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Article: How to swim on your period with a pad

How to swim on your period with a pad. Useful tips for menstrual swimming.

How to swim on your period with a pad

For swimming on your period, a pad has pros and cons. We’ll show you how to choose the right pad, and how to feel comfortable enough to dive into the water with confidence.

Quick links:

How to choose the right pad

How to prepare for swimming with a pad

How to swim with confidence

How to have good hygiene

How to choose the right pad

When you're trying to find the right pad for swimming, keep these tips in mind:

  • Choose cloth pads: reusable cloth menstrual pads made of moisture-wicking fabrics can effectively contain flow while swimming. Regular disposable period pads will disintegrate and fall apart when immersed in water, so they do not work for swimming protection.
  • Look for pads labeled "ultra-thin" or "sport": these pads have a compact and flexible design that fits comfortably and discreetly inside your swim bottoms.
  • Consider your flow level: if you have a heavy menstrual flow, opt for pads with higher absorbency rates to prevent leaks. For lighter flows, a pad with lower absorbency may work just fine.
  • Prioritize comfort and security: choose a pad that fits snugly against your body and has strong adhesive strips to keep it firmly in place, even when exposed to water pressure and movement while swimming.
  • Test the pad before swimming: if possible, wear the pad with your swimsuit bottoms before going into the water to ensure it feels comfortable and stays securely in place.

How to prepare for swimming with a pad

Here are some things to consider if you’re about to go swimming with a pad:

  • Choose the right swimwear: opt for a well-fitted, dark-colored swimsuit or period swimwear that provides extra coverage and support in the crotch area.
  • Apply your pad: remove the adhesive backing from your pad and place it securely in the center of your swimsuit bottoms. Make sure the pad is properly aligned and firmly pressed against the fabric to create a strong bond.
  • Double-check the fit: move around a bit, sit down, and stand up to ensure the pad stays in place and doesn't cause any discomfort. If needed, adjust the position of the pad until you find the perfect fit.
  • Consider additional protection: for added peace of mind, especially if you have a heavier flow, you can wear a pair of tight-fitting swim shorts or period swimwear over your swimsuit bottoms. This extra layer can help compress the pad against your body and minimize the risk of leaks.
  • Pack extras: bring along a few extra pads in a waterproof bag, just in case you need to change during your swim session. It's always better to be prepared than caught off guard.

Tips for swimming with confidence

Armed with the right pad and preparation, you're ready to conquer the pool or beach with confidence. Remember these tips as you dive in:

  1. Trust your preparation
  2. Start slowly
  3. Focus on technique
  4. Think about benefits
  5. Don’t dwell on leaks

Trust your preparation

You've done your due diligence by selecting the right pad for swimming and ensuring it's securely in place. You've also chosen a swimsuit that provides adequate coverage and support. These steps may seem small, but they form the foundation of your confidence in the water. 

Remember that you've taken all the necessary precautions, and trust that your preparation will serve you well. This mindset will help you feel more at ease and allow you to enjoy your swim without constant worry or second-guessing fully.

Start slowly

If you're feeling a bit apprehensive about swimming during your period, you don’t have to rush to dive headfirst into the deep end. Take your time and start with some gentle stretches or light swimming strokes. This gradual approach will help you acclimate to the water and find your rhythm. 

As you begin to move through the water, pay attention to your body and how it feels. If you experience any discomfort or uneasiness, slow down or take a break. Check to ensure that your pad is still securely in place and hasn't shifted or bunched up. Swimming should be enjoyable, so go at your own pace and listen to your body's cues.

Focus on technique

One of the best ways to boost your confidence while swimming during your period is to shift your focus to your swimming technique. Concentrate on perfecting your stroke, whether it's freestyle, breaststroke, or butterfly. Pay attention to your body position in the water, ensuring that you're streamlined and efficient. Work on your breathing technique, finding a rhythm that feels natural and comfortable. 

With the focus on technique, you'll find that your mind is less likely to wander to worries about your pad or period. 

