We’ve all been there before: you spend months planning the perfect beach vacation filled with soaking up sun rays and feeling the waves crashing against your skin. You put on your cute new bathing suit, lather up the sunscreen, throw on your sunglasses and hat, and head to the beach. Everything seems great until you arrive and notice you brought an unexpected visitor along with you: your period.
Sure, your period can be annoying, especially when you get it a bit early just in time for your vacation. However, there is no reason to allow your period to ruin the fun of your vacation plans. You can still enjoy all of the activities you had planned including swimming. Swimming on your period is perfectly safe, and actually beneficial to your health. Here are 5 myths about swimming on your period debunked.
Myth: It’s not safe to swim on your period
Fact: There is no reason to fear swimming while on you period, as it is completely safe. Water doesn’t get inside your vagina when you swim regardless of whether you have your period or not.
Myth: I can’t use feminine products when I swim
Fact: You can – and you should. Pads might not be the best option, since they’ll absorb water till they’re soaked, and could get weighed down or fall out. Plus, they might be visible through your bathing suit.
On the other hand, tampons are convenient and safe to use in water. They are unlikely to fall out. And as long as you tuck in the string, you’re unlikely to have a fashion emergency. Just remember to change your tampon at least every four to eight hours or as often as your physician recommends.
Myth: Swimming will worsen my cramps
Fact: Swimming can actually help to relieve cramps caused by your period. This is because when you exercise, your body releases endorphins which act as your body’s natural painkillers while also giving you an increased sense of well-being, which is something that is often in short supply during your time of the month.
Myth: The only thing I need to bring is a tampon
Fact: You should bring a water bottle, too, as you may be more prone to dehydration when you are on your period. Hydration is affected by estrogen and progesterone, hormones that fluctuate right before and during your period. This means it is more important than ever to make sure you are drinking enough.
An added alarm bell: Dehydration can hit swimmers hard, too. This is because swimming tends to trick your brain into thinking you’re hydrated since you are surrounded by water. In addition, since you will be covered in water, it might be harder for you to notice that your body is sweating, which can further dehydrate you.
Another important item that you should bring if you plan to swim outside is oil-free sunscreen. This is especially important if you’re prone to breaking out, since sunshine and periods can both increase your risk of breakouts or aggravate existing acne.
Myth: If I swim in the ocean, I will get attacked by sharks
Fact: Sharks don’t care whether or not you have your period. Yes, it’s true that blood draws in sharks. But menstrual blood isn’t just blood—it’s also made of mucus, secretions from uterus, and other components. There is no evidence that sharks are drawn to any of them.
Also, sharks aren’t just attracted to blood, but also the amino acids found in blood. Those acids diffuse when they hit the water. If you’re still worried, opt for swimming in a pool or in shallow water, where sharks are less likely to make an appearance.