woman snorkeling

Can You Swim On Your Period?

Many women worry that it may be unhygienic to swim while menstruating – but it isn’t at all. Swimming pools are chlorinated to protect swimmers against the spread of disease from bodily fluids, so you won’t be endangering anybody’s health. You don’t have to let your period prevent you from swimming, snorkelling, or scuba diving full stop!

Can you swim on your period? Here is what you need to know before you go swimming…

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you swim on your period with a tampon?

Tampons are ideal for swimming as you can wear them as normal and they’ll give four to eight hours protection. Changing them is simple as bathrooms are available – even in the most remote resorts. Plastic applicator tampons are possibly the best in preventing leaks by channelling them back into the core, and the plastic cover makes them easier to insert.

Can you swim on your period with a pad?

As these menstrual pads are designed to absorb period blood, they’ll also absorb water. Apart from becoming really uncomfortable, they’re unhygienic and not at all discreet.

Are there other period swimwear options?

If you prefer swimming in period without a tampon, you can opt for a menstrual cup. This is a small, silicone cup that you wear internally to collect period blood. When you remove the cap, you’ll be able to empty the contained blood into the toilet, wash the cap and then re-insert it. You can wear them for up to 12 hours and they’re environmentally friendly.

Disposable menstrual discs again collect menstrual blood for up to 12 hours. They actually mould to individual shapes making them extremely comfortable to wear and providing reduced leakage. This is certainly a viable body-safe option for swimming on your period as menstrual discs are registered and approved.

Does your period stop in water?

Water pressure working against the force of gravity may help to counteract the blood flow. However, sneezing or coughing, or even laughing blood may leak out. You don’t have to be too concerned as it will immediately be diluted by the pool or ocean water and won’t leave a bloody trail.

Bear in mind that once you get out of the water blood flow reverts to normal – so you’ll need to wear a menstrual product of some sort then.

Will I get attacked by sharks if I swim in the sea on my period?

Contrary to popular belief although sharks may smell blood through electroreceptors when they’re about a mile away, menstrual blood is a mixture of uterine tissue, mucus lining, and other natural bacteria, making the answer to this question a very definite no. There’s no correlation between menstruating swimmers or divers and shark attacks.

Will swimming during your period cause infection?

It’s highly unlikely that you’ll catch an infection from swimming during your period. Swimming in contaminated water can include stomach illnesses if you swallow it, or more common skin infections.

When you get out of the water have a shower straight away to prevent the risk of developing a yeast or bacterial infection. Burning or itching, or an unusual discharge are signs that this may be a problem – and you’ll need to see your doctor.

Will swimming make period cramps worse?

Exercise such as swimming has been proven to help relieve period pain. As your body releases endorphins when your exercise these act as natural painkillers, and can also be effective in stopping premenstrual syndrome.

Can I delay my period?

Swimming on your period can be postponed if you immediately start taking your combined hormonal contraceptive pills instead of having a few days break. If you’re not taking an oral contraceptive your doctor can prescribe a pill called norethisterone to take three days before the start of your period. You can take this for a maximum of 20 days – then your period should arrive.

Will diving on my period increase the risk of decompression sickness?

Recent studies have shown that scuba diving whilst menstruating may indeed increase the risk of decompression sickness – particularly during the first week of the menstrual cycle. There’s a definite correlation between menstruation and decompression with further research needing to be done before conclusions can be drawn.
It’s thought that bodily changes that occur during menstruation can make the elimination of nitrogen less efficient, and can also lead to dehydration which is another contributing factor. Making fewer shorter and shallower dives with plenty of safety stops will ensure that no problems are experienced.

Go Snorkelling During Your Period

Most female divers actually dive during their periods so snorkelling in Playa del Carmen with Koox is completely viable if you understand how to swim on your period. Be cautious and don’t go if you’re experiencing extreme PMS or side effects. If everything is under control just remember to carry extra tampons and change them as soon as possible after you leave the water, stay hydrated, and plan ahead of time to avoid any post-dive fluid leakage.