It’s one of those myths that you roll your eyes at, but not-so-deep-down actually wonder if it’s true. Can sharks smell our period blood? It’s without question that sharks are attracted to blood, and you’re technically bleeding while you’re on your period. So, in theory, it’s perhaps not a great idea to swim in shark territory during that week of your cycle.
Christopher G. Lowe, director of the Shark Lab at California State University at Long Beach, cleared things up to Women’s Health, and yes, sharks can smell your period blood. But don’t cancel your beach plans yet.
Lowe says that scent alone is not enough to make a shark attack you.
He says that sharks really aren’t into humans — even if they’re menstruating (or emitting blood from a small, fresh cut). Humans aren’t regular prey for sharks, because unlike what Jaws taught us, these creatures are usually wary of humans.
The Florida Museum website reaffirms the fact that sharks are attracted to period blood as well as any kind of bodily fluid — including urine. But the Museum is quick to mention that there isn’t a correlation between shark attacks and menstruating women.
If for some reason you do come face to face with a shark while out in the ocean, whether you’re menstruating or not, Lowe recommends you slowly back out of the water while keeping your eyes locked with the shark’s. They don’t like the feeling of being challenged, and will hopefully decide to leave.
So the next time someone tells you that you can’t go swimming on your period, lay down the facts, cite these sources, and jump into the waves.