For those of us who get periods, we often worry about our ability to go swimming during our time of the month. My mother always assured me my period would stop whenever I entered a body of water and even in the shower under the hot stream. In turn, she said not to worry about using a tampon.
Whenever I went swimming, her allegations appeared true, and I noticed my period did seem to stop in the water. I’ve wondered about the science behind this claim and if maybe menstrual blood disperses or ceases to flow altogether.
I spoke with Dr. Hasan Abdessamad, a Seattle-based OB-GYN, and he says that while it may appear periods stop in bodies of water, this is simply not true.
“I am not aware of any such connection, and when I try to rationalize how water could affect periods biologically, physically or hormonally, I can’t theorize of any connection,” he explains.
According to The Access Project, your “period does not stop since the coating of the uterus continues to shed. However, due to the counter-pressure of the water, the gush is impeded and does not enter the water. Additionally, if you are floating or swimming in a horizontal manner, the gravity cannot pull the flow down and out.”
While your period won’t stop when you enter a body of water, you can use a tampon or menstrual cup to avoid staining on your swimsuit. Both of these sanitary products “flow internally [and] […] you can swim while on your period. (It’s always a good idea to change your tampon right before and after you go swimming).”
It’s a myth that periods stop flowing when people with vaginas enter bodies of water, but it’s interesting to understand how your flow is affected when you go for a swim.
By Deidre Olsen