By now, you must have heard “100 Tampons.” It was written all the way back in April as part of a comedy set, but lately has been making the rounds on TikTok and Instagram, with fans and celebs providing their own renditions of the surprisingly catchy tune.
Comedian Marcia Belsky first penned the song as part of her set for Comedy Central Stand-Up, which is less of a song in that there aren’t really verses or a chorus, but it’s an earworm nonetheless. Since Belsky’s performance, the song has become a TikTok trend and been covered most notably by June Diane and “13 Going on 30” actress Christa B. Allen, and the full version has been available on Spotify since May.
The song is in reference to NASA’s 1983 launch, which made Sally Ride the first American woman to travel to space. The (true) story goes that when Ride was preparing for her one-week expedition, NASA engineers asked her things like how to construct a makeup kit, which they assumed she’d need, and suggested she bring no less than 100 tampons along with her. Obviously 10 tampons per day is a wild overestimation, but hey, at least they remembered the necessities!
The virality of Belsky’s “100 Tampons” song got us thinking, though: How much does space travel affect women’s cycles, if at all?
According to Kings College London researcher and gynecologist Varsha Jain, while spaceflight does cause changes to some of the human body’s systems, the menstrual cycle isn’t one of them!
"It can happen normally in space, and if women choose to do that, they can," Jain said to CNN.
And, to be fair, NASA didn’t know this yet; they were actually worried about retrograde menstruation, aka when blood flows backward into the pelvic cavity, which can be pretty dangerous. In comparison, 100 tampons was simply a precautionary measure! But microgravity in space doesn’t, in fact, cause retrograde.
But, actually, most female astronauts just choose not to have their periods while in space, using contraceptives to avoid the hassle of cramped space and sub-par hygienic facilities -- which is totally safe, BTW. You see, waste disposal systems aboard the International Space Station are still fairly rudimentary, and only one of the two toilets on the U.S. side is even equipped to handle periods -- not exactly the privacy you’re looking for when Aunt Flo makes a visit. Also, just imagine trying to change a tampon while it’s floating around the space port-a-potty.
Now, any woman going to space from now on must board the spacecraft to the tune of “100 Tampons.” We’ll make sure it goes viral.