We’ve all seen videos of mostly Asian competitors whiz through a match of ping pong. What about one with liquids?
While liquid ping pong in space is cool, other forms of liquid might not be as desirable. Washing hair in space, especially for women, is extremely challenging.
These might seem like clever ways to solve the unwanted liquid issue on board, but other sources of liquid don’t look as easy to control: Cue the menstruation blood nightmare.
Although menstruation is a normal bodily process periodically experienced by almost all women in the world, not many are familiar with the process. We previously explained how it ties into the bigger circle of life, especially with all the tools designed around contraception. The problem faced by astronauts is the management of periods over long periods of time, an issue that was only recently brought up because of the expected long-duration trips to Mars.
The news last week was buzzing about one of the first scientifically backed recommendations for menstruating astronauts. Medically induced amenorrhea, or stoppage of menstrual bleeding, has been traditionally achieved by manipulating the hormones in the body. As with the case with military service personnel, women astronauts have expressed a desire to maintain this process. However, instead of having to comply with a daily regimen of pills, producing waste and extra cargo, Intra-Uterine Devices are suggested. A sub-type of those are hormonal implants which would be placed into the vagina, releasing enough chemicals to block bleeding.
With 50% of the 2013 NASA recruits being female, menstruation has joined the big table conversation.
Back here on earth, menstruation has also joined the economic conversation. Here are some highlights from this NYTimes article:
American women spent $3 billion on sanitary protection in 2014, up 2 percent from 2013, according to the market research company Euromonitor International
Menstrual products are expensive, and it’s absolutely debilitating if you don’t have access to them
Eight states and the District of Columbia have moved to eliminate sales tax on pads and tampons, and bills have recently passed in the New York and Mississippi State Senates
I’m sure you’ve heard the conversation stirring online. It reached NASA and legislation, are you still held back by it?
[Signature drink by E.]