Nishmat's Women’s Health and HalachaIn memory of Chaya Mirel bat R' Avraham

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Bedikah with tampon

28 August, 2006

Question:

I got my period last Tuesday morning and was able to do a clean bedikah on my first try Shabbat afternoon. On Sunday, I found two small, dark yellow stains on my white underwear. Neither is larger than a dime, but together the area would be larger than a dime. I assumed that my period was still going and immediately put a tampon in since I was on my way out to a wedding. Several hours later, I took out the tampon and I was surprised to find that it was perfectly clean. I did not have any bedikah cloths with me and could not do a separate bedikah. So, I would like to know:
1. Was the stain problematic or can I still go to the mikvah Motzei Shabbat?
2. Can I rely on the tampon as a bedikah for day #1 since I did not have any cloths with me and was not able to do a separate bedikah that day?


Answer:

1. Dark yellow stains do not usually render a woman niddah, regardless of their size.  Additionally, stains on clothing are not added together when evaluating size.  That is to say, a woman can have numerous stains, even of a bright red, each of which is smaller than a dime.  Even if, added together, the area of the stains would far exceed that of a dime, she is not niddah.  The size of each stain on clothing is evaluated independently.  Thus, the staining on Sunday did not invalidate your hefsek taharah

When in doubt about color and size, we strongly advise that you have the stains evaluated by a rabbi rather than assume that your hefsek taharah has been invalidated.

2. We understand from your question that you did not do any bedikah on Sunday, and only used a tampon. If you did a bedikah with a bedikah cloth on Sunday morning, then you can go to the mikveh on schedule. If you did not do a bedikah on Sunday, your situation is more problematic.

Tampons are not generally used for bedikot because they cannot reach all of the cracks and crevices of the vaginal canal.  Since the bedikot of the hefsek taharah, first, and seventh days are so important, a tampon on those days cannot usually count as a bedikah.  Exceptions can be made is if there is marital strain, a fertility issue, or some other strong reason to rule leniently and accept the questionable bedikah. It is worth asking a specific question if there is any such reason to be lenient. In most cases such as yours, we would say that you should perform bedikot as usual on Monday. Monday will now be considered day one of your shivah neki'im (you do not need a new hefsek), and mikveh will be delayed one day, to Sunday night.


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