A Quick Question about Birth Control


#1

I am not a female, and female “issues” often escape me.

But my girlfriend is on Birth Control, and it is not because of sex. Something about controlling the pains of her monthly burdens? Makes it easier? I don’t know.

Basically my question is…can we as catholics use birth control if we are using it for reasons other than to prevent the birth of children?


#2

Yes, this is a legitimate use.

However, it is rarely a medically sound decision… there are very few cases where “the pill” is the best and only method of treatment for “female issues”, despite the fact that it’s touted as the greatest thing on earth.
In fact, it can cause many complications…
It may be worth researching a bit… thepillkills.com/pillkills.php


#3

There was a study that came out in 2009, it totally freaked me out, and I think everyone else should be freaked out too. The study was made in collaboration by two
good institutes, Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center and a premier group on epidemiology at the NIH. It was a large epidemiological meta-analysis of various studies on the pill and breast cancer. In short, it was a trustworthy, reliable study. The study found that the overall incidence of breast cancer in women is increased more than 2-fold by combined hormonal contraceptive medications. The incidence of a particularly aggressive subset of cancers with an especially bad prognosis, namely triple-negative breast cancers (TNBC), however, was increased 4.2-fold!!! :eek:

This really goes a long way in explaining why 1 in 9 women will get diagnosed with breast cancer in the USA, during their life times, while the incidence of breast cancer in some “primitive” African countries is roughly 10-fold lower than in the USA. There may be other factors involved, but the fact that they do not use hormonal contraceptives surely explains at least in part why they do not get breast cancer as often.

I wish I could direct your girlfriend to some Catholic ob-gyn who has specific knowledge on other kinds of treatments for her problems - but I don’t know that part. Hopefully other posters will help you out on this. Regarding the combined hormonal contraceptive methods, however, be careful. They are carcinogens, they increase the prevalence of breast cancers and some other cancers as well - including colorectal, cervical, and hepatic cancers, if I remember correctly.


#4

[quote="Joseph_L_Varga, post:3, topic:238708"]
I wish I could direct your girlfriend to some Catholic ob-gyn who has specific knowledge on other kinds of treatments for her problems - but I don't know that part.

[/quote]

The Pope Paul VI Institute ( popepaulvi.com/ ) might have some other treatments.


#5

Great posts above…

Another great resource for finding pro-life doctors is this website… these doctors may be more interested in getting to the root issues rather than prescribing the pill willy-nilly like everyone else…
onemoresoul.com/nfp-directory


#6

In my interpretation, the diet/cancer link is much, much stronger. If it matters, I used to be a hardcore vegan and spent a few years reading diet and medical data.

I find the link below interesting, which allows one to poke around and see various stats for different countries. Note the correlation between various disease and western countries, who of course have western diets (the map option provides the best illustration). Then choose the “contraception” from the drop down menu. Note how countries like China, with extremely high contraceptive use, have low cancer rates. The Chinese in general have a natural, high-fiber, low-meat, no-dairy diet.

nationmaster.com/graph/hea_dea_fro_can-health-death-from-cancer


#7

LOL, “…monthly burdens…”. You made my day! BTW, I think oMost people would think it politically correct if you said PMS, PMDD or cramps during her period. ::rolleyes:


#8

Warrior, I will get back to this after I study the link provided. But a quick thought is this: the American study is still valid because it has its own control group. It compares typical American folks on typical American diet, some of whom do use contraception and some of whom don’t. And in this comparison, hormonal contraception does increase the prevalence of triple-negative breast cancer 4.2-fold.

Maybe you could make the point, based on the Chinese study, that if we could persuade American people to change their diet, birth control pills would have less of a carcinogenic effect on those folks who are on a healthier diet (high on fiber, low on red meat and fat). Probably the best protection could be obtained by combining both a healthy diet and abstinence from hormonal contraception. Still, as long as we compare what’s going on in the USA today, with today’s typical diets, the study is valid: combined hormonal contraception increases the prevalence of triple-negative breast cancer 4.2-fold, and breast cancers overall more than 2-fold.


#9

What concerns me is the tendency to not only dismiss the pill for therapeutic purposes, but piling up of the extreme side effects. I never see the balance; risk for other cancers, such as ovarian decreases. These issues should be discussed with one's doctor (hopefully an osteopath).

