Woman swimming in a pool in swimming costume and goggles while she’s on her period.

Swimming on your period is totally doable. Yes, really. In fact, it’s a brilliant way to ease cramps and improve your mood. Here’s our poolside pointers for how to be confident swimming on your period – let’s dive in.

We’ve all been there: feeling excited to hit the pool or take a dip in the sea on holiday when suddenly our period comes. While it may sound discouraging, there’s actually no need to panic! There are many ways to enjoy swimming during this time of your menstrual cycle. All you need to do is to prepare with the right type of period products, and you’ll be splashing about in no time!

Can you wear period pads for swimming?

While they might be a popular period product, towels are no use when you’re going in the pool. Period towels – or pads – do a great job at being absorbent, and that’s not only true for your flow but also any other liquids around (including the water you might swim in!). But they do have a limit too. This means the more water they soak up, the less they can absorb your period. Plus, the water can make the glue that sticks the towel to your pants be less effective, causing it to get lose and feel uncomfortable. 

If wearing period pads is normally your preferred option, then you could always wear them before and after going swimming. Just switch to a tampon or cup when you want to take a dip. The most important thing is picking the right period product for you depending on the situation so you can feel as confident as possible, and not let your period stand in the way of doing whatever you want to do.

Can you swim with a tampon in?

Using a tampon when you’re swimming is a great option, as it absorbs your flow from within and will keep you feeling secure. Pop a fresh one in just before you jump in the pool or sea and you’ll be fine. 

The amount of water a tampon might pick up is much less than what a period towel would, yet there’s also a small chance that bacteria from the pool water could tag along, so being extra careful about hygiene when you take a dip is a good idea. All you need to do is switch to a fresh tampon right after swimming and you’ll have nothing to worry about. 

If you don’t feel comfortable with the idea of using a tampon, it may help to avoid swimming when your period is heavy. When your flow is lighter towards the end of your period, you should be fine to swim without any protection.

Can you swim with a menstrual cup?

That’s right, it’s absolutely fine to swim with a menstrual cup too! Similar to a tampon, it is worn completely inside your body, so you can swim at ease knowing the cup will keep your flow from coming out. 

Be mindful it can take some time to feel comfortable inserting and removing a menstrual cup, so try to practise a few times beforehand. Another useful tip is to empty your cup just before you swim for maximum protection.

Swimming on your period myths

Illustration of a woman dipping her toe in water - Libresse
Myth 1: Your period stops when you get in the water. [1]

Truth: Nope. It’s more difficult for the blood to flow outside the vagina due to the counter pressure of the water, but your period definitely does not stop.

Illustration of a shark fin on a pink background - Libresse
Myth 2: Sharks will attack you if you’re on your period. [2]

Truth: Contrary to popular belief, sharks won’t smell the blood and decide you’re dinner.

Illustration of a woman holding her stomach on a pink background - Libresse
Myth 3: Swimming will make my period cramps worse. [2]

Truth: Definitely false. Light exercise such as swimming can actually help relieve period pain.

Aside from picking the right product, being aware of your surroundings can make swimming on your period easier. Whether you’re at the beach or a pool, know where the nearest toilets are, so you can change your tampon or cup comfortably. 

If you’re a little nervous about swimming on your period, try to remember that it happens all the time. Even professional swimmers have competed in the Olympics while on their period! [3] It’s completely normal, and it shouldn’t stop you from doing anything that you want to do, including swimming! Just make sure you plan ahead and have fresh protection with you.

To learn more about living fearlessly throughout your cycle, you might find it helpful to look into more information on exercising on your period.

Medical disclaimer

The medical information in this article is provided as an information resource only and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes. Please consult your doctor for guidance about a specific medical condition.


[1]  http://www.seventeen.com/health/sex-health/a30094/period-myths 

[2]  https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/womens-health/2016/june/swimming-and-your-period-5-myths-debunked

[3]  https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2016/08/17/490121285/a-swimmers-period-comment-breaks-taboos-in-sports-and-in-china  

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