Maybe it is summertime, and you cannot go a day without diving into the pool. Or, you had planned a beach holiday. Everything went to plan, but you’ve realized your period is unexpectedly here. Wondering whether it is okay to go swimming while on your period? We have all the answers you need.
Well, your menstrual flow should not stop you from jumping in the ocean at a beach resort. Besides, swimming can help relieve cramps. That’s because when you swim or engage in other physical activities, the body releases endorphin chemicals. These are your body’s natural mood elevators and pain killers.
Keep reading to learn how to swim during your period.
Swimming During Periods
There is a misconception that swimming while on your period isn’t safe because the blood is likely to attract sharks that might harm you. It is true sharks have a powerful sense of smell, but there’s no data to support that notion. As per the records, over 80% of shark attacks involved men.
Many women also fear that things will get messy when they enter the water.
I bet you have never heard of a competitive swimmer who pulled out of a big race because they received unexpected ‘visitors’. Does it mean that they don’t have periods during those times? So, swimming is doable.
With suitable period products that prevent the flow, you shouldn’t have any other concerns about contaminating the pool water.
Can you swim without wearing period products?
Water creates pressure that slows the flow of your menstrual blood when you are in the pool. However, that pressure isn’t enough to stop the flow completely.
You can easily override that pressure when you laugh, cough, sneeze, or make significant movements in the water.
While the blood you release will be diluted and won’t be visible, it is a good idea to wear feminine care products.
What type of period product should you wear while swimming?
You have plenty of options here. The most effective and recommended feminine care products for swimming are tampons, period-friendly swimwear, and menstrual cups & discs.
Let’s explain a little bit.
Pretty much any type of tampon will do the trick, allowing you to enjoy your fun time activity without worrying about anyone noticing you’re on your period.
Tampons can soak up some water, but they will keep absorbing your period blood. Changing your tampon every 4-8 hours is advisable if you are at the beach all day.
Even if you are spending a few hours in the water, still you should change. Don’t stay with a wet, used tampon for an extended period. It can upset your vaginal pH and subject you to the risk of bacterial infection.
And suppose you are wearing a tampon, and you have discovered leaks onto your swimsuit. It is best to change right away.
· Menstrual cups
Besides tampons, you can use menstrual cups. Cups are an excellent alternative because you wear them for long (6-12 hours), and they collect more blood.
No water can get in. What’s more, many menstrual cup types are reusable, although proper cleaning is required before inserting them back.
If you are swimming in public areas, you may want to carry the disposable type. That’s because washing the reusable cups can prove challenging.
· Menstrual discs
Menstrual discs are not widely used as menstrual cups and tampons but are increasingly gaining traction.
The discs are equally effective at making your swimming experience more fun and rewarding. Many women who have used discs claim they feel even more comfortable than when using the other options.
Like cups, discs can remain inserted in your vagina for up to 12 hours, depending on your period flow. Also, they come in types that either collect or absorb blood, although many are disposable.
· Period-proof swimwear
Swimmers usually purchase period-friendly swimwear as a backup option. You cannot always rely on them entirely during days when you have a heavy flow.
This type of swimwear is different from the usual bikini bottoms because of the extra, thin layers of fabric for trapping period blood.
A piece of period-proof swimwear can absorb as much period blood as 1-2 tampons. You will find other styles and designs holding more than that, though.
Do not go more than 12 hours without changing your swimwear. Period-friendly swimwear must be washed after each use. Make sure you go through the instructions before washing it.
Is it okay to wear a period pad or liner when swimming?
Period pads or liners are not ideal for swimmers. They might make things a little more uncomfortable for you.
The absorbent materials used in these feminine products typically soak up liquids quickly, leaving little to no room for the menstrual blood.
Swimming with a soggy pad is certainly not fun. So, you’ll be forced to change the pads more frequently.
Another problem is that the pad adhesive becomes ineffective when exposed to water. It will be challenging to stick the pad to your swimwear. Meaning, your period product could slip out, which can be pretty embarrassing.
So clearly, pads and liners are not worth the effort.
Which is the right feminine care product for swimming?
Selecting the best period product to wear when swimming comes down to the comfort level you desire and other personal preferences. Some feminine care products are reusable, requiring cleaning after use. Others are disposable. The level of absorbency also varies.
Well, each option has pros and cons, but many women prefer to swim wearing a tampon. Tampons are generally easier to use than menstrual cups or discs.
Menstrual cups and discs are equally a good choice. They work just well like tampons, although they provide a better barrier between menstrual blood and water than tampons.
When it comes to period-friendly swimwear, they can make swimming a breeze. However, this type of swimwear is typically expensive. If you have a heavy flow, you may need to use it with tampons or period cups.
So, it’s up to you.
Can you catch a vaginal infection if you go swimming during your period?
Many women on period often have concerns over getting a vaginal infection when diving into the waters. However, the chances of catching an infection are relatively low, especially if you’re swimming in a pool.
Pools are usually treated with chemicals, which kill bacteria. While swimming in a lake or ocean may seem to pose more risk, you’ll rarely get a vaginal infection.
The common issues women raise include skin infections and stomach issues (when they accidentally swallow contaminated water).
Some women may experience vaginal itching or burning after swimming in chlorinated pool water. If you have these or any other symptoms of vaginal irritation, be sure to consult your health care provider as soon as possible.
Please note that some habits may contribute to vaginal infections. For example, staying with a wet, used tampon for a long time can create a breeding ground for microbes.
Therefore, cleaning yourself after swimming and wearing a clean period product is essential to reduce the risk of developing a yeast infection.
It is also imperative for everyone wearing period products to exercise care. We mean you shouldn’t leave your used sanitary products in the water. Otherwise, you increase the risk of other pool users getting infections.
When should you avoid swimming if you are on your period?
If you are in perfect health, feel free to soak yourself deep in water. However, in a few cases, you may be better off avoiding swimming.
For instance, if you recently underwent a vaginal procedure (vaginal reconstruction, dilation and curettage, etc.), avoid swimming. If you are unsure about this issue, seek advice from your doctor first.
Women experiencing the first period after miscarriage may also need to be a little more cautious, especially if it comes unusually soon.
How do competitive swimmers manage their periods?
Many Olympic swimmers rely on tampons and menstrual cups to control their flow when they’re competing. There’s a growing trend of athletes, not only swimmers, postponing their periods through birth control measures.
What if my period starts while swimming?
It happens sometimes. So, don’t panic. Nobody will notice you are on your period unless you want them to. Make sure not to push your vaginal muscles as you get out of the water. Wrap yourself with a towel and go to the restroom or changing room immediately. Hopefully, you carried a sanitary product.
If your period catches you unexpectedly while swimming at school, the best course of action is to speak with your teacher. They will undoubtedly help you.
Is It Okay to Go Swimming on Your Period? Final Thoughts
Yes, you are safe to swim even when you’re on your period. Never feel anything is off-limit because of your menstrual blood.
However, for a positive experience, you should consider wearing period products. The choice is up to you, as long as you feel comfortable wearing it.
If you have a planned vacation and want these nuisances off your schedule for some time, there’s an option to delay your period.
There you have it! Enjoy yourself.