Alternatives to Use of Pill For Medical Reasons


#1

Hello,

Please take the time to read all of my post before commenting.

I have been taking the pill for medical reasons. When not on the pill I have an extremely heavy period that lasts about twelve days, and often some days I cannot leave the house.

I have a wonderful doctor who worked very hard to find the root problem. I had numerous tests done (everything from A to Z) and everything came back normal. I have seen multiple doctors and my current one has given me excellent care.

I have tried several times to discontinue the pill, and the last time discontinued it for over year, and the long heavy periods came right back. I also tried the mini-pill (progesterone only pill) and that made things much much worse. I tried dietary changes, and I already exercise regularly, and that does not help.

My doctor recommended the Mirena IUD, because in my specific situation, she thought it would be a safer and better alternative to the pill. She also educated me surgical options that reduce the lining of the uterus, but cause infertility.

I am 31 and single and do not want to rule out the possibility of having children so the surgical options are not a possiblity for me right now. I know we cannot give medical advice on this forum (but if you know of a nonhormonal way to shorten a heavy period, by all means, PM me!).

From what I have read, and from what multiple doctors have told me, in my case, the Mirena IUD would be a safer and better way to treat my long heavy periods, although there is no guarantee it would work.

But from a Catholic perspective, I have a question. I know the pill is okay to use for medical reasons, when all other options have been ruled out (which in my case is true). I know even if I was married (and having sex), it would still be okay to use, because the intent is not contraception. I know the IUD would be delivering hormones via a device, whereas the pill delivers hormones orally (causing more hormone to enter the blood stream etc).

Even though in my case, the Mirena IUD would be safer, does it have more of a chance of harming an unborn baby? If so, does that mean I should not use it, even though it is safer for me? If anyone has used the Mirena IUD, and is willing to discuss it, please PM me. Would be using the IUD be “more grave” than the pill? Since I am single now (hence, not having sex), I know morally it is okay to use either option for medical reasons. But since the Mirena IUD is for long-term use, I wanted to think about this now.

I keep hoping a better solution will come along, but right now, I need a workable solution. Ultimately, this will be a decision between me and my doctor (so the intent of my post is NOT to seek medical advise, but from a Catholic standpoint, to discern the better option.)

When responding to this thread, please REFRAIN FROM judging those who choose to take the pill for medical reasons, and REFRAIN FROM discussing the medical side effects of the pill or Mirena IUD. (I am very educated on both and it is not the purpose of this thread).

For those who feel more comfortable, please PM me.

Sincerely,

Maria1212


#2

I took the pill for medical reasons prior to marriage. After getting married, I found out that it had actually done more harm than good. I would recommend contacting the Pope Paul VI institute in Omaha. They work with women all over the country, and in Canada too, and can probably help you also. What they recommend is always in line with the teachings of the Church, and will preserve your fertility. If you are concerned about dealing with them as a single woman who at this time is not concerned about getting pregnant, rest assured they work with women who are still in their teens, nuns, and post-menopausal women too.

I hope that this can get resolved for you soon. It certainly is a painful and unpleasant situation to deal with.


#3

Thank you very much for your post. I currently live in Japan so unfortunatlely I would not be able to visit the Pope Paul VI institute any time soon. I have visited their webiste numerous times and hope to seek treatment there eventually. But I am trying to find an interim solution, and must admit it is frustrating. I decided to write them for advice, but know there is not much they can do without seeing my in person.

Sincerely,

Maria1212


#4

Oh, I see. I don’t want to pry, but have you had a D & C? Please don’t answer if you feel that question is intrusive. Just trying to help. I’m not a doctor, or anything like it, but I’ve suffered from numerous female issues for a number of years. I don’t think there’s any sort of moral danger with the IUD provided you are not sexually active, I just worry about how it could impact your fertility in the long run.


#5

The IUD constantly irritates the lining of the uterus. The IUD in no way prevents conception. It prevents implantation.

So, if you were married you could not use this. But, while you are not married-- you can.

I don’t know about doctors in Japan, but I would seek treatment in the US.


#6

You didn’t say whether you had been charting an NFP method (STM, BOM, Creighton)? Charting can give you info about what’s going on and then perhaps one of the organisations or a NFP trained Dr could help you? Maybe you’ve done this, but thought I would ask anyway. You can learn a few methods online, though the best way is with a teacher (I think you have to have a teacher for Creighton).

May God bless and heal you!

Jennifer


#7

My doctors are all located in the United States. (I only go to the doctor in Japan for an emergency because the medical system is quite different here).

I understand the IUD prevents implantation, but so does the pill. I think the IUD has more of a chance of preventing implementation, which is why I wondered if it was “more grave.”

And believe me, picking between two poor alternatives, is not a position I wish on anyone.

