NASA Investigating How To Handle Periods In Space

Posted: Apr 24 2016, 8:26pm CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News


NASA Investigating How to Handle Periods in Space
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Two doctors have been working closely with NASA to try to figure out options for female astronauts who will get their periods in space. This is especially important as NASA hopes to roll out more long-term missions. We have already found out that there aren't any menstrual issues associated with microgravity, though it can still be a bit of a nuisance.

According to Varsha Jain, one of the two doctors, female astronauts don't want to deal with it at all. She told The Atlantic: "The women that I spoke to, for short duration flights, when they went up on shuttle missions, they chose either to suppress or they chose to time their cycles, so they didn't have to deal with their menstruation..."

She and her colleague, Dr. Virginia Wotring, have looked into the possibility of using oral contraceptives (birth control), IUDS, or implants to control menstrual cycles during deep space missions. While birth control bills might be good for a short trip, they likely aren't good for a three-year mission. Partly because that would require bringing many pills into space, taking up precious cargo room. Plus, NASA would have to figure out what to do with all of that packaging. IUDS and patches are viable because they are inside the body and they can pretty much be left alone.

However, another concern is that contraceptives could lead to bone loss in space.

Menstruation is one of the biggest problems facing female astronauts. For nearly two decades, women weren't allowed to go space because scientists feared that their period blood would flow inward and create health problems.

As Jain said, we "need to ensure [we] have the most up-to-date information on reliable contraception and means of menstrual suppression" if we will one day try to go deeper into space.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/46" rel="author">Noel Diem</a>
Noel passion is to write about geek culture.




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