Should You Scuba Dive On Your Period?
The short answer is yes, you absolutely should, because you can! While your period can be inconvenient, it should not prevent you from going scuba diving and enjoying your day exploring the epic underwater world.
Even though statistically there are more male recreational scuba divers than females, this article is directly aimed at all the amazing women who also love scuba diving!
To look at the concerns raised by women who are worried about scuba diving when menstruating, we will cover the following points in this article:
- What happens to your body when you scuba dive on your period?
- Benefits of scuba diving on your period
- Will being on your period attract sharks?
- What to wear while scuba diving on your period?
- How to change period products when scuba diving?
What Happens to Your Body When You Scuba Dive On Your Period?
Diving on your period is relatively safe, however, a few things may change such as the increased chances of getting decompression sickness, feeling colder and more bloated than normal, and your flow temporarily stopping during the dive.
Many women are worried about what effect scuba diving may have on their bodies, and who blames them, it is already one of the most uncomfortable times of the month.
If scuba diving made it worse, then you can see why women would feel worried about scuba diving when menstruating.
Caveat: As a male, whilst I recognise, that this may cause some concern, I obviously don’t have the experience necessary to give advice on this. That’s why I asked the questions to my good friend Darby. Darby is a dive instructor, marine biologist and scientific writer at yourcupofseas.com. Darbs is fab, check out her site! (she’s in the pic below!)
But, let me assure you, ladies, there is no reason why you cannot scuba dive on your period, and some women even say that scuba diving helps relieve the pain of cramps and back pain associated with periods.
so, with that, let’s dive straight in!
Does Your Period Stop While Scuba Diving?
When you take the plunge underwater, many scuba divers stop menstruating.
This is because the vaginal opening closes, and the ambient pressure of water once underwater prevents leaking during the dive.
Can Being On Your Period Affect Decompression Sickness?
During the follicular stage of your cycle (the first two weeks leading up to ovulation, including your period), you have a slightly increased risk of decompression sickness (DCS).
To prevent DCS, you should dive as conservative as possible, stick to shallower dives, and keep a close eye on your dive computer to prevent going into DECO.
During your period, the chances of you also becoming dehydrated or suffering from fatigue are increased. As these factors can contribute to DCS, remember to keep on top of your fluids, eat enough to keep your belly happy and stay well-rested.
Can Being On Your Period Affect Feeling Cold Underwater?
Even if you never get cold while scuba diving, during your period you may feel more cold than usual because of hormonal changes during menstruation.
This means gearing up with a thicker wetsuit or drysuit, and wearing more scuba diving accessories such as booties, a hood, and gloves – keeping your extremities warm is extremely important to reduce the chances of hypothermia.
Can Being On Your Period Affect Your Energy Levels While Scuba Diving?
You are probably aware of how your energy levels fluctuate when you are menstruating.
Some days you are happy, while some days are more physically challenging than normal. These challenges can affect both the time at the surface, and your time spent scuba diving.
When scuba diving, you should avoid choosing dive sites with challenging conditions, such as diving in strong currents, and long surface swims to your destination, and also avoid carrying heavy equipment – that’s what you are paying the dive centre for!
Will Scuba Diving Make Period Pains Worse?
If you suffer from menstrual cramps, you likely already know how they can affect your ability to carry out basic tasks at home.
Cramps can also affect your concentration, which may affect your mindset underwater, so this is something to consider before heading out for a full-day scuba diving.
Saying that some divers have actually said that scuba diving helps reduce menstrual cramps because their focus is on something else.
Does Being On Your Period Affect Buoyancy Underwater?
Sometimes fluid retention is affected by menstruation. Because of this, some divers have found scuba diving during their period can affect their buoyancy.
So, don’t worry if you need to adjust your weight system slightly by adding a little extra weight, just remember to put it in your dive log book why you added that extra kilo or two.
Does Being On Your Period Affect Equipment Sizing?
Ever looked in the mirror while you were on your period and thought, “wow, I look more bloated than normal”.
