Contraceptives for other health reasons

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stubiegirl

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from what i know the church permits one to use contraceptives for health reasons (ie acne or cycle regulation) but what about the other health risks involved with using the pill and other oral contraceptives? what is another safer option to the pill?
 
It’s really hard to just ask your doctor about that, because I have found many will downplay the risks of contraceptives.
 
so true i found my doctor to be very unhelpful in stating why the pill is harmful and such. also, it seemed that he just wanted to put me on the pill b/c he didn’t know what was really wrong at the root of things.
 
Find a new doctor.

Seriously.

You put your life in your doctor’s hands. His concept of the human person should agree with your faith. You certainly wouldn’t take spiritual direction from a wayward theologian. Don’t take medical advice from a person who has a deeply flawed view of the human person.
 
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stubiegirl:
from what i know the church permits one to use contraceptives for health reasons (ie acne or cycle regulation) but what about the other health risks involved with using the pill and other oral contraceptives? what is another safer option to the pill?
Some medical reasons for OCP (and hysterectomy for that matter):
  1. Dysfunctional uterine bleeding: Some women bleed so heavily that they are severely anemic. Some luckily can be controled with hormonal manipulation. Others need a hysterectomy if things are very severe. Others have severe pain that is controlled with OCP.
  2. OCP has been shown to reduce the risk of ovarian. In certain families/patients that have a very high risk of ovarian cancer, OCP can be used to reduce that risk.
  3. Hypoestrogenism: In women with decreased estrogen production, whether due to disease of the ovaries (gonadal dysgenesis) or to hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, treatment with cyclic estrogens can be instituted at the time of expected puberty to induce the development and maintenance of female secondary sexual characteristics and to prevent osteoporosis.
There are other medical uses of OCP. I am no gynecologist so I can’t give them all. I am not convinced that the treatment of the above disorders is contrary to Catholic teaching.

Its all about risks and benefits as are most things in medicine. If you don’t think that you are getting answers concerning risks from your doctor, seek a second, third, or fourth opinion.
 
And great care must be taken with OCP.

There is what is called a ‘breakthrough’ ovulation, an ovulation that happens inspite of the contraceptive.

A breakthrough ovulation can occur with any level of the hormone, but the chance does go down with higher levels of the hormone.

If a breakthrough ovulation occurs at a time where marital relations have occured, the fetus cannot implant and an abortion results.
 
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SHEMP:
Some medical reasons for OCP (and hysterectomy for that matter):
  1. Dysfunctional uterine bleeding: Some women bleed so heavily that they are severely anemic. Some luckily can be controled with hormonal manipulation. Others need a hysterectomy if things are very severe. Others have severe pain that is controlled with OCP.
  2. OCP has been shown to reduce the risk of ovarian. In certain families/patients that have a very high risk of ovarian cancer, OCP can be used to reduce that risk.
I guarantee you that before I simply took any MD’s word again that the Pill would 'regulate me" or aid with dysfunctional uterine bleeding, I would look into another MD to get a diagnosis FOR THE CAUSE, not simply swallow a pill to ‘help’. PCOS is NOT one that is helped, infertility can worsen on the Pill, and the diagnosis must be made. Bleeding disorders such as von Willebrand’s must be ruled out. Too many MD’s today simply give a pill instead of taking time to find the reason for women having problems. And the Pill can add cancer risks in itself. It is an artificial substance that too many rely on for solving problems without knowing what REALLY is going on…
 
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WICatholic:
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SHEMP:
Some medical reasons for OCP (and hysterectomy for that matter):
  1. Dysfunctional uterine bleeding: Some women bleed so heavily that they are severely anemic. Some luckily can be controled with hormonal manipulation. Others need a hysterectomy if things are very severe. Others have severe pain that is controlled with OCP.
  2. OCP has been shown to reduce the risk of ovarian. In certain families/patients that have a very high risk of ovarian cancer, OCP can be used to reduce that risk.
I guarantee you that before I simply took any MD’s word again that the Pill would 'regulate me" or aid with dysfunctional uterine bleeding, I would look into another MD to get a diagnosis FOR THE CAUSE, not simply swallow a pill to ‘help’. PCOS is NOT one that is helped, infertility can worsen on the Pill, and the diagnosis must be made. Bleeding disorders such as von Willebrand’s must be ruled out. Too many MD’s today simply give a pill instead of taking time to find the reason for women having problems. And the Pill can add cancer risks in itself. It is an artificial substance that too many rely on for solving problems without knowing what REALLY is going on…
 
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WICatholic:
Bleeding disorders such as von Willebrand’s must be ruled out. …
And whats the treatment for a women who has VWD and who has heavy menses? What medicine should she take? One option is to see if you can manipulate the uterus structurally so that she has less bleeding. Other medications can be used such as DDAVP but these are usually used intermittantly.
 
