What do you do when your period comes on a space mission? Samantha Cristoforetti had already written about it in 2014 on her ESA blog, Outpost 42, in view of her first “Futura” mission and now she tells it on TikTok, where her videos sent by the International Space Station collect millions of hits: in a short time more than four months he travels towards 600 thousand followers while on Twitter, during the current “Minerva” mission, he doubled the quota of one million, entering the top of the world social rankings of astronauts.
It must also be said that the question has directly concerned, up to now, very few women and almost all Americans: about sixty astronauts, cosmonauts and taikonauts (Chinese), to stay away, since only those who have spent more than a few days in space. The males who went into space are over 500.
In practice, then tells the ESA astronaut from thirty, answering a question from a follower, with menstruation one behaves exactly like on Earth, apart from greater attention to the destination of the urine that is recycled on the ISS to obtain drinking water. .
@astrosamantha Replying to @theyarechrisdre “How do you handle menstruation in space?” AskMe MissionMinerva SpaceTok ♬ Inspiration – WavebeatsMusic
The answer of 2014
(From Outpost 42, Galaxy Guide for Grounders on a Mission)
There are no rules that impose or, conversely, prohibit the suppression of the menstrual cycle during a mission in space. In truth, even mere recommendations do not exist: each astronaut decides freely on the basis of his own preference. It is of course a good idea to inform your flight surgeon of the decision, who must be aware of all health aspects. Apart from that, it is a completely private choice.CopyAMP code.
From what I have heard from colleagues, I believe that practical considerations often prevail which make pharmacological suppression preferable. However, it is not very far from what is commonly practiced by many women: those who simply make a “classic” use of the contraceptive pill in fact already suppress their menstrual cycle. The losses during the week of interruption (or placebo), are not a true period, but a so-called withdrawal bleeding.
If you decide instead to have a regular menstrual cycle on board, that’s certainly not a problem. There are stocks of hygienic products and the “hassle” seems to me really minimal: I would not want to change, for example, with the need to shave my face (and maybe even my head) every morning in the absence of weight! (Samantha Cristoforetti)