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Publication numberUS3794024 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateFeb 26, 1974
Filing dateMay 17, 1972
Priority dateMay 17, 1972
Also published asCA980501A, CA980501A1, DE2324326A1
Publication numberUS 3794024 A, US 3794024A, US-A-3794024, US3794024 A, US3794024A
InventorsD Kokx, G Smith
Original AssigneeProcter & Gamble
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Catamenial wetness indicator
US 3794024 A
Abstract
An indicator in contact with the absorbent body of a catamenial device. The indicator "reads" the wetness of the absorbent body and translates the wetness into a signal which can be sensed without removing the catamenial device.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 5/1973 Eidus 128/284 Kokx et a1. Feb. 26, 1974 CATAMENIAL WETNESS INDICATOR 2,884,925 5/1959 Meyneir, Jr 128/285 3,101,714 8/1963 Penksa 128/285 [75] Invemmsi Darrel 'F Kokx; 9, 3,520,302 7 1970 Jones 128 285 Whiter Smlfl', both of Cmcmnath 3,618,605 11/1971 Glassman 128/285 OhlO 3,625,787 12/1971 Radl et a1. 128/270 Assigneez The Punter & Gamble p y, 3,712,305 1/1973 Wennerblom et a1. 128/285 Cmcmnatl Ohm Primary ExaminerCharles 1F. Rosenbaum Filed: y 1972 Attorney, Agent, or Firm-David J. Richter; Robert B. 21 Appl. No.: 254,018 AYOY; Mm 60mm 521 11.8. cu. 128/285 [57] ABSTRACT 51 Int. c1. A611 13/20 An indicator in Contact with the absorbent y of a 53 Fieid of Search 12 2 5 29 2 3 270 catamenial device. The indicator reads the wetness of the absorbent body and translates the wetness into [56] References Cit d a signal which can be sensed without removing the catamenial device.

10 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures CATAMENIAL WETNESS INDICATOR BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates generally to receptors for receiving discharge from the body, and more particularly concerns catamenial receptors to be worn within the vagina while receiving discharges.

2. Description of the Prior Art Present-day users of tampons have to use a destructive test in order to ascertainwhether a tampon has residual absorbent capacity remaining. That is, the tampon must be removed to see if it is full, and even if it is not full, the tampon usually is not reinserted. Generally a user removes a tampon before it has reached its capacity in order to prevent an accident wherein the capacity of the tampon is exceeded and the excess menses flows unimpeded from the vagina to soil the u'sers clothing.

In tampons as presently known, a determinative criteria frequently used for removing a tampon is time elapsed since insertion. The time elapsed criteria for changing tampons is not satisfactory for several reasons, e.g., the menstrual flow rate varies throughout the menstruating period and much adsorbent capacity of tampons is wasted due to the tendency to change before an accident occurs. The flow variation throughout the period causes problems as to how long to wear a tampon because a user cannot establish a definite time period for which the abosrbent capacity within a tampon is sufficient. Therefore, she is'in a quandary as to how long to wear specific tampons during days of heavy flow as contrasted to days of light flow. A corelation between tampon performance during light flow versus heavy flow is difficult for the user to make. Thus, since the user would rather be safe than sorry, she frequently removes a tampon before the absorbent capacity of the tampon has been reached and wastes much of the product she has purchased.

The prior tampon art merely tried to make tampons bigger and more absorbent so that a user would not have to change as often. But the user would still waste a portion of the absorbent capacity she had purchased in that she still was not willing to have an accident. Therefore, bigger tampons provided a longer wearing time but did not approach the problem of fully using the absorbent capacity within a tampon without soiling her clothing.

