Before female astronauts went into space, there was a lot uncertainty about what would happen whilst they were on their periods. A few people were concerned how women would cope with PMS whilst in space, but they were also worried about the physical side effects of going into space.
A few questions were asked, such as ‘Would the blood come out without gravity to pull it from the womb? Maybe it would all pool up in there, or even flow backward through the fallopian tubes into the abdomen?’ The only way to get a real answer was for someone to try it…
Some people who worked for NASA were still not sure about what actually happened to women whilst on their periods. In the 1980’s before Sally Ride (the first American women in space) went on a 7 day mission NASA Engineers asked her if 100 tampons would be enough. She said no, that’s too many. When they decided on how many tampons to send up to space with her they tied all the tampon strings together so they wouldn’t float away.
After it was proven that nothing changed whilst in space and astronauts had their periods as normal, it became a more feasible option to send female astronauts into space more regularly.
Once female astronauts became a more common occurrence, scientists started trying to find ways to help astronauts not have to have a period whilst in space, many female astronauts now take the contraception pill to prevent themselves having periods whilst in space. So what would you do if you had your period in space?