Menstrual extraction was developed as a technique to help women gain and maintain control over their menstrual cycles and reproductive lives. It can be used as a method of very early termination of pregnancy (abortion) and/or as a simple way to remove menstrual blood.
In 1971, a member of a feminist women's reproductive health self-help group, Lorraine Rothman, modified equipment found in an underground abortion clinic that was developed for a new non-traumatic, manually-operated-suction abortion technique. Rothman took the thin, flexible plastic Karman cannula (about the size of a soda straw), and the syringe (50 or 60ml), and added a one-way bypass valve, to fix two main problems. The contraption could prevent air from being pumped into the uterus, and also suctioned uterine contents directly into the syringe, thus limiting the amount that could be removed. Rothman's and Downer's group dubbed the new invention the "Del Em." Rothman added two lengths of clear plastic tubing, one from the cannula to the collection jar and another to go from the collection jar to the syringe. With this new set-up, the contents of the uterus went directly into the jar, allowing for the extraction of more material, and the two-way bypass valve diverted any air that may have been inadvertently pushed back toward the body to exit harmlessly into the air; this would prevent air from entering the uterus. By making it possible for more than one person to operate the device, the skill level of the operators was greatly reduced. One woman could concentrate on guiding the sterile cannula through the vaginal cavity into the cervical os while another could pump the syringe to develop the vacuum. The Del Em made the procedure more comfortable for women, who could themselves control the suction. Or, a third woman could stand by the woman's side, explaining what was going on, or handing her a mirror to watch the material coming down the tubing.
Vaginal mucus is a natural substance occurring within the vagina, particularly the cervix, that maintains a certain level of moisture at all times.
The volume, colour, and consistency of vaginal mucus changes according to the period of the menstrual cycle. Both the chemical make-up and the physical consistency (viscosity) change during this time. A slippery, clear, egg white-like consistency usually indicates that the woman is ovulating. Relative dryness usually indicates an infertile point in the menstrual cycle.
Menstrual cycle is the cycle of changes that occurs in the uterus and ovary for the purpose of sexual reproduction. It is essential for the production of eggs and for the preparation of the uterus for pregnancy. The menstrual cycle occurs only in fertile female humans and other female primates.
In humans, the length of a menstrual cycle varies greatly among women (ranging from 25 to 35 days), with 28 days designated as the average length. Each cycle can be divided into three phases based on events in the ovary (ovarian cycle) or in the uterus (uterine cycle). The ovarian cycle consists of the follicular phase, ovulation, and luteal phase whereas the uterine cycle is divided into menstruation, proliferative phase, and secretory phase. Both cycles are controlled by the endocrine system and the normal hormonal changes that occur can be interfered with using hormonal contraception to prevent reproduction.