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

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When does staining make you niddah?

8 July, 2015


I have some questions about staining issues that I’ve been having recently. (I would be interested in the most lenient approach.)

I went off of hormonal birth control a few months ago and am having some bleeding/staining as my body is normalizing. I am aware of a general vaginal flow sensation, a sensation which is not unique to bleeding as I often have such a sensation due to general moisture. At no time do I feel an actual start to a flow.

My general understanding is that if I don’t see blood on a white garment, the stains do not render me a niddah.

1. Is my understanding correct? Or do I need to check based on the above?

2. At what point (length of time, amount, etc) is the bleeding no longer considered staining and would be considered a flow/period. I’ve never had a regular cycle, and they’ve been especially unpredictable in the last few years, so I have no expectation of when a flow would come. Also, because I’m not looking, I’m not quite sure how much blood is coming out and what its color is.

3. Am I allowed to closely inspect my black underwear to have a better idea of what’s happening?

Thank you for your time and assistance.


1. If you do not experience an actual flow, you may take precautions against becoming niddah from any staining by wearing colored underwear and waiting at least a few seconds (ideally 15 seconds) after urinating before wiping. This way you may disregard stains found on your underwear or on toilet paper. Should you find stains larger than a gris (the size of a US dime or Israeli shekel) on a white garment, or multiple stains that are cumulatively larger than a gris on your skin, you still may be rendered niddah. Additionally, if you see blood exit your body (while you are on the toilet or in the shower, etc.) you would be rendered niddah. Please see our pages on stains and toilet paper for more details.

You should not perform any bedikot unless it is required (e.g., on an onah day).

2. It can be difficult to distinguish between staining and a flow. There are no set limits for length of staining or specific amounts that would render you niddah. As a general rule of thumb, bleeding that could be contained by a pantiliner would be considered staining. Bleeding that requires stronger protection, like a pad, would be considered a flow. Please see our page on stains for additional discussion.

On your onah days (haflagah, yom hachodesh, and onah beinonit based on your last period), you are required to perform a bedikah, which may render you niddah.

3. You may inspect your black underwear to see what is going on with your body. You may also wear colored underwear that isn’t black, which could be easier to evaluate. Or you could use disposable pantiliners; a stain on a disposable pantiliner would not make you niddah. Additionally, if you waited at least a few seconds after urinating before wiping, you may examine the toilet paper.

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


This response was updated on 12 February, 2024.

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