Summer’s finally here, and many of us are looking forward to splashing in some form of H2O to have fun while beating the heat. Whether you’re an occasional oceanista or a daily diver, chances are that your period will coincide with your swimming plans at some point this season. Do you plan pool time around your period or stop swimming during your cycle? Here’s some good news: There is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t be able to swim or play in any type of water at all times of the month! Read on for tips to help take the stress out of swimming on your period.
First things first: Let’s bust the old wives’ tale that says you shouldn’t go swimming in the ocean while menstruating because the blood will attract sharks. Wrong for so many reasons, but mostly because sharks have no idea that they should salivate at the smell of human blood! Sharks can detect the smell of humans as different from themselves, but blood, sweat, tears, or even pee in the water makes no difference in their interest in us. So a menstruating woman has the same chances of getting caught by a shark as a sweaty boy, but rest assured that neither of you are likely to get chomped on. Most designated swimming beaches are pretty predator-free.
Now let’s work on making sure your bathing suit and the water stay clean. While it’s true that many of us find our menstrual flow slows down (and sometimes even stops) while in the water, that doesn’t mean that it will happen every single time you swim. You should also be prepared for pre-and post-swim sunning, too. This means that if you’re not already using tampons, you should start getting comfy with them. A pad or liner just won’t stay put in your bathing suit once it’s wet. Check out our guide to find the right tampon for your body and needs here. Don’t forget that while you swim, you need to change your tampon as frequently as you would when staying dry – at least every four hours. You may feel more comfortable changing more frequently, so be sure to bring extras!
After you put on your suit, make sure to tuck in the tampon string so that it doesn’t show. If you’re especially worried about the string showing, or if your bathing suit bottom is very small, try carefully trimming your tampon string a little shorter with a pair of nail clippers. Since a protective liner is out of the question, leave your light-colored or white bathing suits at home when you’re on your period. Stick with dark-colored or black suits or bikini bottoms to conceal any leaks or stains (which can still happen). Sometimes, you might find it more comforting to cover up with a pair of shorts over your bathing suit as an extra layer of protection, just in case you accidentally wait too long to change your tampon.
Finally, you might think that you should forego swimming because you don’t feel well when you’re on your period. Consider changing your mind — the exercise and enjoyment that swimming brings can actually boost your mood, improve your cramps, and make you feel better all over. It’s only summer for a few months each year, so why waste the nice weather? Grab a bathing suit, some sunscreen, and go have some fun in the sun!
I can't wear tampons because of medical reasons and my period ended today but I still leak sometimes and if I miss anymore team practices I might not be able to go to the first meet." - Chels