Oh the FOMO we've all felt when we were younger, pre tampon-wearing, and pre period-swimwear invention, when that dreaded Aunt Flo came to town, and there was a pool party, or a beach picnic, or a school swimming carnival ... missing out was just so HARD!!!
Swimming on your period ~ it's a BIG topic. Depending on where you are in the world, your cultural background, or how periods were discussed and dealt with in your family, the opinions around swimming on your period is vastly different! Some cultures view it as taboo while others don't even bat an eye at the thought of it.
So let's demystify the topic, and share the real facts about swimming on your period! In this blog post, we'll debunk the most common myths and misconceptions surrounding it, giving you the freedom to go for a swim - no matter where you are or what time of month it is!
Myths around swimming on your period
Myths around swimming on your period can often be perpetuated by misinformation and lack of knowledge. Some females don't swim when they're menstruating because of beliefs that it is unclean or impure. In some cultures, it is believed that if a woman swims during her period, she will attract sharks or other dangerous sea creatures. Yes, this is true!
Here are some common myths debunked:
Myth 1: You'll bleed all over the pool
Your period flow is actually significantly reduced when you're in the water. The blood is more concentrated and doesn't flow as freely. So, a short swim i probably not going to result in any blood in the pool. BUT, if you're worried about leaking, Knicked's collection of period swimwear is so perfect for pool/beach days! But more about that later in this blog ...
Myth 2: It's unhygienic
Not true! There is no more bacteria in your menstrual blood than there is in any other kind of blood. Plus, the chlorine in pool water kills bacteria anyway. So it's not actually unhygienic when you swim on your period.
Myth 3: It will attract sharks/dolphins/other animals
This one is pretty funny! And while YES, sharks are attracted to blood in the water, there’s literally no actual evidence that having your period will induce a Jaws-like scenario. According to Popular Science, you’re just not losing enough blood to make sharks swarm toward you — and the blood you are losing isn't all blood. As mentioned above, periods are made of tissue, along with things like mucus and a little bit of actual blood. So go ahead and enjoy the ocean without worrying about being attacked by a shark!
Cultural beliefs when swimming on your period
Throughout the ages, there have been various beliefs and superstitions attached to periods - with some cultures completely ostracising women and girls while they're menstruating. But what do people believe when it comes to swimming on your period?
In some Muslim-majority countries, they believe that when a person is on their period, she should stay at home and rest. Swimming or washing while menstruating is a no-go in Muslim culture. It is unclear when this tradition originated, but it seems to be based more on views that have been passed down the centuries than on religious doctrine or norms.
For the Māori people, swimming while menstruating is not commonly practiced. But research shows it varies; sometimes it's considered culturally unacceptable for Māori women, and other times it's OK. This choice is based on the person's whakapapa, the swimming location, the setting, and whether it is fresh water or sea water.
Benefits of Swimming on Your Period
YES there are benefits!!
Swimming can actually help with cramps! The water can provide some much-needed relief from the pain of cramps, and the movement can help to release tension in the muscles.
Swimming can also help to regulate your hormones and ease any PMS symptoms you may be experiencing. The endorphins released during exercise can help to improve your mood and make you feel more relaxed. And, being in the water can help to cool down your body and reduce any hot flashes or night sweats.
Finally, swimming is a great way to get some exercise while still staying comfortable. If you're feeling too bloated or uncomfortable to go for a run or hit the gym, then take a dip in the pool instead. You'll still get your heart rate up and burn some calories, without having to put up with any pain or discomfort.
Still need convincing before you hop into water?
This 2018 study was conducted to test the effectiveness of performing swimming on the severity of symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS.) This study looked at 70 people who experience PMS and concluded that swimming (much like any aerobic exercise) significantly decreased many of their physical and psychological symptoms.
Choosing the right menstrual product for you
In Summer '21 we brought out our first period swimmer bottoms ... and they sold in SO FAST! Since then, we have kept doing what we do best; improving our product, bringing you more options, more designs, and making life easier for girls on their period! Our swimmer bottoms expanded into many period swimwear options, you can check out our Knicked Heavy Absorbency Period Swimwear collection here.
Knicked Swim allows girls to NEVER miss out on the fun when it comes to the water. No standing on the sidelines, because we've got you sorted! No extra period product is required, our swim briefs will keep you safe from leaks while still looking great*
Knicked Period Swim uses the same technology as our heavy absorbency period underwear range, with the addition of a thin layer of waterproof material to ensure nothings leaks through to the outer quick drying material, so you'll be protected EVERY DAY of your period, in and out of the water*
Our period swimwear collection is vast and the perfect choice for the beach, pool, creek, river or just lazing around the backyard in summer.
While the taboo of menstruating and swimming is not uncommon, with a little research you can find ways to make it work for you. Whether you're looking for swimwear recommendations or tips on dealing with cramps during your swim session, we hope that this blog was an enjoyable and useful read!
Always remember that each person's journey and experience is unique, so whatever decision works best for your body and personal culture will always be respected. And as long as you take the necessary precautions and use proper hygiene habits, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy some time in the pool even when Aunt Flo is visiting!