CONTRIBUTE to Humor, Words and expressions about menstruation and Would you stop menstruating if you could?
Some MUM site links:
homepageMUM address & What does MUM mean? | e-mail the museum | privacy on this site | who runs this museum?? |
Amazing women! | the art of menstruation | artists (non-menstrual) | asbestos | belts | bidets | founder bio | Bly, Nellie | MUM board | books: menstruation and menopause (and reviews) | cats | company booklets for girls (mostly) directory | contraception and religion | costumes | menstrual cups | cup usage | dispensers | douches, pain, sprays | essay directory | extraction | facts-of-life booklets for girls | famous women in menstrual hygiene ads | FAQ | founder/director biography | gynecological topics by Dr. Soucasaux | humor | huts | links | masturbation | media coverage of MUM | menarche booklets for girls and parents | miscellaneous | museum future | Norwegian menstruation exhibit | odor | olor | pad directory | patent medicine | poetry directory | products, current | puberty booklets for girls and parents | religion | Religión y menstruación | your remedies for menstrual discomfort | menstrual products safety | science | Seguridad de productos para la menstruación | shame | slapping, menstrual | sponges | synchrony | tampon directory | early tampons | teen ads directory | tour of the former museum (video) | underpants & panties directory | videos, films directory | Words and expressions about menstruation | Would you stop menstruating if you could? | What did women do about menstruation in the past? | washable pads
Leer la versión en español de los siguientes temas: Anticoncepción y religión, Breve reseña - Olor - Religión y menstruación - Seguridad de productos para la menstruación.

Continued to next earlier News & Notes

NEW this month (news & letters BELOW):

"The Period Play," a play by Julie Lipson - Carlota Berard: The Art of Menstruation - Statement from The Keeper comparing that menstrual cup with other products, here. - Your menstrual troubles remedies - "Some Details on the Function of the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Ovaries Axis" by Dr. Nelson Soucasaux - Humor
Would you stop menstruating if you could?
Words and expressions about menstruation: New: Australia: Drain the sump, Raising the Japanese flag, Riding the white surfboard; England: Full stop; Germany: I'm working on something, You're homemade; Jamaica: I'm having my ladies' period [more comments]; U.S.A.: (Employing the) Doubled barreled technique, Menestrate
What did European and American women use for menstruation in the past?

Low-ranking monkeys become depressed, lose estrogen, and die earlier, but still menstruate

The online edition of New Scientist magazine (, 5 February) reported,

"Lower-ranking females were more likely to become depressed, the researchers found: they slouched around staring at the floor and lost all interest in their environment. They were also more likely to die prematurely. Five out of the nine most depressed animals died before the end of the experiment. The team's results appear in The Journal of Biological Psychology (DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2004.11.006).

"The most depressed monkeys had earlier lost body fat, developed higher heart rates and become less active. Their blood accumulated fatty components linked with heart disease, they had increased bone loss and their stress hormones were disrupted. Levels of oestrogen and progesterone both dipped, indicating impaired ovarian function. 'That's five or six major systems in the body that are dysregulated by depression,' [Carol] Shively [of Wake Forest University School of Medicine] told New Scientist. We tend to think of depression as purely psychological, but there is more to it than that. 'Depression really is a whole-body effect,' she says."

"[Barr] fails to mention frequent and sometimes substantial bleeding, the FDA . . . said"

Barr Pharmaceuticals makes Seasonale, a hormone drug that allows women to have only four periods a year - at least that was the plan. But read on . . . .

"FDA Warns Barr Over Seasonale Commercial

"Fri Dec 31, 2:49 PM ET Health - Reuters

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A television commercial for Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s Seasonale misleads consumers by excluding risk information to make the birth control pill seem safer, U.S. health regulators warned in a letter released on Thursday.

"The commercial suggests use of the oral contraceptive leads to only four menstrual periods a year but fails to mention frequent and sometimes substantial bleeding, the FDA (news - web sites) said in the Dec. 29 letter.

"Barr's advertisement plays down the risk of irregular menstrual bleeding that can be as heavy as a regular period by suggesting it would subside with continued use of the pill, the letter said.

"The FDA posted the letter Thursday on its web site at" (a pdf from December 2004)

Read more about suppressing your period here.

Buzz off if you're menstruating!

How often does this happen? Caitlin Flanagan writes in the New Yorker magazine ("The Price of Paradise," 3 January 2005) that she was a guest in a mega-luxury hotel in Hawaii, The Grand Wailea, and

"During our first night there, a letter from the concierge was slipped under the door, informing us of the next day's roster of fun and also instructing us not to go to breakfast in bare feet or to the Napua cocktail reception in a bathing suit. The fine print on the sumptuous Spa Grande brochure forbids 'ladies on their cycle' from sullying the Jacuzzi."

Does anyone know of other hotels, resorts or such public areas prohibiting menstruating women from doing something, like entering?

If so, write me and I'll put it on this news page.

"Menstrual blood" makes "terrorists" talk?

An American woman interrogating an allegedly terrorist Muslim man imprisoned in Guantanamo, Cuba, smeared menstrual blood on his face to help him fess up. Apparently the blood was not real. I suspect the technique would have worked almost as well, if it worked at all, with Christian men. ("Demütigende Verhöre im Minirock," Spiegel Online,, 28 January)

Australian Museum opens menstruation site

The largest museum in Australia, the Powerhouse, shows some of its collection of menstruation items ("The Rags: an unmentionable history") at , which includes menstrual anecdotes gathered from around Australia.

The Powerhouse will get this museum's - MUM's - roughly 5000 items if I fail to find a permanent public place for it in America. Its menstruation guru, Megan Hicks, visited me and MUM in 2000. Read about the visit here.

Tax on menstrual products might end in New York

The Albany (New York) Times Union newspaper ran the following (I print just an excerpt) on 20 December 2005 (Web site here)

"In New York state, condoms and hair loss remedies used by men are tax-exempt medical necessities. Menstrual products are not, meaning the 5.2 million New York women who use them are paying more than $10 million a year in sales tax to state and local governments for tampons and sanitary pads.

"Two dozen members of the state Legislature want to change that. Three bills to exempt tampons and sanitary pads from sales tax are pending, and one in each house is sponsored by a majority party member with several male co-sponsors."

Letters to your MUM

Tampaction for healthy menstrual products


I love your Web site, and wanted to recommed another site to add to your links page: . It is a national student run campaign to bring healthy menstrual products to menstruators in our communities. Hope you find it interesting! If you would like more info, please feel free to contact me!

Andrea Mickus

Tampaction Campaign Coordinator
215-222-4711 (SEAC office)

"How Bill Gates cured my PMS"

Article from

Australian group thinking of reading MUM words

Our moonblood circle is considering the idea of doing an impromptu reading and discussion of some of the more colourful expressions [in Words and expressions about menstruation] It's a fantastic list. Keep it up!


She likes the Instead menstrual cup

Dear Mr. Finley,

Great site! As an active feminist, I am certainly impressed by your knowledge of and comfort with menstruation. Kudos!

I write because I've been using menstrual cups for years now; I first bought the Instead cup []when it came out. (I was in junior high at the time). I used it and loved it, but found it too expensive for general use, so I switched back to tampons until I came across the DivaCup several months ago. I absolutely love it. I am quite comfortable with my body, and I have found little difficulty with the cup. One thing I did discover after some investigation is that to ensure that it doesn't leak, it is important for the cup to completely cover the cervix. (I check by sticking my index finger back into my vagina after inserting the cup and making a circle around the cup with my finger to see if I feel my cervix. If not, I'm good to go for 8-12 hours with no leaks!) I had minor discomfort on occasion when the little "stem" on the cup stuck out my vagina and poked me (much like a tampon not inserted in far enough), but I solved that by snipping off maybe 1/8th of an inch of the stem. I have had no problems since.

