US 3762414 A
A vaginal sponge is disclosed as including a compressible, smooth surfaced, plastic sponge in the form of a solid rectangle, a cylinder or a sphere. The sponge is divided into two or more sections by a plastic, latex or other rubber sheet or film which prevents fluid flow from one section of the sponge to the other. The sponge is used for dispensing medicaments and controlling the flow of menstrual blood or seminal fluid (contraception).
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1 Burnhill 1 Oct. 2, 1973  VAGINAL SPONGE 3,393,678 7mm Pucini 12mm 3,618,605 ll I971 (il' a l28 285  Inventor: Michael S. Burnhill, llll Albemarle I m Rd., Brooklyn, NY. l 1218 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS Nov. 17 Gl'Cfll Britain  PP N05 199,589 Primary Examiner-Charles F. Rosenbaum Attorney-Stanley J. Yavner  US. Cl. 128/285  Int. Cl. A6lf 13/20  ABSTRACT Fleld 0 Search A vaginal p g is disclosed as including a compress 28/296 ible, smooth surfaced, plastic sponge in the form of a solid rectangle, a cylinder or a sphere. The sponge is  References cued divided into two or more sections by a plastic, latex or UNITED STATES PATENTS other rubber sheet or film which prevents fluid flow 969,640 9/1910 Langstafi' 128/270 from one section of the sponge to the other. The 2,330,257 9/1943 128/285 sponge is used for dispensing medicaments and control- 2,845,07l 7/1958 Wade 128/285 li th fl of n trual blood or eminal fluid (con- 2,884,925 5 1959 Meynier, JR. 128/285 tracepfiony 3,067,743 12/1962 Merton et al.... 128/270 3,084,689 4/1963 Maro et a1. 128/270 1 Claim, 5 Drawing Figures VAGINAL SPONGE This invention relates primarily to medical appliances and more particularly to vaginal appliances for use as a contraceptive device, a menstrual device or for medicament application.
For centuries, vaginal sponges have been tried as contraceptive devices, but without success, since the rough surface commonly associated with spongesand the porosity of sponges have proven to produce significant disadvantages. The rough surface becomes an irritant to the vaginal walls, which actually assists in the contraceptive purpose, but only with harmful side effects of discomfort and infection. The porosity problem has led to the defeat of the primary contraceptive purpose of the sponge, since seminal fluid, on occasion, passes through the sponge, thus leading to the conception which is the primary purpose of the sponge to avoid.
Furthermore, the problems of uterine procidentia, cystocele and rectocele have for years plagued the women of the world, manifesting themselves as descent of the vaginal or uterine walls. Still further, the inconvenience of using separate appliances for correcting such anatomical problems, controlling menstrual fluid and contraception is a drawback of present technology.
Accordingly, a primary object of the present invention is to provide a multi-purpose vaginal appliance suitable for use in controlling various processes such as the descent of the vaginal or uterine walls, menstrual flow, contraception and medicament application.
A further object of the present invention is to provide a vaginal appliance which is non-irritating to the vaginal walls.
A more particular object is to provide a vaginal appliance that prevents fluid flow from one of its ends to the other and yet is porous.
A further particular object is to provide a vaginal appliance which is compressible and generally more convenient to use.
These and other objects of the present invention are accomplished in one preferred embodiment of the present invention which features a vaginal sponge including a plurality of sponge sections separated by a thin plastic, latex or other rubber film to prevent fluid flow from one sponge section to the other. A tail is connected at or near the center of the sponge and extends beyond the periphery thereof to assist in removal of the sponge from the vagina. 'Medicament application and contraception are enhanced by the use of copper salts or other medicaments which are absorbed and released in a sponge-like, controlled manner. Furthermore, such chemical contraceptive or medicinal substances may be chosen for activation immediately prior to insertion in the vagina, such as by wetting or the like in order to control the immediate leakage of such chemicals or substances upon insertion into the vaginal canal.