As already mentioned, menstruation can affect your fluid retention, and add in those hormonal changes, it can cause your body shape to fluctuate throughout your menstrual cycle.
Some divers need to adjust their BCD straps or wear a bigger sized wetsuit than normal. Don’t feel embarrassed if you need to do this – it is always better to be comfortable, particularly when you are already feeling bloated.
Benefits of Scuba Diving On Your Period
Despite the lack of scientific research, many women have found that scuba diving can relieve menstrual cramps, make period durations shorter and reduce their menstrual flow.
While it may feel like it, being on your period is not all doom and gloom. Simplifying your dive plan will make it more comfortable and much more enjoyable!
Some of my friends have even said scuba diving benefits them during their period.
This is what they said:
- “My periods often become shorter after scuba diving.”
- “Scuba diving is great because it helps reduce my menstrual flow.”
- “I suffer badly from menstrual cramps, but scuba diving helps me cope with them. So does the gym, but I will always pick a day of scuba diving rather than a couple of hours on the treadmill because scuba diving is a good workout!”
Will Being On Your Period Attract Sharks?
Spoiler alert – you will not get eaten alive if you go scuba diving on your period. Do not worry, if you are on your period, you will not attract sharks.
Attracting sharks while scuba diving on your period is a common myth. Sharks are actually attracted to a fish’s gastric juice, so your blood (or even a fish’s blood) is less appealing to sharks.
There is NO evidence of shark attacks on humans that are menstruating. Studies actually show that sharks are curious, not aggressive when human blood is in the water. So, you can safely dive with sharks without that added anxiety on your next dive!
What to Wear While Scuba Diving On Your Period?
If you menstruate, there are many ways to manage your period while exploring the underwater world, such as using menstrual cups, tampons, and specialised swimwear designed for periods.
Scuba diving is just like swimming, so, wear whatever you feel comfortable in to control the flow – whether it be a tampon, menstrual cup, period-proof underwear/swimwear, or something else.
As we are now more aware of the impact of waste on the environment, there are some great environmentally friendly alternatives to uncomfortable period pads and plastic-based tampons.
Menstrual cups are made from medical-grade silicone, and are reusable for up to 10 years, so yay for the planet and our bank accounts!
Menstrual cups are easily inserted into the vagina and removed to empty collected menstrual blood.
There are so many brands of menstrual cups to choose from, but here are a few my ‘lady friends’ swear by:
Even though menstrual cups are becoming more and more popular alternatives to tampons, they simply don’t work for everybody.
If you prefer to use tampons, there are many plastic-free tampons available that are organic, that also come in eco-friendly packaging, so you do not need to worry about polluting the oceans.
Some women find tampons and menstrual cups uncomfortable, and that is totally OK.
With advances in technology, period pants have been extended to swimwear ranges too, providing women with security while sunbathing, swimming, and scuba diving!
How to Change Period Products When Scuba Diving?
Changing your period products can be done in toilet facilities (either onshore or onboard – if they are available) or under a towel or changing robe.
Toilet and changing facilities can sometimes be difficult to find at diving sites, making it a little tricky to change period products.
Remember, if you are changing your tampon, bring a small waste bag, as toilets on boats usually dump their waste into the ocean.
Getting yourself a changing robe is a game-changer (dryrobes are awesome!). Not only are they great for drying off, back on deck, but they are also a discreet way to change your swimwear, menstrual cup, or tampon.
Don’t Forget Your Dive Insurance!
Before you go out on any dive trip or holiday, it is essential to make sure you have insurance that covers you if something goes wrong. Check out our dive insurance article for more information.
Or go straight to these dive insurance company websites:
There is no reason why you cannot scuba dive on your period.
However, if you feel very unwell before the dive, postpone it. There is no point in going scuba diving if you are not feeling yourself. You are the only one who knows how you feel on your period.
If you are not feeling yourself, grab a blanket, a hot water bottle, turn on Netflix, and snuggle on the sofa or in bed – the ocean can wait for you, it’s not like it is going anywhere (we all hope)!
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