Swimming During Period: Unbelievable Facts Every Women Need To Know
Have you ever experienced planning a swimming trip for so long but before the big day comes, you get your period? Oh, the disappointment! But can you really NOT swim during your period?
Here we explore the answers to questions asked by every girl who has had this dilemma: can you swim on your period? Included also are some common myths, the truths, and even tips about swimming during your period!
1. Myths And Facts About Swimming During Period
All of us have probably heard one or more advice that revolves around swimming during period. Which of these are true and which ones are not? Read on to find out!
Myth: Swimming On Your Period Is Not Hygienic.
Myth: Your Period Stops When You’re In The Water.
Myth: You Could Leave a Blood Trail In The Water.
Myth: Sharks Can Smell Your Period And Attack You In The Ocean.
Myth: You Can Catch Diseases Or Infections Because Of Swimming During Your Period.
Myth: Swimming On Your Period Worsens Cramps.
In 2016, Vake Swimming and Fitness Club in Tbilisi, Georgia made its way to the headlines after posting a sign forbidding women to go into the pool during their period. The management claimed this was because swimming during a period is unhygienic.
They insisted that the sign meant to protect other swimmers and prevent a previous event of someone contaminating the pool with menstrual blood from happening again.
Fact: You Are Not Endangering Your Own Or Other People’s Health When You Swim During Your Period.
According to experts, swimming with a tampon or menstrual cup on will prevent menstrual blood to be released into the water. And even if your period starts while you’re already in the pool or there’s a leakage, only a small amount of blood will come out.
This will easily be diluted throughout the water, and will therefore not have that much of an effect. Also, most swimming pools are treated with chlorine to kill germs and prevent diseases from spreading. Menstrual blood is much like other body fluids that get into pools, like sweat or urine.
There’s nothing unsanitary or dangerous about swimming during menstruation, except of course when tampons are left in the pool, which is what happened in Vake that resulted to the sign in question.
Yale School of Medicine’s Clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science Dr. Mary Jane Minkin said that swimming anywhere during your period is safe. You are not also endangering the health of other swimmers.
Another common belief is that your period stops when you get into the water. Just like that. Some women even use this reasoning to justify their choice of swimming on their periods. Even though they have every right to do so, this is simply not true.
Fact: Periods Appear To Stop When In The Water, But Actually Do Not.
According to Dr. Deborah Nucatola, senior director of Planned Parenthood medical services, periods do not stop or slow down in water. She said that it’s just prevented from flowing out because of the water’s pressure.
The truth is, menstruation, or the peeling off of the uterus lining, continues whether or not you’re in a pool or tub.
Also, based on information from the Menstrual Cycle Calculator, the force of gravity that usually plays the role of pulling your mens out, is challenged when you’re in water.
Swimming also puts the body in a horizontal position, which even lessens gravity’s effect than when you stand vertically. However, the gravitational pull is decreased at whatever position in the water.
As mentioned previously, no or very little blood flows from you when you’re in the water.
Fact: Blood Flow Is Very Little And Is Hardly Visible.
However, sudden movements that cause pressure changes like coughing, sneezing, or laughing, can cause blood to come out. Good news, though! It probably won’t be as visible as you imagine it to be, especially if you wear a tampon or menstrual cup.
People who say this actually mean well, but they are also misinformed. In fact, since your monthly flow is not as strong in the water, you won’t likely leave a trail of blood there. Sharks also will not attack and chase you by smelling menstrual blood.
Fact: Shark Attacks During Menstruation Are Never Heard Of.
There is no scientific evidence suggesting women are more at risk of being attacked by sharks (or bears) during menstruation. There are also no recorded cases of sharks ever attacking someone on her period.
The International Shark Attack file even says that many people can dive safely during their menses. The Executive Director and Founder of The Shark Research Institute, Marie Levine herself, said that she has been diving with sharks without a problem.
It is highly unlikely for anyone to catch the vaginal disease from swimming on their period. Stomach and skin infections are the most common diseases in swimming pools because of swallowing contaminated water.
Fact: The Most You Can Get Is An External Irritation.
Although most swimming spots have controlled treatment and chlorine levels for safety against germs and diseases, chlorine water can still irritate your vulva and vagina. This, however, also increases your risk of getting bacterial vaginosis (BV) or yeast infection.
This claim has no scientific explanation or basis, and the truth is actually the exact opposite.
Fact: Active Swimming As An Exercise Can Help Lessen Cramps.
Swimming and other low-intensity activities can in fact help relieve cramps. When swimming actively, endorphins, which serve as natural painkillers, are released by the body. This also increases your feeling of well-being and can also prevent PMS or premenstrual syndrome.
2. Swimming During Period Tips
To make the most out of your swimming trip, here are some helpful tips for when you decide to dip into the pool during your time of the month.
1. Take a shower after swimming. This reduces irritation by washing off salt water, sand, or chlorinated water.
2. Consult a doctor if ever you feel itchiness or a burning sensation, or notice unusual discharge after swimming while on your period.
3. Wear a tampon, menstrual cup, or special swimwear that will absorb menstrual blood while swimming. Swimming with tampons will minimize leaking and also gives a lot of women peace of mind.
4. Swimming without tampon and using pads or panty liners is of no use since they will likely absorb water, too and will not feel very comfortable. If you don’t want to use tampons, use menstrual cups instead. Although, women with IUDs (intrauterine device) must consult a doctor first regarding this matter.
5. To avoid toxic shock syndrome (TSS), change tampons every 3 to 4 hours. Less absorbent types are also recommended as TSS is usually due to wearing highly absorbent tampons for a very long time.
6. If you accidentally left a tampon inside for too long, don’t panic but see a doctor as soon as possible. According to Dr. Nucatola, TSS symptoms include muscle aches, high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, sore throat, a rash similar to sunburn, and weakness or faintness.
7. If you have a regular menstrual cycle, try to track it and plan your swimming trips, so you won’t have to worry too much. Some apps can track cycles pretty accurately if you use them long enough.
Here’s all I have left to say: ladies, take that dive, plunge in, or join that swimming competition! If you can do these without your period, you should be able to do them any day of the month!
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