Abstaining while spotting
8 September, 2006
I recently had mid-cycle spotting caused by a missed pill, and due to several missteps, I considered myself a niddah. While this is not a common occurrence for me, I would like to make sure that I understand the ramifications of such spotting and am knowledgeable enough to deal with it if it recurs.
I understand that it is appropriate to abstain for 24 hours after spotting, to make sure that a flow is not about to start. But in this case, I continually spotted for 8-10 days straight. After the first such day, would I continue to abstain?
Thanks in advance for your help. I am new to Taharas Hamishpacha and I would like to understand and practice it correctly.
If you find a stain, you need to conduct yourself as niddah – without actually considering yourself niddah – until you have clarified your status. The laws of stains, and the conditions required for a stain to make one niddah, are outlined in our article on ketamim. It is important to figure out as soon as possible, if necessary with the help of a rabbi or yoetzet, whether or not you are niddah.
If it turns out the stains do not make you niddah (e.g., they are too small, the wrong color, or on a colored surface), you are halachically permitted to have relations. However, we feel it is still a wise precaution to abstain until about 24 hours after the staining stops, since finding a stain in the course of relations or after relations is a much more complex halachic issue.
We understand the difficulty of abstaining for such a long time. Twenty-four hours is not a rule set in stone, but a precautionary measure. If you feel that you have not been staining on a certain day, but less than 24 hours have elapsed since you last stained, perhaps you should wipe yourself externally with toilet paper before having relations (but not immediately after urination) to confirm that you are not currently staining.
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