Beach-bound? Here’s Your Guide to Menstruation on Vacation
Whether you live to surf or love to lounge, is there anything better than spending most of your summer at the beach? We don’t think so! Of course, our period has an annoying way of interrupting our best-laid beach plans. But your cycle doesn’t need to stop fun on the sun if you follow our tips for menstruation on vacation.
This might not be the advice you expected but trust us, it’s important! As your estrogen and progesterone levels recede, at the start of your period, your body starts to retain water. That’s where that UGH bloating feeling can come from during your period.
And while it may not make you feel great about being in a bathing suit, bloating doesn’t just make you feel yucky. This retention of water means you’re a little dehydrated and coupled with a day in the hot sun, is a recipe for heat exhaustion or worse. Make sure you’re hydrating all day, and while juices and sodas are better than nothing at all, water really is your best choice for most of your water intake.
Pick the Right Protection
There are a ton of different types of period protection, all with their own pros and cons. Here are just some of your options!
Pads are a classic, and great if you’re less than comfortable wearing anything inside your vagina. Unfortunately, you can’t swim while wearing a pad as they are made to suck up moisture outside your vagina. Which at the beach means….the ocean. Even if you don’t swim, most pads have sticky ‘wings’ which are meant to stick onto the outside of your underwear, so they’re not exactly the most subtle of choices. But, if you’re less into swimsuits and more into sunsets, a pad will be fine!
Tampons are worn inside your vagina to collect menstrual flow, which makes them both great options for swimming! However, if you need to change your tampon, that can sometimes be a little tricky if there isn’t a bathroom at the beach.
A menstrual cup is also a type of internally worn period protection that collects your flow before it ever leaves your body. But unlike tampons, menstrual cups have much more capacity, which means you can wear your cup for longer without leaks. It’s our fave option for beach days that last for hours! Plus, because you reuse your cup, you won’t be left hunting for a place to throw it away if you do need to empty it at the beach.
Always Bring Extras
Whichever period protection you choose, make sure you have some backups packed in your beach bag. There’s nothing worse than being caught outside the house without your preferred period protection, but at least at school or work you can find a store or friend with some extra. Not always so at the beach! Period products like tampons or pads don’t ‘go bad’, so even if you don’t use them for most of your periods, it doesn’t hurt to have an emergency one in your bag.
Bring a Bathroom Bag
Let’s talk more about your beach bag! It probably has your sunscreen in it, a towel, Bluetooth speaker, your beach read, change of clothes, snacks, water…
A whole lot of everything, in other words! This is why we suggest packing a smaller, closable bag in your beach bag. In it, you can keep that emergency period protection we mentioned (may we suggest Lily Cup Compact?) but that’s not all! We also suggest packing:
- A painkiller for cramps
- Wet wipes
- Dry tissues
- A press-seal plastic baggie
Depending on the condition of the washrooms at your local beach, any of these items might come in quite handy! In particular, if you have to go to the washroom and/or change your period protection in a bush, then the wipes and baggie can be quite handy. In particular, if you are using disposable period protection like a tampon, you should use the plastic baggie to pack away the used ones until they can be thrown away properly.
Here Comes the Sun!
With this expert advice, all you need is some sand, a good book, and the calming sound of the waves to enjoy the vacation with menstruation!
Lane Baumeister is an internationally-based Canadian writer with several years’ experience creating educational and entertaining articles that discuss intimate health and sexual well-being. When not waxing profound about menstruation, she devotes herself to enjoying extremely good food and equally bad movies.