Getting Information from a Doctor
The role of the physician in hilchot niddah is to give his or her best medical opinion related to the halachic question. This might include:
1) a description of what is seen on a physical examination
2) a description of the medical procedure that has been or will be performed
3) the most likely cause of vaginal bleeding
4) a medical need for contraception
The role of the medical professional is not to give halachic rulings. For this a rabbi or yoetzet should be consulted.
Sometimes it is difficult for a woman to know what questions to ask the physician to get the information that she needs. The following is a summary for some common situations:
Unexpected Vaginal Bleeding
What is the most likely cause of the bleeding? Does an examination show any visible wounds, abrasions, or areas that could bleed? What is the chance that the bleeding is from a wound or abrasion (e.g. definite, probable, possible but doubtful)?
What is the name of the procedure? What instrument was used? Was any instrument inserted into the uterus through the cervix? If so, what is the maximum diameter of the part of the instrument that entered the uterus? Can the procedure cause bleeding? If so, what is the source of the bleeding, and how long can it be expected to last?
For what medical reason is contraception recommended? For how long will it be needed? Is there any medical reason not to use hormonal contraceptives? If so, what is it?
Information for Medical Professionals
Sometimes, it may be helpful for the physician to have a basic understanding of hilchot niddah and its medical implications in order to give optimal care to observant patients. Physicians can be referred to our Jewish Women’s Health website for medical professionals. This site is designed to enable medical professionals, such as physicians, midwives, nurses, and psychologists, to understand the needs of their patients or clients who observe Jewish law (halacha).
Jewish Women’s Health is also an excellent resource for women seeking to communicate with their healthcare providers about the halachic implications of medical conditions and procedures. Patients can visit the site and print out the relevant pages to share with their doctors, or access it during an appointment. The site includes questionnaires that physicians can complete both before and after gynecological procedures.