I can't say enough good things about the cup, especially for overnight use. I also find it a moving experience to interact with my own blood, if that makes sense. I feel more connected to my body and more of a participant in my moon-time. (It's also a good way to save blood for making menstrual artwork, but that's another story.) :)

Thanks for your great site!


And more about Instead: "[T]here's no way in hell that sucker's gonna fit up there," but it did

I've used tampons since I started with my period, because I hated the bulky nastiness of pads. Tampons were better than pads, but tampons still leaked, tampons have a certain odor, and tampons have that nasty little string dangling out all the time. Plus, after a friend went through toxic shock syndrome, I was a little bit frightened.

I saw Instead [menstrual cup] at a Walgreen's near my house, came home, did a bit of research, went back and bought a box. When I first opened the package, my initial reaction was "there's no way in hell that sucker's gonna fit up there." The female body's a miraculous thing though, and with a little bit of poking and prodding, I felt... nothing. I can't tell it's up there. It hasn't leaked yet, through sleeping, swimming, horseback riding, and sex. This is miraculous. I haven't had a single problem with insertion or removal.


Read about and see a new tampon

I received the following e-mail:

What is Gynotex?

Discover the advantages of the tampons of the new generation.

\No woman of today can feel that having her period is particularly pleasant. Even without the - only too frequent - physical discomforts, menstruating all too often gets in the way of daily life and of cherished pursuits. You know: the weekend you were looking forward to is spoilt, once again, by your being unable to take part in sports, to go swimming, or to visit a sauna. And, maybe worst of all, during menstruation, sexual intercourse very often looses all its attractions.

After I asked about its Web site, I received this, in addition to samples later:

We do have a Web site For several countries we are looking for distributors. If you would like to receive samples, please let me know.

Best regards,

Mark Dujardin

Flushaway products available

Hi, there,

Thanks for putting the info up regarding the Flushaway biodegradable pads and liners. Your visitors might like to know that they are now available at



Now 89, she started douching with Lysol when she was 17!

Good morning,

I happened to be checking the 'Net just to see if good old Lysol would be safe to use on some new Pergo floors my hubby recently installed in a couple of rooms.

I'm going on 89 years YOUNG . . . LOL . . . and was very amused by the Lysol douche ad. I don't know if I'm "still the girl my husband married" as I have pretty bad osteoarthritis (could it have been the Lysol?), but used Lysol as a douche and contraceptive ever since I married at age 17!! I had two children, both sons who turned out very well, in spite of the Lysol!! LOL

It's rather funny as I used it every day for many, many years because back in the early days, we didn't have the "Pill" and Lysol was used after "the act" to prevent unwanted pregnancies by just about every lady I knew, including my mother and grandmother who had just ONE child each.

Oh, well, we must have been TOUGH as I don't recall any problems!! LOL. Just thought I'd drop a line as I got a big kick out of your site and the old info.



Toilet sign directs her to MUM

Hi there,

I saw a sticker on a toilet door at uni and decided to investigate . . . And it landed me here!! I was amazed at the amount of feedback on menstrual cups on your Web site!! The only problem for me is that I am from Australia and there are NO manufacturers of such products here (or I have found none so far).

Although they appear similar to the Keeper, has anyone commented on the "Mooncup" ( or "Divacup" ( Or better still - know somewhere I can get one in Oz? [Click back through the earlier news pages, where there are scattered comments. And I have collected comments from 1996-1998 here.]

I am determined to get a cup now - but now I have to weigh up which will be best with the international postage and handling costs on top of the cup itself!!

With delight!


Perth, Australia

MUM artist has exhibit in Hungary

This is a late notice - my fault - but Fanni Fazekas, who exhibits some of her work on this site, has an exhibit right now in Hungary. Read her generic e-mail, below the notice.

Dear Sir/Madam,

My name is Fanni Fazekas and I am in my final year of an "Art and Design" degree course at the University of Bolzano, Italy.

In 2003, I held a very successful exhibition in south Tirol (northeast Italy) entitled "The Invisible," concerning female sanitary wear (ref: The aim of the exhibition was to make users aware of the different types of sanitary wear available with a clearer insight to each product and what it can offer, allowing the user to choose products appropriately according to personal needs and requirements.

I have also been invited to repeat the exhibition in Budapest, Hungary (population - 2.5 million) from 8 to 26 February, 2005. The exhibition will be held at "The Studio of Young Artists and Designers."

I therefore invite you to offer your brand-name and product samples in order that visitors can view your design and take a sample away with them to try out. This would clearly be both a marvelous marketing opportunity for yourselves as well as a chance for me to further my studies.

Thank you very much for giving your time and attention to this letter and I look forward to hearing from you and receiving your samples. Please send them to "The Studio of Young Artists and Designers" in Budapest at the following address:

For: Fanni Fazekas

" lathatatlan " kiallitas

Fiatal iparmuveszek studioja egyesulet

'Studio of Young Artists and Designers'

H ­ 1054 Budapest, Kalman Imre u. 16.


Camelia scion wants information about his family and the company

Camelia was the first large commercial maker of disposable pads in Germany in the 1920s; a German predecessor was the Hartmann company, maybe the first commercial maker of disposables in the world. See a Camelia ad from the 1940s.

Dear Sir:

My name is Peter W. Obermeyer, Jr. and I am an heir to the original owners of the Camelia Company in Nuremburg, Germany.

I am beginning research regarding the history of the company and would greatly appreciate any information you can offer.

My father, Peter Obermeyer, Sr., died at the age of 41, when I was 9 years of age, and my grandparents (his parents) are long gone as well.

I have many photographs of the original and bombed factory after WWII and am interested in finding out more about my family history.

Thank you in advance for your kind reply.

Respectfully yours,

Peter Obermeyer

The History of Contraception Museum - the only such one in the U.S.A.? - opens

Percy Skuy, a former president of Ortho Pharmaceuticals, Ontario, Canada, donated his collection of contraception artifacts to case Western Reserve University, which is displaying them in its medical library.

In the Los Angeles Times, Stephanie Simon, writes (2 January),

"It is a lonely obsession. And a frustrating one. As Skuy, a retired pharmaceutical executive, points out with some sorrow, 'there's really no motivation to save an old contraceptive.'"

Hm, sounds like this museum.

Visit the museum Web site here.

Making her own rags for menstruation


A friend found your site and I am fascinated. I have been talking openly about bleeding for thirty years even though it makes many people uncomfortable. I began using rags in California in 1977, as a result of hanging out with feminist hippie dykes in the country who were doing that. Some were also choosing to bleed into their clothes or let it run down their legs, as we were outside most of the time. [My guess is that many women through history have done this; read What did European and American women use for menstruation in the past? See an old Italian washable rag and more on washable pads and rags.]

I began with a bandana wrapped arrangement tied to a belt, but eventually began simply folding up pieces of cloth (ripped up remnants of old clothes) and wearing them inside my underpants. It is a really good system with much better results than commercial paper and plastic products.

I am glad more women are turning to cloth, but I want to tell them all you don't need to buy anything and you don't need to sew anything. Simply fold up two layers of cloth (one piece, inside, shorter, to add fullness in the middle section). The cloth can be any cotton -- old underpants, flannel nighties, sheets, towels, t-shirts, literally anything that is worn out and can be recycled. I cut it into pieces suitable for folding into the right shape for me. You don't have to hem the edges. It is a rag! Every woman can figure out the right shape for herself, and it is variable for different flows. Sometimes I use heavier cloth, sometimes lighter.

