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

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Mistook staining for niddah

14 May, 2005


I am on Birth control pills and yesterday (day 16), I took one a few hours late by accident. This morning, I woke up and went to the bathroom and after I waited the normal 15 seconds, I wiped and noticed that I felt discharge, so I looked. There was light brown staining.

Assuming that I was in Niddah, I put in a tampon and told my husband we should separate. Later that day, I took out the tampon and saw that there was very little on the tampon (brown, less than the size of a nickel). I did a bedikah and it came out clean. I realize that I did a few things wrong here. What did I do wrong, and am I in Niddah now? What should I have done?


You were well advised to wait between urinating and wiping.  In that case, spotting on toilet paper is subject to the leniencies of ketamim, or staining, and generally does not render a woman niddah.

In general, you should refrain from telling your husband you are in niddah before recieveing halachic counsel; the statement itself can render a woman a niddah.  In cases where a woman has an excuse for making the statement incorrectly (such as your confusion about your status), the statement itself does not render her niddah.

Your clean bedikah did not render you niddah, but it is usually not a good idea to perform a bedikah unless it is halachically mandated (e.g., during the seven clean days or on veset days).  Bedikot are treated very stringently.

A tampon can be subject to the stringencies of a bedikah.  If you are certain the color on the tampon was light brown (the color of coffee with milk or lighter) with no reddish tinge, you are not niddah. If it was darker, or reddish, and you still have your tampon, it should be brought to a halachic authority so the color can be evaluated. If you don’t have it, you should ask a specific question about how to proceed.

In the future, you would continue to wait the fifteen seconds, you would try a formulation on your husband along the lines of “I am not sure about my niddah status,” and you would seek halachic counsel before inserting a tampon or performing a bedikah.  You may be best served by addressing timely questions such as these to our hotline.

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