The idea of creating a device that’s inserted into the vagina to collect menstrual fluid is one that has intrigued women from ancient times through the beginning of the last century. It wasn’t until 1937, however, that the menstrual cup was patented by an American actress, author and inventor, Leona Chalmers.

After long years of trying unsuccessfully to bring her product to market, she sold the rights to Robert P. Oreck, who launched the Tassaway line of menstrual cups in the 1960s. However, the product was made of rubber—not the most comfortable or hygienic material—and Oreck was unable to promote the products commercially by using words like "period" or "vagina," so his efforts led to failure.

The Mooncup changed everything in 2001. It was made from medical-grade silicone that was both durable and hypoallergenic. Manufactured in the United Kingdom, this menstrual cup provided a direction for other companies to follow, and now there are many different devices available.

Health concerns over period products