Each rag gets unfolded after use and tossed in a soak pail. At the end of my period I wash them at the laundromat (and no one has yet dared ask what all those stained cloths are for). [The 2003 movie The Magdalene Laundries shows the punishment of washing others' menstrual rags meted out to unfortunate women in the Catholic Magdalene Sisters' laundries in Ireland.] They do stay stained, but I don't care. They're bloodrags! When I go out for the day I carry as many as I need in a plastic bag, with another bag for the dirty ones. It is simple. I think when paper products first arrived on the market it must have seemed like a convenient alternative, but consider that (a) they didn't have washing machines; (b) they didn't have plastic bags; and (c) everything about menstruation had to be hidden from view. They couldn't even hang up their pads on an outside drying line because someone might see them. At my grandmother's boarding school they had to do their "linen" washing at night in the basement at allotted times, and hang them up down there.

I think rags are quite manageable with modern washing and carrying facilities and they are so much more comfortable and effective, never mind the environmental and health benefits.

I didn't intend to write an essay on it, but I do get frustrated with the commercialization of the "alternatives."

In the mid nineties I wrote an analysis of menstrual product advertising in Chatelaine magazine from the twenties through the sixties, for a history course. I am not sure it is electronically accessible any more as it is probably on some low density Macintosh diskette, but I do have hard copy somewhere. I would be pleased to show it, along with the pics I took from the microfiche, if anyone is interested. What I found particularly interesting were the ads from the second world war period, with admonitions to not be a "stay-at-home Sue" and to send for their booklet to learn how to cope with war work and menstruation.

Anyway, it is late and I should sign off. Thanks for an interesting site.


Ottawa, Ontario

She questions my ideas on what women used for menstruation in the past

It seems to me that many women in the European past, maybe a majority, used nothing special for menstruation, bleeding into their clothing. Read more here.

Dear Mr. Finley:

I have read your site with interest and amusement. The Museum of Sex was recently opened in New York City and when I visited it, seemed to have quite a bit of unused space. I am uncertain whether or not this space is intended for future use, but would think that even a temporary exhibit under their umbrella might well be an interesting option. They do have a Web site and a Google search is sure to uncover it. 

My observation is actually an argument against women bleeding into their clothes in previous centuries. I am an avid amateur researcher in the history of fashion and dressmaking and my knowledge in these areas prompts me to disagree with you regarding the use of the crotchless bloomers and the overall utility of women bleeding into their clothes. 

First, what we now think of as crotchless underwear was so designed with urination in mind, not menstruation or the evaporation of female emanations. The physician you quote is an aberration. The crotchless option allowed women to simply lift their skirts when they had to "go to the necessary" as it was termed, without having to take down or draw drawers.  When you consider the amount of clothing that women wore in every period except the regency and the most contemporary, this will make sense. Holding up several layers of skirts and petticoats and attempting to untie the drawstring waistbands (remember - no elastic waists) and lower the pantaloons would already require more hands than the usual standard issue of two and would leave none free to devote to the task at hand. 

In addition, most women had very few clothes and what clothes they had had to be handmade in the home and in some cases the fabric had to be handwoven as well. Women would be extremely reluctant to ruin clothing in this way for practical, social and aesthetic reasons. Menstruation has always been a taboo topic and women would be reluctant to advertise their menses by both active bleeding on their clothes and the stains that would be left even when menstruation was not present. 

Which brings me to my next objection, namely laundry. The laundering of clothes was extremely HARD work until fifty years ago. Nineteenth century laundry required an additional maid devoted to only this task in middle and upper class households and each "load" of laundry required a minimum of eight steps of huge vats of boiling water and chemicals. Even in a lower class household, where some steps might be omitted, laundering clothing was a huge, labor intensive undertaking and steps to keep clothing as clean as possible as long as possible would have been practical. 

So, what did women do? I tend to approach history thinking about the body and only the body. It is our one changeless touchstone; attitudes towards urination, defecation and menstruation and their concomitant organs may change, but the organs and their functions are ceaseless and changeless. So, I ask myself, what would I have done? 

And the answer is that when menstruating, I would have used rags, padded at the point of vulval contact with additional rags and would have basted the ends of the rags to the fronts and backs of the crotchless and later crotched pantalets. 

Too much trouble you say? Think about material in an average household; virtually every scrap was used and reused until it disintegrated. That which was not used for clothing, patching clothing, interior decoration and the mending of that decoration, quilts, doll clothes and cleaning rags would have eventually cycled down to use as menstrual rags. The outer rags used to hold the smaller rags together may have been dedicated to the purpose and discarded when they disintegrated or washing could not cleanse them adequately. This would also explain why few or no examples survive. 

Ladies of other centuries were also much more adept with a needle and took care of much of their bodily functions in their bedrooms with the help of a chamber pot and a chamber maid. So, in conclusion, my arguments against women bleeding into their clothes and for use of rags are as follows:

1.  Clothing was too valuable a commodity and too time consuming to make to spoil it in this way.  Clothing also serves a social and aesthetic function and women would not want to ruin their sole unsung, sanctioned art form. 

2.  Laundering of any clothing, especially bloodstained clothing (bloodstains are a problem to this day) was so labor intensive as to be avoided whenever possible. 

3.  Menstruation has always been a taboo and women would not advertise in so blatant a fashion. 

I hope you will think about these arguments and their solution and possible present them on your Web site.



I replied and she sent this:

Dear Harry:

Thanks for writing back. The bleeding into the clothes could go either way and you make a good point with the fact that books warned against it - it is like laws, they don't make them if there isnt a need. I still stand though with my idea that clothing construction and maintenance was so time consuming that women would be loathe to ruin their clothes in this way and that even poor women are often proud of their clothes. It is an interesting topic. 

All of this said, I did actually know a woman who bled into her clothes some years ago - she had fairly light periods and just bled into the crotch of her jeans. She was a pretty free spirit as well. [I know some as well.]

I also wanted to mention that I loved the pictures of your cats on the site.  I am a cat lover and as I am now a cancer patient, my cats have become my staunchest allies and best company. 

Happy Holidays!


How can he help with his girl friend's menstrual problems?


I am a 15-year-old male and found your site by a Google search on "cures for PMS." I know this is weird, but I just have a few questions and comments for all the girls out there, since well, I wouldn't ever be able to answer them.

First of all, is there anything I can do for my girlfriend to ease the pain? I know heat and Advil can, but I want to really help. I TRY to be extra nice to her when she's on her period, and give some back rubs, but I feel that is not enough. Is there anything I can do to make it easier and less dreaded? If you know anything I can try, please e-mail me at so I can start helping out.

Next, is, I don't understand why girls have so much pain in their lives when a guy's life is basically a walk in the park compared. (Note I am only 15 and haven't had the full deal.) I don't like to compare girls and boys since i think they are so distinct from each other, but, I don't understand it. Why do girls have so much pain and boys don't? Girls get monthly cramps, guys may get the occasional one from sports, but nothing like cramps from their period.

Next, depression. Most guys my age, I never see sad or mood swings. Girls, on the other hand, well, that is much different. I don't understand why girls have to go through so much and guys so little. It just doesn't make any sense to me.

Next, I think girls are much stronger and well, pretty much better then the male for a few things. Girls' lives are harder then males, well, I'm sure you know much better then me about that, but it's true. Girls have things in their lives that hurt quite a bit (I have no idea, and please, please, don't think I'm saying I do) while guys don't. Period, Pregnancy, and well, that first time through the hymen. What do guys have? The only thing I can think of is getting kicked in the ol' family jewels, and well, after 5 minutes of so called "pain," it doesn't quite hurt for much longer. That's about it.

