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Period and swimming

hi sam, i am a 14 year old girl who has recently started their period......i cant find anything about this in any other ask sam letters or on message boards so please help because i dont know what to do

i have swimming at school every monday wednesday and friday. but i have recently started my period and i dont use tampons....theyre uncomfortable

anyway,i have social anxiety/phobia and most situations involving others, i get embarrased or it gets really awkward but i need advice on what to say to my teacher because shes the person who i feel most confident to tell......please help me because i have no idea what to say,

P. x

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Periods are a normal part of everyday life for women and girls who've reached puberty. It’s normal to find your period annoying sometimes, or like it stops you from doing things you want to do, but  it doesn’t need to hold you back, especially if you’re feeling healthy and it’s not causing you any pain.

You can swim while on your period and you don't have to use a tampon. Pads are an alternative but might be difficult to use while swimming. They’re designed to soak up liquid, so will soak up lots of water from the pool very fast. You can get swimwear which is specially designed for being on your period and they act like a pad and trap any blood inside.

If you don't like tampons you could also try using a menstrual cup - a small rubber cup that you place inside your vagina. It creates a seal which stops any blood leaking out, which you can then empty and wash before re-using. These can work really well for swimming, though the water pressure in the pool is likely to make it more difficult for anything to leak out anyway. Once you get out of the water the pressure will return to normal and you may start bleeding again - a menstrual cup will collect this.

You never need to be ashamed or worried about your period - it's absolutely normal and sometimes small accidents are going to happen. Every woman will be able to tell you that from time to time you might get blood on underwear or clothes, no matter how careful you are. It might make you feel better if you wear a dark swimming costume so that any small leaks won't show up as much.

I hope this has helped but if you want to talk more, our counsellors are always there for you.

Thanks for your letter.

Take care,


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