Indicators as such are known and patents thereon do exist in a nonanalagous art, some of such patents being US. Pat. No. 2,189,982, issued to I-Iaglund on Feb. 13, 1940 which teaches a flower pot having a port in its side, said port being plugged by a porous stopper; US. Pat. No. 2,249,867, issued to Snelling on July 22, 1941 which teaches a humidity detecting device comprising a mixture of a dry deliquescent, a dry liquid responsive agent and a dry porous solid; U.S. Pat. No. 2,560,537, issued to Andersen on July 17, 1951 which teaches an indicator for signaling that frozen foods have experienced a defrosting'cycle; US. Pat. No. 2,681,032, issused to Shaw on June 15, 1954 which discloses a diaper wetness indicator having a low wet strength member which breaks upon being wetted to give a signal; US. Pat. No. 3,420,205, issued to Morrison on Jan. 7, 1969 which teaches an indicating device suitable for indicating elapsed time and time temperature relationships by the absorption of a fluid through a capillary material; and US. Pat. No. 3,475,103, issued to Dangczek on Oct. 28, 1969, which teaches a moisture reservoir within the cap for a writing pen. These devices, however, are not applicable to tampons and do not solve the problem of enabling a user to fully utilize the absorbent capacity of a tampon.

Applicants invention allows a user to wear a tampon until a signal is perceived, at which time the tampon is removed. The user can thereby use essentially all of the absorbent capacity within the tampon.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION One object of this invention is to provide a tampon which can be worn until essentially all of the abosrbent capacity is depleted.

It is another object of this invention to provide a tampon having a sensual residual capacity indicator associated therewith.

More particularly, it is an object of this invention to provide a tampon having an indicator which reads the last effective portion of the absorbent body in the tampon.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the present invention, there is provided a catamenial device for placement within a body cavity which comprises an absorbent body and a menses-presence indicator associated therewith. The absorbent body has a proximal end which is placed near the cervical 0s and a distal end opposite the proximal end. The indicator is in contact with the absorbent body at a contact point and the contact point is located near the distal end. The indicator is activated by menses at the contact point such that the actuation of the indicator is perceivable while the tampon remains within the vagina. Thus the indicator becomes sensual when the contact point is wetted by menses in order that the absorbent body need not be removed until essentially the entire absorbent body is wetted.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS While the specification concludes with claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the subject matter which is regarded as forming the present invention, it is believed that the invention will be better understood from the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawing, in which the thickness of some of the materials are exaggerated for clarity and in which:

FIG. 1 is a fragmentary perspective view of the device of this invention;

FIG. 2 is a sectional view taken along line 2-2 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a fragmentary perspective view of another embodiment of the device of this invention;

FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view of another embodiment of the device of this invention;

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of an alternatetampon having therein an indicating string; and

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a device of this invention in place in a vagina.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION Catamenial wetness indicators, particularly for tampons, can be of varied and sundry types, some of which are as follows:

Indicator Location Type of Indicator Internal the vagina, c.g., Warming in or on absorbent body Cooling itself. Swelling External the vagina, cg, Visual in or adjacent to a capillary Warming member attached to absorbent Cooling body. Stiffening Swelling Turning now to FIG. 1, there is shown a device of this invention which is a tampon having attached thereto a. menses-presence indicator. This device has an absorbent body 20 and an indicating member 21. The absorbent body 20 preferably is an absorbent foam such as polyurethane and applicants have used Scott I-Iydro- Foam which is available from the Scott Paper Company, Foam Division, Eddystone, Pa. in FIG. 1, it is intended that base 32 is the proximal end and apex 30 is the distal end, hereinafter defined.

The absorbent body 20 is made from a block of the aforementioned Scott Hydro-foam by using a heated wire to cut a hollow conical shape as is shown in FIG. 1. The height and diameter of the absorbent body can be varied to suit individual preferences, for example, from a l inch high by l inch diameter foam absorbent body 20 which would have limited capacity and probably poor in vivo absorptive capacity to a 3 inches high by 3 inches diameter foam absorbent body 20 or the maximum size determined to be comfortable during use or removal.

When worn, the absorbent body 20 has a proximal and distal end. The proximal end, indicated by 43 in FIG. 6, is that end which is positioned nearest the cervical s and the distal end, indicated by 44 in FIG. 6, is that end most remote from the cervical 0s and nearest the introitus. In the embodiment of FIG. 1, it is intended that the end indicated by 32 is the proximal end and the end indicated by 30 is the distal end.

