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

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I’m wearing black – how can I tell if I’m staining?

14 June, 2006


I am recently married and still very confused about when I am considered a Niddah. Five days before my first Yemei Perisha I saw some pink stains on toilet paper. I was told that this does not render me Nidda and to wait 24 hours to see if anything comes from it. Nothing official came from it, but I am really confused as to how one can tell if anything came from it if I am wearing black underwear, black pantiliner and not looking at my toilet paper. I have also been ‘cramping’ a bit, and feel like it is possible that I am bleeding lightly but I would not know as I am not ‘looking’… I am scared to be with my husband as I am concerned that I might be a Niddah and not know it. I found some of the Q&A’s very helpful but still am quite confused about the pre: yemei perisha days if one is experiencing cramps and possibly staining but not looking…

I want to take this opportunity to also thank all of you, I am not sure how I would have calmly made it through this new part of my life without the Yoetzet Hotline! Tizku L’Mitzvoth!


Mazal tov on your recent marriage!

We generally advise women not to look at toilet paper and to wear colored underwear (not necessarily black) when not expecting to be niddah, so that they do not find stains that would render them niddah unnecessarily. This recommendation is based on the assumption that there is no reason for a woman to be getting her period at these times. At times when a woman does expect to bleed, such as yemei perishah, she certainly should be aware of what is going on. Therefore, a bedikah is required on a yom perishah. If her yom perishah passes uneventfully and she is still expecting her period, she should be extra careful to be sure she is not niddah before having relations with her husband.

One way to avoid doubt would be to check for bleeding in a way that will not cause you to become halachically niddah. If you wipe yourself externally with toilet paper without urinating (or at least a few seconds–ideally 15 seconds–after urinating), you can tell if you are currently staining. If you find a stain, we recommend refraining from relations for about 24 hours to see if the staining continues, but that stain does not make you niddah. You can continue with other physical affection, and after 24 hours if you find out the stain was a fluke, you can resume having relations as well. If the toilet paper is clean, you can have relations with your husband without being concerned that you might be niddah. (Note that this recommendation works according to many authorities, including the posek for this website. However, some halachic authorities rule stringently regarding toilet paper even if it does not immediately follow urination.)

Another way to remain aware of your situation is to wear colored underwear that is not black. A stain found on underwear of any color but white or off-white does not make you niddah, but will help you be confident that you know your situation. When finding a stain on colored underwear we suggest abstaining for 24 hours without assuming you are niddah, just as with finding a stain on toilet paper.

Beginning to keep hilchot niddah is not simple for most newlyweds, and time and experience do help you gain confidence that you know what you are doing. Until then, feel free to continue asking questions, and keep in mind that as a married woman you are meant to have relations with your husband (it is no less of a mitzvah than being strict about hilchot niddah!) and that as long as you are careful at times you are meant to be, such as yemei perishah, you need not be nervous at all times that you might suddenly be staining for no reason. If you are nervous nonetheless, or are experiencing cramping which might be related to your period, you may take the precautions described above of wearing colored underwear and looking at toilet paper not after urinating.

Thank you for your compliments, we are so happy to be of assistance, and we will pass them on to the hotline staff.

This response has been updated to reflect the rulings of our current Rabbinic Supervisor, Rav Kenneth Auman, regarding waiting before wiping.

This internet service does not preclude, override or replace the psak of any rabbinical authority. It is the responsibility of the questioner to inform us of any previous consultation or ruling. As even slight variation in circumstances may have Halachic consequences, views expressed concerning one case may not be applied to other, seemingly similar cases. 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.

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