What is a menstrual flow?
Your period flow (also known as menstrual flow), is the monthly shedding of your uterine lining, most commonly referred to as getting your period.
The average menstrual cycle lasts around 28 days, but you don’t bleed the entire time (PHEW!) There are a few different phases of your cycle. Everyone’s cycle is different so these may not fully align with your body, but let’s break down an average cycle:
MENSES (Day 1-5) : Period time! This is when you shed the lining of your uterus and experience vaginal bleeding. This is when you would use period products such as a pad or tampon, menstrual cup (also known as a period cup), or period underwear. If you are using birth control, this is the time when you are likely taking your placebo or "reminder pills."
Always speak with your healthcare provider about how to properly take birth control pills and to know if this option is right for you.
FOLLICULAR PHASE (Day 6-14): Estrogen time! This causes the lining of the uterus to grow and thicken again.
OVULATION (Day 14): Egg drop time! An increase in hormones causes your ovary to release an egg
LUTEAL PHASE (Day 15-28): Egg travel time! Once an egg is released from your ovary, it travels to the uterus by way of the fallopian tubes. If the egg isn't fertilized (i.e. pregnancy doesn’t occur) we begin the cycle alll over again and are back at the menses phase.
The amount, length and frequency of your cycle can be irregular for the first few years of getting your period. This is super common. As you get older, your period often becomes more regular! This includes how much fluid you actually bleed during your period.
How much blood do I lose in my menstrual fluid?
Menstrual fluid doesn’t just contain blood. It also contains a bunch of other stuff like mucus and uterine tissue. This makes it a little difficult to pin down exactly how much blood you lose, but it usually averages around four tablespoons over the course of five days.
If you’ve already gotten your period, you know that you don’t bleed the same amount over the entirety of your menses cycle. Your period will typically begin with a light flow or spotting, transition into heavy menstrual bleeding, and then back down again to spotting towards the end of your period. However, period volume varies from person to person.
Period Flow Recommendations
No matter what stage of the flow you’re at, we got you covered! Here are our recommendations for period protection from beginning, middle to end!
THE BEGINNING: Day 1
The first day of your period can be a little funky, but it usually starts with some spotting! Spotting is exactly what it sounds like - when you experience spots of blood but not a full flow. Depending on your cycle, day one may also include a light flow or medium bleeding.
Our Recommendation: If you are preparing for your first period or you aren't quite sure about your flow yet and don't know if you should be wearing a pad or tampon here, no sweat! Wearing period underwear is a great way to be fully comfortable while still being prepared for anything. Super absorbent (and cute), Kt's Leakproof Undies have a built-in liner so you won’t leak through!
Be prepared: Shop period kits now to prevent unexpected leaks.
THE MIDDLE: Day 2-3
Typically, the middle section begins with some medium flow bleeding, and transitions into a heavy flow. If you do wear tampons, pads or use menstrual cups, this is where you may notice your products absorbing more fluid. If you wear period underwear, this is the time where you may wish to wear something with a higher absorbency level, such as our Super Leakproof Sleepover Short. You might also consider pairing up other period products, such as a period cup or tampon, with a pair of period underwear for added peace of mind.
You may find yourself running to the bathroom a couple times a day to change your tampon or pad. In some cases, you may need to go up or down in absorbency levels, and this can take some time to understand what works best for your body. When is it time to talk to your doc? Everyone’s different, but:
- If you’re worried that this stage lasts longer than usual or
- You have extremely heavy bleeding and are soaking through tampons and pads super frequently or
- There are blood clots (they look like jelly!) bigger than a quarter
- You have severe cramping or pain
In any of these cases or if anything doesn’t feel right, speak with your healthcare provider.
Wear whatever form of period protection is most comfortable for you. Whether that’s a pad, tampon or menstrual cup — go for it! Because the middle of your period can also be heavy and predictable, we’d also pair this with a pair of Sleepover Shorts. They are super absorbent, leakproof, and are great for overnight use.
THE END: Day 4-5
You made it! The last few days of your period can be pretty smooth sailing. It’s similar to the beginning of your period (it is a cycle after all). Coming down from your heavy flow days, the end of your period can see some medium/light bleeding, and end with a bit of spotting.
Just like the beginning of your period, we recommend going for the period undies if your period is light! If it’s still a bit on the medium side, continue using your fav form of period protection
Further reading: How to use a tampon
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