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Can you wear a sanitary pad while swimming?

Swimming on your period is possible, but wearing a sanitary pad might not be a great idea. WUKA experts discuss best period protection to wear for swimming.

Can you wear a pad while swimming?

Swimming on your period

First things first- yes, you can swim on your period. In fact, there are many benefits to swimming on your period, full stop. Swimming can help to relieve period cramps -  the endorphins that are released via exercise can actually be more powerful than painkillers! This is backed up by numerous studies like this one, and via anecdotal evidence too. 

Swimming during your period can also have huge benefits for your mental wellbeing too. Not only do endorphins help to relax and calm the mind, boost serotonin levels and help raise self esteem and body confidence, but there can be something very spiritual about it too. 

Often when we swim, we are alone- gently supported by the water and able to clear the mind to focus on breathing and movement only. For many, swimming can be a very mindful activity.

Swimming with a disposable sanitary pad

So, can you swim whilst wearing a sanitary pad? If we’re talking disposable, then the answer is a very firm no. But why?

Most disposable pads are made using 90% plastic, with rayon, synthetic compounds and possibly non-organic cotton too. These pads are designed to absorb your period flow, which means that they will also absorb other liquids too, namely water. So if you swim with a sanitary pad, it will fill with water- leaving you with a soggy mess and literally nothing to absorb your period flow with.

It’s also worth noting that the water will also render the sticky back of your disposable pad useless too, making embarrassing situations more likely as your pad falls out of place. Not good!

Swimming with a reusable pad

So can you swim with a reusable pad instead? Yes… and no. It’s not officially recommended, but it won’t be as much of a disaster if you do.

Yes, reusable pads are designed to absorb your period blood. WUKA reusable pads are made using offcuts from our period pants, and they’re super absorbent, made with many layers that are designed to draw blood away from your body. And just like a disposable pad, they will absorb any liquid- including water. 

can you wear a pad while swimming?

But the difference here is that our reusable pads are held in place with poppers, to stop them from moving around. This means that when they soak up the water as you swim, they will stay in place. But they will still absorb lots of water, and be less efficient when it comes to absorbing your flow. 

However, we have another ‘but’ coming your way… you can double up your reusable pad with reusable period swimwear, if you wish.

WUKA period swimsuit and swim bikini bottoms are designed to absorb a light (bikini bottoms) or light to medium (swimsuit) flow. They’re made with a water repellent outer fabric, so that they feel like regular swimwear, and they have an ultra absorbent liner, which is kept away from the water as you swim. So technically speaking, you could also pop a reusable pad in there too, for extra protection during a swim- but honestly, you really don’t need to. 

Our reusable swimsuit can hold up to 15ml of blood all by itself, so as long as your flow isn’t really heavy, it should be all you need. Plus, adding an extra ‘layer’ with a pad could  bulk things out more than you want too. So while you could double up and minimise water absorption to an extent, you really don’t need to.

Reusable period swimwear

Not sure where to start with reusable period swimwear?

Our swimsuit is perfect for light to medium days, holding up to two tampons worth of blood, and perfect for catching leaks or spotting towards the end of your period. Made with a water repellant outer layer, with UV50+ protection and improved elasticity, you can feel supported and comfortable while you swim on your period.

WUKA waterproof technology for swimwear

Our reusable swim Bikini briefs are made using recycled nylon, and perfect for light flow days, or light spotting and leaks. They can absorb up to 10ml of blood, or two small tampons worth. Again, the outer fabric is water repellant so that the absorbent gusset is kept separate from pool or sea while you swim. The bikini bottoms can be worn underneath your normal costume if you like, or you can wear them alone. 

How does WUKA period swimwear work?

Because our period swimmer has an aquaphobic fabric, water cannot pass through. This means that the inner absorbent layer only needs to worry about period blood, because no other liquids can get in there. The gusset of your costume or bikini bottoms will absorb your period flow, and the outer waterproof fabric will not allow any other liquids to enter. 

Hence why doubling up with a reusable pad really isn’t necessary. They're waterproof on the outside, and leak-proof on the inside, so you're covered no matter what. Plus, our swimwear was rated best for flexible design by Good Housekeeping, thanks to the "smooth, silky fabric (its quick-drying, chlorine-resistant fabric and comes with built-in UV50 sun protection) which felt breathable and unrestrictive when swimming. It didn’t let them down whether they were doing front crawl or breaststroke and remained comfortable and leak-free all session long."

Proof that with WUKA, you really can wake up and kick ass every single day, whether on land or in water! 

can you wear a pad while swimming?

Reusable swimwear is a great option for those who want to swim on their period, but don’t want to use tampons to absorb their flow. So while reusable pads certainly have their place, and definitely won’t end up as soggy as disposables if you choose to swim with them, they aren’t absolutely necessary as long as you time it right and know your flow.

Is reusable period swimwear right for me?

Here are just a couple of reviews from our customers, to help you decide:


I love a wild sea swim and actually wore this during our annual New Year’s Day swim but I was on my period for. I finally felt relaxed about the idea of swimming while on my period. The swimsuit is super comfortable and flattering, would highly recommend!"

"Amazing product!

Went on my holiday fearing about how to manage my period around the pool and beach. Bought these swim bikini briefs so I could still enjoy swimming, sunbathing and was really glad that they did work.

They really are a really amazing product, they hide well under normal swimming bikini bottoms, is comfortable and you don’t get too hot wearing these - I wore these in 37 degree weather and kept cool.

They are easy to wash in cold water with laundry detergent and hang up to air dry after use. Well done WUKA for making my holiday easier!"

Related posts

The Benefits of Swimming on Your Period

Guide to Period Swimwear

Does Your Period Stop in Water?

Can Periods Affect Your Performance in Sports?

Exercise and Periods

Seven Debunked Period Myths


can you wear a pad while swimming?

Can I go swimming on my period without anything?

It’s completely up to you if you wish to go swimming without period protection, but most people opt for some protection against leaks. You won’t leave a trail of blood in your wake, but you could experience leaks when you get out of the water, or if you move suddenly or cough/ sneeze etc. 

It’s not unhygienic or dangerous to swim on your period, and it’s not unsafe to do so without period protection. An easy way to ensure embarrassing leaks don’t happen is to wear a period swimsuit to absorb your flow.

What can I use to go swimming on my period?

Reusable period swimwear is a fantastic option for all, and great for light to medium flow days. Tampons can also be used for swimming, but its important to educate yourself on the potential risks of using them.

Are pads safe in water?

Pads are perfectly safe to use in the water, but they might not be reliable when it comes to absorbing your flow. 

How do you stop your period in water?

You cannot stop your period, but you might find that the water gives the impression that it can stop your flow. This is all down to science. Water creates more resistance than air, so when you swim there is a change in pressure against the opening of your vagina which can stop blood from flowing. When you get out of the water, the pressure is release and the blood will resume flowing