The Pill in Space

Anastasia Nairne

Molecular and Cellular Biology

4th

Year of study:

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Abstract

Bio

It is no surprise that spaceflight is inherently dangerous - with ample studies demonstrating how microgravity causes bone loss and muscle atrophy among many other morbidities. However, this research was carried out predominantly on men - so, the effect of spaceflight on women is not really known. On top of all the risks that spaceflight poses, female astronauts are commonly encouraged to take the contraceptive pill to prevent pregnancy and for hygiene reasons. As the pill has some well known negative side effects on Earth dwellers - this would logically translate to space-faring astronauts. However, we found our that - not only does the pill cause additional side effects in space such as depression it overlaps with and compounds other effects like exacerbating the risk of developing certain cancers. So, you may be asking yourself - why do the astronauts continue taking the pill in space? Well, because there is no current research (until now) available that discusses the effects of the pill in space.

Anastasia is a 4th year Molecular and Cellular Biology student and is passionate about changing the face of women’s health. Alongside her studies, she works at Juno Bio, a FemTech company with a mission to decode the vaginal microbiome and understand all the health conditions that it is implicated in. After graduating this summer, Anastasia hopes to continue her career in research to close the gender health gap and improve women’s health on a global scale.