Sincerely,

Maria1212


#8

Dear Jennifer,

Thank you for your kind reply. This is something I would like to pursue but it is difficult since I am in Japan. There are very few Catholics and the churches here do not teach NFP in detail (at least not in English). Plus, the only class that is taught, is taught as part of marriage preparation, and is very basic and simple. I have bought some books from Amazon to learn more but feel I need to take a class and need someone who can help me on an individual basis. That is my long term goal, but right now I need an interim solution.

My period is very debilitating and right now I feel trapped between a rock and a hard place. The pill was the very last resort for me. I feel uncomfortable for many medical and spiritual reasons with the thought of trying the Mirena IUD, but in my particular case, that is medically safer than the pill. Multiple doctors have told me this. They see it as an option that will preserve my fertility (unilke the surgery), that is safer than the pill, in my particular case.

Medically, the IUD is the safer option in my case. But if I got it, and got married, I am not sure if it would still be morally okay.

Sincerely,

Maria1212


#9

God bless you in this difficult situation. The IUD (as discussed) does prevent implantation of an embryo as its intended method of contraception. (The pill’s main method is to prevent ovulation.) As you are single, this wouldn’t be an issue for you. I can’t see how this would be sinful.

I also recommend Dr. Hilgers. How much longer will you be in Japan? It does take time to get an appointment with him (including 2 months of charting before you contact him). Perhaps you can start looking into this before you leave Japan (6-8 months before). You may even want to call them to talk about how an IUD would effect your charting.

If/when you are interested in charting, there are Practitioners all over the world. Many of them will work long distance.

You are in my prayers.


#10

Look into the Billings method. The Drs. Billings are from Australia and have a much bigger following in that part of the world. Perhaps there are people within traveling distance for you who are trained in Billings.


#11

Thank you for the wonderful suggestion! I will be in Japan for at least one more year. I was not aware you could work with people long distance. I do not know of any Practioners in my area.

I don`t know if it is possible to chart while using an IUD because the Mirena IUD releases hormones, and some women do not have a period while using it. When you visit Dr. Hilgers, is it for one appointment, and then you have follow-ups? That is obviously the hard part for me, given my location. I will write a letter to his office though. If any women have been in a situation similar to mine, and have received help from Dr. Hilgers, please PM me.

Thank you. And please do keep me in your prayers. It is one thing when I am single, but should I be lucky enough to one day be married, I need a solution I feel morally comfortable with.

I feel like the pill is less grave but am not sure how accurate my feeling is. And given that the pill is less safe, it is hard to know what the right decision is. I would have the surgery in a heartbeat if it did not destroy fertility.

Sincerely,

Maria1212


#12

There are online ways to learn how to chart:
Billings woomb.org/bom/teaching/learningBOM.html
STM nfpandmore.org/index.shtml

Creighton has long distance teaching (you’re pretty long distance! LOL) creightonmodel.com/teacherlocation.htm

Using any form of hormonal BC will affect your charting–well,you can’t chart if using either the pill or IUD. IMHO, charting offers you one last chance to figure out what’s wrong without covering the problem up with hormones.

Jennifer

ps Here’s an article about NFP in Japan, interesting…
usccb.org/prolife/issues/nfp/nwssumfl01.shtml#zimmer


#13

Thanks Jennifer! I have visited some of those sites before but will check them again to see if there is new info. I enjoyed the article on Japan.

In my case, I know the problem is hormonal, the doctors just don`t know how to treat the imbalance, without hormones.

I know NFP will help provide a lot of insight into my cycle, but to my knowledge it can`t treat the imbalance, but would shed a lot of light on things. Is that correct? I think NFP is a great tool, and would be helpful, but I am not sure how it would help treat/correct my problem since it is tool rather than a treatment.

I would be willing to try (again!) going off the pill, if I thought there was a nonhormonal way to correct the problem. I have been to so many doctors, and they all recommend hormones to treat it. Sigh. I have tried all the “natural remedies.” You name it…

Sincerely,

Maria1212


#14

Yes, NFP is a tool. In the hands of a Dr who understands the charts, they might be able to pinpoint the hormonal problem and fix that willout the pill/iud, etc. I’m no expert, it just seems to me that this is the last thing you could do to really figure out the problem, but it would take a Doc knowlegeable enough to help you. I think that’s why Creighton might be the most helpful–since they have a whole facility dedicated to helping women with these problems. Contacting them with your issue certainly wouldn’t hurt! (as an aside, I took the pill for several years before and after marriage and before being Catholic and when I came of the silly things, it was MONTHS before my charts were normal!! It was frustrating to see no patterns)

Jennifer

ps My DH is currently in Fukuoka, Japan for 4 more days, I wish he were here, though. He’s been all over Japan this last week, Tokyo, Okinawa and it seems like somewhere else, but I can’t remember, lol.


#15

The IUD constantly irritates the lining of the uterus. The IUD in no way prevents conception. It prevents implantation.

This may not be true. The IUD may prevent conception, but it also may act as an abortifacient.

From Clinical Update October 2006

Most likely, the copper IUD protects against pregnancy by reducing motility and viability of sperm, inhibiting ova development, and thereby preventing fertilization. This appears to be the primary mechanism of action.

