Sensation of Menses (Hargashah)


According to Torah law, a woman does not become niddah unless a bodily sensation, or hargashah, accompanies her uterine bleeding. Under rabbinic law, which is fully authoritative, she can become niddah even with no sensation; however, the presence or absence of hargashah remains relevant in certain situations.


Sensation of Menses (Hargashah)

According to Torah law, a woman does not become niddah unless a bodily sensation, or hargashah, accompanies her uterine bleeding. Under rabbinic law, which is fully authoritative, she can become niddah even with no sensation; however, the presence or absence of hargashah remains relevant in certain situations.

Talmudic or rabbinic sources describe three sensations:

  1. Her whole body shakes.
  2. She feels her uterus open.
  3. She feels liquid flowing.

The third type is complex; it is unclear precisely what is meant and how this sensation differs from the external dampness that many women experience with their natural secretions. A woman should therefore discuss the practical implications of this hargashah with her rabbi.

In certain circumstances, when a woman brings about other strong sensations in the genital area, there is concern that she may in fact have had a hargashah but overlooked it or attributed it to the other sensations. These circumstances include:

  1. Urination.
  2. Sexual intercourse.
  3. An internal examination (bedikah).

Therefore, if a woman discovers a drop of blood or a stain, however small, immediately following urination or sexual intercourse, or on the cloth she used for an internal examination, the laws are stringent because she may have had a sensation which she did not notice at the time. Similarly, if she felt a hargashah and then discovered a stain on her clothing or another surface, she may be niddah – even if the stain does not meet the usual conditions needed in order to cause a niddah status.

If a woman has a hargashah, but detects no obvious bleeding, she should perform an internal examination. If she finds a forbidden color, she is definitely niddah. If she finds a discharge of a permissible color (such as clear, white or light yellow), she may attribute the sensation to that discharge, and is not niddah. If she finds a questionable color (such as brown) she should show it (or arrange to have it shown) to a rabbi. The most complex situation arises if she finds no discharge at all, and in such cases she should consult a rabbi.

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.

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.