Associated with the absorbent body of a tampon is a menses-presence indicator such as indicating member 21. Indicating member 21 has a capillary member 22 (hereinafter referred to as string but not limited thereto), the string being made up of threads 22a, 22b, 22c, 22d, etc. as shown in FIG. 2; a menses penetration inhibiting member 23, which prevents menses from entering or leaving the string at the locations other than the receptor 40; and menses-activatable agent 24. The indicating member 21 has a receptor 40 which is in contact with the absorbent body 20 at a contact point. i.e., a part or area of the absorbent body in contact with the receptor 40, near the distal end of the absorbent body 20. The indicating member 21 receives menses from the absorbent body 20 at the contact point through the receptor 40. The receptor 40 of a string 22 or yarn, which provides a fluid transport mechanism for an indicating member such as 21, is an unraveled or flared end of the string 22 which will promote wicking from the contact point to the higher density non-flared portion of string 22.

The string 22 transports the menses from the receptor 40 to the terminal end 45 of the indicator string. The string 22 can be of any type which will transport menses such as string made from various material like cotton, nylon, rayon, polyester, etc. The capillary size within the string 22 can be varied to provide the transport mechanism desired by altering the size of the threads such as 22a, 22b, 22c, 22d, etc. within the string 22 and/or by changing the tightness of interthread wrap in the string. It has also been found that capillary members made of some materials, such as cotton, expand upon wetting and therefore tend to decrease the size of the capillaries. Therefore, a string made of a non-water expanding material, such as polyesters, is desirable for the capillary 22. Varying the size of the capillary can be used to control the rate of movement of menses through the indicator string 21.

A transport mechanism for the indicating member 21 that has been found to work well and have dry flexibility and wearing comfort combined with good wicking of both thin menses and high viscosity citrated whole blood is a polyester tire yarn. The yarn is a two or three-ply low twist yarn which does not swell when wetted and thereby diminish the internal capillaries between the ply fibers. The wicking rate can be controlled by the denier of the ply fibers and the ply twist controlling the size and length of capillaries. This transport mechanism transmits fluid from the contact point to a point on the indicating member 21 remote from the contact; point where the menses or change produced by the menses, can be perceived.

The menses penetration inhibiting member 23 surrounds the string 22. In the embodiment of FIG. 1, the menses penetration inhibiting member is not absolutely necessary except to prevent menses from leaving the string 22 and thereby soiling the undergarments of a user. If this soiling is acceptable, the member 23 does not have to be included. But if an indicating string is within the absorbent body or passes near the proximal end of the absorbent body, such as indicating member 26 of FIG. 3 wherein it is intended that apex 31 is the proximal end and base 33 is the distal end, then a menses penetration inhibiting member such as 27 is required about a string such as 28 to prevent menses from entering the indicating member 26 at a point other than the receptor 40, because menses entering the indicing member 26 at some other point will give a false indication of impending failure. The menses penetration inhibiting member 23 or 27 can be of any type as long as it is relatively flexible, for example, a small diameter polyethylene tubing, a plastic spray coating on the exterior of the string 22 or 28, a heat shrink wrap about string 22 or 28, or a composite string having for example a hydrophilic core and a hydrophobic shell.

An indicating member such as 21 should be long enough so that its terminal end 45 extends outside of the vagina where it can be viewed by the user. A length of 4 inches beyond the distal end of the absorbent body is suffieient to place the terminal end 45 outside of the vagina. The receptor 40 of an indicating member such as 21 has a contact point with the absorbent body 20 near the distal end of the absorbent body so that it will give an indication of impending failure, i.e., the capacity of the absorbent body is about to be reached. Failure of a fully utilized tampon frequently occurs after the distal end becomes fully wetted and a drop of menses escapes from the distal end for each additional drop taken on by the tampon. As can be visualized from FIG. 6, menses is deposited in the vagina from the cervix of the uterus and flows downward in the vagina toward the introitus. Thus the proximal end 43 of absorbent body 39 becomes wetted first, and, in addition, the bottom surface of the absorbent body 39 wets before the top surface due to the tendency of menses to flow along the floor of the vagina. Therefore, the absorbent body becomes wetted progressively from the proximal end 43 toward the distal end 44 and from the bottom toward the top. This wetting action leaves the distal end 44 as the last area of an absorbent body to be wetted. Since the function of the indicating member is to announce impending failure, its receptor 40 should be in contact with the absorbent body in the area which is wetted just prior to failure, i.e., the distal end of the absorbent body. I

A menses activatable agent 24, such as dye, see FIG. 2, may, if a more vivid indicator is desired, be placed near the terminal end of the capillary member 22. Al though a dye is not essential because menses itself has a color and would show up in a white or light string 22, use of an indicating dye is preferable. inclusion of a menses activatable agent 24, such as an intense dye, at the terminal end 45 will, when wetted, produce a vivid indication of the presence of menses.

