A never-ending period myth (that I overheard a mom unknowingly perpetuate recently) is that when you take a dip in the pool (or lake or ocean) your period magically stops.
The fact of the matter is that: it doesn’t.
While your flow can be temporarily impacted by water pressure, your flow continues whether you are in the water or not.
At some point in your menstruating years, there will come a time when the timing of your period will coincide with a water event (amusement park water slide, pool party, beach vacation, sailboat excursion). But, just because you are menstruating does not mean you cannot partake in the fun! And, while we’re on the subject of swimming, let’s nuke the nonsense about sharks and menstrual blood. Sharks may have a superior sense of smell, but a whiff of menstrual blood won’t do much for them as Popular Science debunks.
Broken folk tales aside, there are options for navigating the sea of inquiry when it comes to managing your menstrual cycle when water play is involved:
- Grab a pair of menstrual underwear. Today, women have a number of options for managing their flow beyond disposable pads and liners, including organic tampons and menstrual cups. However, if you aren’t yet ready for insertable options, Panty Prop has created menstrual swimwear which can be worn while engaged in water activities. Panty Prop undergarments are leak-proof and can be worn alone or with a tampon or menstrual cup.
- Try “insertable” menstrual hygiene options. Two additional options available for menstruating gals are tampons and menstrual cups. Menstrual cups have in recent years become more popular in the U.S., although have been wildly successful (as have menstrual sponges) in Europe and other parts of the globe due to their environmentally-friendly and cost-savings benefits. Menstrual cups, which are safe, easily-cleaned, help to reduce landfill waste, and can be worn swimming, are worn inside the vagina to collect menstrual fluid. The reusable menstrual cups need only be replaced once every 10 years, so they are super easy on the pocketbook, too. Period Packs sells a gift box containing a Lunette menstrual cup given growing popularity of menstrual cups by young ladies. Some known brands include the DivaCup, Mooncup, and LadyCup. Tampons are another insertable option that like a menstrual cup, can create a bit of anxiety for young menstruators. Fortunately, tampon manufacturers understand that each body is different and make available “slim design” options, tampons housed in comfortable applicators, and even some without applicators to best suit each woman’s personal comfort and needs. Tampons can be worn while swimming, but due to their design (most made of cotton) and absorption properties, they will need to be changed more regularly, if used during swim, so bring extras! Tip: Tampon strings have a way of shifting, so once inserted, be sure to the string is tucked in safely.
- Wait it out. To avoid missing the fun, put on your bathing suit (with pad/liner) and just enjoy the festivities! If anyone asks why you aren’t swimming, tell them you are working on your tan! Some options above may not yet be in your comfort zone. Don’t worry! You don’t need to miss out on anything. Don your new bikini or swimsuit and enjoy the sunshine while taking a temporary pass on water play. Tip: Consider wearing black or dark-colored bottoms/suits to conceal any potential leaks.
Summer is on its way and swimming is a fantastic, low-impact form of exercise that can only benefit your bod and well being! Don’t let your period slow you down!