Why though? No one will ever know, and I won't try to explain. I mean, I can understand why giving birth hurts (I think this is obvious to most people of why) but why does the first time a girl have intercourse (not all girls) hurt, and why is her period so painful? It just doesn't make sense to me. Any guy saying that menstruation is a joke, or thinking it is easy, I think you have the right to slap him, or better yet, give him some of his own "menstruation," if you know what I mean.

Girls deserve all the best, for help through this time, (again, please don't think I'm saying it's easy or close, I have no idea, and never will) and shouldn't have to deal with the jerk guys in the back row of the classroom making fun of Sally Sue's red stained shorts. I just wish I could experience what girls have to go through, so I could have a better understanding of what it feels like, so I could help, and actually know just what I could do. I wish I could be the one having a period, instead of my girlfriend, and it makes me sad because I can't experience it, and have to watch her go through all the pains of menstruation.

In conclusion, I just want to say that I think girls are much stronger, and definitely better then their opposite. I think that you should be proud that you have to go through something that someone else doesn't. That is what makes you strong, and what makes you better, well, in my opinion at least. I hope you all can find some way of easing the pain, and someone, somewhere will help along the way.


More about Kleinerts

Dear Mr Finley,

You were asking recently about Kleinerts sanitary panties [in a previous news item].

They were around in the UK in the early and mid 1960s and were popular with younger teenagers.

They had a waterproof gusset with a pocket at each end to hold a sanitary towel in place. They could also be used with home-made absorbents such as cotton wool or tissues (Kleenex etc).

The bikini-style brief was made of lightweight woven nylon, and was worn low on the hips, in the "hipster" style fashionable at the time. The gusset was made of nylon or similar plastic, not rubber, as was stated.

They disappeared, I think, in the late 60s when tampons became more widely used, and adhesive sanitary pads came onto the market.

You are welcome to use any of this on your site, if it is helpful!

Congratulations on a superb site, ****.

"[M]ost men know next to nothing about menstruation"

This certain applied to me for most of my life and partly accounts for this museum.

A very good site. It resolved a number of mysteries for me.

One comment: as a man I can testify with great certainty that most men know next to nothing about menstruation and the various related issues discussed on your site. It's all pretty much a mystery to guys who mostly think of it as a collection of symptoms that never work out well for them. But few men, including me, understand the feelings women have about it, or how a very significant part of their lives operates. (I suppose the same might be said about women's understanding of men's masturbatory habits.)

Perhaps this is because young men and women are usually separated in sex education classes, especially in middle school when young girls are just getting their first periods. We boys intuitively understood the separation was for the benefit of the girls, that something involving "periods" was discussed, and that we Y-chromosomes were too immature to be sensitive to whatever it was that the girls were sensitive about. It all passed us by and we never once thought about periods until the first time a woman stopped sexual contact because she was menstruating. For some guys this is later than others, so you can see how ignorance is reinforced. I'm not sure what the consequences are, but it seems that more understanding is always better than ignorance no matter the topic.

Anyway, just a thought I had.



Add section for Eastern religions - what a treasure trove!

Dear Sir,

I ran into your site while looking for experiential appraisal of menstruation by women themselves. I enjoyed finding in short texts an overview of thethree "major" religions' views on the subject.

May I suggest that you add a page for Eastern religious views, taoist, Buddhist, yogic? Views there span the same positive-negative range. As in other religions, too, knowledge about women's experience and practices (physical in this case) has so been suppressed over the centuries that little is now known of what archaics and ancients might have remembered from the matriarchal cultures' knowledge. Modern women have to rediscover it. Below is a line to follow.

There is, in all religions, a "deeper" or "inner" aspect of religious teaching, knowledge of human nature, and mystic practices. The quest for "enlightenment" and its problem of behavioural and mind agitation and pains has roots in the body and the quest for longevity and youthfulness, freedom from disease and from being dependent on external things or people. For women, some practices involve menstruation. It seems, though, that these are mostly lost, due to negative biases and to the progressive psychologizing of spiritual practices.

Mysticism, spiritual practices, and archaic "myths" of reversing menstruation for health:

I know of one Buddhist practice called "slaying the Red Dragon," aiming to stop menses (for women monks, the body is "just a vehicle" and menstrual uproars of emotions a hindrance to meditation). I cannot trace anyone who actually knows what this practice involves.

In Chinese and yogic traditions, there's a lot of sexual practices to "raise spirit" or life energy, but China has retained a notion that women could stop their menses and gain at the same time a healthier body, also more prone to "spiritual development."

I also think I remember (can't quote) something in the beginning of the Bible (descendants of Noah) about a woman who was menopausal, received the Grace of God, became fertile again, and pregnant. [Note that scholars increasingly stop considering ancient texts as mere stories and find historical validation for their contents, so may be there is something real to that story].

These remnants of traditions, apparently often rooted in pre-archaic female shamanism. go in the same general direction as some of the books you quote. Namely, that

(1) Menstruation is an illness-cleansing process, which, however should not lead to negatively valuing of women, persons with 'uncleanliness'. 'Illness' is a problem that must have a solution.

(2) Menstruation blood and menopause may not be necessary or inevitable at all. There is controversy about whether it's a uniquely human phenomenon, and indications that rich agriculture-based food might cause it in caged animals - so why not in women- , and its occurrence seems variable in animal species and individuals - so why not in women, since most males do not experience sexual organ failure at midlife.

(3) Therefore, there might be a way of not having menstruation, without resorting to medical drug interference, which I know from personal experience (contraceptive pill) can wreck havoc in the hormonal system both short term and long term - see literature on the effect of Hormone Replacement Therapy on cancers, for example, or see literature about the painlessness of menopause or childbirth in certain cultures. I could find no theoretical reason to make such things necessarily impossible.

(4) This would mean there could be both a way of stopping them without loosing fertility once they have started, and a way of maintaining health so they do not start at all. Most ancient traditions state that there is knowledge about human nature that has been lost.

Your list of euphemisms and words for menstruation (here) supports the idea that menstruation is not pleasant (and at its worst feels like illness; shall we trust instincts?) but also the idea that they constitute an "activation of power," including creative, but also the "red power" of hormonal uprising as in an adrenaline or testosterone rush. Such "activations" have a lot to do with how cells behave in a cancer. This line of thought has not been explored in medical or anthropological contexts as far as I know.

Displaying info on mystic practices and these unusual health goals might help validate women's experience as both unpleasant but not blamable, and a possible opportunity to approach health in a different way, from a woman's viewpoint. Hence scholarly and medical studies of possibilities in women's conditions rather than a mere remedial "disease'" approach, post- (e.g. PMS) or pre- (as in one of the books you quote, about ridding the world of menstruation).

My way of dealing with all this is to not accept as full truth anything I read, including scientific knowledge and household knowledge, and to seek answers for myself, observing my own experience as it is, rather than through the filters of what I've learned or of my bodily conditioning, and draw inspiration and support from archaic texts, less limiting. Since a couple of scholars have responded to your site, I'd like to make an appeal to women researchers to not stay with only objective science or scholarship, but to include their own experience in a "first person" research method.

Results of a trial of the new pill to suppress menstruation, Seasonale: "effective, safe and well tolerated"

Christine L. Hitchcock, Ph.D., Research Associate, Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research (CeMCOR), Endocrinology, Dept. of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada (URL:, sent this to members of the The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research (which includes me).

Here is the first article from the Phase III trial of the higher dose extended schedule pill (Seasonale).

In Contraception. 2003 Aug;68(2):89-96.

