Can you swim on your period?

Teen girl with pink flamingo float in swimming pool

Yes, you can swim on your period.

Good news – yes, you can go swimming on your period! If it’s a hot summer’s day at the beach or you’re swimming laps at your local pool and you’ve got your period, you shouldn’t have to worry about leaving a trail of blood or being attacked by a shark in the ocean (a legitimate fear for some people!). It’s safe to hit the water on your period, as long as you wear a tampon or menstrual cup while you’re swimming. Read on for some facts about swimming on your period and what period products can help (and which ones you should probably avoid altogether).

Best tampons for swimming

Tampons are specifically designed to absorb period flow before it can leave your body, which makes them one of the best products to use for swimming on your period. You won’t have to worry about signs of your period showing in the water. Pads are made to absorb period flow too, but as they’re worn outside of the body – and would be great at absorbing all that pool water too – you’d end up with a soggy bottom and looking like you were wearing a nappy (not the vibe we’re going for). So, do yourself a favour and leave the pads at home. All Tampax tampons can be worn while swimming in any kind of water, and only Tampax tampons have a LeakGuard Braid to help stop leaks before they happen – giving you all-day comfort and protection for up to eight hours.

Have a look at how to insert a tampon and practice a few times before you head into the water – especially if using a tampon is new to you. Be sure to tuck the string into the lining of your swimming costume before you leave the bathroom, and you should be good to go.

Can you wear a menstrual cup while swimming?

Like tampons, menstrual cups are worn internally and so can be worn while swimming in any kind of water. Menstrual cups give you an additional option when it comes to pool day period solutions, but there are a few important things to consider before you decide. If you’re looking to pack light and make room in your beach bag, a menstrual cup might be a good choice; they’re made of medical grade silicone and are reusable, so you only need to pack or wear one and can use it all day. It’s invisible and mostly sensation-free if inserted in the right position. Even better is that you can wear a Tampax Cup for up to 12 hours at a time, giving you the freedom to insert your menstrual cup at home, wear it all day and remove it when you’re back home at the end of the day. However, a downside of the menstrual cup is that because it’s reusable, if you need to clean it and re-insert it while you’re out and about, you will need to clean it by rinsing with mild soap and water every time, which could be challenging in a public toilet. Not to mention the fact that you do not want your menstrual cup getting any amount of sand on it!

Other tips for swimming on your period

Being on your period might cause your face to break out in pimples and make your skin blotchy, which isn’t great for a day out on the water. Reach for a high-SPF sunscreen especially formulated for your face, and top it off with a tinted moisturiser to even out your skin tone and conceal any redness. If all else fails, grab some oversized sunglasses and your favourite hat to shade your face from the sun.

Stomach bloating and period cramps also have no place at the beach or poolside. Steer clear of salty, fried and fatty foods, as well as caffeine. Stay hydrated with water, herbal iced tea, refreshing lemonade, and fresh fruit and veg. Some people swear by hot water and lemon to reduce bloating – figure out what works best for you.

Does water pressure stop my period when I swim?

It’s complicated. Essentially, it may appear as though you’ve stopped bleeding when you swim, but it’s actually physics at work. Because water creates more resistance than air, when you’re swimming in a pool, lake, ocean, or even just lying in the bath, there is pressure against the opening of your vagina that can temporarily prevent blood from coming out. Swimming or being in water does not stop your period altogether (we wish!) – once you exit the water, the pressure is gone and you’ll likely start bleeding again.

Will period blood attract sharks?

A fair question. The simple answer is no; period blood does not attract sharks. So, breathe a sigh of relief – your beach holiday that your period happens to fall on is not a disaster waiting to happen. No worries and no shark attacks! While a lot of people like to joke about this, the science behind it proves that there’s no correlation between menstruating people and an increase in shark attacks. The amount of blood lost throughout an menstrual cycle (lasting anywhere from 3-7 days) is merely six tablespoons, so the small amount lost during a swim in the sea would be very low – and very unlikely to send any nearby sharks into frenzy.

There you have it. Your answer and guide to if can you go swimming on your period. Hopefully you’ll have peace of mind the next time you swim in the ocean on your period.