Think about benefits

Swimming during your period offers a multitude of physical and mental benefits:

  • The water's gentle resistance can help alleviate painful period cramps and reduce bloating, providing welcome relief from common period symptoms.
  • Exercise, such as aerobic exercises and swimming, releases endorphins—your body's natural mood-boosters. These endorphins can help combat any feelings of moodiness or irritability that often accompany menstruation. 

Remind yourself that by swimming during your period, you're not only enjoying a fun activity but also taking proactive steps to care for your physical and emotional well-being.

Don’t dwell on leaks

Despite your best efforts, there's always a slight chance that you may experience a small leak while swimming during your period. If this happens, it's crucial not to let it shatter your confidence. 

Most people won't even notice a minor leak, as the water will quickly dilute any menstrual blood. If you do feel a leak occur, calmly excuse yourself from the water and head to the restroom to change your pad. 

Leaks happen to the best of us, and they're not a reflection of your preparedness or confidence. Once you've changed your pad, take a deep breath, remind yourself that you've handled the situation with poise, and return to your swim with your head held high.

Focus on these tips to cultivate an unwavering confidence that will shine through in your swimming and beyond. Confidence is not about perfection; it's about embracing your body, your abilities, and your choices. 

Woman with her son in the SwimZip swimwear by the pool—How to swim on your period with a pad.

Maintain hygiene

When swimming with a pad during your period, maintaining good hygiene is essential for your comfort and well-being. Remember these tips to stay fresh and clean in the water:

  • Change your pad regularly. Even though you're in the water, your menstrual flow continues. To prevent leaks and ensure optimal absorbency, change your pad more frequently than you would on land. The water pressure can also cause your pad to become saturated more quickly. Pay attention to your body and the duration of your swim, and don't hesitate to take a break to change your pad when needed.
  • Use the right disposal methods. When you're ready to change your pad, dispose of it properly. Avoid flushing pads down the toilet, as this can clog the plumbing and pollute the environment. Instead, wrap the used pad in toilet paper or a disposable bag and discard it in a designated trash receptacle. Many public restrooms and locker rooms have specific containers for menstrual product disposal.
  • Rinse off after swimming. Take a quick shower or rinse off your body with clean water. This helps remove any chlorine, salt, or other pool chemicals that may have come into contact with your pad or swimwear. Rinsing also helps prevent skin irritation and promotes overall freshness.
  • Dry off thoroughly. Before changing into a clean pad or your regular clothes, make sure to dry your body thoroughly and pay special attention to the area around your swimsuit bottoms. Damp or moist conditions can lead to chafing or skin irritation, particularly when wearing a pad. Use a clean, dry beach towel to pat yourself down, or if you have access to a private space, allow your skin to air dry for a few minutes.
  • Pack extra supplies. In addition to bringing extra pads, pack a small bag with essentials such as hand sanitizer, wet wipes, and a plastic bag for wet or used items. These supplies will help you maintain good hygiene throughout your swim session and ensure that you're prepared for any situation.
  • Don't douche. While it may be tempting to use douching products or other internal cleansers after swimming with a pad, it's best to avoid these practices. Douching can disrupt the delicate balance of bacteria in your vagina and lead to infections. Your vagina is self-cleaning, so simply rinsing off with clean water and changing your pad regularly is sufficient.
  • Listen to your body. Pay attention to any unusual symptoms or discomfort, such as itching, burning, or unusual discharge. These could be signs of an infection or irritation related to wearing a pad while swimming. If you experience any concerning symptoms, consult with your healthcare provider for guidance.

Can you swim on your period without a pad?

When swimming without a pad, listen to your body and understand the product that you’re using.

Menstrual discs and cups protect for up to 12 hours, so you can swim for longer periods without leaks. The specific duration depends on your flow and the product's capacity.

Period swimsuits offer different absorbency levels, which affect how long you can wear them before changing. High-absorbency options give you longer protection, even on heavy flow days, while lighter absorbency swimwear may need more frequent changes.

