Does your period stop in the water?

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Sorry if we’re going to be giving you flashbacks to your first middle school pool party…but with spring break underway and warm weather on the horizon, we have something to talk about. You know, when you hop into a pool or wade into the water at the beach on your period, if you’ve done that before, it kind of feels like the flow is good, stops, almost like you have one tampon inside? Come on, we can’t be the only ones.

So scientifically, this is a real thing: does your period stop in the water? Or is missing your period just wishful thinking when you’re on a tropical vacation and don’t want to believe you’re actually having it?

We spoke to a doctor specializing in all things period to find out what really happens when you swim with your period and get answers to all of your pressing questions. Do you have to wear a tampon when swimming? Can you just, you know, bleed freely without worrying about a shark attack? Are there swimsuits that you can specifically wear during your period to prevent leakage? Yes, there is a lot to unpack.

If you’re going on a trip or to the beach, hopefully you won’t get your period on the way…but if you do, that’ll prepare you enough. Read to understand all about the right protection during the pool party or going to the beach while you’re bleeding – here’s your guide to swimming on your period.

Wait, why does it feel like your missed period in the water?

Let’s get this straight: it’s perfectly safe to swim on your period – there’s nothing to be ashamed of. “In fact, exercising and moving your body during your menstrual period can actually help with cramps and menstrual pain,” says Natasha Ramsey, MD, MPH, a pediatric physician specializing in menstrual management and an advisory board member for cycle-tracking app Orchyd.

Next, Dr. Ramsey address two myths that are out there (ha): that your period attracts sharks and that your period magically stops underwater. Don’t even listen to the shark thing, even if you’re swimming in the ocean, and be aware that your period isn’t complete stop in the water, even if it feels like it. “Your body still sheds menstrual blood while you’re underwater. However, the pressure while your body is underwater (aka buoyancy) slows the flow,” explains Dr. Ramsey. So you won’t bleed So much while you’re taking a bath, but if you’re on a heavy bleeding day or generally have a heavy period, your bathing suit might leak a bit.

Can you swim without a tampon on your period?

You have our full permission to bleed freely; according to dr Ramsey isn’t unsanitary. The water you swim in dilutes the blood so it doesn’t seem like it’s following you. But if you’re concerned about leakage, especially when you’re early in your cycle (we all know days one and two flow), and it’s too risky for you, there are options.

Just note that no matter what form of period protection you choose, you’re not going to be wearing a pad or pad in the pool or ocean – in which case you’re probably better off without nothing because it will fill with water and it’s not really able to to absorb your period, says Dr. Ramsey. However, you can choose almost any other form of disposable or reusable menstrual products!

What are the best period products for swimming?

  • Tampons with low absorbency. You’ll need to change tampons every six to eight hours anyway, whether you’re swimming or not, says Dr. Ramsey. You may want to use a tampon designed for lighter bleeding when swimming, since your bleeding is generally not as heavy and easier to remove. “As you swim, tampons can absorb some of the water and other chemicals, so using a low-absorbency tampon and changing it more often will help reduce the risk of irritation or discomfort,” emphasizes Dr. Ramsey.
  • menstrual cups. A menstrual cup can stay in for 12 hours and hold that many hours of blood, so you can feel super safe during a pool party. It might end up being more convenient to remove because it collects the blood rather than absorbing it (and that way doesn’t pick up water while swimming), says Dr. Ramsey.
  • menstrual discs. Discs are similar to cups in that they’re good for 12 hours and collect your period, not absorb it. They’re flatter and designed so you can leave them in during sex (if you happen to have a hot tub, you’re welcome).
  • Period swimwear. Your other option is menstrual-friendly swimwear, says Dr. Ramsey. It’s designed to be absorbent and to help you avoid leaks – most period swim trunks will hold about two tampons of blood, which should hopefully be enough to get you through a nice bath. If you’re a period underwear stan, this could be your go-to, especially if you don’t carry tampons, cups, or washers.

    Whatever you use, make sure you change it often enough.

    You don’t want to hang out in a wet bathing suit, whether it’s regular or period-fitting, so don’t harbor a BV infection (or bacterial vaginosis, an imbalance of bacteria in your vagina that can cause uncomfortable burning). and itch) or yeast infection to the pool party. “Remember, your vagina is full of bacteria and yeast living in perfect harmony,” says Dr. Ramsey. “Yeast loves warm and humid environments [so does bacteria]and wearing a wet bathing suit for too long can cause yeast to overgrow and lead to a yeast infection.

    And then you add menstrual blood and products to the mix, which can increase the risk of infection, adds Dr. Ramsey added. Of course, you shouldn’t leave a tampon, menstrual cup, or menstrual disc in for too long anyway (eight hours is generally the best limit), but the risk is only about one in 100,000 medicines, according to the University of Washington School of Medicine.

    The bottom line? “Be sure to change your period products regularly, dry off after a bath, and change into dry clothes and cotton underwear as soon as possible,” says Dr. Ramsey. Whether you’re going to the pool or the beach, remember to use the bathroom before you take a nap face down on your towel.

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