Breaking the Taboo: Talking About Menstruation and Water Activities

Breaking the Taboo: Talking About Menstruation and Water Activities

Posted by Christina Ng on

Have you ever wondered if it's safe or comfortable to enjoy a day at the beach or the pool while on your period? Many menstruating people face this dilemma and often end up sitting on the sidelines due to concerns about leaks, hygiene, or discomfort.

Discussing menstruation in the context of water activities is crucial because it touches on both physical health and social participation. Those who avoid water activities altogether during their periods miss out on fun, exercise, and social interaction. Addressing these concerns can empower more people to enjoy water activities confidently, without feeling restricted by their menstrual cycle.

In this article, we will explore the myths and realities of swimming during menstruation, practical tips for managing your period while enjoying water activities, and the best products to use. We’ll also touch on the health benefits of swimming during your period and how it can alleviate menstrual symptoms. Finally, we’ll share personal stories and expert advice to ensure you feel informed and empowered to dive in, no matter what time of the month it is.

Common Myths About Menstruation and Water Activities

Myth 1: You Can't Swim While on Your Period

One of the most pervasive myths is that you can't or shouldn't swim while menstruating. This simply isn't true. With the right menstrual products, such as period swimwear or menstrual cups, you can swim comfortably and without worry. These products are designed to prevent leaks and allow you to participate in water activities without hesitation.

Myth 2: Menstrual Blood Will Attract Sharks

The idea that menstrual blood can attract sharks is a common fear, but it's largely unfounded. Sharks are not specifically attracted to human blood, and there's no evidence to suggest that menstruating women are at any greater risk than anyone else. The amount of blood released during menstruation is minimal and quickly diluted in water, making it virtually undetectable to marine life.

Myth 3: Swimming Stops Your Period

Some believe that being submerged in water can stop or significantly reduce menstrual flow. While it's true that the pressure of the water can slow the flow temporarily, it does not stop menstruation altogether. Your period will continue as usual once you leave the water.

Myth 4: Menstrual Cramps Will Get Worse in Water

Many believe that physical activity, including swimming, can exacerbate menstrual cramps. In reality, swimming and other forms of exercise can help alleviate menstrual pain. The endorphins released during physical activity act as natural painkillers, and the water's buoyancy can relieve pressure on your abdomen and lower back.

Myth 5: You Can't Wear Period Products Under Swimwear

Some worry that period products will be visible or uncomfortable under swimwear. However, period swimwear and menstrual cups are discreet and specifically designed to be worn during activities like swimming. They fit securely and are not visible from the outside, allowing you to enjoy water activities without concern.

Benefits of Water Activities During Menstruation

Physical Benefits

Alleviating Menstrual Cramps

Swimming and other water activities can be incredibly effective in reducing menstrual cramps. The buoyancy of the water supports your body, reducing pressure on your muscles and joints. This can lead to less discomfort and a greater sense of relief. Additionally, the gentle, rhythmic movements involved in swimming help relax the abdominal muscles, which can further ease cramping.

Improving Circulation and Reducing Bloating

Engaging in physical activity, particularly in water, helps improve blood circulation throughout the body. Enhanced circulation can reduce bloating and water retention, common symptoms during menstruation. Swimming also promotes lymphatic drainage, which helps your body eliminate excess fluids and toxins more efficiently.

Boosting Endorphins and Relieving Pain

Exercise releases endorphins, which are natural painkillers produced by the body. These "feel-good" hormones not only help reduce the perception of pain but also enhance your mood. The combination of endorphin release and the soothing properties of water makes swimming an excellent choice for managing menstrual discomfort.

Psychological Benefits

Enhancing Mood and Reducing Stress

Water activities are known to have a calming effect on the mind. The sensation of being in water, coupled with the rhythmic nature of swimming, can help reduce stress and anxiety. This is particularly beneficial during menstruation, a time when hormonal fluctuations can lead to mood swings and heightened emotional sensitivity.

Maintaining Routine and Promoting Normalcy

Continuing your regular activities, including exercise routines, during your period can have a positive impact on your mental health. Maintaining a sense of normalcy helps reduce feelings of inconvenience or disruption often associated with menstruation. By participating in water activities, you reinforce the message that menstruation is a natural part of life that doesn't have to hinder your enjoyment or participation in daily activities.

Boosting Self-Esteem and Body Confidence

Engaging in physical activities like swimming can boost your self-esteem and body confidence. Overcoming the myths and misconceptions about menstruation and water activities can empower you to feel more in control of your body. This empowerment can translate into greater overall confidence, both in and out of the water.

Incorporating water activities into your routine during menstruation offers numerous physical and psychological benefits. Not only can it help alleviate common menstrual symptoms, but it also promotes a positive and proactive approach to managing your period.

Choosing the Right Menstrual Products for Water Activities

When it comes to enjoying water activities during menstruation, selecting the right menstrual product is essential for comfort, confidence, and environmental sustainability. While traditional disposable options like tampons and pads are commonly used, there's a growing trend towards reusable menstrual products that offer both practical and eco-friendly solutions.

1. Menstrual Cups

Benefits: Menstrual cups are made of medical-grade silicone and are worn internally, collecting menstrual fluid rather than absorbing it. They provide leak-free protection for up to 12 hours and are suitable for swimming and other water activities. Menstrual cups are reusable, lasting for years with proper care, making them an eco-friendly choice.

