Swimming with your period: is it possible? Tips and tricks

You're dying to take a dip in the water, but your period's coming... So is it possible to enjoy the pool with your period? Does the water stop the menstrual flow? Let's find out!

Can you swim during your period?

Although this idea is closely linked to the period taboo, it's perfectly possible to swim during your period: swimming and buoyancy in water in general help to relax your muscles and make you feel lighter. This can help relieve menstrual pain.

However, you don't have to: if you're uncomfortable with swimming during your period, have severe pelvic pain or simply don't feel like it, you should listen to yourself! However, there are no medical or physiological contraindications, with the exception of post-pregnancy lochia: you'll need to wait a few weeks for your bleeding to subside and your cervix to close after childbirth before you can swim again. Otherwise, all the signs are green for going to the beach with your period!

What are the myths surrounding menstruation and swimming?

There are a number of misconceptions about swimming with your period. Let's decipher them!

Water stops and interrupts menstruation

In the sea or in the pool, water pressure slows (but doesn't stop!) the flow of your period: the amount of blood lost is therefore minimal, and is diluted in the water as you swim, with the exception of clots, which are generally retained in your swimsuit.

This is normal, and it's thanks to this property that menstrual briefs and swimsuits can be easily rinsed before being put in the washing machine!

Positions in which the pelvis is flat or horizontal while swimming also make it harder for blood to flow, but do not stop menstruation. It's especially when you come out of the bath that the flow and gravity take over, and you have to watch your back...

Blood attracts sharks

Rest assured: if blood does indeed attract sharks, it's primarily the blood of their usual prey. Human blood, and especially blood derived from the degradation of the uterine mucosa, does not have the same chemical markers for the shark's sense of smell. What's more, losses are minimal (on average 4 tablespoons over several days of menstruation) compared to a wound. If a shark can smell at most one drop of blood in a swimming pool, at over 400m your menstrual flow is largely diluted in the moving water of the sea or ocean. There are statistically no more occurrences of menstruating women being attacked by sharks, although generally speaking, it's still a bad idea to swim in infested water.

You can't put menstrual protection in water

In the case of a light flow, the blood will be imperceptible and diluted in the water, so it is indeed possible not to wear menstrual protection.
In the case of heavier periods, the rules of decorum and community are more appropriate: would you even want to bathe in shared water where someone has had a heavy nosebleed or a deep wound? Then it might be a good idea to wear sanitary protection. However, not all of them are suitable for swimming:

  • Internal protection, such as tampons or menstrual cups, is perfectly suitable for bathing during menstruation.
  • External protection, with the exception of menstrual bathing suits, is not recommended: it's waterlogged, making it less effective, uncomfortable and less adhesive. So it's best to avoid disposable sanitary towels at the beach or pool!

What kind of sanitary protection should I choose for swimming with my period?

When swimming with your period, it's important to choose the right sanitary protection. There are several options available to women!

Menstrual swimsuits

The menstrual swim suit is a revolution on the market: it's finally an alternative for women to internal sanitary protection when swimming. Reserved for light flows, spotting or the beginning/end of the cycle, menstrual swimsuit technology makes perfect sense when getting out of the bath. Its elasticated thighs and absorbent, non-swelling core effectively retain more viscous fluids inside, such as blood, while the breathable lining ensures that water quickly drains away when you get out of the bath, so it doesn't accumulate and weigh down the swimsuit.

This avoids the unpleasant surprise of blood running down your thighs after swimming. So you've got plenty of time to change!

At Elia, we offer a range of swimsuits with a deliberately low absorption zone, to help the water run off when you get out of the bath! The heavier, more viscous blood is absorbed by our organic cotton core, even when lying down for long periods. An absorbent zone too high up would create a stagnant pocket of water, weighing down the swimsuit. This design also reduces drying time. Check them out on our website! All in all, this external sanitary protection will make you forget your period at the pool.

The menstrual cup

The menstrual cup is, like the tampon, an internal sanitary protection, but it has the advantage of not soaking up chlorinated or salty water, and of being a reusable, zero-waste alternative that speaks to us at Elia!

If your cup (or tampon) is well placed while swimming, you shouldn't feel it! However, it's important to follow the instructions for use when in water:

  • Change your cup as soon as you leave the pool
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before and after changing (have access to a sink with soap).
  • Donot exceed the maximum wearingtime

Free instinctive flow

Some women also practice free instinctive flow: the technique of controlling their menstrual flow by holding it back or releasing it on command. If you're already comfortable with this option, you can also practice it while swimming!

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