Do your periods stop in water? Here’s what a doctor says…
With summer finally here, chances are your diary will be filled with beach trips and days at the local lido. But, with all these bikini-focused plans, what will happen when you get your period? Can getting in the water actually stop the flow of your period?
It’s a question many of us have asked ourselves at one time or another, often after stressing about putting on a bathing suit on our period. But, going for a swim bleeding doesn’t have to be the BIG! SORRY! OK! we were led to believe it.
However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t precautions to take – especially given the common misconception that being in water stops your period altogether (something you may have heard on your ninth grade trip to the local recreation center…).
So, once and for all, we wanted to find the answer to this age-old question: does being in water actually stop your period? Dr. Sarah Welsh, gynecologist and co-founder of Hanx – which provides long-lasting, sex-positive birth control solutions – has the answer.
Do your periods stop in water?
“Your period doesn’t stop in water, but being in water reduces blood flow out of your body, due to the pressure of water on your body,” says Dr. Welsh .
“Your period is still on, but the menstrual blood doesn’t flow at the same rate as when it does out of the water. It may feel like the water is stopping your period, but it doesn’t. “, adds the expert, offering that this is the reason why people might think that your periods stop completely while you are in the water.
Do you need to use menstrual products while in the water?
“You can decide to swim without using a tampon or other menstrual products, and it’s safe,” Dr. Welsh tells us. “However, there is a possibility of menstrual blood leaking while swimming, especially if you increase your abdominal pressure while laughing, coughing, or doing large movements (like pushing up a wall or going into a butterfly motion). ”
To avoid any unwanted leaks, Dr Welsh advises using a tampon or menstrual cup, although she reminds us that “it’s up to you – what makes you feel most comfortable”. There are also some exciting period-proof swimwear options now available that just might be right up your street (see Cosmopolitan‘s review of the best hitters here).
With this in mind, the expert points out: “It is important to change your tampon after swimming because it will have absorbed the pool/sea water and will be completely absorbed!”
Will anyone notice if my periods are leaking?
Despite the precautions taken, periods can be delicate little buggers and sometimes leaks cannot be avoided. But, don’t worry, as Dr. Welsh points out, “A small blood leak would be diluted in the water, so it’s very unlikely to be seen.”
However, “if you have heavy menstrual flow or stand still in water, it is possible that some blood will flow out and be seen in clear water. If you increase your abdominal pressure, this may also allow blood or clots to pass out of your vagina and be visible.”
Swimming on your period
All in all, Dr. Welsh reminds us not to let the fear of having your period keep you from enjoying the goodness of life or being in the water. “Dark!” she tells us when we ask her whether or not we should swim during our period. “It’s great exercise and can help with menstrual cramps.”
With that, let’s go for a dive…
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