A multicenter, randomized study of an extended cycle oral contraceptive.

Anderson FD, Hait H.

The Jones Institute for Reproductive Medicine, Eastern Virginia Medical

School, Norfolk, VA 23501, USA.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the efficacy and safety of Seasonale, 91-day extended cycle oral contraceptive (OC). METHODS: A parallel, randomized, multicenter open-label, 1-year study of the OC Seasonale [30 microg ethinyl estradiol (EE)/150 microg levonorgestrel (LNG), and Nordette-28 (30 microg EE/150 microg LNG)] in sexually active, adult women (18-40 years) of childbearing potential. Patients received either four 91-day cycles of extended cycle regimen OC, or 13 cycles of the conventional 28-day OC with daily monitoring of compliance and bleeding via electronic diaries. RESULTS: When taken daily for 84 days followed by 7 days of placebo, the extended cycle regimen was effective in preventing pregnancy and had a safety profile that was comparable to that observed with the 28-day OC regimen that served as the control. While unscheduled (breakthrough) bleeding was reported among patients treated with the extended cycle regimen, it decreased with each successive cycle of therapy and was comparable to that reported by patients who received the conventional OF regimen by the fourth extended cycle. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrated that Seasonale, 91-day extended cycle OC containing 84 days of 30 microg EE/150 microg LNG followed by 7 days of placebo, was effective, safe and well tolerated.

PMID: 12954519

Continued to next earlier News & Notes

Press release from the maker of Seasonale, Barr Laboratories

(Kathleen O'Grady, of the Canadian Women's Health Network, kindly sent this to The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research members)

WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J., Nov. 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Barr Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE:BRL) today announced that it has begun promoting SEASONALE(R) (levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol) 0.15 mg/0.03 mg tablets directly to physicians and other healthcare providers. SEASONALE is the first and only FDA-approved extended-cycle oral contraceptive indicated for the prevention of pregnancy and designed to reduce periods from 13 to 4 per year. The Company has initiated physician detailing and promotional activities using the 250-person Duramed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Women's Healthcare Sales Force. Duramed is a wholly owned subsidiary of Barr Laboratories, Inc.

The Company began shipping SEASONALE in mid-October. Promotional Programs directed to physicians include a variety of patient education initiatives, various medical education programs and a publication plan that includes journal advertising. Women and healthcare professionals who would like to learn more about SEASONALE, including full prescribing information, should visit or call the toll-free number 800-719-FOUR (3687).

"We are excited to begin marketing this new choice in oral contraception to healthcare providers and patients through extensive promotional activities and an education campaign," Bruce L. Downey, Barr's Chairman and CEO said. "Our market research indicates that the extended-cycle regimen represents a substantial opportunity with patients and we believe that the already high awareness of SEASONALE will be even higher among target physicians and patients following the launch of our promotional activities and detailing by our Women's Healthcare Sales Force."

"SEASONALE is a 91-day regimen taken daily as 84 active tablets of 0.15 mg of levonorgestrel/0.03 mg of ethinyl estradiol, followed by 7 inactive tablets and is designed to reduce the number of periods from 13 to 4 per year," explained Dr. Carole S. Ben-Maimon, President and Chief Operating Officer of Barr Research. "With SEASONALE, women now have an FDA-approved, safe and effective alternative to the traditional 28-day oral contraceptive regimen."

Clinical Data

The clinical data supporting FDA approval of the SEASONALE (levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol) 0.15 mg/0.03 mg tablets product resulted from a randomized, open-label, multi-center trial that ended in March 2002 and an extension to that trial. In the trials, SEASONALE was found to prevent pregnancy and had a comparable safety profile to a more traditional oral contraceptive.

In the trial, the most reported adverse events were nasopharyngitis, headache and intermenstrual bleeding or spotting.

SEASONALE(R) has been formulated using well-established components, long recognized as safe and effective when used in a 28-day regimen. SEASONALE offers 4 periods per year as compared to 13 per year with traditional oral contraceptives. When prescribing SEASONALE, the convenience of fewer planned menses (4 per year instead of 13 per year) should be weighed against the inconvenience of increased intermenstrual bleeding and/or spotting.

Important Information About Oral Contraceptives

It is estimated that more than 16 million women currently take oral contraceptives in the United States. Oral contraceptives are not for every woman. Serious as well as minor side effects have been reported with the use of hormonal contraceptives. Serious risks include blood clots, stroke, and heart attack. Cigarette smoking increases the risk of serious cardiovascular side effects, especially in women over 35 years. Oral contraceptives do not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Use of SEASONALE provides women with more hormonal exposure on a yearly basis than conventional monthly oral contraceptives containing similar strength synthetic estrogens and progestins (an additional 9 weeks per year). While this added exposure may pose an additional risk of thrombotic and thromboembolic disease, studies to date with SEASONALE have not suggested an increased risk of these disorders. The convenience of fewer menses (4 vs. 13 per year) should be weighed against the inconvenience of increased intermenstrual bleeding/spotting.

Barr Laboratories, Inc. is engaged in the development, manufacture and marketing of generic and proprietary pharmaceuticals.

Forward-Looking Statements

The following sections contain a number of forward-looking statements. To the extent that any statements made in this press release contain information that is not historical, these statements are essentially forward-looking. Forward-looking statements can be identified by their use of words such as "expects," "plans," "will," "may," "anticipates," "believes," "should," "intends," "estimates" and other words of similar meaning. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that cannot be predicted or quantified and, consequently, actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such risks and uncertainties include: the difficulty in predicting the timing and outcome of legal proceedings, including patent-related matters such as patent challenge settlements and patent infringement cases; the difficulty of predicting the timing of U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, approvals; court and FDA decisions on exclusivity periods; the ability of competitors to extend exclusivity periods for their products; the success of our product development activities; market and customer acceptance and demand for our pharmaceutical products; our dependence on revenues from significant customers; reimbursement policies of third party payors; our dependence on revenues from significant products; the use of estimates in the preparation of our financial statements; the impact of competitive products and pricing; the ability to develop and launch new products on a timely basis; the availability of raw materials; the availability of any product we purchase and sell as a distributor; our mix of product sales between manufactured products, which typically have higher margins, and distributed products; the regulatory environment; our exposure to product liability and other lawsuits and contingencies; the increasing cost of insurance and the availability of product liability insurance coverage; our timely and successful completion of strategic initiatives, including integrating companies and products we acquire and implementing new enterprise resource planning systems; fluctuations in operating results, including the effects on such results from spending for research and development, sales and marketing activities and patent challenge activities; and other risks detailed from time to time in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Source: Barr Laboratories, Inc.

CONTACT: Carol A. Cox, Barr Laboratories, Inc., +1-201-930-3720,

Free documents from Women's Health Initiative to celebrate its one-year anniversary

To mark the one-year anniversary of the Women's Health Initiative Study, which highlighted possible health risks associated with long-term hormone therapy use for menopausal women, the Canadian Women's Health Network has now made the following documents available online and free of charge:

Frequently Asked Questions, answered in plain language:

What is Menopause?

What is Hormone Therapy (HT)?

What are the Alternatives to Hormone Therapy?

Menopause and Heart Disease; What are my Risks?

How do I Stop Taking Hormone Therapy?

In-depth articles:

*The Pros and Cons of Hormone Therapy: Making An Informed Decision

*Health Protection Measures from the Women's Health Initiative

*The Medicalization of Menopause

*HRT in the News: The Women's Health Initiative

*Challenges of Change: Midlife, Menopause and Disability

*Natural Hormones - Are They a Safe Alternative?

