“Swimming sure looks fun. Too bad I’m on my period.”
Ladies, how many times have you been placed in this awful situation? You see your family and friends swimming and enjoying the cool waves, while you’re merely basking on the shore. Or worse, since you’re on dry land, you are in charge of taking their vacation photos.
Almost every woman that has walked this earth has already experienced putting a fun beach or getaway on hold just because their monthly visitor has arrived. Thanks to myths and ridiculous old wives’ tales about how menstruation cycle works, we are in fear for life. However, experts suggest that the beliefs which have been passed down to us are all wrong.
To get you started, here are five lies about swimming on your period and the truth behind them.
Lie #1: Swimming on your period is unsafe
One of the fears of women is that water could get inside when they swim and this may lead to serious complications. The truth is it doesn’t get inside whether you’re on your period or not. Our reproductive systems are well-designed to handle immersion into aquatic environments.
Lie #2: It’s unhygienic to use feminine products
It’s okay to use and you should. Other pool-goers will thank you.
When it comes to managing the flow when swimming, tampons are your best friend. They are safer too since they don’t absorb excessive amounts of water when you’re swimming, as long as you change them every four to eight hours, or according to the heaviness of your flow. Menstrual cups work too.
Sanitary pads, on the other hand, aren’t the best way to go. They can soak up water and get heavy and soggy. They can get weighed down and fall. In addition, pads can cramp your style since they are visible when you’re wearing your bathing suit.
Blood is unlikely to leak through your bottom if you inserted them correctly. But if you’re still getting paranoid about possible leakage, perhaps wearing a darker-colored swimsuit may put your mind at ease. Choose thicker suits with fuller coverage too. Take your bikini fashion up a notch by wearing decorative swim caps.
Lie #3: You’ll leave red trails
No, honey, you won’t turn an ordinary body of water into the red sea.
When you take a dip in the sea or pool, your flow will stop temporarily. Thanks to the water pressure. The only exception is when you let out a laugh, cough, or sneeze, wherein the water pressure can slightly drop, causing a tiny amount of blood to be released. Even then, it probably won’t leave a bloody trail as the water dilutes it
The normal flow will resume once you get out of the water. This is another reason why it’s suggested to use a tampon or a menstrual cup. They prevent leaking once you’re back on dry land.
Lie #4: Swimming can worsen cramps
Swimming actually does the opposite. This low-intensity exercise helps relieve moderate period-induced cramps. When you swim, your body releases endorphins which function as the body’s natural painkillers. In addition, swimming gives you an increased sense of well-being.
However, if the cramps are too intense (causing you to curl up in pain or lose your breath), you may need to avoid swimming and other physical activities in general. You can minimize any cramps or bloat by staying away from fried, salty, and generally unhealthy snacks, as well as coffee. Taking pain-killing medications should be your last resort.
Lie #5: Menstruating women attract sharks
It has been believed for ages that human blood can attract a shark from kilometers away. However, take menstrual blood for an exception.
Aside from not being sufficient enough to be attractive to these aquatic predators, the menstrual fluid contains more than just blood – it contains certain mucus. If sharks’ olfactory capabilities were true, then they would need to be able to detect blood that was mixed or masked by this non-aquatic mucus.
Nothing should ever prevent you from enjoying a fun day at the pool or beach – not even your menstrual cycle. So go wear the best swimsuit, goggles, and swim cap, and plunge!
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is one of the writers for Swimprint, a go-to shop for swimming enthusiasts, specializing in swim caps in the UK. While she’s fascinated by writing articles focused on sports fashion, health, and wellness, she swears to never give up pizza.