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Swimming on Your Period: 9 Burning Questions Answered

There are plenty of myths regarding swimming while on period. Many of these are rooted in cultural taboos and beliefs that hold no water whatsoever. So, can you go swimming on your period? You totally can. Below, we dive into some questions that you might have.
woman sunbathing on her period

Swimming during periods

When you’re on your period, you might feel a lot of pain and discomfort mainly due to the cramps. Many women might not want to engage in any activity and would rather be left alone.

However, one way to take your mind off the pain is by engaging in physical activity. While there are many fitness myths, not swimming while you’re menstruating is as absurd as it gets. Women health experts recommend a number of exercises, swimming included. 

Is it hygienic to swim on your period?

It’s normal to be particular about your hygiene during your period. You might, therefore, be rethinking going swimming when you’re on your period. You shouldn’t change your mind. Go out and swim.

Both indoor and outdoor swimming pools add a halogen to the water. This can be either chlorine or bromine.
What do these chemicals do? They kill the bacteria and other microbes that are likely to accumulate in a place where many semi-naked human bodies are splashing about. The chance of you catching an infection when swimming in a pool is, therefore, very low.

If you use sanitary products, don’t leave the used ones in the water because they can pose a health risk to other people who are swimming in it.

Will swimming worsen my cramps?

When you think about it, the physical act of swimming seems like it could aggravate the pain in your lower back and tummy. On the contrary, studies have shown that physical exercise — swimming inclusive— is a good way to take the mind off the pain.

So, if you’re still wondering, “Will swimming worsen my cramps?” Think again. The soothing lapping of the water over your body, as well as the water’s buoyancy, also provides a calming effect if you have particularly painful periods.

This buoyancy is also therapeutic against the bloating that you might experience during your period.

Can I go swimming with a tampon?

Of course, you can. In fact, tampons are some of the most suitable sanitary products you can use when you want to take a dip in the water while on your period.

Before you get into the water, insert a tampon. It will absorb all the menstrual blood before it can come out into the water. You should also ensure that you tuck the string away into your swimsuit. This should prevent any awkward stares from others in the pool or at the beach.

When you get out of the water, you should take out the used tampon and insert a fresh one before going back out.
You should also endeavor to never take longer than eight hours to change the tampon. This will reduce your risk of getting toxic shock syndrome.

Keep a stash of extra tampons that you will use whenever you want to get back into the water.

How to swim on your period without a tampon?

So, are you wondering about how to go to the pool on your period? Tampons are not the only means that can be used. With the right sanitary products, you can do more than just dip a toe in the water. You can dive right into it.

Here are some products that will make it easy for you to have a good time splashing about in the water like everyone else.

Menstrual cup

If you don’t want or have the tampons, you can opt for the similarly effective menstrual cup.

Unlike tampons which are made out of cotton, menstrual cups are made out of rubber or silicone. What this means is that the cup collects the menstrual blood without absorbing it like the tampon does.

The cup also makes swimming during your period much more hygienic because it does not absorb any of the water you are floating around in.

On a day when you have light flow, you can use one cup and change it every twelve hours. In case of heavy flow, you can take breaks from the water and empty your cup. If you have a reusable cup, wash it properly before inserting it again.

Period pads for swimming

You can use pads if you are wondering how to swim on your period without a tampon.

Getting into the water with a pad is a tad tricky when compared to using tampons or a menstrual cup. Pads are super absorbent and, given that they can easily come into contact with the water, will become useless when you get into the pool.

When they get wet, they are also more prone to slipping out from under your swimsuit. It is, therefore, more prudent to use tampons or menstrual cups. Nevertheless, you can still persist and use pads. This will take some more work on your part. 

You can wear a pad without wings so that it doesn’t peek out. You can also just decide to sit at the edge of the pool with your feet dangling into the water. If you’re at the beach, you can wade through the water, keeping your pad from getting wet if you jumped right in.

If you insist on getting into the water, you can wear dark-colored swimming shorts over your bikini bottoms. This will make the pad less obtrusive. It will also hide any leakage that might seep out from the bloated pad.

Waterproof pants

There are also some waterproof or leak-proof pants that you can use when you’re going to the beach on your period. These are especially good if you feel the hassle of other sanitary products is too much for you.

The outside surface of these pants is waterproof, meaning that no water will get in to encourage any leakages. The elastic edges also ensure a snag fit so that there’s no leaking.

These pants also have an absorbent gusset just where your vagina sits. This not only absorbs the blood but also dries quickly.

Some manufacturers make space for the insertion of a pad if you’re having particularly heavy flow. The snugness and waterproofing keeps the pad dry and it will only absorb your flow and not the water.

Does the period stop when you’re in the water?

When you get into the water, the bleeding doesn’t stop but the blood doesn’t fully flow out either.

Why? This is because the water exerts pressure on your vagina that counteracts the effect of gravity on the blood flow. 

You still have to be careful, though. If you did something that exceeded the counter pressure of the water — like sneezing or coughing— some blood would get into the water.

Can I go to the beach on my period without the intention of swimming?

girl on the beach during her periods

Yes, you can. You can just sit by the side and watch the waves or other people. The lively atmosphere can work wonders for your mood. Also, you can wade through the water without actually going in for a swim.

If you plan to swim outside, don't forget about oil-free sunscreen. This is especially important if you’re prone to breaking out, as sunshine and periods taken together can increase your risk of breakouts or aggravate existing acne.

How do Olympic swimmers deal with their periods?

When you are cheering on female Olympic swimmers, the last thing on your mind is probably how they deal with their periods at or coming into competitions. Actually, many of them don’t even have regular periods due to their athletic endeavors.

There are those, however, who do competitive swimming during periods. Many of them use tampons and menstrual cups to keep the flow in check as they do laps around the pool. 

A few others opt for birth control which can alter their cycle so that they don’t have periods when at a meet.

Won't sharks attack me?

Sharks can smell small amounts of blood in water. However, there’s no evidence suggesting that women are prone to shark attacks.

So, you can go ahead and enjoy a jolly time in the water even when on your period.

Plan your holidays around your period with Flo

Put your holidays and swimming off, if you're fighting fatigue, menstrual cramps and bloating. Give your body the rest it needs on your period.

When should I refrain from swimming?

It’s not a must to go swimming when you have your period — or at any other time for that matter. If you don’t feel up to it, you can just have a quiet day in.

Also, if you are sick, it’s best not to go out to swim. You can easily become incapacitated and flounder when in the water. 

https://www.livestrong.com/article/246721-how-to-swim-with-your-period-and-pads/
https://teens.webmd.com/features/sanitary-products#1
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3877460/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2732598/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2941235/
https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/shark-attacks/reduce-risk/menstruation/

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