*Perimenopause Naturally: An Integrative Medicine Approach

*Thinking Straight: Oestrogen and Cognitive Function at Midlife

*The Truth About Hormone Replacement Therapy

*Menopause Home Test: Save Your $$$

*Recent Studies on Menopause and Pain

*What The Experts are Saying Now: A Round-Up of International Opinion

*Women and Healthy Aging

... and many more!

Check us out at
The Canadian Women's Health Network
Women's Health Information You Can Trust

Many thanks to the Women's Health Clinic, Winnipeg, and A Friend Indeed newsletter, for making many of these documents available to the general public.


Kathleen O'Grady, Director of Communications
Canadian Women's Health Network/Le Réseau canadien pour la santé des femmes
Suite 203, 419 Graham Ave.
Winnipeg MB R3C 0M3
Tel (204) 942-5500, ext. 20


Jobs, conferences, prizes, etc.

Book about periods needs your input, MEN!

Kaylee Powers-Monteros is writing a book about women's periods called "Bloody Rites."

"I consider a woman's period her rite of passage. . . . My book is focusing on the language we use about periods and how that impacts our perceptions of it," she writes.

She has a chapter about men's first learning about menstruation and would like to hear from men in response to the question, "When was the first time you ever heard anything about a period and what was it?" I already sent her mine: when I was in sixth grade the kid next door said his sister had started bleeding from you-know-where. I didn't know anything about you-know-where, actually, having grown up in a prudish military household with two bothers, no sisters and a mother who must have felt very alone.

E-mail her at

Migrane study at Emory University needs online participants

Researchers at the Emory University School of Nursing are conducting an Internet-based study looking at the experience of migraines in women between the ages of 40 and 55. The study includes completion of online questionnaires and participation in an online discussion group with other women who also have headaches. For more information, please visit the study Web site at, or call the research phone line at 404-712-8558.

Thanks so much.

Peggy Moloney

Contribute to fund in honor of Jill Wolhandler and help The Women's Community Health Center in Massachusetts (U.S.A.)

Dear Women [oh, let's add "men," too],

Here is an opportunity to honor two significant contributions to the women's health movement - The Women's Community Health Center in Massachusetts, and Jill Wolhandler, a member of the health center and a strong women's health advocate, who died in December 2002.

For the many of you who worked with Jill, I am including the remembrance from her memorial service.

Jill has many friends throughout the country.

In honor of Jill's vision and commitment to women's health, a fund in Jill's name has been established and we are asking for donations in order to catalogue and process the Women's Community Health Center files. There is a high level of interest in material from this period of the women's health movement, and your contribution would assure that information from that time is preserved. Donations are tax deductible.

Checks can be made to the Schlesinger Library - on the memo section of the check, please write "Processing WCHC."

Send checks to:

Paula Garbarino

Jill Wolhandler Fund

16 Ivaloo St.

Somerville, MA 02143

Thank you,

Catherine DeLorey

Women's Community Health Center Files Reside at the Schlesinger Library

At the occasion of the 25th anniversary of Women's Community Health Center [WCHC] in 1999, a group of former collective members announced that materials from the health center years had been donated to the archives at Radcliffe's Schlesinger Library. This material consisted of a variety of documents such as meeting minutes, articles written about or by WCHC members, clinic schedules, surveys and feedback forms, as well as other "herstorical" items.

Several boxes of documents were reviewed to ensure that no confidential material containing names or identifying information about women using the services would be shared with the Schlesinger.

Despite the fact that the material has not yet been organized or catalogued, there have been numerous requests from women's health scholars to review the material. It has become a rich trove of information and offers a unique perspective into the women's health movement of the 1970's and early 1980's.

In order to make the material widely available, the boxes of documents need to be "processed" or catalogued. To do this, personnel at the library will fully review the contents of the collection. Generally this involves preserving the original order of the material as it was donated according to either chronological or topical categories. If no original order exists, they will determine how to best logically sort and present it so that scholars can use the contents. The material will be subdivided into folders with guides to contents and clippings will be photocopied. An overall guide to the organization and listing of summaries will be generated. This guide will be available on the internet with worldwide circulation. Folders will be photocopied and sent out upon request for personal research purposes only. Publication permission usually rests with the library and the original authors of the material.

Other legal arrangements were made at the time the gift of the material was made to the Schlesinger; Cookie Avrin generously offered legal assistance in this process.

About 5 linear feet of material (the library's standard of measurement) was donated. Processing is expected to cost $600 per foot. The total estimated cost is approximately $3000.

On a related note, the library has about 40 feet of material from Our Bodies Ourselves and recently received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to process that collection.

A Remembrance of Jill

Written by Diane Willow for Jill's memorial service

Jill Wolhandler was born on January 22, 1949 in Scarsdale, New York. She died on December 6, 2002 in the home that she shared with her beloved partner, Janet Connors.

Jill moved to Dorchester to be with Janet and her children David, Shana and Joel, shortly after meeting Janet fifteen years ago. Jill felt great joy and pride in her chosen family.

Together they made a nurturing home that always welcomed their extended family of friends. Seth and Terrance remained dear members of Jill's extended family.

And, over the years Charlotte and Christopher came into her life at 26 Bearse Avenue.

Jill was the first child of her beloved mother Jean and her father Joe, and the older sister of Peter, Laurie and Steven. She later found enduring pleasure as Aunt Jill to Sara, Gina and Jacob. After excelling in the Scarsdale schools, she went to the International School in Geneva to complete high school. She continued her education at the University of Chicago before beginning graduate studies at Johns Perkins University. She utilized her deep knowledge of human physiology in teaching, writing and political work. Later in life she completed graduate studies in occupational therapy at Tufts University. She attributed her most significant learning to her ongoing work as a social activist.

After moving to Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the mid nineteen-seventies, she became involved in the work of the local and national women's health movement. She contributed to an early publication of Our Bodies Ourselves (1976) as a freelance editor and co-authored a chapter in the New Our Bodies Ourselves (1984). She joined the Women's Community Health Center (1975), working first as a member of the collective and later as one of the four women on the guiding committee.

During her time as the most enduring member of the health center, Jill dedicated herself to the self-help philosophy with particular focus on the Pelvic Teaching program (the first of its kind in the nation) in collaboration with Harvard Medical School as well as the Fertility Consciousness project. Toxic shock syndrome and the related Tampon legislation was also a focal point for Jill's research and advocacy. She was also an early supporter on research related to daughters born to mothers who had used DES during their pregnancies.

Jill's political activism for women's health issues brought her to the Vermont Women's Health Center where she was able to learn abortion procedures legally. She spent a year in Vermont, developing these skills, believing that she would then be able to pass them on if abortions were to become illegal again.

Meanwhile, she did ongoing work as a bookkeeper. Her former clients included Red Sun Press and other activist organizations. Her most recent work was as the Business Manager of the Boston Institute for Psychotherapy. Although deadlines were often a cause for worry with Jill, she was meticulous in her accounting and her co-workers valued her conscientious approach.

A cello player in her youth, Jill revived her passion for music through her annual participation in the Early Music Week at Pinewoods, as a player of the bass viol in the Brandeis Early Music Ensemble, and as a member and the Treasurer of the New England Regional Chapter of the Viola de Gamba Society. She found peace in music and pleasure in sharing it with others.

Many of Jill's friends and acquaintances have often heard Jill express her love of words with her unique sense of humor. She was known to make up her own vocabulary, whether as terms of endearment for loved ones, alternative names for common places and landmarks or just her quirky way of describing things. Her love of nature and the natural world was a sustaining force in her life. She was especially fond of the ocean and felt at home walking the beaches of the Cape or staying in Provincetown.

