Have you ever considered swimming during your period? Is it safe? Is it a good idea? There are plenty of myths surrounding the health and safety of swimming during your period. Some people advise against it because they think it will be unhygienic. However, they are wrong. You can swim during your period. You may need to take certain measures but it’s perfectly safe.
Which products are safe to swim with during your period?
The best products to use are menstrual cups and tampons. These prevent any accidental leaks. There are also period-proof swimwear products that have leakproof linings that absorb the period blood. Don’t use panty liners or sanitary pads because they can soak up water. They can also become visible or fall out. You may also consider going without any sanitation products. This isn’t a good idea. The water pressure can stop the menstrual flow temporarily. If you sneeze, cough, or laugh, it can cause blood to flow out.
Any variation in pressure can cause blood to leak out. While you may not need to worry about leaking when you’re swimming, if you’re just lounging casually, movements can cause blood to leak out. Depending on how heavy your flow is, only a small amount will leak out and will quickly get diluted in the water. Don’t worry about contaminating the pool. Chlorinated pools prevent the spread of pathogens from human bodily fluids such as urine, sweat, or blood.
Remember when you’re leaving the pool, the pressure will change and your period will start flowing normally. If you want to swim without any period products, wear a dark-coloured swimsuit. It’s best to use a tampon or menstrual cup. If you have an intrauterine device or a coil, consult your gynaecologist before using a menstrual cup.
How does swimming affect your period?
Some people think that swimming can worsen cramps. This varies from person to person. Activity can make painful cramps worse. But for most, low-impact exercises can help manage pain from cramps. This is because exercise leads to the release of endorphins which reduce the impact of pain receptors. Other milk exercises like stretches or yoga can also reduce period pain.
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You’re not going to get an infection from swimming in a chlorinated pool when you’re on your period. But if you do go swimming in wild waters such as rivers or ponds, you have a higher chance of getting an infection. Swimming in polluted waters can lead to a urinary tract infection. Wearing your bathing suit or swim trunks for an extended time after swimming can also cause irritation and infection. But this can happen outside of your period. After swimming, take a shower immediately and change into clean dry clothes.
Additionally, some people may experience itchiness and irritation around the vulva and in the vagina after using a chlorinated pool. This is rare but when it happens, take a shower, ensuring to scrub with soap thoroughly then change into clean dry underwear and dry clothes. This prevents yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis. This is the overgrowth of vaginal bacteria. It can also be caused by unprotected penetrative sex or douching. It manifests as excess or abnormally smelling discharge.
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Can you change your cycle to go on a swimming holiday?
If your period catches you unaware while you’re on holiday, it’s impossible to stop or reverse it. However, if you want to delay your period, talk with your doctor about the best contraceptive pills to take to delay your period. The combined oral contraceptive pill can help you skip your period until the next cycle. Pills like norethisterone can delay your period. If you take it three days before your period is about to start then keep taking it, it delays your period. You can only take it for a maximum of 20 days. After you stop the dosage, your period starts. However, ensure you speak to your doctor to ensure it’s safe for you.
Can bleeding underwater attract animals?
It may sound far-fetched but all movies show that bleeding underwater attracts sharks. Research is limited but there is no record of people who are menstruated suffering a shark attack. A shark researcher once shared that she got her period while diving among sharks and they remained unbothered.
Remember that the water pressure limits the external flow of period blood. The odds of water animals coming for your blood are low. The only animals attracted to humans when they’re swimming are microscopic parasites, which are only a risk if you ingest the water.
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