Vaginal Tampon Applicator

PROF. DR. G. G. KUHN


Girls and women who have no arms or who are severely misformed, paralyzed, or otherwise handicapped by severe functional disturbances of their upper limbs were, until now, dependent on others for help with their monthly hygiene. However, there exists a special and quite understandable need for independence in just this field.

For these handicapped people a tampon applicator has been developed by the Department for Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation of the Orthopaedic Hospital, University of Münster. This equipment is clamped onto the toilet seat and operated by foot, making it possible for the individual to insert as well as remove the vaginal tampon, even without functioning arms.

The tampon applicator consists of a pneumatically operated push-out device, the bottom part of which is movably connected to a holding clip. On the upper part of the push-out device there is a bayonet-lock device into which push-out tubes for the five commercially available tampon sizes can be placed ( Figure 1 ). The push-out mechanism is connected via a tube to a rubber bail, which is placed on the floor next to the toilet ( Figure 2 ).

The "o.B." brand tampons are better suited than other brands for use with this applicator, since they remain stable under axial pressure and keep their shape. Moreover, the twofold pull-back cord which is knotted together into a ioop also helps. Prior to use, a small plastic ring can also be fastened to the end of the cord to facilitate the removal of the tampon.

The push-out tube of suitable size is placed into the bayonet-lock of the applicator, and the tampon is inserted into the push-out tube with the cord hanging * Director downward. The tampon applicator is then clamped onto the front end of the toilet seat by its spring clamp, and the push-out tube is adjusted at its joint to a 45-deg. upward position towards the back ( Figure 3 ).

To insert the pushout tube into the vagina, the disabled woman takes a squatting position. Thereby, the applicator at its joint adjusts approximately to the position of the vagina. During this operation the rubber ball lies under the forefoot. When the rubber ball is compressed, the piston of the push-out mechanism is activated through the hose, and the tampon is pushed into the vagina. It is to be inserted deep enough that only the cord loop (with ring, if used) is hanging outside.

For removal of the tampon, a flat-angled hook is turnahly mounted on the applicator tube. With this hook, the loop or the plastic ring is caught, and the tampon is pulled out. It automatically drops into the toilet bowl.

The placing and removal of the tampon require an unimpaired sense of balance and some physical skill which can easily be acquired with some practice. To facilitate this the rubber ball may be placed into a see-saw-type tilting box. At first the patient stands firmly with the heel and ball of either her right or left foot on the box. After insertion of the applicator she tilts the box forward with her toes and thus actuates the ball. Normally this accessory is not necessary, and it is supplied only on special order.

The tampon applicator is made entirely of plastic or other rust-free materials so that it can readily be cleaned in warm soap suds. It can be used with "o.B.-tampons" made by Hahn, Dusseldorf, in the five commercially available sizes. It is distributed by Ruhrtaler Verbandstoff-Fabrik Paul Danz and Company, 5802 Wetter 4-Wengern.

English translation by G. Struzyna.