Things you need to know about swimming during menstruation

London: Will you get terrible cramps or catch an infection? Women often come across these questions when they think of swimming while menstruating. If you enjoy swimming during the rest of your cycle, theres no reason to stop just because you have your period.

Female health app Clue has answered eight commonly asked questions about swimming when you’re on your period, reports

* Is it unhygienic to swim while menstruating?

There’s nothing unhygienic about swimming during your period. If you use a tampon or menstrual cup, it’s unlikely that any blood will be released into the water while you swim. Even if your period started while you were swimming and a small amount of blood came out, this would be diluted by the water. Swimming pools contain small amounts of bodily fluids like urine and sweat, but the water is usually treated with chlorine to prevent the spread of disease. In other words, you are not endangering anyone’s health by swimming during your period.

* Will I leave a bloody trail in the water?

Water pressure can stop your flow temporarily while you swim, but if you laugh, cough, sneeze, or move around, the pressure can change and a small amount of blood might come out. The good news is it probably won’t be visible. When you get out of the water your period will flow again normally, so it’s a good idea to use a tampon or menstrual cup while swimming. Sanitary and pantyliners aren’t a good option because they will absorb water and become ineffective.

* Can I catch an infection from swimming during my period?

It’s very unlikely you would catch a vaginal disease from swimming. Skin infections and stomach illnesses from swallowing contaminated water are more common complaints. Check with your regional health authority for information on water quality at local swimming spots. Take a shower after swimming to reduce chlorine exposure, and avoid sitting around in wet swimwear. If you notice any itching, burning, or unusual discharge after swimming, get it checked by your doctor.

* Can swimming make my cramps worse?

Low-intensity exercise like swimming can actually help to relieve menstrual cramps. During exercise, your body releases endorphins which act as natural painkillers and give you an increased feeling of well-being.

* Will everyone know I have my period? What if I stain my bikini?

Menstruation is a natural process. If you’re worried about stains or leaks, you could wear a dark coloured swimsuit or add an extra layer by wearing swim shorts. Ask a friend to alert you to any problems, or take a quick trip to the bathroom to check – this way you can relax and just have fun in the water.