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

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Long term spotting and abstaining

23 December, 2009



I'm on the pill and am spotting. I was told by my rabbi that I'm not a niddah but to refrain from intercourse as is suggested on the site to see how the situation progresses. It's been on and off for a month now, and most recently two weeks straight.

I noticed on your site it says that refraining from intercourse is highly recommended but not halachically required. My question is, since it's been going on for this long and the situation is not worsening and no flow is happening, can the recommendation of no intercourse be dropped, since it's frustrating for my husband and I? If it's not halacha, what is it?


Our general recommendation is to abstain from intercourse for 24 hours after the staining has stopped. The reasoning behind this recommendation is that if staining is found immediately after intercourse, or if blood is found on your husband after intercourse, you would be rendered niddah and would also enter a halachically problematic situation of bleeding after intercourse. Therefore, although abstaining when spotting is not technically a halachic requirement, it is strongly advisable. 

However, in a situation where a woman is experiencing persistent staining, she should try to use her judgment to determine when relations would be acceptable and when they should be avoided. You can wipe yourself externally with a tissue (not after urinating) to see whether you are actively staining – if the tissue is clear, go ahead with relations. After intercourse, you should wait a few minutes before getting up and cleaning yourselves. Do not look for any staining.

Please read our article on staining for further details.

If the staining does not subside, you may wish to consult with your physician about trying a different formulation (e.g., if you are using combination estrogen/progesterone, taking a higher dose pill), to try to minimize or eliminate the staining.

Please feel free to get back to us with any further questions. 

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