Swimming Whilst Menstruating – Your Questions Answered!
Summer is here - and with it comes long days at the beach, pool-party invites, river swims, visits to the lake, surf lessons and snorkeling trips… Summer in Aotearoa often feels like it’s all about being in the water! Whilst many of us may be taking much-needed holidays, our menstrual cycles certainly don’t take a break, and so we find ourselves facing the age-old question of to swim or not to swim whilst menstruating?
If you want nothing more than to jump in the water on a hot day but your period is holding you back, our answers to these 10 most-asked questions can help you get beach-ready no matter when or where your period decides to show up!
Does your period stop when you’re swimming?
Despite popular belief, your period doesn’t actually stop when you’re swimming – but the flow of blood is definitely reduced. This is because of the water pressure, meaning that your menstrual blood isn’t flowing at its usual rate, and it can often seem like your period does temporarily stop while you’re in the water. However, a sudden movement like a laugh or a cough can cause a slight leak of blood, and your flow will return once you leave the water, so using period products while you’re swimming is still a really good idea.
Can you swim in the ocean on your period?
If you want to swim in the ocean on your period then yes, you absolutely can! There are a number of myths circulating out there, from salt water going up your vagina (not really a thing even when you’re not on your period) to sharks being more likely to attack due to being attracted to the blood (absolutely no evidence to corroborate this one!). What’s more, being by the ocean is linked to being good for mental health, so an ocean swim might be exactly what you need to reset and reflect during your ikura.
Can you wear a tampon in the ocean?
If it makes you feel comfortable to wear a tampon in the ocean then there is no reason not to – when it comes to traditional menstrual products, tampons are probably the best option to use while swimming. However, single-waste menstrual products like tampons are contributing to the pollution in our oceans, so if you’re looking for a more ocean-friendly alternative, then period swimwear might be for you.
Should you be worried about blood in the swimming pool?
Absolutely not. Not only is the flow of blood greatly reduced when you’re in the water, but the water and pool chemicals will dilute any blood that does leave your body, meaning that any menstrual blood is unlikely to be noticeable. So if being worried about blood in the swimming pool has been what’s stopping you from popping manus into the local pool while you’re menstruating, you can now rest assured that there really is nothing to worry about!
Is swimming on your period with a pad okay?
Swimming with a pad is not recommended. That’s because pads and liners are made to absorb liquid, so they’ll end up absorbing the water rather than just absorbing your menstrual blood, which will just end up being pretty uncomfortable. What’s more, the adhesive might not stick so well after being exposed to a lot of water – so swimming on your period with a pad is probably not the safest option to go with!
Should you go swimming on your period?
Studies show that swimming on your period is actually beneficial to your health. PMS symptoms such as depression, mood changes, tiredness and cramps were all shown to be lessened after the women in the study engaged in swimming as exercise. So whilst swimming in your period might feel like a no-go, it might actually help lessen most physical or psychological symptoms of PMS that you usually experience.
What is period swimwear?
Just like period-proof underwear, period swimwear is designed to help you feel secure and comfortable whilst menstruating. AWWA period swim looks just like ordinary swimwear, holds the equivalent of 1 pad/tampon, and is leak-proof, breathable and comfortable.
How does period swimwear work?
There is a leak-proof, water-resistant gusset in the AWWA period bikini bottoms that is designed to absorb your menstrual blood both in and out of the water. Just like period underwear, the AWWA period bathers aren't bulky and look just like usual swimwear, so nobody will know that you’re menstruating whilst enjoying your much-deserved summer swims.
How do you clean period swimwear?
To clean your period bathers, simply rinse them in water and pop into a waterproof bag if you’re out and about, or throw them straight into the washing machine with your ordinary load. Just like with the AWWA period underwear, avoid using fabric softener and hang them up to dry once washed.
Does AWWA sell matching sets as well as bikini bottoms?
Yes! As well as stocking period-proof bikini bottoms, AWWA also offers a period-proof one-piece, a two-piece set, and a matching bikini top for those of you who have previously purchased the bikini bottoms and are looking to complete the look.