Menstruation in Space

Last week's question: Do animals fear non-immediate, abstract things.

It turns out that this is a tricky question. First, what I called "fear" is not actually fear, but anxiety, which is different. Fear has to have a direct cause and somehow escapable, while anxiety can be indirect and unescapable.

Reading the Wikipedia page for fear says nothing about animals. The proper page to use is Emotion in Animals... which only mentions fear once. It seems to be widely recognized that animals have fear, but it is uncertain from what. It can be argued, though, that animals can be clinically depressed, as the rather inhumane experiment under the canines section shows.

So in that sense, if animals can be influenced by non-immediate events (like the constant reminder of electric shocks... I'm really glad the Animal Welfare Act was passed), then they do feel anxiety.

This week's question: We have had both male and female astronauts staying in space for long periods of time. How does the low gravity environment affects a women's menstruation?


  1. I don't imagine there would be any effect. Most bodily processes are not based on gravitational pull.

  2. Also, I wonder if all animals experience anxiety, and if not, what is the cutoff? Depressed dogs probably, depressed goldfish probably not?

  3. Faye - I think you underestimated the problem. For example, what happens after the blood leaves the women's body? The low gravity makes water form it's own sphere, and it's certainly not going to go cleanly down a toilet.

    You might find these two videos interesting:

  4. Under stressful conditions, women's menstrual cycles can become halted or irregular. If a woman did menstruate in space, there are these wonderful little inventions called tampons that don't rely on gravity. Instead, they function to directly absorb through contact. I'm sorry if that was TMI, but you did ask. :P

  5. Justin, oh my god, clearly no woman has ever told you how they menstruate.

    For your information, it's not into the toilet. Think tampons and direct absorption into feminine napkins.

    I'll be (really) graphic here. The average women menstruates only about two cups over the course of a week, and the stuff is thicker than just liquid blood.

    Menstruating is not at all akin to peeing.


    Okay, it's clear to me now (perhaps it should have been earlier) that I have no idea what I'm talking about. I know next to nothing about menstruation or living in space. :P

    Most of my arguments are based off of this discussion:

    It should be noted that the first poster is a women (as she says halfway down the page).

    Since I can't reasonably write anything on this subject, would one of you like to write the "answer" to the question, which I will post next week?