May 08 2017

Summer is Here – Swimming and your Periods

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A Day on th Beach

This year there are a lot of girls that started having there periods since last summer. This can be frightening, especially if you like swimming, or camping, or hanging out with your friends at the beach, or pool, or water park.

But this does not need to scare you. Millions and millions and millions of women menstruate on any given day. And somehow the world goes on. Pilots, athletes, students, soldiers, dancers, actresses, teachers, doctors, nurses, gymnasts, swimmers, mountain climbers, triathletes, yoga instructors, marathon runners, TV announcers, weather girls, house wives, models, tennis players, shop assistants, clerks, race car drivers, politicians, cheer leaders, and so on and so on. I am sure you get the picture.  And I need to add the most important person to that list, YOU.

It really does not matter what you do, you can manage. It may not feel that way now, but give me a chance to show you. Another great resource for information is your mom or guardian. She has already gone through all this herself, and she will understand where your questions are coming from. She can also help you when you have problems.

But Is My Period Not Supposed To Stop In The Water?

The first thing you will find when you google this is that your period stops under water. Now of course that is not true. Nothing stops under water. Under water any blood will just wash away quickly, so you do not see it. Does this mean it stopped? No, not at all. Sit still in one spot and you will start to see the red colored water around your bottoms. And get out of the warer and you may have red colored ware running down your leg and showing in your bottoms..

The theory goes that the water pressure will keep your flow inside your vagina. But you are not nearly deep enough to experience any significant water pressure. If you have a cut that bleeds, or a nose bleed, that does not stop under water. And when you pee in the water, it still comes out. Don’t worry, I know you will never pee in the pool 😉 So yes, there you have it, hiding your period is not the same as stopping it.

When Do I Need To Take Precautions?

Whenever you think you are bleeding or discharging enough to want to protect your underwear from stains or showing through, you have to take extra precautions. You cannot swim then without taking extra precautions. It is as easy as that. If you walk around without a panty liner, pad or tampon, you do not need anything to swim.

But How Do I Know When My Period Is Coming?

We normally have a pretty good idea something is coming. There may be spots on the toilet paper or in our panties, or we may get cramps, or acne, or a headache, or cravings, or not feel very well, or be antsy, or discharge, or be overly emotional or angry, or have sore boobs or a sore lower back. Whatever it is that you feel when your period is about to start, is the way you know it is time to be more careful. If you have not figured that out yourself yet, just hang in there, you will soon learn to recognize that your period is about to come.

Every Girl and Woman Should Know How To Use A Tampon

This is not negotiable. There are just some things you cannot do when you are using pads. You or your mom do not have to like tampons, you do not even have to use them regularly, but you MUST know how to use them when you need to. And it is no use trying to figure that out the morning before spring break starts. You have to figure that out before, so that you can be comfortable and sure that you can use it when you need to.

There are enough sites, books, magazines and YouTube videos to tell you how to do it, so I won’t do it here. I will however give you a few tips to lower your anxiety and stress level:

  • Use the smallest tampon that will absorb your flow for 4 hours. Teen or Lite branded tampons are often the smallest.
  • Activ or Sports branded tampons are often the most comfortable. They are softer and bendier to conform with your shape, and they expand in width to seal in any possibl leak.
  • Tampons with plastic applicators are often easier to insert
  • It is ok to put a bit of saliva or lube on the applicator to make it easier to push in
  • It helps if you know what is going on down there, where your vaginal opening is, and which direction your vagina goes inside your body. How do you know this? You look in a mirror and you feel with your finger
  • You need to sit or stand in a way that opens up the muscles around your vagina, not close them
  • You do not leave the applicator inside you. It is removed and disposed of in a dust bin or in your plastic bag
  • You need to flow enough to make it comfortable to insert and remove the tampon. If you are dry, it will nort be comfortable. Think carpet or friction burn
  • If you can see the tampon after you inserted it, it is not deep enough. Stand or sit in your special position and push it further with your finger.
  • Most women will not feel the tampon once it is in deep enough. The vagina is not very sensitive there at all.

So My Period is Here, And I have been invited to a Pool Party?

In order to go into the water, you need to use internal menstrual product. That means a tampon or a menstrual cup. For many young girls, menstrual cups are not an option. Only tampons. That does not mean you have to like using tampons, or you have to use it regularly. Not at all, but to swim, you must use a tampon, or stay out of the water.

Going to a pool or beach party does not mean you have to swim. You can stay on the side, keeping everybody else that are not swimming company. So if you do not use a tampon, you can still join the fun. You can even go into the water up to your knees or a bit deeper. Use a pad or panty liner, put on some shorts or a skirt over your costume bottoms and join in.

Be Practical

Do not wear your white costume that you got last week. Wear darker costume bottoms. Put a skirt, shorts or sarong over when you are not in the water. Check every few hours to make sure you are still ok. Change in time, do not wait until your pad or tammpon is leaking. You already know how long you can use them before changing. Just because you are having fun, does not mean it will be quicker or slower. So check a bit more frequently. Every three hours in stead of every four, or every two hours instead of every three hours.

Use a “Sports” or “Active” branded tampon. They swell up a bit differently when they get full to preven leaks when you are active and moving around.

If you are comfortable doing so, tell your best friend or boyfriend that you are having your period. They can keep an eye out for you and take some pressure off you when you are forced to do something you are not comfortable doing while you are on your period.

Is That A String I See?

When you use tampons, make sure you tuck the string in. One way is to pull it up behind you in your butt crack, Another is to push it in behind your tampon or between your inner lips. In general, bra straps and panty lines or T backs showing is OK, Tampon strings, not so much.

Sometimes, Shit Happens

Billions and billions of women menstruate every month. Sometimes, people are going to find out you are having your period. It is ok. Menstruation is a natural process over which you have no control. If it was not for menstruation, neither you nor them would be there because menstruation is a part of a woman’s fertility cycle. If you are asked, just smile, acknowledge that you have tour period and move on. It is nothing to be ashamed of. Every woman has “period panties” that they stained and are hiding in the back or the bottom of their underwear drawer. That is life.

Use common sense. Wear a dark colored swimming costume, a dark colored short over it, mak sure you have an extra tampon or pad with you in your bag, take an extra panty with, take some wipes or toilet paper with. If there is no place to dispose of your pads or tampons, take a plastic ziplock bag (or any plastic bag) with and put the used products in there and take it with you when you leave.

Protecting Your Skin

There are some indications that your skin is more sensitive to sunburn during your period. Make sure you protect yourself. Keep cool and drink enough water to stay hydrated.

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