Can You Go Swimming on Your Period? Facts, Options & Strategies
Dealing with your period can always bring on a bit of anxiety, but swimming on your period can put you into full-on panic mode. Growing up, I was enrolled in swimming lessons year-round as I worked towards my lifeguarding certification. Like most young girls, I started out using pads to deal with period leakage, not tampons. Pads can’t be worn in the water because they absorb water from the pool, instead of your period leakage. For about two years before I was comfortable using tampons, I would skip swimming lessons while on my period because I was afraid of leaking.
So, is it ok to swim on your period? Yes. We’re going to go over some of the most common questions associated with swimming on your period – and the best solutions if you want to hop in the water while Aunt Flo is in town.
Is a tampon my only option?
While a tampon is the most common solution to swimming on your period, it’s not the only option. Tampons do absorb some water while swimming, but as long as you change the tampon before and afterwards, you’ll be fine. A menstrual cup will also work in the water. If you’re not comfortable with using a tampon or menstrual cup yet, you have some other options.
If your period is light, you could wear a dark bathing suit to prevent stains. While you’re in a pool, the water pressure will stop your period flow temporarily. If you sneeze or cough in the water, there’s a chance a tiny amount of blood will come out, but it will not be noticeable, as the water will dilute it.
Once you get out of the pool, your flow will go back to normal, so there is a chance for leakage at this point. The best recommendation I have for this is to stay in the water unless absolutely necessary. When you get out, cover yourself with a towel and head straight to the locker room or bathroom so you can change and get a pad on.
There is absolutely no shame in choosing not to swim because of your period. Your swim instructor, friends or family will absolutely understand. If you aren’t comfortable with telling someone you’re on your period, simply tell them you’re sick. No-one can make you swim if you don’t want to. On the other hand, there is also no shame in swimming on your period. It is not gross or weird, so never let anyone tell you otherwise!
Is it unhygenic to swim on my period?
No, it’s not! If you have a tampon or menstrual cup in, it’s extremely unlikely that any blood will get in the water, unless you leak through the tampon or menstrual cup. If you have a leak or choose to go without period protection, you’re still covered. Pools are chlorinated to protect swimmers against the spread of bodily fluids such as sweat, urine, and menstruation. Even salt water pools have chlorination to prevent this, so you’re not endangering your health (or anyone else’s) by swimming on your period.
Does swimming help period cramps?
Yes, it can! Mild exercise like swimming has been proven to relieve period symptoms, such as cramps. Enjoy a dip in the pool worry and pain-free.
Will swimming on my period attract sharks?
This question honestly makes me laugh, but it’s a serious concern for a lot of people! No need to worry though – there are no reported incidents of a shark attacking someone who is menstruating, and there are plenty of divers who have entered the water on their period and made it out without being eaten by a shark.
In general, shark attacks are extremely rare. On average, there are only two fatalities caused by shark attacks every two years in the world. If you’re super worried about it, I would recommend not taking any deep dives while menstruating!