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How to Know the Origin of Unexpected Bleeding
Menstruation, or the "period" as it is commonly known, is bleeding that a woman expects to see on a monthly basis. However, there are times throughout a woman's life that she may find unexpected bleeding. This may appear on her underwear or she may find it on tissues after using the restroom (At no time is a woman halachically required to inspect used bathroom tissue. Doing so only causes issues). She may see small dots of blood, or larger sized stains, or any size in-between. These stains may be red, pink, orange, brown or various shades of these, or other colors. This bleeding is commonly referred to as spotting or staining.
In this article I will discuss the Halachic implication of this type of bleeding, not the medical aspect of this bleeding. Bleeding from a wound is non Niddah bleeding. Bleeding from the Uterus (usually) causes the Niddah status. Can a woman determine the origin of the bleeding on her own?
If it's your period, then the origin is certainly the uterus and this causes a woman to be in the category of Niddah. However, if spotting or staining is found, and you know that it is not your period; can you determine its source on your own?
Here are some guidelines to help you figure this out.
Important Caveat: Even if you are able to determine, on your own, that the bleeding is from a wound, you must still consult a Rabbi to Pasken (give a halachic determination) on your Niddah status. You may not determine on your own that the bleeding that is found does not cause you to become Niddah.
Spotting or staining from a wound is commonly:
Spotting or staining from the uterus commonly:
*May occur spontaneously, without being touched
*Accompanied by discharge and secretions
*May be various deep shades of red or brown
These guidelines will help you determine for yourself the origin of the bleeding. This will be helpful information to provide to your Rabbi. He will then Pasken (give a halachic determination) on your Niddah status, or he may send you to a Bodeket for further clarification.
Remember, spotting and staining are common during the childbearing years and are rarely a cause for alarm. However, if you do have any medical concern, visit your healthcare professional. Likewise, if you find any spotting or staining during the post-menopausal time, visit your health care professional.
Your Rabbi, doctor and Bodeket are there to help you. Reach out to them.
NOTE: It is important to learn the halachic criteria regarding stains, which stain causes Niddah status, and which does not. Determination of status depends on color and size of the stain as well as location and color upon which the stain is found. Stains found on the body and on a bedikah cloth fall into a different halachic category than stains found elsewhere. It is vital to consult your Rav on status, and if status is ruled as Niddah, to ask if/how this may affect your Mikvah calendar.
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