Flow Reading In Grass
Jun 13, 2019

Getting to know your flow

Learn the basics of your menstrual cycle and how to find the right period products for you.

Getting to know your body and understanding your flow can help you manage your period and become more empowered about your reproductive health.

What is menstruation?

Your menstrual cycle begins on the first day of your period. On average, periods last between 2 and 7 days and can be accompanied by symptoms such as cramps, pimples and breast tenderness.

Menstruation is the shedding of your endometrial tissue in order to help you body to prepare for your next ovulatory cycle. As the lining sheds, it will be expelled from the uterus through the vagina alongside blood and cervical discharge. You period is an important time for your body to cleanse and reset, and can provide important insight on your wellbeing. Learn more about the different phases of your cycle here.

Flow levels explained

Getting to know your flow levels can help you know what to expect when your period arrives, as well as noticing when something is out of the ordinary for your cycle.

You can record heavy, medium, light and spotting days in Cycles, so it's always easy to know what to expect at a glance. What is spotting, you might ask! Spotting is a very light bleed that can happen between periods. It's much lighter and doesn't require pads or tampons to catch the flow, though you might need a thin underwear liner.

Menstrual flow varies for every body, with a common level being around 5ml to 80ml per period. Flow above 80ml is considered heavy. If you're unsure how this looks in practice, you can find flow levels in relation to the period products you use below.

Comparing menstrual products

Here are some of the most popular options with flow absorption rates, and their common pros and cons:


Regular pads hold around 5ml, while overnight/super pads can contain up to 15ml of flow.

  • Good for night time use
  • Safe and poses very little health risk
  • Not the most comfortable choice


Absorption levels can vary from 3ml in a small tampon to up to 12ml for a super tampon.

  • Good for use during sports or while swimming
  • Risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome
  • Must be removed or changed every 4 - 8 hours

Menstrual cups

An average period cup holds around 20ml, with some being smaller or larger. You can use these measurements to keep an eye on your flow and notice changes in your flow.

  • Eco friendly, less plastic waste
  • Economical - one cup will last you for years
  • Chance of leakage if not inserted correctly
  • Can be worn up to 12 hours

Period Panties

Period panties tend to absorb around 10 ml of flow.

  • Good to wear overnight
  • Easy to use and low waste
  • Have to wash them instead of dispose of them

Want to learn more about your menstrual cycle? Follow us @cycles.app for more tips!