Upfront I should note, a "heavy" flow can vary from person to person. (After all, "heavy" for you is relative to your normal flow.) But, most medical professionals agree that a heavy flow can be defined as anywhere from from 60 to 80 milliliters of blood loss during your period. Since you might not know how heavy, in milliliters, your flow is, a clear indicator that your flow is on the heavier side is if you need to change your pad every two hours or more. Luckily, the best pads for a heavy flow can provide hours of protection so you have nothing to worry about during your heaviest days.
Before you shop for a new product, you'll want to consider, well, your period. While many thin menstrual pads boast the same protection as maxi pads, they can become oversaturated and uncomfortable if your period tends to be really heavy. In that case, it may be best to go with a traditional, fully-lined pad. On the other hand, if your flow tends to wax and wane throughout the day, a thinner, more flexible pad may be exactly what you need to stay protected and comfortable.
You'll also want to consider your individual lifestyle factors. If you tend to be on the go for a lot of hours at a time, you may want a non-scented pad made of organic materials that won't irritate your skin. Or if you plan on maximizing your time in bed with a Netflix marathon, you may as well go straight for a leak-proof overnight pad so you know you're covered.
Here's a round-up of some of the best maxi pads to keep you leak-free all day and night.
1. The Best Standard Pad: Always Radiant Feminine Pads For Heavy Flow
If you want to skip all the fancy stuff and go straight to a pad that will keep you covered all day, this winged pad by Always hits all the right marks. First, it's relatively slim, but that doesn't mean it can't handle a heavy flow; this pad absorbs up to 10 times its weight. It also features a flex-foam core that traps leaks as you move throughout the day, and promises to eliminate any odor.
2. The Best Deal: Solimo Thick Maxi Pads (4 Packs of 48)
Just because these budget-friendly pads are less expensive than other brands, it doesn't mean they aren't extremely effective. Like other pads for a heavy flow, they're super absorbent and lock in fluid as you move. They also feature an odor guard, and their curved shaped allows them to naturally fit with your body to keep you comfortable and leak-free. Plus, this pack includes almost 200 unscented pads! It'll be awhile before you have to re-buy.
3. The Best Thin Pad: U by Kotex Security Ultra Thin Pads
These thin pads for a heavy flow offer leak-proof protection without all the bulk. They absorb liquid in seconds with the "3D Capture Core," and the breathable material allows you to wear these pads comfortably for up to 10 hours. They're also long and have an adhesive strip on the bottom to keep them in place. Plus, they're unscented and hypoallergenic, so you can wear them even if you have sensitive skin.
4. The Best For Overnight: Rael 100-Percent Organic Cotton Menstrual Overnight Pads
Not only are these fragrance-free overnight pads extremely absorbent, but they're also 100 percent organic. They're made with USDA-certified organic cotton grown without any pesticides and made without synthetic chemicals, so they won't irritate your skin. They also feature a leak-proof core and side panels that prevent overflowing. Plus, they're completely breathable, so you'll stay cool and comfortable all night. With over 1,000 positive Amazon reviews, these pads are a fan-favorite.
5. The Best For The Environment: SimFamily Reusable Menstrual Pads
If you're looking for an eco-friendly option, these colorful reusable pads are just as effective without the waste. Each pack includes five bamboo pads and a mini carrying bag. Use them just like you would a disposable pad, and then drop them in the wash as you use them. For only $3 per pad, they're not only good for the environment, they'll also save you some money in the long run.
Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently from Bustle's editorial and sales departments.