Body fluid, bodily fluids, or biofluids are liquids originating from inside the bodies of living people. They include fluids that are excreted or secreted from the body as well as body water that normally is not.
The dominating content of body fluids is body water. Approximately 60-65% of body water is contained within the cells (in intracellular fluid) with the other 35-40% of body water contained outside the cells (in extracellular fluid). This fluid component outside of the cells includes the fluid between the cells (interstitial fluid), lymph and blood. There are approximately 6 to 10 liters of lymph in the body, compared to 3.5 to 5 liters of blood.
List of body fluids
- Amniotic fluid
- Aqueous humour and vitreous humour
- Blood serum
- Breast milk
- Cerebrospinal fluid
- Cerumen (earwax)
- Endolymph and perilymph
- Feces - see diarrhea
- Female ejaculate
- Gastric acid
- Gastric juice
- Mucus (including nasal drainage and phlegm)
- Pericardial fluid
- Peritoneal fluid
- Pleural fluid
- Sebum (skin oil)
- Synovial fluid
- Vaginal secretion
- Intracellular fluid
- Extracellular fluid
Body fluids and health
Body fluid is the term most often used in medical and health contexts. Modern medical, public health, and personal hygiene practices treat body fluids as potentially unclean. This is because they can be vectors for infectious diseases, such as sexually transmitted diseases or blood-borne diseases. Universal precautions and safer sex practices try to avoid exchanges of body fluids. Body fluids can be analysed in medical laboratory in order to find microbes, inflammation, cancers, etc.
Methods of sampling of body fluids include:
- Blood sampling for any blood test, in turn including:
- Lumbar puncture to sample cerebrospinal fluid
- Thoracocentesis to sample pleural fluid
- Amniocentesis to sample amniotic fluid
Bodily fluids in religion and history
Many bodily fluids are regarded with varying levels of disgust among world cultures, including the Abrahamic faiths (Christianity, Islam, Judaism) and Hinduism. On the other hand, blood plays an important symbolic role in Catholicism: the saved in paradise are said to be "have washed their robes in the blood of the Lamb" Revelation 7:14. In the eucharistic meal, the faithful eat and drink consecrated bread and wine. The dogma of transubstantiation states that the bread and the wine become the flesh and blood of Christ. There are many churches dedicated to the Holy Blood of Christ and there blood relics of saints such as San Gennaro.
Body fluids in art
A relatively new trend in contemporary art is to use body fluids in art, though there have been rarer uses of blood (and perhaps feces) for quite some time, and Marcel Duchamp used semen decades ago. Examples include:
- The controversial Piss Christ (1987), by Andres Serrano, which is a photograph of a crucifix submerged in urine;
- Andy Warhol's Oxidations series, begun in 1977, in which he invited friends to urinate onto a canvas of metallic copper pigments, so that the uric acid would oxidize into abstract patterns;
- Self (1991, recast 1996) by Marc Quinn, a frozen cast of the artist's head made entirely of his own blood;
- Piss Flowers, by Helen Chadwick (1991–92), are twelve white-enameled bronzes cast from cavities made by urinating in snow (though this might not be characterized as the use of bodily fluids in art, just their use in preparation);
- performances by Lennie Lee involving feces, blood, vomit from 1990
- many paintings by Chris Ofili, which make use of elephant dung (from 1992).
- Gilbert and George's The Naked Shit Pictures (1995)
- Hermann Nitsch and Das Orgien Mysterien Theatre use urine, feces, blood and more in their ritual performances.
- Franko B from 1990 blood letting performances.
- The cover of the Metallica's album Load is an original artwork entitled "Semen and Blood III", one of three photographic studies by Andres Serrano created in 1990 by mingling the artist's own semen and bovine blood between two sheets of Plexiglas.
Body fluids in forensic science
The term body fluid is used in a forensic science context to refer to items of biological evidence. The term is a historical one whose meaning has been expanded due to the discovery of the evidential significance of various biological materials.
Body fluid therefore refers to not only to typical body liquids such as blood or semen, but to any item of trace evidence with a biological origin, including hair, bone, teeth, faeces and skin or muscle tissue.
- Blood-borne diseases
- Fluid bonding, unprotected sex in long-term relationships
- Clinical pathology
- Ritual cleanliness
- "Lymphatic Congestion - Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment and Information". Diagnose-me.com. Retrieved 2012-11-14.
- Revelation 7:14, King James Version (Oxford Standard, 1769)
- "Semen & Blood II". Artnet.com. Retrieved 2010-11-13.
- Paul Spinrad. (1999) The RE/Search Guide to Bodily Fluids. Juno Books. ISBN 1-890451-04-5
- John Bourke. (1891) Scatalogic Rites of All Nations. Washington, D.C.: W.H. Lowdermilk.