Focus on finding a menstrual product that makes you feel confident and comfortable in the water, and take breaks to change when necessary. With the right approach, you can enjoy swimming on your period without relying on pads.

Pad alternatives for swimming

If pads are not your thing in the water, don’t worry; there are alternative period products you can use.

Menstrual cup

Menstrual cups are a reusable alternative to pads that collect period blood instead of absorbing it. These cups are made from medical-grade silicone, rubber, or thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) and are inserted into the vagina to catch and contain menstrual flow.

When looking for a menstrual cup suitable for swimming, opt for one with a firm, wide rim to prevent spilling or movement. It's a good idea to practice insertion at home first and familiarize yourself with the cleaning requirements. Aim to empty your menstrual cup every 2-4 hours.

One advantage of menstrual cups is their ability to hold more menstrual fluid compared to most pads and tampons. This is why they are a popular choice for those with a heavy period flow or those engaging in extended water activities.

Menstrual discs

Menstrual discs offer a reusable and convenient option for managing your period flow while enjoying water activities. These discs provide a comfortable and leak-free experience, even during the most active swimming sessions.

The smooth, flexible disc is inserted into the vagina, where it sits around the cervix and collects menstrual blood before it exits the body. Discs adapt to the shape of your vagina and conform securely, even during the twisting and bending motions associated with swimming. This secure fit helps prevent leaks or spillage of menstrual blood. The reservoir of a menstrual disc can hold up to 3 times more menstrual fluid than menstrual cups.

When choosing a menstrual disc, look for ones made from medical-grade silicone or plastic to ensure safety, and make sure to select the correct size for your body.

To maintain hygiene and prevent any risk of infection, empty your menstrual disc every 12 hours. The emptying process is simple and mess-free, even in public restrooms. Simply loop your finger under the pull tab to remove the disc, empty the collected menstrual blood, rinse the disc, and reinsert it for continued protection.

With menstrual discs, you can enjoy swimming during your menstrual cycle without worrying about leaks or discomfort.


Tampons manage blood flow during swimming and other water activities. These cylindrical plugs made of absorbent material are inserted into the vagina to absorb menstrual blood before it exits the body.

When selecting tampons for swimming, opt for ones with a high absorbency level to accommodate the extra moisture and water pressure. Change your tampon every 4-8 hours, or more frequently if needed, to prevent leaks and minimize the risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS).

Use a tampon with a string that can be easily tucked into your swimsuit bottoms to avoid any visible strings hanging out. Some brands even offer tampons for swimming, with features such as a leak-guard skirt or a smooth, compact applicator for easy insertion.

But, if tampons are not your thing and you’re looking for tips on how to swim on a period without a tampon, check out our blog post!

Leak-proof swimwear

For those who prefer not to use internal options such as tampons or menstrual cups, leak-proof swimsuits and swim bottoms that require an accompanying pad are now available.

Period-friendly swimwear features a hidden-layer liner or absorbent gusset sewn into the crotch area to catch any menstrual blood or leaks from your pad. This design eliminates the need to wear an extra pair of tight shorts underneath your swimsuit.

When shopping for period-proof swimwear, look for options made with multiple layers of absorbent, moisture-wicking, and waterproof materials to provide maximum protection during your time in the swimming pool or at the beach. These specialized swimsuits offer extra protection, allowing you to enjoy your water activities with confidence and peace of mind.


Even with all these options for swimming during the period, some women choose to wear nothing during these days. This isn’t super viable for pools, but it works fine for the ocean—so long as your flow isn’t too heavy. 

Choose SwimZip swimwear for comfort

SwimZip offers swimwear with active comfort in mind. Our durable, quick-drying fabrics and secure coverage make our women’s swim bottoms a great choice for swimming during your period.

Pair our stylish, functional, and affordable swimwear with your preferred hygiene products and supplements to stay dry and comfortable. 

