How do Olympic swimmer manage their periods?

When you are cheering for them, you may have wondered how they deal with their menstrual flow while competing. Many athletes who do competitive swimming during periods use tampons and menstrual cups to keep their flow in check. Some athletes may not have regular periods due to their intense exercise regimen. Others opt for birth control, which can alter their cycle so that they don’t have full periods. In the meantime, you may have the following questions.

Olympic swimmer manage their periods NiceDay

Is it hygienic to swim during menstruation?

Most people pay close attention to their hygiene during their period. Both indoor and outdoor swimming pools add a halogen to the water — either chlorine or bromine. What do these chemicals do? They kill the bacteria and other microbes that accumulate in a warm, wet place where lots of people swim. In treated water, the chance of getting an infection when swimming in a pool is, thankfully, low. Some doctors recommend avoiding lake or ocean swimming due to a greater risk of infection, as these bodies of water can’t be treated with a halogen.

Olympic swimmer manage their periods NiceDay

Will swimming worsen pain?

When you think about it, swimming seems like it could increase physical exertion. Instead, studies have shown that physical exercise — including swimming — can help take your mind off the discomfort and actually relieve soreness.

Olympic swimmer manage their periods NiceDay

Does tampons and Menstrual cup absorb water?

Before you get into the water, insert the tampon. This will allow it to absorb menstrual blood instead of water. When you get out of the water, take out the used tampon and insert a fresh one. It’s important to change your tampon every eight hours to reduce the risk of toxic shock syndrome.

If you’re looking for something besides tampons, you can opt for the similarly effective.

menstrual cup. Unlike tampons, which are made out of cotton, menstrual cups consist of rubber or silicone. This means the cup collects menstrual blood without absorbing it like a tampon does. A cup also makes swimming during your period much more hygienic because it does not absorb any of the surrounding water. On a day when you have a lighter flow, you can use one cup and change it every 12 hours. For days with a heavy flow, you can take breaks from the water and empty your cup. If you have a reusable cup, it’s important to wash it properly before inserting it again.

Olympic swimmer manage their periods NiceDay

Does your period stop when you’re in the water?

When you get into the water, your menstrual bleeding doesn’t stop, but the blood doesn’t flow out at the same rate either. Why? This is because the water exerts pressure on your vagina, which counteracts the effect of gravity on your flow. However, if you do something that exceeds the counter-pressure of the water — like sneezing or coughing — some blood will get into the water.

Olympic swimmer manage their periods NiceDay
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