Typical Bleeding Patterns and What they Say About You + Take a Poll

I have the wonderful opportunity of speaking with many menstruators about different topics. One that has come up often is the individual bleeding pattern. What’s a bleeding pattern? For many menstruators, there is a certain area on a pad where they typically bleed. These are often characterized by position and include Center-bleeder, side-bleeder, front-bleeder and back-bleeder. There are persons who may have a varying amount of each pattern or those who vary so much that they can’t identify one more than others. More information and what causes directional bleeding below. Post contains affiliate links

bleeding patterns center bleeder, side bleeder, front bleeder, back bleeder

Typical bleeding patterns are pretty straightforward. However, they can make or break your relationship with a pad. While I personally tend to be a center-bleeder, with a floppy or unstructured pad I turn into a side-bleeder and can have leakage onto my pants! I tried out a WAHM medium flow cotton pad that was way too floppy and immediately leaked off to the side.

For me personally, this means that I prefer to buy more structured pads and higher-absorbency because they are more sturdy and don’t bend as much when I move.

See a list of my favorite reusable pad shops.

What factors impact a bleeding pattern? 

Bleeding patterns are impacted by many things.

  • The position and angle of your vagina, the muscular internal tube leading from your vulva to your uterus.
  • Position and makeup of your vulva and even your position at the time menstrual blood meets the pad. Read more about your vagina & vulva anatomy here.
  • The angle of your pelvis. Tilt forward, backward, lifting on one side.
  • Viscosity, thickness, and speed of menstrual blood when it hits the pad.
  • Position at time of menstrual blood when it heads out.
    • Laying on back sleeping
    • Sitting in a chair
    • Laying on stomach
  • Position of your pad.
    • Pad placed too far forward can have back-marking.
    • Pad placed too far back can have front-marking.
    • Pad shift to the side.
  • Quality and structure of pad & support from underwear.
  • The fate of the universe. Cause unknown.

While for some menstruators there may be a clear answer about bleeding pattern. Perhaps someone with one leg shorter than the other has a hip higher that causes side bleeding to the lower hip side. Or, someone like me turns into a back bleeder at night when I’m on my back and gravity takes over. This is also why I wear post-partum 13″ or 12″ pad to bed! What travels forwards or backwards will be caught.

menstrual bleeder type

In addition to the makeup of your parts, factors such as the amount of menstrual blood, the speed at which it exits (I have two days where I feel like I’m peeing blood when I stand), and the consistency: Is it thick and goopy, thin and runny, has a lot of clots. Is it more pudding or thin like water? Obviously thinner menstrual blood can travel farther and thicker tends to stay put but may not absorb as well.

However, for some, there is no clear answer.

All of these factors determine which menstrual products are right for you and your cycle. Let’s take a look at some typical patterns below.

front bleeder

back bleeder

side bleeder

center bleeder

(Pinterest image below)

What do you think? I’d love to hear your input and stores below. Perhaps your trial-and-error and experience with products can help someone else out. Thanks for visiting The Green Vagina!


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