If you’ve ever wondered about swimming during your period, you may have had a lot of questions circle your mind - “Will the water stop my period?”, “Can I go swimming in a pad or liner?”, “Will I attract sharks in the ocean?”
And, this is quite normal. Menstruation is, indeed, surrounded by a lot of myths, including the popular one - “your period stops when you’re in the water”. But, just like other common myths, this one is also not very true.
While the water may have some effect in reducing your flow, it doesn’t actually stop your period. This article explains the science behind your period flow in water and other menstruation myths that also need to be debunked.
First off, does your period stop in water even by a little bit?
It may appear that your flow has stopped in the water, but this isn’t really the case. Nothing, other than underlying hormonal imbalances or conditions, can actually stop your period. So, if you were planning on sitting in a bathtub or a pool for five days straight and hope your period wouldn’t come, then we’ve got some bad news for you!
The buoyancy effect from the water pressure can, however, counteract your period flow and reduce it to an extent. So, your period is still technically happening, but it’s just not exiting your body at the same speed.
But, even if the flow reduces momentarily, the moment you step out of the water, it can resume at its regular rate and, unless you’re wearing protection, it can stain your bathing suit.
Does that mean it’s best to stay away from swimming when you’re bleeding?
Nothing should stop you from enjoying your day at the beach or having fun at a pool party - not even your period! But, it’s always best to stay protected with swim-friendly period gear. This will give you better protection both while in the water and when you decide to step out of it.
What are your options when it comes to period wear?
You have some very effective period protection options when it comes to swimming on your monthlies.
- Tampons - One of the major USPs of tampons, ever since they came out, is the freedom to go for a swim. Use organic cotton tampons, like the Carmesi Tampons, and you’re good to take a dip in the pool or the ocean. Just make sure to wash your hands before using one and change your tampon every 4-8 hours to prevent the risk of getting toxic shock syndrome (TSS).
- Menstrual cups - The Carmesi Menstrual Cup, among others, is another great option for when you want to go swimming. They also pose a lower risk of TSS, as they work by collecting your flow instead of absorbing it. Our menstrual cup is reusable as well, making it a sustainable option. Just make sure to empty and reinsert the cup every 6-12 hours, depending on your flow.
- Period discs - Period discs are similar to menstrual cups but do not require to be folded before insertion. They also work by collecting your period flow and the reusable ones are sustainable options.
- Period-friendly swimwear - There are some companies that manufacture period-friendly swimwear, which have a built-in leak protection system. Also, you have swim-friendly period underwear options as well that work great to prevent leaks. You can always use a tampon or a menstrual cup as a backup if you have a heavy flow and are worried about leaks.
So, pads and panty liners are a big no?
It’s generally not recommended to go swimming in a pad or a panty liner, since they work by absorbing your flow. So, it naturally tends to absorb the water in your surroundings as well, making it very uncomfortable for you.
Also, the adhesive can come off when it comes into contact with that much water, and you risk losing your pad or liner in the pool. You can still try using one if you don’t have any other option and you simply must go for a swim. Just change into a new one as soon as you can.
Lastly, swimming can actually help with your cramps!
You’d be happy to know that a 2018 study found how swimming, like other aerobic activities, can have a significant impact on your cramps, lowering them to quite an extent.
Plus, since you may not want to engage in heavy workouts during your periods, swimming is a great way to reduce period pain while keeping things comfortable, moderate and fun.
While we’re at it, let’s debunk some other period myths
There are quite a few other menstrual myths that we should debunk for you.
- Myth 1: Your period can attract sharks - This is a huge misconception, but we can understand why it became a thing in the first place. While sharks can really smell blood from a distance, thanks to their really great sense of smell, they can also pick up on other not-so-appetizing smells - like urine, sweat and other fluids - which can deter them from attacking you. Plus, there’s no research to suggest that menstruating women are more likely to face a shark attack, so rest assured.
- Myth 2: The pool can turn red - Your decreased flow, coupled with how little you actually bleed on your period, makes it impossible to turn the pool red from your period blood. In fact, even if all the people in the pool happen to be menstruators, they still wouldn’t so much as make the water pink!
- Myth 3: Getting pregnant on your period is impossible - While uncommon, it’s still very much possible to get pregnant on your period. This is because your ovulation and your menstrual cycle aren’t always predictable. You can be ovulating before, during and after your menses, especially if you have irregular periods. And on top of that, sperm can live inside your vagina for up to 5 days, making it possible for an egg to get fertilised any time during that time frame if it happens to get released. Bottom line? Unprotected sex can make you pregnant any time in your cycle, so it’s always advisable to use protection.
- Myth 4: You lose a ton of blood during menstruation - On average, a woman can lose up to 6 tablespoons of blood during her period - which really is quite insignificant in terms of blood loss! So, even if you are a heavy bleeder, you are still not losing nearly enough blood to even come close to the term - “a lot”! But, if you feel you’re losing way more blood than you normally should, it’s always best to check in with a doctor and detect any underlying issues.
- Myth 5: You can lose a tampon or a menstrual cup inside - Your vagina is not an endless abyss where you can lose stuff in. It’s a close, small cavity and the cervix guards the entry to the uterus. So, while you may rarely experience a menstrual cup or a tampon getting stuck inside, it’s actually impossible to lose one. Also, don’t panic if one of them gets stuck inside. Relaxing your mind can also relax your vaginal muscles and make removal super easy.
- Myth 6: Period sex is unhygienic - Really, there’s absolutely nothing unhygienic about having period sex. In fact, you may even be more aroused during your period owing to the increased blood flow to your genitals. If both you and your partner are comfortable, you can engage in period sex and enjoy it just like normal sex! But, it’s usually safer to use a condom as it can guard you against any unwanted STIs or other infections.