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

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Flow vs. stain

2 February, 2006


What is the difference between a light period and heavy spotting? I never seem to get a clear answer.

Here is my situation – I nurse my 14 month old baby (toddler?) once a day. I am on the mini pill. I have been clean until now. About 48 hours ago I started spotting – no hargashah like I usually have with my period (although how much do I actually remember – I havent gotten my period in 2 years) and didn't even feel external wetness. I just happened to go to the bathroom and see that reddish tint on my black underwear. I have NOT been looking at the toilet paper since then, and have been wearing black pads.

I feel like my spotting may be pretty heavy because I feel a lot of wetness and I even leaked through my red PJ's last night onto my bed, but sometimes I wont feel it at all for hours. Am I a niddah or not?


It is difficult to provide a precise definition of "light flow" versus "heavy staining".  Were you to see the blood exit your body, it would be a flow.  Otherwise, a light flow would be comparable to your lightest period.  More would be a flow.  Less could be defined as staining (absent a hargashah, a bedikah, or seeing the flow depart the body).

It is generally advisable to abstain from marital relations from the onset of staining until it becomes clear either that a flow is beginning or that the staining has ended.

Keep in mind that any leaking from your body onto a white surface cannot be ignored and must, at least, be evaluated as a ketem (stain).  But if you leaked through your pajamas and onto your bed, it is a safe assumption that you have a flow.  When a woman has a flow, we assume she has had a hargashah without realizing it, and the leniencies of stains (such as colored surfaces) do not apply. 

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