Personally, I believe in effecting cures, not treating symptoms, which in turn means I don't trust the vast majority of doctors. I don't recommend taking any medicinal/hormonal substances except in the case of absolute necessity. A great many diseases can be cured via diet and exercise.

I'm not terribly familiar with this particular women's issue to know what natural cures work. I do recall reading the link between the effects of periods/menopause and phytoestrogens, available in certain foods such as soy products. They seem to act as estrogens and stabilize cycles. Reputedly Japanese women (living in Japan and eating a Japanese diet) have more stabilized cycles because of this.


#10

Yes, you are right on that - ovarian cancer risk decreases. I thought about mentioning it, but in that case I should have included a lengthy explanation (not for you but for less initiated readers) about how breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer in women, while ovarian cancer is way down the line. And when you increase the prevalence of the number one cancer more than 2-fold, this negative effect far outweighs the modest decrease in some other cancer (ovarian cancer) which is much rarer to begin with than breast cancer. You may eliminate a few thousand ovarian cancer cases, at the expense of adding a hundred thousand extra cases of breast cancer.


#11

[quote="hutch976, post:1, topic:238708"]
I am not a female, and female "issues" often escape me.

But my girlfriend is on Birth Control, and it is not because of sex. Something about controlling the pains of her monthly burdens? Makes it easier? I don't know.

Basically my question is...can we as catholics use birth control if we are using it for reasons other than to prevent the birth of children?

[/quote]

So, you've already gotten some pretty good answers. I too vote for treating the problem and not putting a bandaid on it.

That said, based on just what you've written... YOU TWO as Catholics aren't married.. so birth control is really a moot point... 'cause in theory, there is NO WAY she's gettin' PG by you right now...

Ok, maybe you're talking about when you might be married... but it seems you haven't even popped the question yet... GF... not fiancee.:shrug: I'll assume you're talking about way into the future.

Oh, and with regard to controlling pain... I will state that I take Aleve with EXCELLENT results...and I get the kind of cramps that make you puke... One MUST talk to their Dr. about this sort of thing... I'm not prescribing anything here... But it makes sense to treat PAIN... as she's in pain... NOT her hormones... Unless of course they are out of wack...

In the end, I just don't know many women (myself included) who were put on the pill to "solve problems" that actually had their problems CURED, and didn't get new and improved problems... Just and FYI!


#12

[quote="Warrior1979, post:6, topic:238708"]
In my interpretation, the diet/cancer link is much, much stronger. If it matters, I used to be a hardcore vegan and spent a few years reading diet and medical data.

I find the link below interesting, which allows one to poke around and see various stats for different countries. Note the correlation between various disease and western countries, who of course have western diets (the map option provides the best illustration). Then choose the "contraception" from the drop down menu. Note how countries like China, with extremely high contraceptive use, have low cancer rates. The Chinese in general have a natural, high-fiber, low-meat, no-dairy diet.

nationmaster.com/graph/hea_dea_fro_can-health-death-from-cancer

[/quote]

Very interesting. Thanks for sharing this information. Indeed the amount of chemicals we get into our system through food, food-wrappings, plastic, and make up is causing a lot of trouble. It can also be seen on diseases such as infertility and endomitriosis. These are much more rare in eg. the Amish people and in Africa, because people eat more ecological food there. They have become socalled "life-style" diseases in the Western world.

However, the pill is still a bad idea. We must use our common sense here. The pill makes the body think that its pregnant.. its a huge thing to do to the body for years.
When I was 14 or 15 I went to the doctor because of cramps when I had my period. She just handed over a box of pills, no explanation, no alternatives explained. I was on the pill for years - I was not sexually active either - and nobody told me how foolish this was.
Indeed, who is the medical community kidding when they pass out the pill to anyone who comes with monthly cramps!... I have the clear feeling that researching the causes and treatment of women's deseases is just not very prestigious in the medical world.. This is also why the NFP-doctors are so great... but so far inbetween them.


#13

[quote="GraceDK, post:12, topic:238708"]
However, the pill is still a bad idea.

[/quote]

I certainly don't disagree. Overmedication is a great big problem in this country. The attitude is medicate first, ask questions later.

