Coming down the pike?

“In the last five years, the U.S. Patent Office has fielded proposals for a tampon with a saturation indicator, a reusable applicator, and, yes, a vibrating tampon,” Ashley Fetters writes in her terrific Atlantic piece about the tampon industry.

 

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Entrepreneur to Forbes: “If I can own the vagina and the butthole, I win.”

Gotta love this entrepreneur’s tagline. “If I can own the vagina and butthole, I win,” says Miki Agrawal.

Agrawal is introducing yet another period-panty option (as well as another product I’m having trouble visualizing; a portable bidet for people with poop issues?). On the plus side, her panties feature a two-tampons-worth-of-absorbent-crotch and aren’t disposable but reusable. They don’t look that bad, kinda sexy.

Supposedly, you’ll be able to buy seven panties (one a day for a week-long period) for $200. You re-use them and they last two years.

The drawbacks? Maybe I lack imagination, but I can’t see this one-a-day thing being very comfy. Even if the crotch holds two tampons-worth of blood, won’t women want to change ’em out a bit over the course of a day, particularly on heavy bleeding days? But I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt since I like where she is headed with this concept–and because I am charmed by her unabashed capitalist takeover of the nether regions. Maybe she’ll give ole P&G a run for its money?

DiaryDoll and Me–on the CBC

Suppose the icon bled?

Suppose the icon bled?

Here’s a segment I did on the CBC’s The Current with Anna Maria Tremonti this morning, riffing on tennis player Heather Watson’s reference to “girl things” contributing to her loss in the Australian Open. Also on the show was Annabel Croft, former tennis player and founder of DiaryDoll, a British company that makes waterproof panties so women can double-up their protection.

Keeping your periods secret, forever! Hooray. During the interview, Croft refers to women “panicking” in work meetings when they’ve got their periods but don’t want to slip out to the bathroom to change their tampon or pad. Heaven forfend. Better to wear both tampons and water-proof panties.

The company website flashes a Marilyn Monroe-esque figure whose white dress flips up and down to reveal her pristine panties–a reference to the Seven Year Itch scene where Monroe stands over a heating vent. From the company website:

Made in Britain, DiaryDolls are completely washable and look and feel exactly like your favourite pants, giving you extra time when you need it most. 

Worn together with your normal protection, nobody need ever know!

DiaryDoll …we’ve got your back covered!

The graphics on the DiaryDoll website show a pregnant woman, too. That one has me puzzled. Are they suggesting the panties should be worn by pregnant women because maybe they have to pee really bad when they are sitting in the above meeting, “panicking?” Or is in case the pregnant woman might spot–and if so, are they supposed to wear these special panties every single day, just in case? Or is it because a woman might miscarry? Or her water break? I’m so confused.

But, ahh. Protective panties. I’m so glad they’re back.

Protective panties. You've come a long way, Baby! Or have you?

Protective panties. You’ve come a long way, Baby! Or have you?

Boobs Sore? Just Pop These Pills, Little Girl

"If your 'girls' hurt, you are not alone," according to Violet's™ website. Just take these little pills.

“If your ‘girls’ hurt, you are not alone,” according to Violet’s™ website. Just take these little pills.

I was waiting to get my hair cut yesterday, flipping through the women’s fashion magazines that were scattered about in my Baltimore beauty parlor and stumbled on an ad for an odd new product.

“Sore? Say hello to Violet™ Iodine.”

Ahh, apparently this is the newest menstrual product being marketed to women. But get this, it’s not for “down there,” it’s for up here, your breasts.

Women’s vaguely attributed testimonials explain how their debilitating boob discomfort is alleviated by Violet™ on the company website.

“I developed an irrational fear of speed bumps during my morning commute,” says Lauren, CA.

“I wore a larger bra, winced when my kids hugged me and stuck to very low impact exercise,” says Karen, CT.

“Forget exercise, and the husband, too! I dreaded that time of month!” says Lisa, SC, who kinda made the writing teacher in me wince at abundant use of exclamation points!

But help is on the way, the company promises:

“By taking a simple pill every day, the result is true relief and reassurance that you are proactively taking care of your breasts.*  With Violet iodine, you are just days away from a “new normal” — a life where breast discomfort doesn’t get in the way.

Get it off your chest™”

Okay, if you thought a little boob discomfort was just a normal part of your period and you popped a few ibuprofen and got on with your day, think again. “If your ‘girls’ hurt, you are not alone,” Violet explains on the website. This happens to 50 percent of women in their childbearing years. Still, though it is common, it is not “normal,” apparently.

You have Fibrocystic Breast Condition (FBC), the company explains.

And you know how that goes: If it has a name, then it is a legitimate “disease” or “syndrome” or perhaps merely the downgraded, “condition” but still, it means people can sell you products to treat the illness. In this case, $44.99 a month means Lisa can resume exercising, Karen can hug her kids and Lauren will henceforth sail blissfully over speed bumps on her morning commute.

We have BioPharmX, Inc., a Menlo Park, CA, company to thank for introducing Violet ™ in December of 2014.

But I caution, all this should be taken with a grain of salt. (Iodized, perhaps? Amusingly, the company does warn against women  boosting iodine levels cheaply through, say, upping their intake via a $.99 purchase of Morton’s, insisting their pricey pills function more efficiently.) Here’s what I started to notice in the company literature: It was rife with these little asterisks scattered after sweeping statements.

For example, the below excerpted press release from the website:

“What is unique about Violet iodine is its non-hormonal formula of patented molecular iodine, which aims to target the breast tissue with limited introduction in the thyroid,”* said Dr. Lee P. Shulman, Professor and Head of the Section of Reproductive Genetics in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. “Adding Violet iodine to a woman’s daily regimen can help safely relieve the most common forms of breast pain and discomfort, including aches and swelling, while also maintaining healthy breast tissue.”*

It took a bit of sleuthing to locate the fine print but it was not an exercise in futility. It actually meant something significant:

*These statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.