Our swimwear also protects you from dangerous UV exposure. We are also one of the most trusted UPF 50+ brands that people use to keep themselves and their loved ones safe from the sun.
We have something for every family member, including swim trunks for men, swimwear for women, sunsuits for kids, sun hats, rash guards, and accessories.

Woman in a SwimZip swimwear poses at the beach—How to swim on your period with a pad.

Period swimming FAQ

Will my period leak in the pool with a pad?

If you choose the right pad and wear well-fitting, leak-proof swimwear, you can minimize the risk of leaks while swimming on your period. Look for pads for swimming or extra absorbency, and change your pad frequently to prevent saturation and leakage.

Which pad is the best for swimming?

The best pads for swimming are those specifically for water activities or labeled as "ultra-thin" or "sport." These pads have a compact, flexible design that fits comfortably and discreetly in swimsuit bottoms. They also feature strong adhesive strips to keep the pad securely in place.

Do you stop bleeding in the water?

You don't stop bleeding in the water. Although the water pressure may temporarily slow your menstrual flow, it doesn't stop completely. 

Can you wear a pad in the hot tub?

You can wear a pad in a hot tub but choose the right pad type. Look for pads with high absorbency levels to prevent leaks. Change your pad frequently, as the hot water may cause it to become saturated more quickly.

Can I wear regular swimwear for swimming on my period?

While you can wear any regular swimsuit during your menstrual period, it's advisable to pair it with dedicated period protection such as menstrual cups, discs, pads designed for swimwear, or leak-proof period bottoms/swimwear. This avoids staining and provides comfortable coverage.

Are there any potential health risks of using tampons for swimming?

It is generally safe to use tampons for swimming, but there are a few potential health risks to be aware of. 

  • Prolonged exposure to moisture can increase the risk of bacterial growth and irritation, so change your tampon frequently, especially after swimming. 
  • Wearing a tampon for too long may also increase the risk of toxic shock syndrome (TSS), a rare but serious condition caused by bacterial toxins. To minimize these risks, use the lowest absorbency tampon suitable for your flow, change your tampon every 4-8 hours, and avoid wearing a tampon when not menstruating.

What are some natural painkillers for period pain?

Several natural remedies can help alleviate period pain without relying on medication:

  • Apply heat to your lower abdomen or back with a warm compress or heating pad to relax muscles and ease cramps. 
  • Certain herbal teas, such as ginger, chamomile, or raspberry leaf tea, have anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce pain. 
  • Light exercises such as yoga, stretching, or walking can help release endorphins, the body's natural painkillers. 
  • Incorporate foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish, nuts, and seeds, into your diet may to combat inflammation and minimize menstrual discomfort.

Which are the most popular period myths?

Here are the most popular period misconceptions or “myths”:

  • Tampons are not allowed while swimming. This is often false. While some older facilities still uphold outdated tampon bans, most public pools and beaches today allow properly contained tampon usage. 
  • Swimming during period is unclean. Menstrual flow itself poses no hygiene issue in pool water if using tampons or cups. Modern municipal water treatment systems filter out far larger contaminants effectively. The activity remains highly sanitary as long as you change period products regularly and shower pre and post-swim.
  • Cramps mean no swimming allowed. For some women, exercise may ease menstrual cramps. So don't automatically rule out swimming when cramps strike. Try remedies such as magnesium, ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, chamomile, gentle stretching, heating pads, or non-prescription pain relief tablets beforehand. 
  • Sharks can smell menstrual blood. Despite popular belief, no evidence suggests sharks can detect or pursue human menstrual fluid, even in open waters. Sharks rely mainly on sensing electric fields, movement, vibrations, and smells of potential prey rather than blood itself. Even large blood spills rarely trigger attacks. The tiny amount of blood from a tampon, cup, or pad poses little increased risk of shark bites.

Further reading

What are the best swimsuits for the whole family?

How to get rid of suntan

Heat rash vs sun poisoning

What is a surf rash?

What is a sun rash?

What does SPF 50 mean?

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