for use.
Another object of the invention lies in the provision of an improved cup of the class described in which the cost of fabrication may be directly comparable with existing prior art devices, thereby permitting consequent wide sale, distribution and use.
A further object of the invention lies in the provision of improved menstrual cup construction offering increased comfort to the wearer, as contrasted with prior art devices.
A further object of the invention lies in the provision of a vaginal cup of the class described in which the lower sealing ring is resiliently reinforced to hinder flexibility after the device has been installed, as an aid to preventing involuntary expulsion or shiftingof the cup after proper placement.
Still another object of the present invention lies in the provision of an improved cup in which the difficulty of compressing or partially folding the same for purposes of insertion has been materially reduced.
These objects, as well as other incidental ends and advantages, will more fully appear in the progress of the following disclosure, and be pointed out in the appended claims.
A feature of the disclosed embodiment lies in the cost of fabrication thereof, which is considerably lower than comparable prior art devices, thereby permitting consequent wide sale, distribution and use,
Another feature of the disclosed embodiment lies in the relatively short molding cycle required, owing to the extensive use of relatively thin sections.
In the drawing, to which reference will be made in the specification, similar reference characters have been used to designate corresponding parts throughout the several views.
FIG. 1 is a top plan view of an embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view thereof.
FIG. 3 is a central longitudinal sectional view thereof.
In accordance with the invention, the device, generally indicated by reference character 10, includes a cup-shaped fluid-retaining member 11 having an upwardly disposed mouth 12 defined by an upper edge 13. The mouth 12 leads to a generally frustoconically shaped inner surface 14 at the upper portion of the cup, and a quasi-spherical portion 15 at the lower portion thereof. Surrounding the mouth 12 are a first set of sealing ribs or lips 16 and I7, and a second set of ribs or lips 18 and 19. Extending downwardly from the lip 19 are an outer conical surface 20 and an outer spherical surface 21 interconnected by a lower retaining rib or lip 22, the purpose of which will become more clearly apparent at a point later in the disclosure.
The uppermost of the sealing lips 16, as are the lips to be subsequently described, is of generally tapered configuration, including a downwardly extending surface 23 and a radial surface 24 forming an interstice 25 with a downwardly tapered surface 26 forming the lip 18. The radial surface 27 is generally parallel to the radial surface 24, with the result that the lips 16 and 17 are generally downwardly oriented with respect to the principal axis of the device.
The second set of lips 18 and 19 is spaced from the lips 16 and 17 by a relatively large interstice 29. The lip 18 includes an upper radial surface 30 and a lower tapered surface 31 leading to an interstice 28. The lip 19 includes an upper radial surface 32 and a lower tapered surface 33, so that the lips 18 and 19 are generally oriented in an upwardly extending direction, as contrasted with the downwardly extending lips 15-16. The lower lip or rib 22 includes converging surfaces 34 and 35 meeting in an edge 36. A number of venting orifices 37 are located above the rib 22.
Extending axially downwardly from the outer spherical surface 21 is an elongated loop 38 including converging portions 39 and 40 and a rounded end portion 4]. in relatively unstressed condition, the loop is free of contact with the vaginal walls, and during removal of the device, the converging portions may be spread to permit the entry of a finger between them for positive manual engagement.
Extending inwardly from the inner surface of the device are a plurality of planar support ribs arranged in generally radial disposition, each being bounded by curved outer edges 44, relatively rectilinear inner edges 45, and side surfaces 46. It will be observed'that the ribs underlie the rib 22, and extend from the frustoconically shaped portion of the device to the quasi-spherically shaped portion thereof.
The device is usedsubstantially as shown in my above-mentioned prior patent, and removed by exerting an axially aligned force on the loop means. With the exertion of such force, the lower portion of the device tends to elongate in a controlled fashion, thereby reducing the effective external diameter thereof. During such elongation, the portions of the cup wall disposed between the planar support ribs tend to bend about an axis substantially parallel to the principal axis of the cup forming channels through which air may readily pass to the venting orifices, this occurring at a time when the stretching of the device will simultaneously open the venting orifices. However, when the device is in position, the lower rib 22 will be reinforced by the planar ribs which tend to resist bending of the rib 22 about an axis substantially perpendicular to the plane in which the rib is disposed. This assures maximum sealing efi'ect during use.
I wish it to be understood that I do not consider the invention limited to the precise details of structure shown and set forth in this specification, for obvious modification will occur to those skilled in the art to which the invention pertains.
1. In a vaginal cup, including a cup-shaped container having a principal longitudinal axis, and having an outer surface and an upwardly facing mouth, the improvement comprising: said cup-shaped container including a generally frustoconical portion, and a quasi-spherical portion communicating therewith at the smaller end of said frustoconical portion, said frustoconical portion and said quasi-spherical portion defining a continuous inner surface; loop forming means extending from an outer surface of said quasi-spherical portion, for the purpose of manually removing said cup from operative position; and a plurality of generally planar ribs extending inwardly from said inner surface in the area of said quasi-spherical portion, said ribs tending to resiliently resist bending of said container about an axis substantially perpendicular to said principal axis, while permitting limited bending of said container about an axis substantially parallel thereto.
2. Structure in accordance with claim 1, said ribs being free of interconnection with the area of said quasi-spherical portion at which said loop forming means is attached, whereby an axially aligned force may be readily transmitted to said container to result in resiliently deforming the same in such manner that the effective diameter of the closed end thereof is materially reduced to facilitate removal.
3. Structure in accordance with claim 2, said container having an external annular rib at least partially overlying each of said planar ribs to effect, in concert, a scaling function.
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