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

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Long periods & short cycles

7 November, 2002

Question:

As I am leading up to menopause, the length of my period gets longer, (currently 10 days) while the intervals in between get shorter (sometimes a total cycle of 21 days), although there is nothing medically wrong. Consequently there are often only about three days clear for marital relations. Is there any leniency in such a situation, especially if this is causing marital stress?


Answer:

The changes you describe in your menstrual cycle – a longer period with shorter intervals between cycles – are common among women approaching menopause. This can certainly be very challenging for couples observing taharat hamishpacha.

Depending on your menstrual pattern, it may be possible to increase the number of days that you are tehorah.

If your period begins with a few days of staining, please see our page on Stains. Many leniencies apply to stains. Thus, you may be able to delay becoming niddah by taking precautions such as wearing colored underwear and waiting between urinating and wiping. However, we usually advise abstaining from relations during active staining as a precaution against a flow beginning during relations, and to avoid the halachically complex situation of finding blood immediately after relations.

You may also be able to perform a hefsek taharah earlier. A hefsek taharah does not need to be completely clear. Light brown (the shade of coffee with milk or lighter) with no reddish hue is a permissible color. Questionable colors (e.g., darker brown or reddish brown), should be evaluated by a halachic authority. When asking a halachic question, you should explain that you often have only a few days between mikveh immersion and the onset of your next period.

If, after you get an acceptable hefsek taharah, you continue to experience staining during your seven clean days, additional leniencies are available. Please get back to us or a local halachic authority about the possibility of reducing the number of bedikot. Bring any stains or bedikot with questionable colors for evaluation; you should not automatically assume that the clean days have been invalidated.

We hope these suggestions will help shorten the your time in niddah.

If halachic measures are insufficient, hormonal treatments can sometimes be used to shorten the bleeding or to lengthen the interval. You should discuss this with your physician, making clear to him or her that, while you are aware that this is a normal phenomenon, it is a symptom that interferes with your quality of life and you want help.

Please don’t hesitate to get back to us with any further questions. B’hatzlacha!

This response was update on 30 June, 2023.


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