The Shift to Summer - Period Proof Your Summer
This year’s Women’s History Month captured the spirit of spring: a season of transition and reflection. In March, the focus was on remembering the battle for women’s suffrage and the people who made it happen.
Just like the seasons, change is inevitable. With winter out of the way and Spring Break officially over, the promise of summer glimmers on the proverbial horizon! Have you felt the shift yet? The pandemic still rages on, but the end is in sight thanks to the increasingly accessible vaccine. All eyes zero in on this summer.
After more than a year of being cooped up in our homes with a stockpile of toilet paper and a surplus of anxiety, unwinding at the beach and chasing pre-pandemic adventures will be the ultimate way to enjoy this summer. Most of us have had enough surprises to last through the next decade. Or two. Your period should not foil your poolside plans. You deserve some summer fun.
Can you swim on your period?
The short answer? Yes! New or young menstruators may wonder how and if this is even possible. Is there special swimwear for periods to look out for when you shop? What are the options?
Experts recommend using internal products like tampons or reusable menstrual cups. Tampons typically fit high in the vagina, which stays closed while you swim. With menstrual cups - the flexible silicone seals along the vaginal walls to prevent leaks and movement. Both options are safe.
Wrench-proof your beach plans!
Things like comfort and functionality have a lot of mileage outside of your cozy home. A comfortable outfit and bringing the right things can mean the difference between a good and bad time. Bathrooms may get crowded and may not always be available to you when you need them. This is pretty much the worst-case scenario if you happen to start your cycle at the beach unexpectedly.
Preparation is crucial, and knowing all of your options in advance will keep the stress at bay should this happen. Swimming or enjoying the beach on your period isn’t as impossible as you might think. Menstruators have plenty of options to ensure that a period isn’t what grinds their fun to a sputtering halt. The two most popular options are tampons and menstrual cups.
First invented by Earl Haas in 1931, tampons were a hallmark of feminine hygiene in the 21st century. Tampax, the original commercial brand of tampons produced by Gertrude Tendrich, first used Haas’ patented design. To understand the history of menstrual cups, check out this blog post we wrote a while back for more information.
The key difference between both is that, on average, tampons last no more than eight hours after insertion. With menstrual cups, this increases for up to 12 hours. Why? Tampons absorb whereas menstrual cups collect. All that extra time does come with the caveat that menstrual cups have a bit of a learning curve at first. They tend to have a much lower risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS). Since menstrual cups are reusable, they can prevent a last-minute scramble to the drug store.
Like the beach, pools can breed an equal amount of dread when you’re on your period. Experts recommend using your choice of tampons or menstrual cups when you swim. Both options are safe; however, because tampons absorb, it’s a best practice to swap it out for a new one once you get out of the pool.
Specialty brands offer period-proof swimwear if you prefer to not use either insertion menstrual options. Ordinary pads, though, aren’t a good option underwater. Because disposable pads are external products, they’ll absorb the water and get soggy when submerged—effectively rendering them useless.
Overall, internal menstrual products work best for swimming. Tampons and menstrual cups are the most accessible options for most menstruators. Because menstrual cups do not absorb any blood, you won’t have to worry about emptying them after your dip in the pool. Regardless of whichever option you choose, both tampons and reusable cups have pros and cons to consider.