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

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Ignoring period

30 August, 2004

Question:

Yesterday, I felt discharge and believe that it is my period- I was wearing black underwear so I did not see the color of the stains and I purposesly did not look at the toilet paper because I was not expecting my period for at least 5-8 more days and I have only been out of Niddah for 9 days. My Onah is not until friday so I am not responsible for doing a bedikah until then and by then my period (assuming this is my period) will be over. Am I permitted to continue to wear black underwear and not look at the toilet paper until I am required to do a bedikah? I feel like I am cheating because I am pretty sure I have my period and am somewhat ignoring it.
Is this permitted?


Answer:

First of all, it depends what you mean by a feeling a discharge. If you felt a flow within the vaginal canal, then this is hargashah and you are niddah. If you simply felt external dampness, then the rules of stains (ketamim) apply, and stains on colored underwear would not render you niddah. However, if you suspect that this is your period, then you cannot ignore it to this degree – the caveats of ketamim apply only to light staining, not to actual flow.

On the other hand, you do not have to do a bedikah on which a stain will have more stringent rules. If you did not have hargashah, you might want to change to a lighter shade of colored underwear. This will enable you to check the degree of your staining and help you correctly determine your status. You could also rely on those authorities who rule that a stain on a sanitary pad does not make you niddah, and wear a pantyliner so that you can see what is going on. Remember, you cannot halachically ignore heavy or continuous bleeding.

If you have light staining rather than a continuous flow, and if you have no hargashah and avoid meeting the requirements for ketamim, then you are not niddah. Nevertheless, you should avoid intercourse while you are actually spotting. Such abstinence does not indicate that you consider yourself niddah, but is a precaution to allow you to evaluate the situation and to avoid generating more serious halachic questions.


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