Diving and Menstruation:
Can You Dive While Menstruating?
And are Sharks Really Coming?

One area of concern for women is diving and menstruation. "Is it safe to dive while you are menstruating" and "Are we at greater risk for decompression illness during this time" are two common questions.

And, of course we can't forget the big question, "Will sharks be attracted during this period?"

First the question of diving while menstruating. First, there really is no conclusive evidence to state that women divers are at increased risk of DCI during their period.

However, some studies suggest that women may be at increased risk during the first week of their cycle.

These studies weren't conducted on open water divers but rather within the aerospace industry and for medical hyperbaric therapy.

Some studies also suggest, but do not prove, that women taking oral contraceptives are at an increased risk for DCI.

Diving and menstruation

This picture is certainly original. Photo by Gorillasushi 

So what is the conclusion?

Divers Alert Network (DAN) advises that menstruating women may want to dive more conservatively - especially if they are taking oral contraceptives. This could consist of longer safety stops, shallower dives, short dives and/or fewer dives.

Personally, I have never altered my diving patterns during my monthly cycle and have never had a problem. But everyone is different and it wouldn't hurt to be a bit more conservative during your menstrual period.

Sharks and Menstruation

Diving and menstruation poses another area of concern for woman.

Many women are worried about shark attacks during menstruation. That is, that sharks will be attracted by the scent of their blood and put them at increased risk of attack.

Scuba diving while menstruating - will sharks be attracted?

Will a shark be attracted to you because of your period? 

 First, rest assured, that there is no evidence that women are at an increased risk for shark attacks if they are menstruating.

That is not to say that the sharks can't smell the menstrual blood.

They probably most certainly can.

This is despite the fact that the amount of blood is small and spread over several days. Sharks have an extraordinary sense of smell. However, according to DAN, many shark species are not attracted to this type of blood.

Again, there is no conclusive evidence suggesting an increased risk of sharks attacks during your period. However, even if there were, it appears it would be very small.

The risk of a shark attack anyway is extremely small and does not appear to increase significantly during your cycle. So I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Personally, I have seen alot of sharks during my dives and have had no problems with them, whether it was during my monthly cycle or not. I wouldn't let this concern affect your diving habits.

Go to Main Women and Scuba Diving Page     



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