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dr juuni

all your period questions answered (including the embarrassing ones).

Swimming and tampons: The ins and outs

It’s the time of year when a girl’s thoughts turn to swimming. Oceans, pools, lakes and creeks are all so inviting… but what if you have your period? No, don’t worry, it’s not the 1970s anymore. We all know it’s perfectly OK to go swimming (or do anything else for that matter) when you’re menstruating. But what do you need to consider?

Free bleeding is one way. If you've ever tried it while swimming, you’ll have noticed that the bleeding actually seems to temporarily stop while you're in the water, because the water pressure grapples against gravity to stop the blood dribbling out. If you were to give it a boost via a cough or a sneeze for example, gravity would be right back in the driving seat! But any small amount of blood would quickly be diluted to non-event status. And no, for the record, it won’t attract sharks as we discussed here. So that could be an option for the ocean.

But if you’re with friends, in a pool somewhere, free bleeding probably won’t be a popular choice. And who wants to spoil those fab new bikini bottoms?

Swimming with a pad isn’t a complete no go but it does come with caveats. Because a pad is designed to soak up blood, it will also soak up water, and quite a lot of it. The adhesive that sticks it to your undies may also give in to the water and come unstuck. But if you pop on some boardies over your nicely tight swimmers, you could give it a whirl. Planning to just hang by the pool or waves without actually venturing in? So much the better.

If you’re planning on getting fully drenched, a tampon is the better choice. It’s completely safe to swim with a tampon, because as long as you have it inserted correctly, it sits high up in the vagina and the entry stays pretty much closed. That means nothing will leak out, and not much will get in! A tampon may absorb a little water while you are swimming, however, so it is important to change it once you get out of the water.

So yep, swimming on your period is AOK. The even better news? Swimming can actually help to relieve period cramps, because when you exercise, your body releases endorphins that act as natural painkillers. That’s what you call a win win.

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