The copper T380A IUD is not an abortifacient; it acts as a contraceptive before the union of gametes.

This is from The Female Patient 2006 31:42-46:

Controversy exists regarding the exact mechanism of action of IUDs. Proposed expalnations include inhibition of sperm migration, change in transport speed of the ovum, and destruction on the ovum. If fertilization occurs, a secondary mode of action may prevent implantation. The majority of evidence indicates that the IUD acts primarily to prevent fertilization, which appears to be an uncommon event in IUD users. (5)

  1. Rivera R, Yacobson I, Grimes D. The mechanism of action of hormonal contraceptives and intrauterine devices. Am J Obstet Gynceol. 1999; 181 (5 pt 1); 1263-1269.

#16

Thanks for your post. The Mirena IUD is different from the copper IUD, but I see what you are trying to say. But again, since I am not having sex, whether it prevents contraception or not, is not applicable right now (there is nothing to prevent!). I did want to hear other people`s opinions on whether this is something I would need to have removed before getting married, due to moral reasons. Sorry if I was unclear.

Sincerely,

Maria1212


#17

Hi Jennifer,

We are having some hot and humid weather over here so hopefully your husband is staying cool.:slight_smile: Thank you again for your wonderful advice!

I will continue to look into the Creighton method to see if it might offer some solutions for me. Finding a doctor in my area who would be able to help, feels like the impossible part. This may be something to try when I am getting closer moving back to the States. I am just not sure exactly when that will be…

Thank you again for all of your help and suggestions!

Sincerely,

Maria1212


#18

From what you are saying here, this specific IUD would be used as a therapeutic tool/medical devise for you as such it is morally acceptable.

Brenda V.


#19

Thanks for your post. The Mirena IUD is different from the copper IUD, but I see what you are trying to say. But again, since I am not having sex, whether it prevents contraception or not, is not applicable right now (there is nothing to prevent!). I did want to hear other people`s opinions on whether this is something I would need to have removed before getting married, due to moral reasons. Sorry if I was unclear.

Sorry about hijacking. I was addressing the statement that the IUD does not prevent conception. You are correct that the Mirena and CuT380A differ. Mirena releases levonorgestrel, a progestin which should not be confused with progesterone. BTW, this statement was from an article discussing the Copper T’s and Mirena’s mechanism of action:
Controversy exists regarding the exact mechanism of action of IUDs. Proposed expalnations include inhibition of sperm migration, change in transport speed of the ovum, and destruction on the ovum. If fertilization occurs, a secondary mode of action may prevent implantation. The majority of evidence indicates that the IUD acts primarily to prevent fertilization, which appears to be an uncommon event in IUD users.
I hope you can have your medical records and charts (Dr. H reviews CrM charting) reviewed by Dr. Hilgers.


#20

:mad:

Ok, darlin’, I’m gonna’ tell it to you like it is.
I read a bunch of the responses to your query and they all contain fluff, as far as I’m concerned. Get right in your spirit with the Lord, and that will be your first sterp… NO IUD. It CAN injure you and impare your ability to have children in the long run. My best friend, now childless at about age 50, WORE ONE FOR YEARS. And you may be abstaining now, but no one can predict the future. You might slip. You, God forbid, could get raped. Then where would the baby be? Dead. The pill could kill you, and it won’t give you a long-term thought-out and already comfortable/workable solution for when Mr. Right walks in the door-then you’ll just have to disturb his peace by putting him through angst you should have already handled by the time he gets there. Hey-you are in Japan. This is bothering you THERE. MAYBE it’s God’s will that you actually find a good Japanese “Reproductive Endocrinologist” while you are there!? Maybe that’s really WHY God DOES have you there in the first place? It cracks me up to see others go through stuff I went through-somewhat in your case-we all, so often, assume we already know the path, but just not what to do about the problem. Accept that you ARE in Japan and your problem IS now/there. (Path.) Problem: Have you been thoroughly examined for fibroids? Have you used Dioscorea/Wild Mexican Yam? Natural Progesterone? Are you Anemic? Have you had an abortion in the past? Could there be left-over fetal tissue causing this issue as if it were a fibroid? Do you have Endometriosis? Have you seen a Chinese herbalist in Japan? What about Accupuncture? What about D&C? Mannatech? I took the pill for a very long time and finally begged my (Repro-Endo-Gyn) doctor to help me get my ovaries and therefore menstruation to operate naturally-since my diagnosis was PCO. The Minconized Progesterone-compounded by a bioidentical pharmacist works wonders compared to it’s counterpart from the regular pharmicist. Neither of the options you are being given are from God and thus the reason you are asking for help, because confusion doesn’t come from God and both of your alternatives thus far are not morally acceptable, or healthy for that matter, sorry to say. Seek and find God’s perfect will in His time. Go to LHLA.org for a good show in April or May about Catholic Reproductive Endocrinology info and acceptable alternative therapies. Also, Priests for Life.org “Offer it up!”


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