Considerations: Learning to use a menstrual cup may require some practice initially, but many users find them more comfortable and convenient than traditional tampons or pads once they get the hang of it.

2. Menstrual Discs

Benefits: Similar to menstrual cups, menstrual discs are worn internally to collect menstrual fluid. They can be worn during water activities and provide reliable leak protection. Menstrual discs are also reusable and eco-friendly.

Considerations: Menstrual discs can be trickier to insert and remove compared to cups, and they may not be as widely available in some parts of the world. However, many users appreciate their comfortable, low-profile design.

3. Period Swimwear

Benefits: Period swimwear is specially designed to absorb menstrual flow while swimming. These swimsuits feature built-in absorbent layers that prevent leaks and provide discreet protection. Period swimwear can be worn alone or with additional menstrual products for extra peace of mind.

Considerations: Some period swimwear is designed for lighter flows. If you have a heavier period, you might want to consider using a tampon or menstrual cup for additional protection alongside your period swimwear.

Practical Tips for Managing Menstruation During Water Activities


  1. Choose the Right Menstrual Product: Select a menstrual product that provides reliable protection and comfort for water activities. Whether you prefer tampons, period swimwear, menstrual cups, or discs, make sure you're comfortable using them and confident in their effectiveness.

  2. Timing is Key: Plan your water activities around your menstrual cycle if possible. Many people find that their menstrual flow is lighter during the middle of their cycle, making it an ideal time for swimming or water sports.

  3. Double Protection: For added peace of mind, consider using a combination of menstrual products. Pairing a tampon or menstrual cup with period swimwear can provide extra protection against leaks.

Changing Facilities

  1. Research Ahead: Before heading to the pool or beach, research the facilities available for changing and freshening up. Look for public restrooms with private stalls or changing rooms that offer adequate space and privacy.

  2. Bring Your Own Supplies: Pack a small bag with all the essentials you'll need for changing, including a towel, extra menstrual products, wet wipes, and a plastic bag for disposing of used items discreetly.

  3. Be Prepared for Crowds: During peak times, changing facilities can get crowded and hectic. Try to arrive early or choose less busy times to avoid long waits and ensure you have ample space to change comfortably.

Emergency Kit

  1. Extra Menstrual Products: Always carry extra menstrual products in your bag or emergency kit. You never know when you might need them, especially if your activity lasts longer than anticipated or your flow is heavier than usual.

  2. Change of Clothes: Pack a spare set of dry clothes, including underwear and bottoms, in case of unexpected leaks or accidents. Opt for loose-fitting, comfortable clothing that you can easily slip on after your water activities.

  3. Personal Hygiene Items: Include personal hygiene items like hand sanitiser, wipes, and odour-neutralising spray in your emergency kit to help you feel fresh and clean, even if changing facilities are limited.

By following these practical tips, you can effectively manage your periods during water activities and enjoy your time in the water with confidence and peace of mind. Remember to prioritise your comfort, hygiene, and preparedness to make the experience as enjoyable as possible.

Addressing Concerns and Encouraging Open Dialogue

Open Communication

1. Breaking the Taboo: Discussing menstruation openly is essential for breaking down societal taboos and fostering a supportive environment where individuals feel comfortable addressing their concerns. Encourage open communication among friends, family, and peers to create a safe space for discussing menstruation and water activities without judgment or shame.

2. Education and Awareness: Providing accurate information and debunking myths surrounding menstruation and water activities can empower individuals to make informed decisions and feel more confident managing their periods. Encourage dialogue by sharing resources, personal experiences, and practical tips for navigating water activities during menstruation.

Normalizing the Conversation

1. Celebrating Menstruation: Shift the narrative around menstruation from one of embarrassment or inconvenience to one of celebration and empowerment. Highlight the natural and essential role that menstruation plays in reproductive health and emphasize that it's a normal part of life for people of all genders.

2. Representation Matters: Normalizing periods in media, advertising, and educational materials can help reduce stigma and promote inclusivity. Advocate for diverse representation of menstruators, including people of different ages, body types, and cultural backgrounds, to reflect the reality of menstrual experiences.

3. Engage Men and Boys: Menstruation is not just a women's issue—it affects everyone in society. Encourage men and boys to join the conversation, learn about menstrual health, and become allies in challenging stigma and promoting menstrual equity. By fostering understanding and empathy, we can create a more inclusive and supportive community for all menstruators.

4. Create Safe Spaces: Establishing safe spaces, whether online or in-person, where individuals can share their experiences, ask questions, and seek support without fear of judgment or ridicule, is crucial for normalizing conversations about menstruation. Encourage empathy, respect, and active listening to create an environment where everyone feels valued and heard.

By emphasizing the importance of open communication and normalizing conversations about menstruation and water activities, we can challenge stigma, promote menstrual health, and create a more inclusive and supportive society for all. Let's work together to break the silence and empower individuals to embrace their bodies and experiences with confidence and pride.


We've explored the intersection of menstruation and water activities, debunked common myths, and provided practical tips for managing periods while swimming or enjoying other water-based pursuits. Together, let's challenge stigma, normalise conversations about menstruation, and create a more inclusive and supportive world for all menstruators.

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