She loved animals, was an avid bird watcher and lived for many years with cats and turtles. She raised small red-eared sliders. When these turtles came to her they were the size of a quarter. After decades of thriving, they now require two hands to hold and continue their lives in a plexi-pond at The Children's Museum in Boston.

A playful spirit at heart, Jill took delight in the mini-firework displays bursting from sparklers and the swirling rainbow colors in drifting soap bubbles.

Her pleasure in play and her curious mind made her an engaged companion of the children in her life and others who remain young at heart. A rather old soul who had her share of challenges, Jill found her joy in friendships and in the ways that she was able to contribute to a better quality of life through social activism.

Women's Universal Health Initiative

Women's Universal Health Initiative

Women's Universal Health Initiative is by women for women - if you have ideas, events, information, or comments to share, send them to

In these difficult times, all advocacy groups are struggling financially. WUHI is no exception. Please consider becoming a member to support the continuation of the web site and our work on universal health care.

You become a member of WUHI with a tax-deductible donation of any amount. Go to the WUHI website to join online, or send your donation to WUHI, Box 623, Boston, MA 02120.

Health Care Reform: a Women's Issue

Anne Kasper

Anne Kasper, a long time women's health activist, discusses why health care reform is a women's issue. Anne is an editor, with Susan J. Ferguson of Breast Cancer: Society Shapes an Epidemic, a powerful and informative book on the politics of breast cancer.

To read the complete article: <>

Health care reform has long been a women's issue. Since the beginnings of the Women's Health Movement in the late 1960s, women have known that the health care system does not work in the best interests of women's health. When we think of the health care system and its component parts ­ doctors, hospitals, clinics, and prescription drugs, for instance ­ we are increasingly aware that the current system is not designed to promote and maintain our personal health or the health of others. Instead, we are aware of a medical system that delivers sporadic, interventionist, hi-tech, and curative care when what we need most often is continuous, primary, low-tech, and preventive care. Women are the majority of the uninsured and the under insured as well as the majority of health care providers. We are experts on our health, the health of our families, and the health of our communities. We know that we need a health care system that must be a part of changes in other social spheres -- such as wage work, housing, poverty, inequality, and education -- since good health care results from more than access to medical services.

Featured Site

UHCAN - Universal Health Care Action Network

UHCAN is a nationwide network of individuals and organizations, committed to achieving health care for all. It provides a national resource center, facilitates information sharing and the development of strategies for health care justice. UHCAN was formed to bring together diverse groups and activists working for comprehensive health care in state and national campaigns across the country.

Their annual conference, planned for October 24-26, 2003 in Baltimore, MD, is one of the best grass-roots action conferences available. They consider universal health care justice from many perspectives.

Visit UHCAN's website for resources, analyses of health reform issues, and more information on their campaigns for health care justice.

Proposals, Policies, Pending Legislation

Health Care Access Campaign - the Health Care Access Resolution

Health care in America is unjust and inefficient. It costs too much, covers too little, and excludes too many. As the economy deteriorates, it is rapidly getting worse.

One in seven Americans, 80% of whom are from working families, lack health insurance and consequently suffer unnecessary illness and premature death. Tens of millions more are under insured, unable to afford needed services, particularly medications. Health care costs are a leading cause of personal bankruptcy. Communities of color endure major disparities in access and treatment. Double-digit medical inflation undermines employment-based insurance, as employers drop coverage or ask their employees to pay more for less. State budgets are in their worst shape in half a century. Medicare and Medicaid are caught between increases in need and a financial restraints.

In the 108th Congress, the Congressional Universal Health Care Task Force will introduce the Health Care Access Resolution, directing Congress to enact legislation by 2005 that provides access to comprehensive health care for all Americans. Legislators, reacting to the urgency for health care reform, will likely introduce several proposals in this Congress.

Check out the link to learn more about the resolution and how you can contribute to it.

Proposed Health Insurance Tax Credits Could Shortchange Women

Commonwealth Fund report, reviews federal policies designed to help low-income adults buy health insurance, which have focused on tax credits for purchasing coverage in the individual insurance market. This analysis of premium and benefit quotes for individual health plans offered in 25 cities finds that tax credits at the level of those in recent proposals would not be enough to make health insurance affordable to women with low incomes.

Time for Change: the Hidden Cost of a Fragmented Health Insurance System

An excellent overview by Karen Davis, President of The Commonwealth Fund, of factors in the US health care system that lead to it being the most expensive health system in the world.

A Place at the Table: Women's Needs and Medicare Reform

By Marilyn Moon and Pamela Herd

This book, published by the Century Foundation, shows that women have different retirement needs as a group than men. Women are more likely to require long-term care services because they live longer and are more likely to suffer from chronic diseases. Suggests guidelines that would make Medicare reforms work for women, including how to deal with comprehensiveness, affordability, access to quality care, and the availability of information.

Women in the Health Care System: Health Status, Insurance, and Access to Care

Report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) focuses on women in the United States in 1996. Health insurance status is examined in terms of whether women are publicly insured, privately insured, or uninsured, and whether insured women are policyholders or dependents.

Health Insurance Coverage in America: 2001 Data Update

Although not specific to women, this resource contains valuable information about women and health insurance coverage and provides valuable information and facts for general presentations on universal health care. The chart book provides year 2001 data on health insurance coverage, with special attention to the uninsured. It includes trends and major shifts in coverage and a profile of the uninsured population.


Health Care Links

Links to state, national and international organizations working for single payer health care and universal health care. A resource of Physicians for a National Health Program - check out the site for many other resources and excellent factual information on a single payer health care system [ <> ].

Universal Health Care Organizations in Your State

A list of state organizations working for universal health care. Resource of Everybody In, Nobody Out [EINO: ]. Not all states represented.

Families USA New Online Service .

Families USA online service to provide registered users with the following benefits:

Free bimonthly newsletters with articles on health policy issue.

Announcements about organization events.

Discounts on publications

Kaiser Network for Health Policy - Publications and Reports <;hc=806&amp;linkcat=61>

Reports and publications on health policy, access, uninsured and insurance. Supported by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Good source of information.


May 8 - 9 2003

Health Policy and the Underserved

Sponsored by the Joint Center for Poverty Research, looks a social, economic, and outcomes of policies for the underserved.

May 14-16, 2003

2003 Managed Care Law Conference

Colorado Springs, CO

Co-sponsored by American Health Lawyers Association and American Association of Health Plans. Presents legal issues facing health plans and providers.

October 24-26, 2003

National Universal Health Care Action Network [UHCAN] Conference

Baltimore, MD

One of the best grass-roots action conferences available. Considers universal health care from all its perspectives. Check out their website for an overview of their orientation.

November 15, 2003

Physicians for a National Health Program Fall Meeting

San Francisco, CA

November 15 - 19, 2003

American Public Health Association Annual Meeting

San Francisco, CA

Meeting of professionals in public health. Has many sessions on health care reform and women's health, including universal health care.

January 22-23, 2004

National Health Policy Conference

Washington, DC

Wide-ranging discussions of health policy, including health care reform and universal health care.

Women's Universal Health Initiative

PO Box 623

Boston, MA 02120-2822

617-739-2923 Ext 3 <>


Canadian TV film about menstruation Under Wraps now called Menstruation: Breaking the Silence and for sale

Read more about it - it includes this museum (when it was in my house) and many interesting people associated publically with menstruation. Individual Americans can buy the video by contacting

Films for the Humanities
P.O. Box 2053
Princeton, NJ 08543-2053

Tel: 609-275-1400
Fax: 609-275-3767
Toll free order line: 1-800-257-5126

Canadians purchase it through the National Film Board of Canada.