A menses-activated indicating agent 24 of the present invention can be either an admixture of a substantially non-toxic, water-soluble or water-dispersible dye having high dye strength with a substantially non-toxic, water-insoluble or water-soluble diluent masking agent, or a substantially non-toxic, water-soluble or waterdispersible dye having high dye strength without a diluent masking agent, either of which are hereinafter referred to as dye. A dye is applied in a dry, finely divided particulate state. When such a dye is exposed to menses carried down the string 22, it is activated. The color of the resulting dye solution is readily perceptible to the eye, even though a transparent or translucent mensespenetration inhibiting member 23.

The dye in the menses-actuated indicating agent of the present invention can be in finely divided solid or crystalline state selected from the group consisting of (l) nitro, (2) monoazo, (3) diazo, (4) phthalocyanine, (5) quinoline, (6) xanthene, (7) triaryl methane, (8) indigoid and (9) vegetable'dyes. Other dyes meeting the requirements of solidity, non-toxicity and water sol- .ubility or water-dispersibility can also be used to effect NaOaST sold by Badische AnilillEs SJai Fabrik, ALGW hafen a. Rhein, Germany;

2. Orange GGN Conc. Spec. Pure, a monoazo-dye 6O 7 having the formula OaNB.

SOaNa S03Na O H sold by CIBA Ltd., Basel, Switzerland; 3. Hexacol Chocolate Brown HT, a diazo-dye having the formula sold by L. l. Pointing & Son Ltd., Hexhem, England;

4. Heliogen Blue BWS Extra, a phthalocyanine-dye I having the formula N-O\ N N sold by General Aniline & Film Corporation, New York, N.Y.;

5. Canary Yellow Geigy, a quinoline-dye having the O i /ll, C g \C \gfikmw ll COOH sold by lrnperial Chemical industries, Ltd., Manchester, England; and

M can nlon a- Erythrosine TB Extra, having the formula I HF I V F-\.

NaO =0 COONa sold by Durand & Huguenin S. A., Basel, Switzerlanda 7. Acid Violet 5 BN, a triaryl methane dye having the formula; 5 2

and

Acid Green S, having the formula NaOaS sold by Williams Ltd., Hounslow, England;

Kiton Pure Blue V. FQ, having the formula zHs) 2 NaOaSQC SOr @ZMQHW sold by Clayton Aniline Co., Ltd., Manchester, England; and

8. Edicol Supra Blue X, and indigoid dye having the formula ii ll NaOxC \C:C/

SOaNa A finely divided diluent masking agent to be used in admixture with the finely divided dye in the mensesactuated indicating agent is preferably white and chemically inert. But, the masking agent can be any neutrally colored, substantially non-toxic material which is compatible with the dye to form a free-flowing powder. Examples of suitable diluent masking agents are talcum, whiting, silica, sugar, salt and starch. Flour and starch products are slightly water-soluble and swellable; therefore, they may delay the appearance of color. The mensesactuated indicating dyes admixed with starch diluent masking agents will, in general, be less sensitive to the presence of menses; they will tend to develop the moisture indicating color signal more slowly.

The diluent masking agent is used to mask or partly mask the color of the dry dye, so that the dye is not perceived as a color until wetted. The diluent masking agent can also be used to disperse or dilute the dye particles to facilitate uniform application of the dye on the terminal end 45. However, a masking agent is optional and if used, the dye color is essentially imperceptible until wetted.

