Can You Snorkel on Your Period: Understanding the Facts and Safety Tips

Snorkeling on your period is perfectly safe and manageable. With proper preparation, menstruation need not be a barrier to enjoying underwater adventures. Myths about attracting sharks and other wildlife are common, but are just that: myths. There is no evidence that menstruation attracts sharks.

Numerous women participate in water sports, including snorkeling, without experiencing any major issues related to their menstrual cycle. However, it’s understandable that tackling this topic might bring up some questions and uncertainties. Rest assured, significant research and many women’s experiences indicate that these concerns don’t have to be impediments.

Understanding Menstruation and Water Activity

When it comes to being in the water during your period, I know there can be some concerns and misconceptions. The biggest one surrounds the risk of attracting sharks during menstruation. The truth is that there is no increased risk of shark attacks while swimming or snorkeling on your period.

I researched this topic for my wife while I was in medical school, as we were obtained our SCUBA certifications right before I graduated. I researched updated information in 2002, when my daughter became SCUBA certified, and again for this article.

There is no evidence in the medical journals of any increased risks of wildlife attacks when participating in watersports during your period. Essential every expert has concluded that it’s perfectly safe to snorkel and SCUBA dive while menstruating.

While it’s true that sharks have excellent sense of smell, they are typically trying to detect amino acid patterns in the water expelled by typical prey, such as fish, seals, etc. They aren’t specifically tuned to detect just blood, and particularly not human blood.

It’s important to also remember that the products of menstruation are a mix of the uterine lining, blood products and other substances. You aren’t directly bleeding into the water. The amount of blood that could pass any menstrual barrier product you are using is minimal, and the water around you immense. The dilution factor alone would make detection almost impossible.

Menstrual Flow in Water:

It’s important to understand that when you’re submerged in water, menstrual flow doesn’t stop, but it may lessen due to the pressure of the water. A tampon or menstrual cup can be used effectively to prevent any leaks while I am snorkeling.

Every person is different, and it’s crucial to listen to your body. If you feel comfortable and have the proper sanitary products in place, you can enjoy snorkeling and other aquatic activities while on your period.

  • Comfort: choose what feels right for your body, which might vary from day to day. Discomfort should not be ignored.
  • Hygiene: Some extra planning for cleanliness helps you stay comfortable and hygienic.

Choosing the Right Menstrual Products for Snorkeling

When preparing for snorkeling during your period, prioritize menstrual products that ensure both comfort and reliability. The right choice allows you to enjoy the activity with complete peace of mind.

Tampons and Ocean Snorkeling

Tampons are a commonly preferred choice for many women who snorkel. Their compact design and absorbency make them ideal for water activities. It’s important to select a tampon with the appropriate absorbency level for your flow, such as a super absorbency tampon when necessary, to prevent leaks. An advantage of tampons is their widespread availability, which means you can find them in most stores if when needed during travel.

Menstrual Cups and Diving

When it comes to a more eco-friendly and reusable option, menstrual cups like the Diva Cup or Super Jennie are options. These silicone cups catch rather than absorb menstrual flow and can be worn up to 12 hours. This long wear time is especially useful for extended periods in the water. Menstrual cups also hold more fluid than tampons, which helps when snorkeling for an entire day.

Period Swimwear Options

You may also consider period swimwear, such as Modibodi suits, as an innovative and practical solution. These swimsuits offer built-in absorbent layers designed to manage menstrual flow while in water. They can be worn alone or as a backup with tampons or menstrual cups. Period swimwear gives an added layer of security.

Addressing Safety Concerns

Snorkeling Precautions

When considering safe snorkeling practices, it’s important to take standard precautions. Using a tampon or a menstrual cup can offer protection and help avoid leaks, enhancing comfort and hygiene. It is recommended to use internal menstrual products rather than pads for practical reasons; these options are more secure and reliable when in water.

Moreover, being aware of the environment and following normal water safety protocols is crucial. This includes snorkeling with a buddy, being aware of the marine life in the area, and monitoring physical conditions.

You shouldn’t neglect general safety measures when snorkeling during menstruation. It’s more important during this time, as discussed below. Additionally, having a plan and staying informed about the local marine life and weather conditions contributes to a safer snorkeling experience.

Health Considerations While Snorkeling on Your Period

When snorkeling during my menstruation, pay particular attention to maintaining personal comfort and mitigating health risks like dehydration and fatigue.

Managing Discomfort and Cramps

Standard methods to manage any discomfort or menstrual cramps are safe to use when snorkeling. There is no drowsiness or mental change from standard medications. Consider taking an anti-inflammatory medication before snorkeling, as advised by a healthcare professional, to alleviate the pain just as you would on land.

Dehydration and Fatigue Risks

Staying hydrated is crucial, especially since menstruation can increase the risk of dehydration. Make sure to drink plenty of water and/or sports drinks such as Gatorade before and after snorkeling to maintain proper hydration levels.

Taking a daily multivitamin with iron supplements is also recommended for all women of menstruating age.

Practical Tips for Snorkeling on Your Period

You may need to change methods of managing menstruation for avoiding leaks and ensuring comfort when wearing a wetsuit.

Wetsuit and Comfort

Choosing the right wetsuit is important for all snorkelers. During menstruation, a snug-fitted wetsuit can help compress and secure any menstrual product in place.

  • Wetsuit Fit: Make sure the wetsuit fits snugly without being overly tight, which can create discomfort, especially if you experience bloating.
  • Ease of Use: Consider the ease of changing menstrual products when selecting a wetsuit with a zipper location that is accessible.

If you are renting a wetsuit, make sure it is clean when you first get it, and take care to rinse after use. Ask the rental company how they clean their suits between use, and make them aware your suit might need more thorough cleaning. Be mindful of the next person who will be using your rental wetsuit.

Eco-Friendly Tips for Snorkeling During Menstruation

  • Menstrual Products: Choose biodegradable or reusable.

    • Tampons: Opt for without applicators or cardboard applicators.
    • Menstrual Cups: Reusable and eco-friendly.
  • Environmental Impact: Avoid leaving any waste behind.

    • Ensure all trash is taken back to shore for proper disposal.
    • Respect all marine life and their habitats—do not touch or disturb them.
    • Ocean Health: Recognize that any foreign substance can affect the ocean’s delicate balance. Therefore, make choices that are both comfortable for and responsible towards marine ecosystems.

By being mindful about these considerations, your snorkeling adventures will enjoyable and that you should leave only bubbles behind.