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

  • Hebrew
  • English
  • Espnaol
  • Francais
Menu

Staining or flow?

11 November, 2015

Question:

Hi,

I am hoping that you can help clarify this for me.

Lately, due to nursing/hormonal birth control, my period has often started with about 12–24 hours of a light flow ⁄ heavy staining. It is unclear to me whether this should be considered a series of kesamim or whether it is considered an actual flow. I have asked several rabbanim and have been told that I would "know a flow when I saw one" but I apparently do not: (I know that to some extent, this question is a very new one in halachic literature, since we are trying to approximate when a hargasha that I don't feel would have been felt.)

This question bothers me quite a bit, since if the staining would be considered a kesem, I would like to take advantage of the last few hours of chibuk v'nishuk. On the other hand, if it is a flow, that would be a possible issur D'Oraisa:

(And sometimes I experience heavy staining that does not turn into a flow … does that change anything?)

It would be very helpful if there was some quantifiable quantity that could be used to answer this question; e.g. requires use of a liner or pad but does not soak a pad within X number of hours. Does such a guideline exist?

To add to this question, if this is to be considered a kesem, what should my behavior be during this time period? Should I be careful look to check if it is turning into a flow, or be careful not to look?

Lastly, how does this impact the calculations of vestos?

Thank you so much and tizku limitzvos:


Answer:

Unfortunately it can be difficult to distinguish between heavy staining and a light flow. There is no specific guideline or quantity of blood to determine whether one is experiencing staining or a flow. It can very from woman to woman based on her normal periods.

If the bleeding is comparable to her lightest period, that would be considered a flow. Less than that would be considered staining. One possible (but not set in stone) guideline is that if the bleeding soaks through a pantyliner, and a pad is needed to contain the bleeding, that is likely a flow.

While you are staining, we recommend abstaining from intercourse, but other forms of physical contact are permitted. You are not required to check regularly to see whether the staining is turning into a flow. If the staining takes place around the time you expect your period, it does make sense to check (once or twice a day, or when you go to the bathroom) to see whether it has become a flow. If the staining comes at a time you are not expecting your period (and may or may not turn into a flow) you need not check specifically, and may take precautions against becoming niddah from the staining unless it turns into a flow. See our articles on stains for further details.

Vesatot are calculated from the onset of the flow, even if one was rendered niddah earlier from staining. Therefore, this initial staining does not affect your veset calculations. If you are unsure when the staining definitely turned into a flow, you would calculate your vesatot next month from the earliest point that you are certain you had a flow (even if it might have begun earlier).

Please feel free to get back to us with any further questions.

B'Hatzlacha!

 


This internet service does not preclude, override or replace the psak of any rabbinical authority. It is the responsibility of the questioner to inform us of any previous consultation or ruling. As even slight variation in circumstances may have Halachic consequences, views expressed concerning one case may not be applied to other, seemingly similar cases. All health and health-related information contained within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for consulting with your health care professional. The advice is intended to offer a basis for individuals to discuss their medical condition with their health care provider but not individual advice. Although every effort is made to ensure that the material within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is accurate and timely, it is provided for the convenience of the Web site user but should not be considered official. Advice for actual medical practice should be obtained from a licensed health care professional.

For further questions or comments: 

The Nishmat Women's Health and Halacha Site is a public service of Nishmat, The Jeanie Schottenstein Center for Advanced Torah Study for Women. This project and others like it are made possible by contributions from people like you. If you have benefited from the service, and wish to enable us to help others, click here to donate.


Users of Internet filtering services: This site discusses sensitive subjects that some services filter without visual indication. A page that appears 100% complete might actually be missing critical Jewish-law or medical information. To ensure that you view the pages accurately, ask the filtering service to whitelist all pages under yoatzot.org.