A menses-presence indicator can be used with tampons of all shapes and compositions. In FIG. 4 is shown one having an absorbent body 34 of compressed fibers as is most generally commercially available today. Associated therewith is an indicating member 36 having a receptor 40 in contact with the absorbent body 34 near the distal end of that device. A removal string 35 is included for positive removal in the event that indicating member 36 is not attached to the absorbent body 34 tightly enough to facilitate removal of the tampon from the vagina. FIG. 5 shows the tampon of another configuration having an absorbent body 37 of a hydrophilic foam made according to the method disclosed in the commonly owned, copending application entitled, HOLLOW FOAM TAMPONS FROM FLAT BLANKS AND METHOD OF MAKING SAME by Bernard A. Dulle, Ser. No. 172,790, filed Aug. 18, 1971. An indicating member can also be used in an agglomerate tampon (not shown) wherein an absorbent body is comprised of separate pieces of threedimensional cellular absorbent material held together by a fluid permeable overwrap.

As mentioned before, the receptor 40 and the contact point is located near the distal end of the absorbent body. Which end is the distal end depends upon the orientation of a tampon within the vagina. This can be appreciated by comparing the structure of FIG. I, wherein the receptor 40 of the indicating member 21 is located near the apex 30 of the absorbent body because the apex of that embodiment is intended to be the distal end, with the structure of FIG. 3, wherein the receptor 40 of the indicating member 26 is located near the base 33 because the base of that embodiment is intended as the distal end. Absorbent body 20 of FIG. I is placed in a vagina from the orientation of absorbent body 39 of FIG. 6, while absorbent body 25 of FIG. 3 would be oriented the same as absorbent body 39 of FIG. 6.

More than one indicating member may be desirable in a tampon to insure that the receptor of an indicating 'member is near the floor of the vagina so that it will give a full of menses signal before a failure occurs. Diametrically opposed receptors near the distal end such as are shown in FIG. 3 will result in at least one receptor being near the vaginal floor when the tampon is in place. A receptor near the vaginal floor is desirable because, as mentioned above, menses tends to wet the bottom surface of a tampon with the top surface of the tampon being wetted by mass transport through the absorbent body. Thus, as can be envisioned from FIG. 6, with diametrically opposed receptors 40, regardless of rotational orientation of a tampon in the vagina, one of the receptors 40 will be near the vaginal floor.

An indicating member such as 26 or '29 shown in FIG. 3 which passes through the proximal end 31 and has a contact point with the absorbent body 25 near the base 33 of the absorbent body can be routed toward the base in several ways, such as, the indicating member 26 enters near the apex 31 and lies within the wall of the absorbent body and the indicating member 29 enters through the apex 31 into the cavity within the absorbent body 25 and reenters the absorbent body 25 near the base 33. An indicating member routed in either of these ways is satisfactory.

Strings which have been found to work as capillary member 22 are: a 5/3 ply cotton string having about a nine pound tensile strength available from Bibb Manufacturing Company, Macon, Ga. under the name of 5/3 ply Sno-Spun bleach 108 cotton, threads from Soft Cotton Cable Cord (sometimes called shearer cord) available from Lily Mills Company, Shelby, N.C., and spun polyester string available from UniRoyal Fiber & Iextile, Division of UniRoyal, Incorporated, 350 Columbia Road, Winnsboro, S.C., 29180.

The indicating member disclosed so far is a capillary member which transmits menses from a contact point within an absorbent body to a terminal end generally lying outside of the vagina, i.e., an external indicator. This capillary member could also be used as the withdrawal string but does not necessarily have to be the withdrawal string in that an additional string could be attached to the absorbent body to provide a withdrawal means securely fastened to the absorbent body.

Indicating members other than an external indicator, i.e., internal indicators whichare sensed by nerve endings within the vagina (not shown), can also be used to show the residual capacity of a tampon, that is, to announcc an impending failure due to a lack of more absorbent capacity. A substantially non-toxic material having a positive or negative heat of solution, to give a heating or cooling effect respectively, is placed on the surface of or within the absorbent body, such as absorbent body 20, near its distal end. In this embodiment the contact point is that area of the indicating agent in direct'contact with the absorbent body. The contact point may be, if it is desirable, localized by isolating all but a small area of the indicating agent and the small area would act as the receptor. This material produces a warm or cool sensation when wetted to indicate that the residual capacity of the tampon is low. Table I below lists a number of compounds that have been used orally or topically on the human body and can be used as a menses-activatable agent. Listed are the name of the compound, chemical formula, heats of solution in kilogram-calories indicates positive heat of solution and indicates negative heat of solution), and medical dosage that has been used on humans. The information was acquired from the Merck Index, 7th Edition.

