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

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Ten days of staining

26 December, 2005


I am 50 years old and have had a Mirena IUD for several years. My periods are very light and now last a scanty two and a half days. About five days later I start staining – red or pink blood streaks, less than the size of a gris, on toilet paper, without a hargasha. This continues intermittently, perhaps every three days for about another 10 days. By that time, it is almost 18 days since my period began, and with 7 clear days, it's almost time for my next period to begin again.

I am not sure if such light bleeding should be considered a period, although it does occur approximately every 28 days and with breast tenderness which I consider a hargasha. I do not have seven clear days, without any staining on toilet paper, until about day 25. Do I need to consider these stains as nidah or could I start counting when my continuous flow stops and disregard these stains? Would using colored toilet paper solve the problem?

Thank you for your advice.


We're sorry to hear of your staining difficulties.

The bleeding every twenty-eight days does make you niddah. Cyclical breast tenderness may be a form of veset haguf, but is not a form of hargashah. However, when there is a real flow of blood, we assume there was a hargashah and the woman is niddah.

It seems from your question that you are aware that not all stains render a woman niddah. To review the halachot of stains, including the leniencies (size, on a colored surface, etc), you may wish to look at our article on this topic.

The leniencies of stains may not apply to stains found on toilet paper immediately following urination, because there is a halachic concern that urination may have masked a hargashah.  To avoid this concern, we recommend that a woman avoid looking at toilet paper. It is also wise to get into the habit of waiting fifteen seconds between urinating and wiping.  This interval alleviates the concern that a hargashah (masked by urination) occurred immediately before the discovery of the stain. Any stain a woman discovers on toilet paper when she wipes after a fifteen-second interval can be treated with the leniencies of stains. Thus, if you only see blood on the toilet paper, but get valid bedikot during this time, you might be able to get to the mikveh much sooner.

Before making a decision to remove the IUD, please do the following the next cycle: Wait at least 15 seconds before looking at the toilet paper or do not look at all. If you have spotting, call our halachic hotline or contact a rabbi before performing the next bedikah. Any time you have a stain, ask about it, rather than just delaying or restarting the seven clean days. Furthermore, you can discuss with your rabbi, or get back to us, about the possibility of reducing the number of bedikot in your situation.

In addition, it would be reasonable to discuss with your physician if there are other explanations for this bleeding and if there is a continued need for contraception. This information is important in deciding whether or not to have the Mirena removed.

Please do not hesitate to get back to us after this discussion.

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