Put A Cup In It

Period Swimwear: What Is It And How Does It Work?

Grey background, woman wearing a black one-piece swimsuit. Text over reads, Period Swimwear What Is It And How Does It Work by Put A Cup In It

Summer is coming up fast, and for lots of us, that means days at the beach, pool, or on the water — and LOTS of time in swimsuits!

While tampons have been the go-to for many years, along with menstrual cups and menstrual discs, period-proof swimwear is making a name for itself. Brands like Modibodi, WUKA, and Flux Undies are creating cute, flattering, and, most of all, protective period swimwear.

No changing your tampon mid-swim? No insertingremoving, and emptying your menstrual cup at the beach? Yeah, we’d say period swimsuits have some pretty sweet benefits for those medium to light period days by the pool.

First Of All, Can I Swim On My Period?

Yes, you can swim on your period! As long as you’re adequately protected from leaks, there’s no reason you can’t go swimming, scuba diving, or do any other fun watersports on your period. In fact, there’s tons of evidence to suggest that light exercise during your period (like swimming) is actually super beneficial.

While it may not be the week to pull out your Brazilian brief swimsuit bottoms, myths like contaminating the pool or being pursued by a shark while swimming on your period aren’t accurate and shouldn’t stop you from pursuing your swim.

What Is Period Swimwear?

Period swimwear is an alternative to traditional period products used to manage menstruation while swimming. Similar to period underwear, it’s worn just like you would wear regular swimwear and absorbs your flow as you go.

Period swimsuits come as full-coverage, one-piece suits, which tend to be a little more pricey, and bikini bottoms or briefs, which cost less but don’t usually come with a top. The bottoms allow you to mix and match your favorite swimsuit tops, though!

Period swimsuits are great for those who usually free-bleed or use pads and don’t want to use products that are inserted, like a menstrual cup or a menstrual disc.

Does Period Swimwear Really Work?

Yes, it works! Period swimwear uses a three-layered system to absorb your period blood both in and out of the water.

The first is a moisture-wicking top layer that keeps liquids away from the skin, the second is an absorbent gusset layer (extra fabric sewn into the swimsuit) that absorbs and locks in menstrual fluid, and the third is a waterproof outer layer.

Does Period Swimwear Work With A Heavy Flow?

It’s hard to guarantee 100% leak-proof swimwear, but period swimsuits do a pretty darn good job! Just keep in mind that period swimsuits typically work best for light flow to medium flow days at the beginning or end of your cycle.

On days when you have more of a heavy flow, you can always use a menstrual cup or disc for extra protection and have your period swimsuit as a backup.

Is Period Swimwear Better Than A Tampon?

Period swimwear is 100% reusable, doesn’t have to be inserted or changed throughout the day (though you should take them off after you’re done in the water, just like any regular swimsuit), and can absorb about two tampons worth of menstrual fluid.

The trouble with using a tampon for swimming and watersports is that they work to absorb your blood, but when you’re submerged, they can also absorb water and any other bacteria that may be hanging around in ponds, lakes, or pools.

Everyone has their own preference when it comes to managing your menstrual flow, and if a traditional tampon makes you feel more protected (or if you find that they just work better for you), that’s totally okay. You can always wear your period swimsuit as backup protection!

How Are Period Swimsuits Different From Period Panties?

The main difference between period swimsuits and period panties is that period underwear is not designed to go in the water. They don’t have the extra waterproof layer that keeps menstrual fluid from escaping, so swimming in period panties poses a much greater risk of leakage.

Period swimwear is designed to wick away moisture from the body and dry quickly once it’s out of the water.

Does Period Swimwear Work For Bladder Leaks?

As we mentioned, period swimsuits can usually hold about two tampons worth of menstrual blood, which is only about two tablespoons all together. Folks who experience bladder leaks are typically losing more fluid (urine) than that, and period swimwear may not be able to keep up.

Period pants and panties, however, can typically absorb about six tablespoons of fluid and therefore are a bit better suited to handle bladder leaks.

Can You Wear Period Swimwear In A Pool?

Yes, you can! Some folks worry that the small area of a pool isn’t

As long as your period swimsuit fits and absorbs well, there’s no reason you can’t get in the pool or any other body of water.

Caring For Your Period Swimwear

Most period-proof swimwear is chlorine-resistant and safe to wear in salt water without the fabric becoming damaged. It can be washed with normal cold water laundry, but you should avoid fabric softener, harsh detergents, or bleach when cleaning them. Some of the chemicals in these items can weaken the fabric and lower the absorbency.

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