We know that when it comes to female-specific personal health questions, sometimes it’s a little embarrassing to ask. The majority of dive instructors and divemasters are male, which further inhibits some women from asking “delicate” questions.
We’re going to answer some of the more common questions female divers want to ask.
As long as you don’t suffer from migraines, debilitating cramps or feel emotionally totally off your rocker while you’re menstruating, there is no reason why you shouldn’t dive.
Yes, you should wear tampons instead of pads, not only because a water-logged pad isn’t going to be effective or feel good, tampons prevent menstrual blood from entering the water. That being said, there is no evidence to suggest that sharks are attracted to women who are menstruating.
In a nutshell, no, most doctors will agree you shouldn’t subject an unborn fetus to the underwater environment. Studies on sheep fetuses, who have a similar placenta to humans, found that bubbles may develop and enter the brain and coronary arteries, resulting in death. Other studies have found lower birth rates, respiratory problems and birth defects in women who dived while pregnant.
So, stick to snorkeling if you suspect or know you’re pregnant.
Generally, you should have no problems diving with breast implants as long as you’re fully recovered from the surgery (and your doctor says it’s OK). Saline implants are neutrally buoyant, but silicone ones are negatively buoyant – not a big concern, but the weight might affect your trim. Also, nitrogen can build up in silicone and in some studies, implants increased in size by 4%. Make sure you do adequate safety stops and slow ascents.
Just be sure your BC doesn’t constrict your chest.
Nitrogen doesn’t not enter breastmilk, so as long as you stay hydrated and your BC is comfortable enough to wear, you can dive. Just remember that if you’re going to be away from your baby for several hours, you may need to pump — which could be challenging on a dive boat!
While oral contraceptives can increase the risk of a stroke, heart attack or pulmonary embolism, there doesn’t appear to be any increased risk associated with recreational diving. Sitting for long periods such as during long flights can increase the risk, as well as smoking and over all poor health.
Make sure you stand up and walk around occasionally if your dive destination requires a long commute.
Cardiac incidents are one of the top reasons divers die, however, women are no more likely than men to suffer a heart attack while diving. The difference is that symptoms may differ in women, making a misdiagnosis more likely. Women are less likely to experience chest pain, and may experience fatigue or flulike symptoms during a cardiac event.
Time is critical during cardiac events, so if you feel poorly during or after diving, don’t hesitate to speak up and seek help.
This post is informational only and does not take the place of a doctor’s advice, so to be safe, check with your doctor if you have any health concerns related to diving. Anxiety interferes with an enjoyable and safe diving experience, so you’ll want to resolve any concerns you have before you the water.
You might find our post about diving tips for women helpful too!
Do you experience any health issues that prevent you from diving? Let us know in the comments section below.
Image attribution: https://www.flickr.com/photos/criminalintent/