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Ready, steady, swim: Tips and tricks for a worry-free vacation with your period

When I was 14 years old, I was going on my first vacation to Crete. I was ecstatic at the thought of three swimming pools and could hardly wait to spend a whole week covered in a constant mix of chlorine and sunscreen. But right there, in the middle of the flight on the way to the Greek holiday paradise, my stomach began to churn. At first, I thought it was nerves, but no – my period had decided to join me on holiday. Shocked by the news, I started to cry, convinced that the holiday was now ruined before we had even landed.

If you menstruate or have done so in the past, you can probably relate to the feeling of having your holiday plans disrupted by your uterus. But even though it may seem like a roadblock to bleed during a beach vacation, there is no need to panic. You can definitely swim when you have your period! All it takes is a bit of good old preparation, and you'll be ready for the waves in no time. Here are our best tips for a worry-free beach holiday and answers to the most common questions in our inbox when it comes to swimming during your period.

Is it unhygienic to swim with your period?

Let's start by clearing up one thing: it is not unhygienic to get in the water when you are bleeding. Whether you are swimming in the hotel pool or the sea. Nevertheless, this is one of the most common concerns we encounter when it comes to the question of menstruation and swimming. So, what’s the real deal?

Firstly, the size ratio is so skewed – a few drops of menstrual blood versus thousands of liters of water – that it is practically impossible to measure. And that’s assuming you don’t use any menstrual product at all. Secondly, the water in both man-made swimming pools and the sea is not just water. Pools contain chlorine or other disinfecting chemicals that kill bacteria and other microorganisms, and seawater contains a high level of salt, which has natural antiseptic properties. If you simply use a menstrual product as you usually do before you get in the water, you are good to go.

When the question of hygiene continues to linger around menstruation and swimming, it is likely a reflection of old myths and misunderstandings that for centuries have labeled menstruation as both impure and dangerous (up until the 1950s, people really believed in so-called menotoxins – toxins in menstrual blood that could kill both animals and humans!). Myths can be extremely persistent, but don’t let them stand in the way of your swim.

Should you be more afraid of sharks when you menstruate at sea?

Another myth that often comes up when discussing swimming and menstruation is the fear that menstrual blood might attract sharks. Fortunately, this fear is also completely unfounded. There is no scientific evidence to suggest that menstruating individuals are at greater risk of shark attacks than others (in fact, men dominate the statistics on annual shark attacks around the world…).

And remember, sharks are not as interested in humans as Jaws would have us believe. In fact, a shark is more likely to eat another shark than a human. So, let’s toss that myth overboard as well.

Period swimwear: Perfect for those who don’t want to compromise

Now that we have debunked a few myths, it’s time to look at how you can best manage your period when you want to go swimming.
You are probably already familiar with tampons and menstrual cups, which respectively absorb and collect menstrual blood internally. Both are excellent options for swimming when you are bleeding, but not everyone can use internal methods to manage their period. Fortunately, there is good news for those of us who prefer external methods or are so fond of our menstrual underwear that we dream of using them in the water too: swim-friendly period underwear.

Swim-friendly menstrual underwear is exactly what the name suggests: underwear that you can wear in the water, and that also absorbs menstrual blood. These swim panties are constructed just like your regular period underwear – but with an innovative top layer and absorbent layer. And with our membrane at the bottom, we have ensured that you won’t bleed through.

When you swim with menstrual panties designed for swimming, you get the same comfort you are used to with your regular menstrual underwear, just in the water. As an added bonus, the swim-friendly menstrual panties can be used alone or as a backup for tampons or cups.

Be open about your situation with travel companions

Finally, we advise you to be open about your situation if you are traveling with friends or family. It can make it easier for you to handle any extra toilet visits and plan beach trips when those close to you know what you are dealing with. They will surely also be happy to help you find solutions so you can enjoy your holiday to the fullest.

And as always: listen to your body. Maybe you feel most comfortable swimming early in the morning when you are fresh and well-rested? Or in the evening when there are fewer people around the pool? Whatever the case, it is important to listen to your body and plan accordingly.

Have a great holiday!

If you are at a beach with pay toilets, make sure to have cash on hand. It can save you a lot of hassle when you suddenly need to change your menstrual product or underwear (speaking from experience here!)

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