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

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Staining from c-section scar

1 September, 2020

Question:

My question is the following. I am 37 years old.

Since I was 12 I’ve always had a 7 day period. I have been married for nearly 10 years, bH, and for about the first 7 years I went to the mikvah after 14 days. I have been blessed with a regular cycle.

However ever since I had my third child 3 years ago, my periods have shortened. They stop completely after 5 days. Now the tricky part is that I had to have a cesarean, and apparently the internal scar is holding some blood that can drain for a couple of days after my period has stopped. So day 6 will be clear (would be day 1 of clean days) but then a brown colour comes out when I wipe a wee, for about two or three days. It doesn’t come out onto the white underwear, but it’s there when I wipe. I had doctors confirm that it’s not a period, but old blood that it’s being held by internal scar tissue. So what must I do?

The other thing is, I have ALWAYS felt the mittelschmertz, the ovulation pain on either ovary, alternating each month, on the 14th day. But ever since my periods shortened, I have been feeling this on day 12. By the time I wait 7 clean days and go to the mikvah, this pain is long gone, which means ovulation has long passed. But what am I supposed to do? Ignore the old blood and go after 12 days? Or carry on going late like I’ve been doing and going around day 17?

Thank you very much!


Answer:

It is fairly common for a woman’s cycle to change in her late 30s and for there to be some residual staining from C-section scars. This type of staining need not always disrupt the clean days, for a few reasons:

First, not all bleeding or staining is a niddah color. Some browns are acceptable even on bedikah cloths and thus have no effect on the clean days. For example, a light brown with no hint of a reddish tint (like coffee with milk, or lighter) may be disregarded. If you have brown stains on bedikot (any size) or on white underwear (larger than a gris), we encourage you to have them evaluated by a local halachic authority. Be sure to ask if the shade in question is one you can evaluate for yourself in the future. You are welcome to contact us with your location for assistance finding a halachic authority.

Second, if the brown is a niddah color, then it still may be possible to get through the clean days by reducing the number of bedikot performed. In this case, we would suggest performing the hefsek taharah and the first bedikah of the next day (day one of the clean days). You would then omit bedikot for the two or three days of staining, resuming them when staining subsides.

Third, staining on toilet paper need not make a woman niddah, regardless of its color, so long as she waits about fifteen seconds between urinating and wiping. For more information on this topic, please see our article “Toilet Paper.”

We hope that the above information will help you reach the mikveh sooner, and also relieve your concerns about ovulation timing. Generally speaking, women ovulate around fourteen days prior to the onset of menstrual bleeding. Mittelschmertz can sometimes be misleading. If you remain concerned about ovulation prior to immersion, we suggest that you use ovulation stick tests to pinpoint the timing of ovulation over the next few cycles. Then please get back to us with more details to follow up. You can also learn more about ovulation prior to immersion here.

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


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