Following on from the amount of flow – is discussing *how* the menstrual blood flows. Have you ever wondered why some people like what you consider to be a nappy/diaper as a pad?…. or how some can wear a mere scrap of fabric without leaking, while you can almost leak up to your armpits? it may surprise you to know that not only do we not all bleed the same amount, but not all bleed the same way.
It may be due to the shape of the labia, or it may be just one of those things that is unique to each person.
Some people bleed straight down into a small area of their pad. Some people have flow that spreads out in a line from the front of the pad right to the back. Some bleed out the front. Some bleed more out the back. Some bleed all over the pad. For some people their menstrual flow is nothing more than a slight trickle. For others it can be a constant heavy bleed. Some people experience a “gush” (particularly when standing up after sitting).
This is why some cloth pads are made with longer back sections (to catch flow that “channels” up the butt crack), some with longer front sections (for “front bleeders”), some have wider wings for those who bleed off the sides of the pad. Using something like an interlabial pad can help catch the flow before it can flow up the front or back, which can be particularly useful for night time.
Pads with a more textured fabric top (such as velour, sherpa, minky) will generally absorb a “gushing” flow more quickly than a flatter fabric (such as cotton, silk). Pads with waterproofing* (such as PUL) or water-resistance (such as fleece or wool) will be able to hold more than a pad of the same composition without the waterproofing/resistance.
Those with a flow that is more of a trickle, or that spreads out evenly over the pad – may be able to use pads with no waterproofing, as the blood takes longer to soak right through the pad. Those with a heavier flow, gushes or who bleed straight down in a small area of the pad – may find they need waterproofing as their pads will soak through quickly without it.