Stylist’s digital writer Amy Beecham faces her fears and tries swimming while menstruating in Wuka’s period swimsuit.
Remember those girls at school who refused to go swimming in PE when they were on their period. Well, that was me. Despite loving the water, I could never bring myself to get in the pool while I was bleeding. Even when I was using tampons, the potential shame and embarrassment of experiencing a leak at quite literally the worst time was enough to keep me on dry land.
But our attitudes towards menstruation have changed a lot since the early 2010s and brought with it swathes of technological innovation when it comes to our cycles. From specialised vitamins for each phase of your cycle to leggings made to bleed in and period pants you can confidently sleep all night in, it’s no wonder that the next phase is upon us: period-proof swimwear.
As a service to my former self – and out of sheer curiosity – I chose to put Wuka’s medium flow period swimsuit (£49.99) to the test for some lengths.
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Describing itself as “the perfect period-proof one-piece you can wear to the pool, the sea or even the spa, without the need for pads or tampons,” Wuka’s website encourages you to “hit the beach with confidence and style and be leak-free”.
Living in a city, and given that I tried it out at the end of summer, a “the beach” looked more like my local Virgin Active swimming pool. But I (bravely) faced my fears and tried it out for a week. Here’s how I got on.
The one-piece comes in a sleek diamond-back cut, giving it a sporty look but with the security you need. It really does look like a regular swimsuit, so if subtlety is what you’re after, this will provide.
Could it be a little more interesting, or be offered in a brighter colour? Yes. But seeing as Wuka has recently brought out extended designs in its range of period underwear, we can imagine that a new rollout of swimsuits might offer a bit more variety.
I’m a bikini girl through and through, so the prospect of a one-piece, with straps that dig in and awkward holes to get your arms through, wasn’t exactly thrilling. But despite being out of practice, the suit came on and off pretty easily and the straps provided support without pulling.
The crotch padding isn’t as noticeable as I was expecting and didn’t make me feel like I was wearing a nappy and/or cycling shorts. I found that it didn’t encumber my movement as I swam, but it did take a bit of adjusting in the changing rooms beforehand to get it feeling just right for me.
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Wuka claims that the swimsuit holds up to 15ml of period flow or light leaks – equivalent to around 2 small tampons’ worth. While there’s no way to measure, I didn’t experience that awful heavy ‘sagging’ feeling that can sometimes come with pads or period pants.
Now, I have to admit that I didn’t dip for the first few days of my cycle when my bleeding was heaviest. Yes, I was still a little bit nervous, but mainly I felt like rubbish and wanted to do nothing more than curl up with a mug of tea.
However, when I resurfaced around day three and actually felt able to move, I didn’t worry anywhere near as much as I thought I would. Despite constantly checking over my shoulder for any signs of leakage, I was pleased not to find any, which only increased my confidence in the product.
Of course, everyone’s flow is different and for those who experience heavier bleeding, it may be worth combining the suit with a tampon for extra protection and peace of mind. But for me, it worked great for lighter days and helped me get some gentle exercise in when lifting weights or running was the last thing on my mind.
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VALUE FOR MONEY
Good swimwear is expensive, and I’ve been known to spend over £100 on sustainably made bikinis before, so just under £50 seems pretty reasonable to me, given the technology involved.
The suit also boasts UV50+ protection, is anti-chlorine treated and is easy to look after: just give it a quick rinse in cold water after using then chuck it in with your regular load of dark washing.
I was really pleasantly surprised. I can’t say that if I’d had this product back at school that it would have changed the way things panned out, but now that I’m older, wiser and more confident, I’m happy to have this in my wardrobe to whip out as and when I need it.
Whether I’m due on or part-way through my cycle, this swimsuit will definitely help me to swim more often – and more freely.
Images: courtesy ofWuka
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