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Old Oct 21, '11, 6:31 am
rufus23333 rufus23333 is offline
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Default Irregular cycles in menopause

My wife and I have been married for almost 25 years and have used natural family planning (NFP) throughout our marriage (we are not planning for anymore children). The last 7 years we have had major problems using NFP because my wife does not have regular menstrual cycles and bleeds randomly and frequently. My wife started having irregular cycles 7 years ago so the cycles can't be measured using NFP (NFP worked fine for us before this time). It has caused a severe strain on our marriage due to lack of marital relations.

During the first 3 years of the 7 years, my wife has went to three different doctors for a battery of tests and they all say there is nothing wrong with her (we thought it was medical problem). They gave her different hormone pills that haven't worked at all and my wife's cycles were still irregular and bleeding is random and frequent (my wife is 50 1/2 years old, and I am 49). So the doctor gave my wife birth control pills about 4 years ago. She took the pill for about 1 year from February 2008 to February 2009 in which her menstrual cycles were regular. The doctors now think it is menopause causing these issues. I was not comfortable about her taking the pill so she stopped taking the pill to see if her periods would be regular again. They did not and remained very irregular. She has not had a regular period since she came off the pill in February 2009. She has had breakthrough bleeding many times with no clear temperature rise in the last 3 years. In 2010, the doctor gave my wife hormone replacement pills because she was a nervous wreck, had prolonged crying spells, severe cramps, bouts of depression, and several other medical problems which were attributed to menopause. We have not had marital relations for almost 3 years. My wife and I read the Art of Natural Family Planning by Kippley more than once especially the section about menopause but that did not help. We have received documentation from the couple to couple league with no success. We even talked to a catholic NFP counselor and described the situation. They said since there was no period with a clear temperature rise, we must use mucous observations (4 dry days) to verify that wife cannot get pregnant during this time. My wife just does not get 4 or more consecutive dry days during a month so we can't use this suggestion. The NFP counselor did not know what to do know since NFP was not working in this unusual case.

We don't know what to do but we want to follow church doctrine. Is there something we can do? Would it be sinful if she went on the pill again knowing this is menopause and she does not have regular cycles? The pill may give her regular cycles again. She clearly does not have regular cycles which can be measured with NFP. This has is put a severe strain on our marriage for the last 7 years.
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Old Nov 19, '11, 7:37 am
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Fidelia Fidelia is offline
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Default Re: Irregular cycles in menopause

I would recommend reading Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. She isn't Catholic, but what she teaches in the book is basically sympto-thermal nfp (the difference is her method allows the use of barriers. you just wouldn't use them and abstain like normal nfp).
There is a ton of information in this book though. It's not only NFP, but is about fertility and cycles in general. It could be really helpful in determining the infertile periods (you mentioned a lack of dry days- Weschler addresses this specifically). She also has a section in the book specifically about menopause, and she lists a lot of other resources too. It is not an expensive book on amazon. Make sure you get the newer edition (2006, I think).
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Old Nov 20, '11, 6:37 am
rufus23333 rufus23333 is offline
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Default Re: Irregular cycles in menopause

Thanks, but we already read this book about 3 years ago and it did not provide much help.
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