Is it Safe to Go Snorkeling While on Your Period?

For half of the world’s population, that time of the month can be a real bummer when it arrives and you’re left wondering if you can still do the activities you want to do. Well, if your preferred activity is snorkeling, then you might be pleasantly surprised at the answer.

Snorkeling While on Your Period

Yes, it is generally safe to go snorkeling while on your period. Many women snorkel, dive, swim, and engage in other water activities during their menstrual cycle without any issues. However, comfort levels can vary from one individual to another. Some women might feel more fatigued or experience cramps during their period, which could impact their overall snorkeling experience.

In this article, we’ll answer some of the most common questions and concerns that women have about snorkeling (or any other water activity) while they are on their period.

Are sharks attracted to menstrual blood?

The idea that sharks are attracted to menstrual blood (and urine) has been a topic of debate and concern for many. While sharks do have an acute sense of smell and can detect blood in the water,  there’s no conclusive scientific evidence suggesting that sharks are specifically attracted to menstrual blood.

Moreover, the amount of blood released during menstruation is minimal, especially when compared to other bodily fluids that might enter the water, like sweat or urine.

Most interactions between sharks and humans are not related to menstruation. However, if sharks are a major worry for you, then practice general safety measures when snorkeling such as staying in groups and avoiding areas known for shark activity, regardless of whether you are on your period or not.

What menstrual products can I wear while snorkeling?

There are several menstrual products that women can use while snorkeling:

  • Tampons: That’s right, regular tampons aren’t just usable on land. Tampons are also one of the most commonly used menstrual products for water activities. They are designed to be discreet and to prevent leaks when inserted correctly.
  • Menstrual Cups: Menstrual cups are made of medical-grade silicone, latex, or elastomer and can be inserted into the vagina to catch menstrual fluid. They create a seal against the vaginal walls, which can prevent leaks, making them suitable for snorkeling.
  • Menstrual Discs: Similar to menstrual cups, these are positioned at the base of the cervix and can also be used for water activities.
  • Period Swimwear: There are swimsuits designed specifically for menstruating individuals. These swimsuits have absorbent layers to prevent leaks. While they can be used for light days or as a backup to other products, they might not be the first choice for snorkeling when flow is heavy. You can use period swimwear along with any of the other products listed above for double the protection.

On the other hand, you should not use pads because they will absorb too much water and be rendered ineffective. Remember to change or clean your chosen product after snorkeling to maintain hygiene.

Is there a risk of infection from the water while snorkeling during my period?

Snorkeling, like any water activity, does pose a risk of exposure to bacteria and other microorganisms in the water. However, menstruating doesn’t significantly increase the risk of getting a water-borne infection. The vagina is designed to keep out harmful bacteria and has its own microbiome that works to prevent infections.

That said, if you’re using menstrual products, make sure to change them regularly and maintain good hygiene to avoid the growth of harmful bacteria or yeast. If snorkeling in waters known to be contaminated or of questionable cleanliness, consider going when you’re not on your period or finding a new location altogether.

Is it comfortable to snorkel while menstruating?

Comfort while snorkeling during menstruation varies from person to person. Some women experience no discomfort at all and enjoy snorkeling as they would on any other day, other than having to worry about swimming with their menstrual product. Others might feel bloated, have cramps, or experience other symptoms that can affect their comfort in the water.

Using the right menstrual product can also impact comfort. Ensure your chosen product fits well, is placed correctly, and has no risk of leakage. Some women also find that the buoyancy and weightlessness of being in the water can help alleviate menstrual cramps.

Do menstrual products affect buoyancy when snorkeling?

Menstrual products such as tampons, menstrual cups, and discs have no effect on buoyancy when snorkeling. These products are designed to be worn internally and have a negligible weight, even when saturated. 

Therefore, they do not have a noticeable impact on your overall buoyancy in the water. If you’re using period swimwear, the added absorption layers might have a slight effect, but again, this is minimal and shouldn’t interfere with your snorkeling experience.

How can I discreetly manage my period while on a snorkeling trip?

Managing your period discreetly while on a snorkeling trip can be achieved with some preparation:

  1. Plan Ahead: Consider the type and duration of your snorkeling activities and pack menstrual products accordingly.
  2. Choose the Right Menstrual Product: Tampons and menstrual cups are both discreet and suitable for water activities. They can be worn without anyone noticing.
  3. Wear Dark-Colored Swimwear: Darker colors help mask any potential leaks.
  4. Use a Changing Robe or Towel: These can provide privacy when changing menstrual products at the beach or on a boat.
  5. Pack a Wet Bag: A waterproof bag can be handy for storing used menstrual products until they can be disposed of properly.
  6. Dispose of Products Properly: Do not throw used products into the ocean. If there aren’t any trash facilities nearby, bring them back with you to dispose of later.

Can snorkeling impact the flow of my period?

Snorkeling itself isn’t likely to significantly impact the flow of your period. However, physical activity and immersion in water can temporarily reduce the apparent flow. The water pressure might reduce the amount of menstrual blood leaving the body, making it seem like your flow has lightened. 

Once out of the water and after some time, your flow will return to its normal rate. It’s also worth noting that overall physical activity, including snorkeling, can have various effects on menstruation, such as alleviating or sometimes intensifying cramps.

What precautions should I take while snorkeling during my period?

When snorkeling during your period, consider the following precautions:

  1. Choose a Reliable Menstrual Product: Ensure that whatever product you’re using is well-fitted and has a low risk of leakage.
  2. Check for Leaks: Before and after snorkeling, do a quick check to ensure there are no leaks.
  3. Stay Hydrated: Menstruating can lead to dehydration, so drink plenty of water, especially if you’re active.
  4. Be Aware of Cramps: If you experience menstrual cramps, be mindful of how you’re feeling. The activity might alleviate cramps for some, but it can intensify them for others.
  5. Pack Extras: Always bring extra menstrual products with you. It’s better to have more than you think you’ll need.
  6. Maintain Good Hygiene: Change your menstrual products after snorkeling to prevent bacterial growth.

How do I handle potential leaks while snorkeling?

Handling potential leaks while snorkeling requires a bit of preparation and awareness:

  1. Wear Dark-Colored Swimwear: This can help mask any potential leaks.
  2. Double Up: Consider wearing period swimwear as a backup to your primary menstrual product.
  3. Check Regularly: If you’re concerned about leaks, take breaks to check. This is especially important if you feel a sudden gush or if your menstrual product feels full.
  4. Stay Close to Shore or Boat: If you’re worried about leaks, stay closer to your exit point so you can quickly address any issues.
  5. Pack a Cover-Up: Bring along a sarong, wrap, or towel to wrap around your waist if you need to leave the water due to a leak.
  6. Rinse Off: If you notice a leak, rinse off discreetly in the water and address the issue as soon as you can.

Remember, while leaks can be a concern for some, with the right preparation and awareness, you can enjoy snorkeling without significant worry.