Right, a woman with vWD goes by her physician’s orders for treatment. Bleeding is always intermittent… my family member does not bleed continuously that has vWD, NOR do my cousins with Hemophilia A.

The point I tried to make was that MD’s do not always diagnose, they treat by symptoms…and many times it is the wrong treatment with women. Diagnosis is what is needed, NOT being handed the Pill. Without diagnosis, those with bleeding disorders have serious problems if in an accident, undergoing surgery, etc. Get a correct diagnosis, NOT just a placebo… the Pill is not the answer to everything that comes along. For PCOS, it can be completely the wrong answer, as it was for me long ago.

DDAVP is what my relative uses when bleeds occur.
 
sometimes, it’s just as easy as changing the way you eat and excercise. I had to do research because I refused to take the pill. Why? because the doctor offered me NO ALTERNATIVE to the pill.

does anyone hear bling-bling when the pill is mentioned and no other alternatives are? :rolleyes:
 
This is an area that I think I can give some advice. As a pediatric endocrinologist, I frequently see girls with polycystic ovarian disease (PCOS). I have often been frustrated with the approach of putting someone on OCPs without examining alternatives or fully evaluating the underlying defect(s). I agree that it is very difficult (but not impossible) to find a physician who will understand and respect your beliefs about the dangers of OCPs. There are situations where OCPs are the only (or best) option, but most often there are safer and better alternatives (both from a medical and Catholic perspective).

One alternative is to use a drug called metformin (Glucophage). It is normally used to treat diabetes. It is particularly effective in women who have insulin resistance as a major component of their PCOS. In fact, it is probably better than OCPs because it adresses the underlying problem.

For women with irregular menses without other features of PCOS (increased hair, acne and insulin resistance) it is possible to treat with progesterone alone. Used in this way, it does not act as a contraceptive.

For more information or for help in finding a Catholic physician, you can check these links to the Catholic Medical Association and theNational Catholic Bioethics Center
 
I think it really helps to find an NFP only doctor! If a woman is on the Pill even for medical reasons- she must abstain from marital relations- as the pill has a secondary method of effectiveness by acting as an abortafacient.

This is an awesome site and resource for finding doctors who will not perscribe the Pill not voluntarily sterilize :omsoul.com/

I hope you can find one in your area!! I drive an hour to see the one closest to me, but I find it is worth it- to know I am getting all of the information and not just medication to mask symptoms!
 
Judie Brown has an excellent article on this topic at American Life League website, www.all.org, by Dr. Paul Hayes entitled “Birth Control for Medical Reasons”.

I would also suggest the book Fertility & Nutrition Cycles by Marilyn M Shannon.

Someone else already suggested One More Soul, which is another good source of information.
 
Thank you for 1ke and ShanMcCatholic for your posts. Your comments and the websites that you included are most helpful.
With regards to the use of hormone supplementation (estrogen and progesterone) whether in the form of a prepackaged OCP or cyclic use of the natural hormones it is important to remember that in order to be morally permissible, one must be treating a serious medical condition. Dr. Hayes is right that treating menstrual cramping alone in most situations does not meet this criteria. However, menstrual irregularity is not necessarily benign and can lead to an increased risk of endometrial cancer. The increased secretion of male type hormones (androgens) in PCOS can be harmful to the body beyond the cosmetic problems of increased hair and acne. There are also many medical conditions in which there really IS no alternative.

