What do Swimmers do if they have their Period?

What do Swimmers do if they have their Period?

Swimmers and Your Period

So how does your period know to come at the most inconvenient time? And often this is race day, or the most important competition of your life? Sound familiar? 

Swimmers, like any many other athletes, often continue their training and participate in competitions during their period. So, what are your options for competitive swimming and managing your period on these days? Thankfully there are more options coming on stream all the time and here is a list of the most common.


Many swimmers use tampons as they have used them before are suitable for water-based activities compared to pads. They are worn internally and are less likely to cause leakage in the water. Swimmers may also wear tight-fitting swimsuits, which can help provide an additional layer of protection.


Pads, are hugely popular in general, but aren't suitable for swimming, they will absorb too much water and will weigh down in the water. They will reach saturation point very quickly and therefore lose all absorbency for blood.  In addition many pads come with wings that adhere to the underside of your underwear or swimsuit and that is visible to the outside. 

Menstrual Cups

Menstrual cups have become popular and are reusable which is always a plus. However, for the younger competitive swimmer, they can be fiddly and difficult to insert. But definitely an option for the older teen and for women.

Period Swimsuits and Bikinis

Period Swimsuits and Bikinis are becoming very popular. They are absorbent and leak proof in and out of water, and super for the young teen, who is still too young to manage a tampon. They look like a regular swimsuit, so are very discreet and there is no way of telling the difference between a  period and non period swimsuit.

They are designed for moderate flow but can be worn with a tampon if you have very heavy flow on a particular day of your period. Nickeze have two period racer style swimsuits, that are ideal for training days. 

How does Period Swimwear and Period Bikinis Work?

Period Swimwear have a protective panel at the gusset, this has both absorbent and leak proof properties. However, all period products as you will know have a saturation point and period swimwear and period underwear are no different. It is important to match your period flow with the absorbency of the product you are wearing. For example, some of our Nickeze period underwear are made super absorbent, so you would wear these for heavy flow and some are for moderate flow and so on. If you wore a moderate absorbent period underwear style on your heavy days, it is likely it will reach saturation point quickly and that you will leak, the with a tampon or a sanitary pad. 

Absorbency of Period Swimwear

Period Swimwear are made for moderate flow. The reason is that, if more absorbent material were added into the swimsuit gusset, it would weigh down in the water. if your periods are heavy, you can wear a tampon on those days for added protection and then your period swimwear, to absorb any leaks, like double protection.

Now, I need to dispel the myth that you don't bleed while you are in the water. You do, the reason that people perceive they don't, is simple physics, biology, whatever you want to call it, the pressure of the water on the outside can slow down the flow, so that the blood doesn't come out. But a quick cough or sneeze while swimming, where the pressure is suddenly higher in the vagina than than the water outside, will soon show you that water does not stop our periods! So, you do need period protection while you swim. And also to be aware of your flow, if it is very heavy/heavy, you are going to need something else with your period swimwear. Some of my younger girls, that can't yet wear tampons, get around this by wearing a period bikini bottom under their period swimsuit. Period Bikini Bottoms never go to waste, as they have them for holidays and sunbathing.  

Final thoughts!

It is important for our physical and mental health to stay as active as we can, throughout our lives. It is important for joint mobility and to manage our weight. Having your period should not stop you from enjoying swimming or competing. Periods are a fact of life and are a sign of good health. Yes, they can come at the most inconvenient time, but it is how we manage them that is important.

It's essential for swimmers, as well as any athletes, to listen to their bodies and adjust their training routine as needed during their menstrual cycle. Some individuals may experience changes in energy levels, mood, or physical comfort during this time, and making adjustments to training intensity or focusing on specific types of workouts may be helpful.

Overall, the choice of menstrual products and how swimmers manage their period while in the water is a personal preference, and individuals may use different methods based on their comfort and needs.

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