Yes, of course your period starts the exact moment you step off the plane at your tropical beach holiday destination. Bad timing, but no reason to spend the entire holiday in your hotel room as you can definitely swim when you’re on your period. Here’s what to do when you don’t want the entire beach to know you’re menstruating.
1 Insert a tampon/sponge tampon/menstrual cup (or use special swimwear)
Most convenient to swim with are (sponge) tampons or menstrual cups. Nobody will know you’re wearing one (do make sure your tampon string doesn’t show). New to tampons or menstrual cups? Practise inserting a few times in the months before going to the beach.
A sanitary towel usually isn’t such a good idea; it soaks up loads of water and the adhesive strip won’t stay sticky for long. If you do want to use sanitary towels in the water, put them inside a special bikini bottom or bathing suit. This swimwear has an absorbent lining and a special place to secure your pad. The crotch area compartment encloses your sanitary towel, so when you jump in the sea it won’t end up hanging half outside your pants, or worse, floating next to you.
2 Change immediately after swimming
Tampons and sponge tampons absorb fluid; apart from blood, they also soak up the water you’re swimming in. After taking a dip, change your tampon for a fresh one. Same goes for the sanitary towels in the special bikini bottoms: take to the water wearing a clean pad and change it directly after swimming for a dry one.
Although you don’t have to empty your menstrual cup directly after swimming, there’s a small chance that moving around in the water will disturb the vacuum created by the cup, which could cause leaking. Check afterwards to be sure.
3 Wear dark coloured swimwear?
Still feeling worried? Play it safe by putting on a dark coloured bathing suit or bikini when you’re on your period. Black never goes out of fashion and also makes you look slimmer. Crowded patterns are an option too, especially in red or brown colours: they’ll divert the attention from any blood stains. If you really want to play it safe, wear a board short on top of your bikini or bathing suit.
Heavy flow just caused an enormous leakage stain on your swimwear? Happens to the best of us. Just wrap yourself in a towel or even better, knot a sarong around your waist for an instant bohemian hippy look.
4 Take back up supplies
Right on top of your holiday packing list: extra tampons and/or sanitary towels. Especially when visiting a country where they don’t sell your preferred brand. Don’t forget any painkillers you might need and before heading to the beach, check where the nearest toilets (with sinks!) are.
Seen a nice new bikini? Perfect, because of course you need extra swimwear if there’s any chance of getting your period at all. Just in case. Like a precautionary measure. Actually, it’d be irresponsible not to buy them (ahem). Shop ‘til you drop!
5 Enjoy your holiday
And just jump in the water. While exercising, your body creates endorphins which make you feel better: time to get in the pool and do some laps. Menstrual blood is basically sterile, so even if you would leak a bit, it doesn’t make things unhygienic.
Two more things you absolutely should NOT worry about: no, the entire pool won’t turn red if you leak a drop of blood and no, swimming in sea on your period doesn’t automatically make you shark bait. No worries, enjoy your holiday!