There are a lot of questions floating around about what we can and can’t do when we’re on our periods. Luckily, we’re making it our mission to answer as many of these as possible, including the often-asked “can you go swimming on your period?”. We may even be able to dispel a few rumours, myths, and misconceptions while we do it!
Can you still go swimming on your period?
The short answer is yes, you can go swimming even if you’re on your period. Whether you’re spending a day at a swimming pool or planning on taking a dip in the ocean, it’s completely safe to hit the water on your more delicate days. The only thing you’ll have to remember is to wear the right menstrual products, which in this case is a tampon or menstrual cup.
We say “wear a tampon or a menstrual cup” instead of “wear a pad” because these are designed to catch menstrual blood before it leaves the body. Sanitary pads, on the other hand, are designed to absorb blood once it’s already out, and are worn outside of the body. This means that if you wear them in a swimming pool or in the sea, they’re going to absorb all the water as well.
This last option would mean leaving the pool or the ocean with a full, soaked pad that everyone would be able to see, and that’s the last thing any of us want when we’re on our periods!
Is it really safe? What about infections?
You’re unlikely to get a vaginal infection from swimming. The most common illnesses and complaints from swimming in contaminated water are skin infections and stomach bugs (from people swallowing said water).
In some rare cases, it is possible for the chlorine in swimming pools to irritate the vulva and vagina. Both of these becoming irritated can leave you at risk of developing a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis, but there’s no need to panic if you suddenly feel uncomfortable “down there” while swimming in a pool. Just shower as soon as you’re out of the water and don’t sit around in wet swimwear.
If you notice any burning, itching, or an unusual vaginal discharge after you’ve been swimming, you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible.
Remember ‒ it’s not unhygienic
A lot of people are stuck on the idea that period blood is somehow more unhygienic than any other kind of blood, sweat, or other things that might find their way into a pool. This simply isn’t true. Besides, if you’re wearing a tampon or menstrual cup, it’s unlikely that you will accidentally release any of your flow as you swim anyway.
Even if you were to start your period while you were in the sea or a pool and a small amount of blood came out, this would most likely be diluted by the water. At any rate, the sea will naturally be full of lots of things, including blood, and swimming pools contain a large amount of chemicals like chlorine to make sure the water stays clean.
It’s unlikely you’ll be noticed
Many of us are under the impression that the moment we get in the water while we’re on our periods, we’ll instantly start leaving a trail. This also isn’t true ‒ in fact, the truth is almost closer to the opposite. It may sound weird or unbelievable, but the water pressure coming from a swimming pool or the ocean can actually (temporarily) stop your flow!
The only time this water pressure may drop while you’re swimming is if you laugh, cough, sneeze, or move around, but any fluid that comes out shouldn’t be noticeable. It’s such a small amount of blood each time, the water should dilute it before that happens.
Of course, the pressure will drop again when you get out of the water and everything will go back to normal, but if you’re wearing a tampon or a menstrual cup this shouldn’t be a problem.
No, it won’t attract sharks
Jaws really has done a number on people in the modern day, but we’re here to tell you that period blood does not attract sharks. A lot of people joke about it (perhaps unnecessarily), but extensive research has shown that there’s no correlation between shark attacks and menstruating swimmers or divers. To date, there have been no reports of people being attacked on their periods, and many people happily take trips and go diving when they’re on their time of the month.
So it’s good news all round; it’s safe to swim in the ocean even if you’re on your period. You won’t bring any sharks to the beach!
It’s good for your cramps!
You might’ve been told that swimming is a surefire way to make period cramps worse, but again it’s just not true (there really are a lot of myths around periods!). In fact, light exercise like swimming is often a fantastic way to beat those annoying aches and pains. This is because your body releases endorphins when you work out, and these act as a natural painkiller. They also give you an overall sense of wellbeing, which helps you to feel happier on any kind of flow.
You can delay it, if you want
If you really are worried about going in the pool or the sea when you’re on your period, there are options for delaying it. If you’re using the typical combined hormonal contraceptive pills, for example, you can just continue on with the next pack instead of taking the placebo pills or missing a week.
You can also talk to your doctor or healthcare provider about switching to a pill set that means you only have a period every three months or so. If you’re an avid swimmer and you love nothing more than being in the pool or the sea, this might be a better option for you.
We’d always recommend talking to a trusted professional before switching up your birth control, or any medication. Better to be safe than sorry!
Extra tips for going swimming on your period
Now that you know it’s totally fine if you want to go swimming on your period, there are a few extra things you can do to make sure you have the best time possible:
- If you’re still worried about stains or leaks, you can wear a dark-coloured swimsuit or swim shorts to keep them at bay.
- You can swim with a friend and have them do spot checks for you.
- If you’re on the beach, stay close to a spot that has toilets so you can head inside and do a quick tampon change or check if you need to.
- If you’re out in the wilds and there aren’t any beaches, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of improvisation! Ducking behind a bush or using a beach umbrella will give you some cover for a check or a tampon change as well.
- You might find that tampons are a better option than menstrual cups if you’re going to be out all day because menstrual cups have to be cleaned, while tampons can simply be changed.
- If your period often comes with acne as a symptom and you’re heading to the beach, top up with a high-SPF suntan lotion designed for your skin and put a layer of tinted moisturiser over it. This will even out your skin tone, conceal any redness you don’t want others seeing, and help to keep you safe from the sun.
- If you’re still at school and you don’t feel comfortable wearing tampons for swimming, that’s okay too. Just tell your PE teacher you’ve got your period and suggest it’s best you sit out on the lesson.
- Find foods that help with period cramps to take the edge off your bloating ‒ you don’t want to feel uncomfortable on your day at the pool or down at the seaside!
Keep comfortable and discreet in everything you do
No matter what you want to do, it’s important that you feel as comfortable and secure as possible, even if you’re on your period. That’s why we’re ready and waiting with our stylish, sustainable collections of period pants that protect against all kinds of leaks and stains, no matter what kind of flow you’re on!
Our undies are all designed using the same clever multi-layer technology that keeps them super-absorbent, super-soft, and completely moisture-wicking. They may be better on dry land than in a pool, but by slipping them on as soon as you get changed or wearing them while relaxing at the poolside, you’ll be left feeling just as fresh and dry as you would on any other day.
We’ve even got a 60-day money-back guarantee if you’re not totally in love with them at the end of a month or two, so you’re even protected in your pocket. There’s nothing to lose; browse through our gorgeous designs and find the perfect fit for you, at any time of the month and in any place!