TABLE I HEAT OF CHEMICAL SOLUTION MEDICAL MATERIAL FORMULA IN KG-CAL. DOSAGE Urea CH N O l5.l kg-cal. X-40g oral Mannitol C H O 22.0l Edible Critic C I- 0 22.6 0.3-2g Acid oral astringcnt puckery Potassium KI 5.l I 0.32g Iodine oral Lactose C,,H,,O,,.H,O l5.5 Magnesium MgSO +2028 Saturated Sulfate Solution topically Magnesium MgSO .H,O +1330 ltl-30 Sulfate oral bitter. saline Potassium KH C H Q 33.S Acid Citrate Aluminum AICI; +76.3 Topical as Chloride tringcnt and antiseptic Boric B O .3I-I O IO.8 Topical Acid dilute solution only Sodium Na,B .l0H O 25.86 External, 'l'ctrafcchle bnrate antiseptic and astringent for mucus mcmbrancs Sodium Na S O .5H O l 1.37 0.5-2.0g Thiooral sulfate Potassium KHC H O -48.S 4-l5g 'Acid oral Tartratc For a tampon utilizing a compound having a heating or cooling sensation as an indicator, the distal end of the tampon is impregnated or coated with the indicator, e.g., urea. The exterior of the distal end is then coated with a menses impenetratable material to prevent premature activation of the indicating agent due to the moisture ever present in the vagina. Thus, activation of the indicating agent results from menses wicking through the absorbent body. A layer or sheet of carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC) disclosed in US. Pat. No. 3,055,369 issued to Graham, Jr. on Sept. 25, 1962, is essentially menses impenetratable. CMC when wetted forms a gelatinous surface which forms a barrier to fluid penetration. Thus, a CMC coating protects the indicating agent from moist vaginal surfaces while the menses wicks to the indicating agent from a more proximal point of wetting on the tampon.

Another alternative indicating member is a swelling indicating agent in or on the absorbent body and incorporated similarly to the warming or cooling indicating agents in that it would be near the distal end of the absorbent body and could be shielded from vaginal fluids other than those which wick through the absorbent body to prevent a premature activation of the indicating agent. The contact point in this embodiment is similar to the contact point formed for use with the wanning or cooling indicators. The swelling indicating agent should exhibit a large swelling upon wetting such that the increase size would be perceptible to the user while the tampon is still in place. A material such as the Bibulous Cellulosic Fibers disclosed in US. Pat. No. 3,5 89,364 issued to Dean et al on June 29, 1971 could be used as the swelling indicating agent.

The warming or cooling indicating materials could also be used as the indicating agent 24 in an external indicator much the same as described above for the dye, i.e., distributed within or on the indicating member 21. This embodiment places the indicating agent 24 outside the vagina which may be desirable.

A stiffening or swelling indicator, another embodiment (not shown), in a string dependent from the absorbent body becomes perceivable to the user as menses wicks down the string from the contact point. Materials such as high-twist lines or hemp yarns, three to five ply, are well known to those of ordinary skill in the textile arts to be stiffened when wetted and such stiffenable materials can be incorporated in an indicating member 21 as a stiffening indicator. The previously mentioned bibulous cellulosic fibers could be incorporated in an indicating member 21 as a swelling indicator.

An indicating tab, an enlarged portion of an indicating member 21, can be located at the terminal end of the indicating member as a variation of indicating members previously described. In this case the indicating agent can be located in the tab rather than on or in the string. Some of the indicating agents which may be used in the tab are, of course, the dyes, warming or cooling materials, or swelling materials suggested above. The tab has several advantages in that a greater concentration of indicating agent can be placed in a tab than along a string and without the discomfort that the same bulk may have in the introital area, and the tab could be placed by the user in the location best suited for her personal sensing.

Thus it is apparent that there has been provided, in accordance with the invention, a catamenial wetness indicator that fully satisfies the objects, aims, and advantages set forth above. While the invention has been described in conjunction with specific embodiments thereof, it is evident that many alternatives, modifications and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art in light of the foregoing description. Accordingly, it is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications, and variations as fall within the spirit and broad scope of the appended claims.

