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Can You Go Swimming on Your Period?

Your period doesn't disappear while you're in the water, but you can still go swimming.

Your period doesn't disappear while you're in the water, but you can still go swimming.

Your Period Doesn't Disappear in the Pool

Though you can't see period blood in the pool, your period does not magically stop when you go swimming. The blood comes out in such a small amount that the water dilutes it. However, you can still go swimming while on your period, so long as you:

  • Don't wear a pad.
  • Use a tampon or menstrual cup (if you have a heavy or regular flow).
  • Swim without using a feminine hygiene product (if you have a light flow).
  • Wear a dark-coloured bathing suit.

Why You Can't Use a Pad While Swimming

You cannot wear a pad whilst swimming with your period. The pad will become waterlogged, making it big and heavy. It will then either fall out into the pool (embarrassing), fall out while you are getting out of the pool (also embarrassing), or weigh down your swimsuit, making your swimsuit or bikini bottom sag down (again, embarrassing). It may even fall apart, leaving pieces of pad floating in the pool.

If you want to see for yourself what would happen if you wore a pad in the pool, get a clean, unused pad and submerge it in a glass of water. Leave it there for twenty seconds, then lift it out. You'll understand why wearing a pad to the pool is not such a good idea.

Fortunately, it is still possible to go swimming while on your period—just not with a pad!

Use a Tampon

A tampon is a small, bullet-shaped cotton product that is inserted into the vagina. If put in correctly, it will not fall out and can be used while swimming. Tampons aren't uncomfortable—you should be able to forget that you're wearing one! However, it can take some practice to learn how to use a tampon properly, so don't worry if it doesn't feel right the first time. Just take it out, throw it away, and try again with a new one. You should wash your hands both before and after inserting a tampon.

I'm worried about using tampons because I am a virgin.

Don't worry; you will still be a virgin after using a tampon—you are a virgin until you have sex. Using a tampon is not the same thing as having sex. Though using a tampon can very occasionally tear your hymen, your hymen can also be torn while playing sports, going horseback riding, or doing other activities.

Try a Menstrual Cup to Be More Environmentally Friendly

Menstrual cups, like tampons, are inserted into your vagina. However, cups are more environmentally friendly than tampons because they can be washed and reused, and they last several years—which means that they're cheaper as well. Again, you should wash your hands before and after putting one in. Popular brands include Divacup and Mooncup.

Swim as You Normally Would If You Have a Light Flow

If your period is very light, you can go swimming without using any feminine hygiene products. There is nothing in the water that will alert other people to the fact that you are menstruating, and period blood is released in such a small amount that it will escape notice. Just make sure to use a pad or tampon once you get out of the pool.

Isn't that gross?

It's not any grosser than sweat and urine, which are also found in pools. Period blood is clean, and chlorine is added to pools to disinfect them.

Which Swimsuit Should I Wear?

Wearing a two-piece swimsuit is easier if you usually wear a pad and have to insert a tampon right before going into the pool. It also makes it easier to take out your tampon once you've finished swimming and either put in a new one or change into underwear and a pad.

It is a good idea to stay away from white or light-coloured bathers, as no matter which method you use, there may be a small amount of leakage.

If you have a heavy flow and you don't feel comfortable using a tampon or menstrual cup, there are plenty of other poolside activities you can do.

If you have a heavy flow and you don't feel comfortable using a tampon or menstrual cup, there are plenty of other poolside activities you can do.

What If My Period Is Heavy and I Don't Want to Use a Tampon or Cup?

Sorry, but you can't go swimming. However, you can still have fun doing other poolside activities, such as sunbathing, reading a book, solving a crossword puzzle, playing cards, or playing games such as volleyball.

Some excuses to explain why you're not swimming include:

  • I have an ear infection.
  • I forgot my bathers.
  • I have a bladder infection.
  • The water is too cold.
  • I feel sick.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Comments

Kylyssa Shay from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA on April 20, 2016:

I've had pool water wick up into my tampon, presumably via the string, so I wouldn't swim with anything but a cup!

Justagirl on June 17, 2015:

You should also go to the bathroom and wipe whenever you can, i learned this from experience!

peachy from Home Sweet Home on July 29, 2013:

great hub! Now i can dip into the swimming pool without embarrassing myself !!! Voted useful