The above description as well as further objects, features and advantages of the present invention will be more fully appreciated by reference to the following detailed description of the preferred,'but nonetheless illustrative, embodiment when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a vaginal sponge according to the present invention wherein a two-section, cylindrical embodiment with a film therebetween is shown;
FIG=2 is a side view of the embodiment of FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is an eight-section, solid rectangular embodiment of the present invention wherein films are used to divide each of the eight sectionsfrom any other section of the device.
FIG. 4 is a top view of a spherical embodiment of the present invention; and
FIG. 5 is a front, partial view of the embodiment of FIG. 4 viewed along the lines 5-5 of FIG. 4.
Referring to the drawings and in particular to FIGS. 1' and 2 thereof, a vaginal sponge, generally designated 10, is shown in a cylindrical shape, wherein polyurethane foam or other smooth surfaced plastic foam or porous rubber material 12 is divided into two sections, 12a, 12b separated by a plastic, latex or other nonporous rubber film 14. Tail 16 is attached at or near the center of the cylinder, preferably to film 14, to provide ease in removal of the device from the vagina. The cylinder should be manufactured to be slightly oversized relative to the vagina so that upon insertion it is first compressed to avoid irritation of the vaginal walls, and upon the conclusion of insertion, it will expand to assume the shape of the vagina at its insertion location.
FIG. 3 shows an alternative embodiment of the present invention, wherein an eight-section, rectangular vaginal sponge, generally designated 20, is shown to include eight sponge sections 22a 22h. Orthogonally arranged films 24a 24c are shown in FIG. 3 to divide the eight sponge sections and to prevent fluid flow from one to the other according to the purposes of the present invention. As with the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, the material 22 of the vaginal sponge of FIG. 3 is made porous and the material of films 24a through 240 is made non-porous. Furthermore, tail 26 is attached at point 25 which is approximately the geometrical center of vaginal sponge 20 and the intersection of films 24a 240.
A further eight-section embodiment of the present invention is shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, wherein a spherical vaginal sponge, generally designated 30, is shown to include sponge sections 32a to 322 and three other sponge sections (not shown). Films 34, 36, 38 separate the eight sponge sections and prevent fluid flow from one section to the other. Tail 40 is attached at or near the geometrical center of the vaginal sponge 30 such that it protrudes from the periphery of the device at point 32'e.
By use of any of the above embodiments or modifications thereof, a contraceptive action is provided by sponge-like absorption of sperm by materials 12 or 22 and blockage of the passage of such sperm by films used to separate the sponge sections. Relatively stiff material 12 or 22 may be used concurrently to prevent descent of the vaginal walls or uterus in the presence of conditions known as uterine procidentia, cystocele or rectocele. Furthermore, collection of menstrual fluid is a separate or concurrent function that may be provided by a vaginal sponge 10, 20 or 30 according to the present invention. The smooth outer surface of the sponge sections of each device prevents irritation of the walls of the vagina. Still further, in the presence of vaginal infections, the vaginal sponge as described herein, may be used as a carrier and dispenser for medicaments used to treat such infections.
Copper salts or the like can be applied to the vaginal sponge of the present invention to provide longterm contraceptive effects. In this way, in addition to occluding the upper end of the vagina to prevent contraception, the copper salt insures longterm contraceptive action.
Construction of a vaginal sponge according to the present invention can be accomplished by use of a nonirritating cement or the like to cause the separating films to adhere and hold together the sponge sections. Other modifications are contemplated and thus the present invention should be limited only by the following claim.
What is claimed is:
l. A vaginal sponge conprising a plurality of sponge sections and a separating film attached to and separating said sections, said sponge sections being formed of a porous, sponge-like material and said film being formed of a non-porous material, said separating film being arranged in an orthogonal array to prevent passage of fluid completely through the said vaginal sponge without regard to the orientation of said vaginal sponge, the material of said sponge sections being stiff to provide support for and relief of anatomical defects of the vagina and said film including a plurality of portions, with each portion being arranged perpendicular to at least one other portion and all of said portions extending to the peripheral edge of said vaginal sponge in all directions,