When I was 14 or 15 I went to the doctor because of cramps when I had my period. She just handed over a box of pills, no explanation, no alternatives explained. I was on the pill for years - I was not sexually active either - and nobody told me how foolish this was.
Indeed, who is the medical community kidding when they pass out the pill to anyone who comes with monthly cramps!... I have the clear feeling that researching the causes and treatment of women's deseases is just not very prestigious in the medical world.. This is also why the NFP-doctors are so great... but so far inbetween them.

Sometimes being on the pill is very useful, at least as a stop-gap measure. My ex is the perfect example of that. When she was 15/16 (and not sexually active), she was put on the pill because she would faint from blood loss. In that case, it was certainly the right course of action, simply because it isn't a good idea to be anemic and fainting while doctors are trying to figure out the problem.

The facts, circumstances, and risks always have to be weighed to determine the right course of action.


#14

[quote="GraceDK, post:12, topic:238708"]
I have the clear feeling that researching the causes and treatment of women's deseases is just not very prestigious in the medical world.. This is also why the NFP-doctors are so great... but so far inbetween them.

[/quote]

Besides of possibly not being very prestigious, I speculate that the wide-spread acceptance and use of birth control pills destroyed the financial incentive for pharmaceutical companies to develop drugs that would specifically target these gynecological problems. There ought to be a smarter way to treat them than with a birth control pill, but the birth control pill is already available and not very expensive. Add to this the fact that a large percentage of women "already take the pill anyway" - those who are sexually active and wish to avoid pregnancy. So, for a pharmaceutical company to develop some better drug, which is specifically designed and tested to treat heavy bleeding, PCOS, etc, their customers would only consist of young girls who are not sexually active, or else sexually active women who are aware of the many dangers of the Pill.

Besides, it seems like whenever it comes to the Pill (for daily use, for the morning-after pill, and so on) the regulators use a double standard and throw usual precautions to the wind - at least in the USA. "It's everybody's right to have easy access to the Pill", this mantra is used to quash legitimate concerns about the dangerous side-effects. Pills for monthly use with a low level of levonorgestrel are available on a recipe, but the Plan B morning-after pill which uses a higher dose of the same active ingredient is available over-the-counter in the USA. The equivalent of this situation would be this: you need a special license to drive a small car, but no license needed to drive a big 18-wheeler truck. Or, you need documentation to buy a small handgun, but no documentation needed to buy a fully automatic assault rifle. It's illogical that Plan B is available without a prescription, but the feminist ideal of easy access to contraception was used to trump the standard precautions that would be applied for the regulation of other, non-politicized drugs.

Meanwhile, I remember a nurse on this forums saying that she saw teenagers and young women in their twenties in the ICU, treated for stroke. And she was told, such things were unheard of before the birth control pills came to be used. Stroke used to be old people's disease, not something that afflicted young women. But I'm afraid, a fair discussion of the dangers and side-effects of the Pill is hindered by the fact that the feminist, pro-choice lobby would regard such discussion as a threat to their stated goal for easy access to the Pill. In other words, easy access trumps safety, and if the Pill causes cancer, thrombosis, stroke, and whatnot, that's an acceptable price for "easy access" and "reproductive freedom", as far as they are concerned.

Then in the next step, and that's what's happening today, the same Pill which has its serious dangers but got a pass on the account of "easy access to reproductive freedom", gets prescribed for other indications, even as trivial as acne treatment. By this point, the fact is overlooked that the "acne treatment medication" is the same dangerous drug that's known to cause breast cancers, stroke, and so on. Btw, I have seen some opinions according to which the Pill is a direct carcinogen, in other words it not simply increases the likelyhood of other carcinogens to cause cancer, but rather it causes cancer itself. And the WHO lately did put hormonal contraceptives in the class of carcinogens, together with such materials as asbestos.


#15

Absolutley, there can be times where it actually helps.

But you know what … its incredible:
I as on the pill for years and still had cramps etc. The times where I noticed they became less, was when I exercised more.
Then in my early 20s I got off the pill and since then I have had much less pain than when I was on the pill… Odd right? I don’t know if I am abnormal.
Anyway I still had pain during my period, but since I started using MAGNESIUM one year ago, I have many times needed to take absolutely nothing for pain, and if I did need to, one aspirin would do the job… I mean the effect was so evident.

And thats what gets me angry, that instead of putting me on this harmless natural Magnesium from the beginning that doctor gave me the pill before I was even able to assess if this was a good idea or not…
Thats sick.


closed #16

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.