By Toni Brannagan
As you all know, the menstrual cycle stops for no one, not even the beach vacay you’ve planned months in advance. Sigh.
While I don’t think there are *any* activities that your period should prevent you from doing, I’ll be the first to acknowledge that braving the beach while bleeding is stressful AF. I’ve been going away the same week in July (this week, lol) for coming up on ten years now, and guess what always ~flows~ ashore uninvited for a few days? I’m basically a period swimming pro, and now I shall impart all my wisdom unto you in these five tips.
So stop stressing, and start swimming!
no pads or anything *absorbent*
Pads and any other period products that sit on your underwear won’t work out if applied to a swimsuit. For one, any adhesives on the back will be rendered useless, and I don’t know about you, but I’m not trying to fold wings around the bottom of my bathing suit.
And unfortunately, while our kicka$$ tech is great at absorbing your flow… it’s not exactly waterproof. So while wearing your Thinx to the pool will look cute (leotard, anyone?), once you dive in, it’ll immediately fill with up to ½ - 4 tampons’ worth of water – and there won’t be anymore room for blood.
stick to tampons and cups – and pack extra
Using a tampon or a menstrual cup under your bathing suit is your best bet. However, you should make sure you bring along extra products, as well as locate a safe place to replace your products in a timely manner. There are no health risks related to swimming on your period, but keeping a tampon or cup in for longer than recommended is still a big no!
Worried about visible tampon strings? First thing’s first: periods are natural and menstruators really shouldn’t have to hide them — even Olympic swimmers gotta deal. If flashing string in a public area is still freaking you out, ask one of your buddies to check on you every once in a while. We bet both of you will forget by the time you start having fun in the sun anyway!
manage your PMS symptoms, or skip your period entirely
Unless you’re one of *those people* who enjoys exercising on your period, it can sometimes be rough doing strenuous activity (or… any activity) during shark week. Keep track of your cycle, and take the appropriate dose of painkillers the night before your beach day to stop cramps in their tracks. To be fair, light exercise like swimming is said to alleviate cramps naturally, so if your PMS symptoms are mild, you might be in the clear!
Alternatively, if you are on hormonal birth control like NuvaRing or the pill, you can consider consulting your doctor about skipping your placebo week – no period, no problem (but seriously, talk to your gyno first)!
Don’t let #FakeNews cramp your style!
Yes, swimming on your period is fine. No, it’s not unsanitary. And no, you won’t get attacked by sharks (TBH, if you’re swimming in shark-infested waters, your period is the last thing you should be concerned about).
don’t be afraid to sunbathe
Sometimes, no matter what, you just won’t be in the mood to hit the water.
That’s okay! Pull your fab bathing suit over whateeeverr period products you want, grab your cutest sunnies, a good book, and set up shop poolside or on the sand. Just remember to apply pleeenty of SPF. Anyone you’re hanging with should totally understand, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of!
Got any of your own hacks for swimming on your period? Share them in the comments!