Did your mother slap you when you had your first period?

If so, Lana Thompson wants to hear from you.

The approximately 4000 items of this museum will go to Australia's largest museum . . .

if I die before establishing the Museum of Menstruation and Women's Health as a permanent public display in the United States (read more of my plans here). I have had coronary angioplasty; I have heart disease related to that which killed all six of my parents and grandparents (some when young), according to the foremost Johns Hopkins lipids specialist. The professor told me I would be a "very sick person" if I were not a vegetarian since I cannot tolerate any of the medications available. Almost two years ago I debated the concept of the museum on American national television ("Moral Court," Fox Network) and MUM board member Miki Walsh (see the board), who was in the audience at Warner Brothers studios in Hollywood, said I looked like a zombie - it was the insomnia-inducing effect of the cholesterol medication.

And almost two years ago Megan Hicks, curator of medicine at Australia's Powerhouse Museum, the country's largest, in Sydney, visited MUM (see her and read about the visit). She described her creation of an exhibit about the history of contraception that traveled Australia; because of the subject many people had objected to it before it started and predicted its failure. But it was a great success!

The museum would have a good home.

I'm trying to establish myself as a painter (see some of my paintings) in order to retire from my present job to give myself the time to get this museum into a public place and on display permanently (at least much of it); it's impossible to do now because of the time my present job requires.

An Australian e-mailed me about this:

Wow, the response to the museum, if it were set up in Australia, would be so varied. You'd have some people rejoicing about it and others totally opposing it (we have some yobbos here who think menstruation is "dirty" and all that other rubbish). I reckon it would be great to have it here. Imagine all the school projects! It might make a lot of younger women happier about menstruating, too. I'd go check it out (and take my boyfriend too) :)

Hey, are you related to Karen Finley, the performance artist?? [Not that I know of, and she hasn't claimed me!]

Don't eliminate the ten Regional Offices of the Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor

The Bush Administration is planning to propose, in next year's budget, to eliminate the ten Regional Offices of the Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor. This decision signals the Administration's intent to dismantle the only federal agency specifically mandated to represent the needs of women in the paid work force.

Established in 1920, the Women's Bureau plays a critical function in helping women become aware of their legal rights in the workplace and guiding them to appropriate enforcement agencies for help. The Regional Offices take the lead on the issues that working women care about the most - training for higher paying jobs and non-traditional employment, enforcing laws against pay discrimination, and helping businesses create successful child-care and other family-friendly policies, to name only a few initiatives.

The Regional Offices have achieved real results for wage-earning women for eighty-one years, especially for those who have low incomes or language barriers. The one-on-one assistance provided at the Regional Offices cannot be replaced by a Web site or an electronic voice mail system maintained in Washington.

You can take action on this issue today! Go to to write to Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao and tell her you care about keeping the Regional Offices of the Women's Bureau in operation. You can also let E. Mitchell Daniels, Jr., Director of the Office of Management and Budget, know how you feel about this. You can write a letter of your own or use one we've prepared for you.

If you find this information useful, be sure to forward this alert to your friends and colleagues and encourage them to sign up to receive Email Action Alerts from the National Women's Law Center at

Thank you!

I'm decreasing the frequency of the updates to make time for figuring out how to earn an income

I can retire from my graphics job in July, 2002, and I must if I want to continue developing the site and museum, because of the time involved. But I can't live on the retirement income, so I must find a way to earn enough to support myself. I'm working on some ideas now, and I need the only spare time I have, the time I do these updates on weekends. So, starting December 2001, I will update this site once a month rather than weekly.

Book about menstruation published in Spain

The Spanish journalist who contributed some words for menstruation to this site last year and wrote about this museum (MUM) in the Madrid newspaper "El País" just co-authored with her daughter a book about menstruation (cover at left).

She writes, in part,

Dear Harry Finley,

As I told you, my daughter (Clara de Cominges) and I have written a book (called "El tabú") about menstruation, which is the first one to be published in Spain about that subject. The book - it talks about the MUM - is coming out at the end of March and I just said to the publisher, Editorial Planeta, to contact you and send you some pages from it and the cover as well. I'm sure that it will be interesting to you to have some information about the book that I hope has enough sense of humour to be understood anywhere. Thank you for your interest and help.

If you need anything else, please let me know.

Best wishes,

Margarita Rivière

Belen Lopez, the editor of nonfiction at Planeta, adds that "Margarita, more than 50 years old, and Clara, 20, expose their own experiences about menstruation with a sensational sense of humour." (publisher's site)

My guess is that Spaniards will regard the cover as risqué, as many Americans would. And the book, too. But, let's celebrate!

I earlier mentioned that Procter & Gamble was trying to change attitudes in the Spanish-speaking Americas to get more women to use tampons, specifically Tampax - a hard sell.

Compare this cover with the box cover for the Canadian television video about menstruation, Under Wraps, and the second The Curse.

An American network is now developing a program about menstruation for a popular cable channel; some folks from the network visited me recently to borrow material.

And this museum lent historical tampons and ads for a television program in Spain last year.

Now, if I could only read Spanish! (I'm a former German teacher.)

Money and this site

I, Harry Finley, creator of the museum and site and the "I" of the narrative here, receive a small amount of money from Google-sponsored ads on this site; I have no control over which ads Google sends. I'm hoping this Google money will cover what I pay for a server to host this site and the cost of the site-specific search engine. Otherwise, expenses for the site come out of my pocket, where my salary from my job as a graphic designer is deposited. Sometimes people donate items to the museum.


What happens when you visit this site?

For now, a search engine service will tell me who visits this site, although I don't know in what detail yet. I am not taking names - it's something that comes with the service, which I'm testing to see if it makes it easier for you to locate information on this large site.

In any case, I'm not giving away or selling names of visitors and you won't receive anything from me; you won't get a "cookie." I feel the same way most of you do when you visit a site: I want to be anonymous! Leave me alone!

Help Wanted: This Museum Needs a Public Official For Its Board of Directors

Your MUM is doing the paper work necessary to become eligible to receive support from foundations as a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation. To achieve this status, it helps to have a American public official - an elected or appointed official of the government, federal, state or local - on its board of directors.

What public official out there will support a museum for the worldwide culture of women's health and menstruation?

Read about my ideas for the museum. What are yours?

Eventually I would also like to entice people experienced in the law, finances and fund raising to the board.

Any suggestions?

Do You Have Irregular Menses?

If so, you may have polycystic ovary syndrome [and here's a support association for it].

Jane Newman, Clinical Research Coordinator at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard University School of Medicine, asked me to tell you that

Irregular menses identify women at high risk for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which exists in 6-10% of women of reproductive age. PCOS is a major cause of infertility and is linked to diabetes.

Learn more about current research on PCOS at Brigham and Women's Hospital, the University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania State University - or contact Jane Newman.

If you have fewer than six periods a year, you may be eligible to participate in the study!

See more medical and scientific information about menstruation.

"The Period Play," a play by Julie Lipson - Carlota Berard: The Art of Menstruation - Statement from The Keeper comparing that menstrual cup with other products, here. - Your menstrual troubles remedies - Humor - "Some Details on the Function of the Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Ovaries Axis" by Dr. Nelson Soucasaux

Would you stop menstruating if you could?
Words and expressions about menstruation: New: Australia: Drain the sump, Raising the Japanese flag, Riding the white surfboard; England: Full stop; Germany: I'm working on something, You're homemade; Jamaica: I'm having my ladies' period [more comments]; U.S.A.: (Employing the) Doubled barreled technique, Menestrate
What did European and American women use for menstruation in the past?


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