In some women, bleeding never stops; in others, it continues for longer than normal. This blood is called istihadha. Likewise, any blood coming before puberty and after menopause is also considered istihadha.
A woman with this condition should calculate when her period would normally end, and then stop praying during the days of her calculated period and follow all of the other menstruation-related rules. For the rest of the days, her bleeding should be treated as istihadha. If she does not have a regular period or does not remember when it used to occur, but can distinguish between the two kinds of blood based on color, thickness, and smell (i.e., menstrual blood is dark, thick, and has a strong odor, while istihadha is bright red, thin, and less disagreeable in smell), she must act accordingly. If she does not have a regular period and cannot distinguish between the two types of blood, she must consider the blood coming for 3 to 10 days every month as menstruation and calculate it from the time she first noticed her vaginal bleeding.
There is no difference between a woman beset by istihadha and one who has a complete cessation of menstrual flow, except as follows:
- If the first woman wants to perform wudu' (ritual ablution), she should wash the blood from her vaginal area and then apply a menstrual pad or wrap the area with a clean rag on top of a wad of cotton to catch the blood. Any blood coming out after that is of no account.
- She must perform wudu' for every obligatory prayer.