What is claimed is:

l. A catamenial device for placement within a body cavity, comprising: an absorbent body and a mensespresence indicator associated therewith, said absorbent body having a proximal end for placement near the cervical 0s and a distal end, said absorbent body having a contact point near the distal end, said indicator having a receptor, the receptor being in contact with said absorbent body only at the contact point so that the receptor receives liquid present in the absorbent body at the contact point, said indicator being activated by menses, said activated indicator being sensually perceivable without withdrawing said absorbent body from the cavity, whereby said indicator gives a sensual indication after the contact point is wetted by menses so that the absorbent body need not be removed until essentially the entire absorbent body is wetted.

2. The device of claim 1 wherein said indicator is a capillary member having a length sufficient to extend from the contact point to a position outside the vaginal cavity when said device is in use, said capillary member having a terminal end at the end opposite the receptor, whereby said indicator transmits the excess of menses from the contact point to the terminal end to indicate that the device is wetted at the point of contact.

3. The device of claim 2 wherein a menses penetration inhibiting member covers the capillary member.

4. The device of claim 2 wherein essentially all of the capillary member remote from the point of contact is covered by the inhibiting member.

5. The device of claim 2 wherein a dye selected from the group consisting of water soluble dyes, water dispersible dyes, and mixtures thereof is in contact with the capillary member in the terminal end.

6. A catamenial device for placement within a body cavity, comprising: an absorbent body and a mensesphilic string associated therewith, said absorbent body having a proximal end for placement near the cervical 0s and a distal end, said absorbent body having a contact point near said distal end, said string having a receptor, said receptor being in contact with said absorbent body only at the contact point so that the receptor receives liquid present in the absorbent body at the contact point and a menses penetration inhibiting member covering said string from a point adjacent the receptor to the opposite end of said string, whereby menses reaching said contact point enters the string thereat and wicks to the opposite end of the string to give a sensually perceivable indication that the point of contact on the absorbent body has been wetted.

7. A catamenial device for placement within a body cavity, comprising: an absorbent body and an internal menses-presence indicator associated therewith, said absorbent body having a proximal end for placement near the cervical 0s and a distal end, said indicator being in contact with said absorbent body at a contact point, said contact point being near said distal end, said indicator being activatable by menses, said activated indicator being sensually perceivable without withdrawing said absorbent body from the cavity, whereby said indicator gives a sensual indication after the contact point is wetted so that the absorbent body need not be removed until essentially the entire absorbent body is wetted.

8. The device of claim 7 wherein said indicator is a menses-activatable agent applied directly to the absorbent body adjacent the distal end.

9. The device of claim 8 wherein said agent has a sensually perceivable heat of solution.

10. The device of claim 8 wherein said agent is a sensually perceivable wet swelling material.

Patent Citations
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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4027673 *Sep 29, 1975Jun 7, 1977Poncy Mark PDigitally insertable tampon
US4192311 *Dec 5, 1977Mar 11, 1980Felfoldi James JDisposable diaper with wetness indicator
US4317454 *Jul 1, 1980Mar 2, 1982Louis BucaloMethods and devices for obtaining specimens and for signalling when the specimen has been collected
US4843014 *Dec 2, 1987Jun 27, 1989Cukier Daniel SApparel having a breach indicator
US4845922 *Jan 26, 1988Jul 11, 1989Kimberly-Clark CorporationMethod and apparatus for forming an article having a securely-attached string
US4910803 *Nov 10, 1988Mar 27, 1990Cukier Daniel SApparel having a breach indicator
US5197958 *Apr 1, 1992Mar 30, 1993Howell Wesley AWetness indicating diaper
US5468236 *Jun 9, 1993Nov 21, 1995Kimberly-Clark CorporationDisposable absorbent product incorporating chemically reactive substance
US5542914 *Dec 27, 1994Aug 6, 1996Kimberly-Clark CorporationEncapsulated tampon with an applicator
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Classifications
U.S. Classification604/361, 604/904, 604/385.1, 604/369
International ClassificationA61F13/24, A61F13/20, A61F13/42
Cooperative ClassificationA61F13/2045, A61F13/42, A61F13/2037, Y10S604/904
European ClassificationA61F13/20B10, A61F13/42