Four big questions answered for women who Scuba

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Image by Sarah Richard

CAN YOU DIVE ON YOUR PERIOD?

An inconvenience at the best of times, and when you’re out at sea zipped tightly into your wetsuit with no toilet nearby, your period can be even more of a frustration. But is it safe to dive on your period?

The answer is yes. There’s no reason why you can’t go diving when it’s your time of the month, providing you feel comfortable. A common concern is a fear of attracting the unwanted attention of a shark while diving, but according to Marie Levine, founder and executive director of The Shark Research Institute, diving on your period is perfectly safe. Furthermore, throughout history, there has never been any reported incidents of shark attacks linked to menstruation.

CAN YOU DIVE WITH BREAST IMPLANTS?

If you have had any surgical procedure, it’s always best to seek professional advice to ensure you are fit to dive. However, the good news is that breast implants are not considered a contraindication to diving.

There have been various studies carried out around the safety of scuba diving with breast implants, and research has demonstrated that different implant materials can range in buyonce levels. In some cases, this created an increase in air bubbles, however, they did not grow large enough to rupture the breast implants and the bubbles worked themselves out after a time.

And for added reassurance, before you become a certified diver you are required to fill in scuba diving health questionnaire – a legal document which is used to protect prevent scuba diving injuries and minimize a scuba instructor’s liability – however breast implants are not listed on the form as a potential hazard.

CAN YOU SCUBA DIVE WHEN YOU’RE PREGNANT?

It’s not advisable to scuba dive whilst pregnant, but due to ethical reasons there has been little research into the possible effects of diving when pregnant. There have, however, been various scientific studies involving hyperbaric chambers and different species of animals, to simulate the increased pressure of diving. The results showed a range of developmental abnormalities including low birth weights, premature delivery and abnormal skull development. Therefore to avoid risk, we advise taking the recommended advice and do not scuba dive during pregnancy.

CAN YOU SCUBA DIVE WHILE WEARING CONTACT LENSES?

The last thing you want is blurry vision while diving, but is it safe to use contact lenses when you’re metres below the surface? Absolutely.

Both soft and hard contact lenses are perfectly safe to wear when scuba diving. However, soft lenses are considered the better option. Soft lenses allow gas to penetrate them, helping air to pass through the lenses and prevent blurry vision post-dive. Hard lenses also tend to make your eyes feel slightly dry, causing you to blink more often than usual, whilst soft lenses do not have this effect.

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