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Headed to the pool or beach while you’re on your period? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. Pretty much any type of tampon will work just fine to protect you while you’re in the water.
However, your personal preferences might favor certain types over others.
Unsure where to start? Look no further! We chose these products based on style, reliability, and user reviews.
Spotting essentially means that you’re bleeding outside of your regular period. This can happen for a number of reasons, such as stress, medication, and certain infections.
When you’re spotting, you probably won’t need as much absorption from your tampon as you would on your period. Try a light absorption tampon with leak protection just in case your spotting is heavier than you think.
Tampax Pearl Lite
Tampax’s light tampons feature a thin plastic applicator that glides in easily.
The tampon is slim with a braided string that helps protect against leaking and can be tucked inside your inner labia to prevent it from peeking out of your swimsuit.
Veeda 100% Natural Cotton Lite
If you’re looking for a tampon with conscious ingredients, Veeda’s tampons are made without synthetics, dyes, or chemicals.
The biodegradable tampon has a slim, plastic applicator for comfortable application and natural grooves to help prevent any leaks.
On day 1 of your period? This might signal the heaviest bleeding, so you’ll want extra protection to make sure that you swim comfortably without any leakage. We suggest sport tampons with 360 degrees of protection.
Playtex Sport Regular
Fans love this tampon for its unique shape and size.
The applicator is similar to other plastic applicators, but the tampon opens up into a flower shape to help protect from leaks at every single angle — which is perfect if you’re the type of swimmer who likes to do plenty of diving.
Playtex Simply Gentle Glide Ultra Absorbency
Want the same allover protection from a sport tampon but with a gentler formulation? This tampon is for you.
Despite its slender applicator and purified fibers, the tampon still gives maximum control for heavy days.
The Honey Pot Company 100% Organic Super
Heavy flows require more absorbency, but that doesn’t mean compromising on quality.
These organic tampons have reliable protection, plus they’re entirely plant-based and free from pesticides, chemicals, chlorine, dyes, dioxins, and synthetic materials.
Your mid-period flow is probably somewhere between heavy and light. You likely need a regular-sized tampon that can absorb menstrual blood while still hold up to swimming.
Try a non-applicator tampon for a travel and beach bag option. The 100 percent organic cotton tampons expand in all directions for even coverage, and they can be easily inserted and removed with your fingers.
O.B. Organic Regular
With no frills, this organic tampon is just a straightforward option for everyday use, in and out of the pool.
The applicator is plant-based so you can toss it in the trash without worrying about the waste associated with normal plastic applicators.
Just like with spotting, you’ll want a light absorbency tampon towards the end of your period. While swimming, these light tampons will offer protection without unnecessary heaviness.
Cora Organic Cotton Light
Small, compact, and lightweight, these tampons comfortably expand to prevent leaks.
They’re also Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified organic cotton. The brand also invests in girls’ education around the world, so you’ll feel good at the same time.
Tampax Pearl Active Lite
With the same 360-degree protection from a sport tampon, but the slim profile of a light, this hybrid option is great for the last few days of your period — especially if you’re someone with slight irregularity in your flow.
The tampon even has a smooth outer layer for easy removal, whether it’s fully absorbed or not.
It’s natural to have questions about swimming on your period, especially if you’re used to wearing pads throughout your cycle. Here are a few things to keep in mind while you’re choosing and wearing your tampon.
Is a higher absorbency better?
Not necessarily. This depends on how heavy your flow is.
Heavier flows are more suitable for higher absorbency tampons to prevent leakage and too many changes throughout the day — especially if you don’t want to interrupt your swimming with frequent trips to the bathroom.
However, if you have a lighter flow, go for a lower absorbency tampon (aka light or lite). If your tampon is high absorbency and you have a lighter flow, you may experience discomfort during removal.
Is it going to soak up water?
Probably. The opening to the vagina isn’t waterproof. But while the tampon might take on some water, this doesn’t stop it from absorbing period blood as well.
How often should you change it?
Change your tampon as soon as you’re done swimming, or every 4 to 8 hours while you are swimming.
A wet, used tampon can be a breeding ground for bacteria — which can lead to toxic shock syndrome (TSS). You’ll want to make sure you’re being safe and mindful.
What if it leaks?
If you choose the right absorbency level for your personal flow, this shouldn’t happen.
Of course, accidents are possible. If you discover that your tampon has leaked onto your swimsuit, go to the bathroom and change it immediately.
Not sure if tampons are the right menstrual product for you? You might not want to go for a pad or panty liner, because this method could take on a lot of water and leak.
There are plenty of other options that are suitable for swimming.
Similar to a tampon, a menstrual disc is inserted into the vagina and sits below the cervix in the vaginal fornix. You can wear it for up to 12 hours, and dispose of it once you’re done.
Because of the position they’re placed in, some claim that discs reduce period-associated pain, which can make your swimming more enjoyable.
The flex menstrual disc, which you can buy online, is known for its ease of insertion and comfort. They’re perfect for sports and swimming because of their low profile, plus there’s less risk for leakage than with tampons.
If you’re worried about the waste associated with disposable tampons and discs, try the Intimina Ziggy Cup, which is also available online. Built with the same materials as a menstrual cup, this reusable disc has a shallow profile, making it ideal for everything from period sex to swimming. Plus, it covers light to heavier flows.
Even more user-friendly than the menstrual disc is the menstrual cup. This method has risen in popularity because of its eco-friendly model. The reusable funnel-shaped cup is inserted into the vagina, just below the cervix, and collects blood for 6 to 12 hours.
Known as one of the first big menstrual cup brands, the DivaCup, which you can buy online, offers a cup with a silicone rim and sturdy base that’s easy to insert and remove. It’s made with medical-grade silicone that can stand the test of time.
If you tend to have more sensitivity and cramping, try the Saalt Soft Cup, which is also available online. The soft silicone formula sits gently inside the vaginal canal without causing cramping or discomfort. Plus, it’s super flexible for easy insertion.
Believe it or not, you can buy swimwear with built-in leak-proof protection. The swimwear comes in one-piece and two-piece options for all genders, with hidden layers of fabric that absorb menstrual blood without staining.
For those who are looking for playful patterns, Ruby Love swimwear, which you can buy online, offers an array of designs and styles. The built-in absorbent liner holds up to six tampons of menstrual blood and doesn’t swell in the water.
On the other hand, Modibodi swimwear, which is also available online, comes in two streamlined black swim styles: a bikini bottom and a one-piece that hold up to two tampons of menstrual blood and offer sun protection with UPF 50+.
Swimming on your period is completely doable. Just choose a tampon or menstrual product that feels comfortable and fits your lifestyle needs.
If you’re unsure what’s best for your personal flow, reach out to a doctor or other healthcare provider to get their expert opinion.
No matter what, it’s important that you feel safe and protected — and remember to have fun.
Jen Anderson is a wellness contributor at Healthline. She writes and edits for various lifestyle and beauty publications, with bylines at Refinery29, Byrdie, MyDomaine, and bareMinerals. When not typing away, you can find Jen practicing yoga, diffusing essential oils, watching Food Network, or guzzling a cup of coffee. You can follow her NYC adventures on Twitter and Instagram.