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The idea that having your period means you are disabled or compromised in any way is regressive and not true. Menstruation is a normal part of being a woman. Every month, a woman’s body prepares for pregnancy by creating a lining in the uterus and releasing a mature egg in the ovaries. If the egg is not fertilised within a given period of time, known as the ovulation period, the egg and the uterine lining are destroyed and your body then sheds them through vaginal bleeding

This stage of vaginal bleeding in the menstrual cycle is known as menstruation, or having your period. Your period can last between three to seven days, and you will continue to have them once a month until menopause. Irregular periods can also occur if you have any hormonal imbalance or uterine abnormalities. 

In many cultures, including in India, menstruating has a number of taboos attached and women on their period are stopped from engaging in a number of activities. These myths about periods have been debunked: women can do anything - whether they are on their period or not.

So, yes, women can go swimming while they’re on their period, if they’re wearing a tampon or a menstrual cup instead of a sanitary pad. Pads do not work, since they easily absorb water and will neither stop the blood from leaking out nor give any comfort during the exercise of swimming. Tampons won’t fall off when inserted properly, and will stay secure no matter which sport you’re playing. They will also ensure that you don’t bleed into your swimsuit or into the water. Menstrual cups work with almost the same efficiency, and can be easily used too.

  1. Is it unhygienic to swim while menstruating?
  2. Will swimming during periods leave a trail of blood in the pool?
  3. Can swimming during periods cause infections?
  4. Can swimming make menstrual cramps worse?
  5. Tips to go swimming during periods

It is not unhygienic to swim while menstruating if you’re using tampons or menstrual cups. There are very few chances of blood leaking into the water if you’re using either of these two products. It’s also important to remember that all safe swimming pools have chlorinated water, which is supposed to minimise infections caused by all types of bodily fluids, including sweat and urine. 

If the pool where you swim doesn’t have properly chlorinated or frequently cleaned water, it’s best to avoid that pool in any case.

Pools, lakes, rivers and seas are water bodies which have some amount of pressure. When your body is submerged in water, this water pressure can minimise bleeding. So, it’s unlikely you will leave a trail of blood while you’re menstruating, especially if you’re wearing a tampon or a menstrual cup. If you sneeze, cough or laugh while in a pool, these actions might make you bleed suddenly, but as long as you’re wearing a tampon, you should be fine.

Skin infections and stomach infections are pretty common infections you can get from contaminated swimming pools. If the water in a pool is not properly chlorinated, you can also be at risk of getting a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis. These can also occur while you’re menstruating. But it’s unlikely you can get a vaginal infection if you go swimming in a pool with properly chlorinated water during your period.

Low-intensity exercises are usually recommended during menstruation because they improve blood circulation in the body, alleviate muscle stiffness and muscle pain, and also release hormones like endorphins. The benefits of swimming include:

  • It is a low-intensity workout. It is often recommended to people recovering from musculoskeletal injuries and as a part of specialized fitness programmes like exercises for osteoporosis.
  • It is a good physical exercise for people of any age.
  • Instead of making menstrual cramps worse, swimming can actually reduce the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and provide relief from menstrual pain.

If you are going swimming during your period, keep the following things in mind:

  • Wear a new tampon or freshly cleaned menstrual cup before you get into the pool to minimise leakages.
  • Never wear a sanitary pad into a swimming pool. The pad will absorb pool water and may make you uncomfortable. Plus, if you bleed after that, you would leave a trail of blood around.
  • Always carry extra tampons when you go to the pool, just in case your period arrives early.
  • Acne outbreaks are likely to happen around periods and can get irritated in chlorine water, so wash your face after a swim and moisturise properly.
  • If you’re worried about spotting despite wearing a tampon, wear a dark coloured swimsuit.
  • Eat properly and get enough rest. Your period and swimming during it can be tiring, so getting proper nutrition and sleep is of the utmost importance.

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