12 May, 2009
My doctor has informed me (based on an ultrasound) that uterine fibroids are causing my irregular menstrual periods. I have not been able to go to the mikvah in nearly a year. Do you have any recommendations?
We are sorry to hear of your situation.
It is important to review the laws of stains, since not all bleeding or staining will render you niddah or invalidate the clean days. If the bleeding is not bright red, you should attempt to perform a hefsek taharah (if you have not been to the mikveh in nearly a year, the five-day minimum does not apply). Show any stains – on the hefsek or subsequent bedikot – to a rabbi for evaluation, since there are some shades and colors that are permissible. You should mention to him your difficulties with irregular bleeding due to fibroids, as well as the length of time you have not been able to get to the mikveh. You should also change your underwear more frequently during the seven clean days to prevent any stains from accumulating to the size of a gris (the size of a US dime or Israeli shekel). If you are having difficulty getting clean bedikot during the clean days, please speak to your rabbi or get back to us about reducing the number of bedikot required.
Once you are able to immerse, you should take precautions against becoming niddah from any subsequent staining by being careful to wear colored underwear and to avoid looking at toilet paper.
We urge you to get treatment for the fibroids. You can direct your physician to our sister website, www.jewishwomenshealth.org, for a physician friendly explanation of hilchot niddah to help him or her understand how the irregular bleeding is having a real impact on your life. Halachic concerns are important factors in medical decision making.
There are a number of approaches to treating fibroids. Your course of treatment is best determined in consultation with your physician. For some women, medications can also be used to help reduce the amount of excessive bleeding. Please ask your physician about this as well.
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