Being an amateur swimmer, going to the pool while on my periods was always an absolute No, No!! To come to think of it, periods still being hushed about and tabooed in our culture, I have never been vocal about why I would never go for a swim when on my periods. The reasons would be plenty: hygiene, staining issues, cramps, what would other people think or feel, would I be leaking??!
Whether I swim for leisure, or practice swimming as a sport, chances of my periods coinciding with my swim routine are inevitable.
It was only until last year that I’ve realised that ladies, you need to know that you should be able to play/ swim all times of the year, whether on your periods or not...
Now, here are some answers to the questions I’ve always had before I’d dip my toes into the pool.
1. What are my best options when I need to go swimming during my periods?
With my swimming costume on, I tried a number of options, and well, most of it worked. During heavy flow, or the first 2 days of my periods, I used a tampon, or a menstrual cup and these were the best options as I went in and out of water. If I planned to just sit by the pool, a pad in my swimming costume with shorts over it worked just fine. However, if you do plan to go into the pool, a pad is not a great idea as it could get soggy and fall apart.
2. Swimming while menstruating- is it hygienic?
This was a cause of worry for me ALL THE TIME! I’d always wonder if it was going to be a dirty affair if I’d enter the pool while bleeding. Was it hygienic? The answer is, of course yes. There is nothing unhygienic about swimming when you have your periods. The use of a tampon or a menstrual cup helped preventing leakage or staining by locking the flow and negated any trail of blood into water as I swam. Pool water anyway contains bodily fluids like urine and sweat, that gets cleared out through the chlorine treatment to prevent the spread of infections and sickness. So I never had to worry about spreading of diseases if I entered the pool while on my periods.
3. Will my swimming costume get stained?
It is true that while in water, our menstrual flow slows down, but that need not happen all the time.Initially, I was not comfy with a tampon, but using it regularly got me used to it . A pad won’t stay in your swimming costume once wet. I did have to change my tampons now and again when I was in the pool for long durations (once in 4 hours). Hence, I always carried extras.
4. CRAMPS!! Do they get worse while swimming??
Menstrual cramps can actually be relieved through low intensity exercises in swimming. The release of the endorphins hormones gives you the feeling of well being and also acts as a natural pain reliever. These hormones are usually less supplied during your time of the month. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) can also be reduced through swimming. Oh! How well can I do without those mood swings. During my periods, I make it a point to swim as it helps me elevate my mood and I’m happy, my stomach feels light and a lot less bloated, my body feels tight and great. Also, I’d carry my bottle of water as it’s said that the body gets dehydrated faster while on periods.
Water fun is for everyone, and there is absolutely no reason to miss out on it just because you have your period.. So, put the myths behind, wear on your swimming costume and practice your sport with ease and no stress!
So now you understand why It’s totally fine to swim during your period. For some of us it's a mental block that we've created for ourself but that still doesn't change the fact that women are able to swim on any day of the month, with or without their periods.
Don't be afraid to get out there and enjoy the last few weeks of summer in the water!