Since in my practice, I see children, who should not be sexually active since they are not married, the potential for a contraceptive or abortive effect of hormone replacement does not factor into the equation in the same way as in married adults. I strongly counsel my patients against being sexually active. However, even for married couples, use of hormonal medications (estrogen and/or progesterone) can be morally permissible under the doctrine of the double effect. In order for this to apply, the medical condition must be serious and in proportion to the potential negative consequence that could result. It is also necessary that suitable alternatives are not available. In no circumstance can the contraceptive effects of OCPs be the intended effect.

That said, the instances where OCPs are indicated and morally permissible are limited. In many situations, there are alternatives and/or the medical condition being adressed is minor compared to the potential to abort a developing child. If a woman is willing to completely abstain, then the potential negative consequence would not exist and the use of OCPs might include less severe medical conditions. It is appropriate for couples who are not abstaining and who are needing to use OCPs to treat a serious medical condition to adhere to NFP in order to do everything possible to prevent the potential abortive effect of the pill. While it is true that using OCPs may mask the signs that women use to monitor fertility, there are ways to determine if ovulation has occured. This would likely limit the times available for the couple to a narrow window, but to my understanding of the Church’s teaching in this matter, complete abstinance is not an absolute requirement.

I very much welcome additional comments on this topic as this is an area that I have given much consideration. The National Catholic Bioethics Center has been a great resource for me. While I really wish that everything was black and white, there are many issues in the area of moral ethics that are grey. That is why even Catholic hospitals have ethics boards.

Sorry for being so long winded…
 
I’m not trying to say anyone is wrong, but I’m wondering if others can weigh in on this, because I heard the exact opposite of some things mentioned about marital relations on “the pill” while I was in RCIA.

I was told that if synthetic estrogen was taken for a real medical reason, that marital relations should continue regardless because they left the couple still open to the possibility of life. Remember, even pills are not 100% effective - so there’s a possibility that even while using these pills that a pregnancy could occur. By this thinking, NFP should not be used unless it would otherwise be used.

I was told that the moral justification for continuing marital relations fell under the umbrella of the concept of double effect, which the doctor discussed, and which I’m just echoing.

Anyone know any official pages I can look at about this particular issue? When I look it up online or on the ALL page, I get answers that slightly touch on the issue, but don’t answer the to-NFP or not-to-NFP at the same time as taking these pills if they have to be taken for serious reason - at least not in depth. The ALL page says that these pills “always” cause an abortion, but that can’t be true, since we know the pill has a failure rate.

I’m not being aggressive - just confused!
 
I was told that I needed to be on the pill but realized that wasn’t my only option. The thought of having to take the OCP for months, even years, really left a bad taste in my mouth (pardon the pun).

Go see a NaPro doctor. Hopefully there is one in your area. onemoresoul.com/nfp-providers
 
I would just like to add that I found this, which says that it is not prohibited to continue marital relations while on synthetic estrogen for medical reasons. Thoughts? It is a reputable source?

thecatholicletter.com/birth-control-abortion-article-subjects-40/100-the-catholic-birth-control-a-sex-faq#3
BrickRoux,

I think that on some of the websites that have been suggested here, there are contact links that can get you to someone who may truly know what the Church teaches with far more clarity. Personally, in addition, I am thinking of Dr Janet Smith (PhD, not MD), and the Paul VI institute. There are others, including the Tepayac Clinic in VA who may be willing give you the names of people in your area who can help.

I DO know that for many years, I had no diagnosis of my problem, but the Pill was suggested as the ‘treatment’ and ‘cure’. It was not. The root of my problem had to be diagnosed, and finally was when I found the right MD. I had used the Pill for only a short time, as it was preventing what we wanted most – children. I threw them out. I was on only for ‘medical reasons’… and had no idea that after the short time of its use, I would have no period for nearly a year. The last MD I found told me that the Pill caused already dormant ovaries to become even more dormant…

It is NOT an answer for every problem a woman has, though there are many MD/NP that seem to think it is.

For those with a real diagnosis and a severe medical need… it may be the answer. But I think that a NaPro MD or the Paul VI Institute may be able to give you the answer you need.

popepaulvi.com/

janetesmith.org/

tepeyacfamilycenter.com/

God bless!!
 
Progesterone, and estrogen are NOT contraceptives unless you’ve mixed them to act as such.

These are hormones that you make naturally. There is nothing wrong with taking certain hormones to mimic NATURE, if you’re not acting natural…
 
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