Taking the Plunge: Swimming On Your Period
Lounging at the lido? Jetting off to Jamaica? Dr. Sarah Welsh, Co-Founder of HANX and gynaecology doctor, answers some of the most common questions we get around swimming on your period to make sure your luggage allowance is the only thing you have to worry about.
Let’s dive in at the deep end…
- Is it unhygienic to swim on your period?
No, absolutely not! In fact, it can be very beneficial to move your body and exercise by swimming whilst on your period.
Swimming pools also contain chlorine, which is there to prevent any spread of disease through passing of bodily fluids such as urine and sweat in the water.
- Does the water pressure when swimming stop menstrual blood from coming out?
The water pressure can help prevent the blood flowing out like it would standing up outside of the water. However, any increase in abdominal pressure such as coughing or laughing, would change the pressure and a small amount of blood may leak out. A small leakage of blood would be diluted in the water, so very unlikely to be seen.
- What menstrual products can you use in the water? And which ones offer the best protection?
The best options are tampons and menstrual cups, and it’s totally up to you – whatever makes you feel most comfortable. It’s important to change your tampon after swimming as it will have soaked up pool/seawater and become fully absorbed!
There are also revolutionary new swimming period pants that take a lot of stress out of swimming on your period - we love Modibodi.
- If you swim in a lake, can you get an infection from the water while on your period?
No, you won’t get an infection from lake swimming simply because you’re on your period.
However, some lakes do have the possibility of causing infection, such as through viruses or bacteria in the lake, which infects through swallowing the water, through your eyes, nose, mouth, or an open cut.
It’s also important to change your tampon after swimming (wherever that may be) as the tampon absorbs the water and therefore is unable to soak up more menstrual blood.
- Are there ways to delay your period if you're going to be swimming often, like on a holiday?
It is not possible to guarantee a delay of your period, as many factors are involved with the menstrual cycle. However, if you take the combined contraceptive pill, you can take two packs back-to-back to remove any “break” for a breakthrough bleed. This would delay your bleeding until the next time you take a break from pills.
If you don’t take the COCP, you can discuss delaying your period with your GP, who may prescribe you a medication called norethisterone. This is usually taken 3-4 days before your period, and you will be advised to take 3 tablets each day before you expect your period to arrive. Once you stop taking norethisterone, your period will likely arrive 2-3 days after. It’s important to speak with your doctor as not all people are suitable for norethisterone and it has reported side effects.
- General advice for people going in water on their period?
Go for it! It’s great exercise and can help with menstrual cramps.
Planning some other wet and wild fun post-dip? Shop HANX 3-pack travel condoms here for a sustainable, sexy summer.