Birth Control

I heard lots of girls go on birth control because their periods are irregular. Is that a sin? I would think it is, but I don’t know and was curious

Its the intent of the drug, if you take medicine for therapeutic control of menstrual cycles, then its no more sinful then taking aspirin. If you are taking it for contraception then its a grave act except in certain cases.

If they are not sexual active and it is for a medical condition, then it is not a sin. I

t becomes a sin when the birth control pill interferes with the life giving aspect of a sexual union. In addition to attempting to block ovulation, the birth control pill creates a hostile environment for a fertilized egg, should ovulation be successful. This will led to the abortion of the fertilized egg, which is sinful.

I should add that birth control pills can be taken even within a marital context if it is for a good reason. The resulting abortions that will happen are considered a double effect and it is not sinful. I believe it is Papal Encyclical Humane Vitae that covers this. If anyone can give clearer information, please jump in.

In short, taking the birth control pill with express intent of preventing pregnancy is sinful. Taking it for a valid medical reason, which has the side effect of preventing pregnancy, is not sinful

As a father of three girls, I always have to pose the question if the side effects of the birth control pills are worth the convince of regular periods. Some girls need to take them because they have true menstrual problems (anemia, etc); however, taking them just so you know when you period will begin is an insult to the body.

For anyone giving contraceptives to women to control regularity, read this:

I cant find the scientific paper on this, but taking ABC (the pill) before the age of 18, on a regular basis, increases the risk of breast cancer by 4.2X… yes, you would be 4 times as likely to get breast cancer just by taking this “medicine”, and those arent the “crazy, right-wing, religious, anti-abortion” statistics, that data comes from the national cancer institute.


The Church teaches that the use of contraception is intrinsically evil. And intrinsically evil acts are always immoral, regardless of intention. A good intention or dire circumstances does not cause an intrinsically evil act to become moral.

Pope John Paul II: “Consequently, circumstances or intentions can never transform an act, intrinsically evil by virtue of its object, into an act ‘subjectively’ good or defensible as a choice.”
Pope John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor, n. 81.

Pope John Paul II: “No circumstance, no purpose, no law whatsoever can ever make licit an act which is intrinsically illicit, since it is contrary to the Law of God which is written in every human heart, knowable by reason itself, and proclaimed by the Church.”
Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, n. 62.

Therefore, birth control cannot be used merely because there is a good intention.

The principle of double effect never justifies an intrinsically evil act.

That’s a serious and illogical misinterpretation. If one is not having sex, there is no possibility of a birth to control and using the pill for other medical reasons is perfectly logical and moral.

This whole subject was recently discussed in the threadPastoral Privilege, and Contraception:

I agree that for a non-sexually active girl, taking birth control is not a sin.

However, the birth control pill is often used to fix the symptom, rather than the underlying problem. It gives the appearence that the woman is having a regular cycle, when in fact it is preventing ovulation and changing the chemical make-up of the uterus. The woman can think the problem is ‘fixed’, but often, it takes a system that is working perfectly well and breaks it so it has the appearance of working.

In addition, there are many cases where the girl starts on the pill to ‘regulate’ cycles, but after a long period of use, it can make it very difficult to regulate cycles once she comes off the pill and may even render her sterile. So, even for non-sexually active girls, it is essential to read the package insert and discuss these risk-benefits with a doctor who respects life.

It is not smart, the smart thing to do is to find a doctor that will TREAT the problem or educate the young woman that “irregular” periods are not in and of themselves a disease.

BTW, on the pill, a woman NEVER has a period. She has some bleeding, it is not a mestrual period.

I’m going to put on my chemist’s hat here for a moment.

The “birth control pill” is essentially a pill made up of hormones.

Hormones occur naturally in the human body on the one hand, but synthetic hormones administered either orally or by injection can also be therapeutic agents. They can be used to treat a variety of conditions. To name a few:

Prostate cancer (using female hormones in men)
Delayed puberty (in girls, in boys testosterone).
Painful menstruation
Irregular periods
Symptoms of natural menopause (vaginal dryness, hot flashes, etc.)
Prevention of induced menopause in young women who have lost their ovaries due to surgical intervention for cancer, ovarian cysts, prophylactic removal of ovaries due to family history of ovarian cancer, etc.

In the first, third and fourth of these circumstances the hormone will also have contraceptive effects. In the last two cases of course the person is sterile to begin with, but then the hormone may allow the continuation of normal marital relations which could be impeded by some of the symptoms of natural or induced menopause (in particular vaginal dryness). Since normal marital relations are unitive even when licit reasons render them sterile, it is an intrinsic good to facilitate their continuation.

So it is quite incorrect to say “taking a contraceptive is intrinsically evil”.

Taking a hormone with the specific intent to use it as a contraceptive is intrinsically evil. But not to use it as a therapeutic agent. It may be questionable in a fertile young woman because of the potential abortifacient aspect. But in a post-menopausal woman, or one rendered sterile by a hysterectomy or loss of her ovaries, it isn’t an issue. Nor is it an issue for men taking female hormones for prostate cancer although that will generally induce impotence; the good here, is the prolongation of life (although hormonal therapy does not offer a chance at a cure), and the reduction in size of painful, bone metastases.

As a woman with PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome, I had the doctors trying to tell me to go on the BCPs. I had done my research and held my ground that as a Catholic, I did not want BCPs. They then tried to talk me into something that was not BCPs but just sloughed off the lining of the uterus. When asked, they admitted that they couldn’t guarantee that it wouldn’t abort a fertilized egg trying to implant. So, I nixed that, also. They finally listened to me and tried what I had found in my research. That was 7 years ago. I have had regular cycles every since. I had never had regular cycles before.

My advice would be to research for other options for controlling what is wrong. Get a second opinion. Too many doctors just write the BCP script because it is the easiest way to deal with the symptoms, and they never deal with the actual cause so that you can get better. Then when you want to get pregnant, you have an even harder time.

What was the option you found in your research? This is of interest to me, since I have so many women in my family.


Birth control is fine to correct a medical problem.
But I feel like today, doctors are so quick to prescribe birth control to women with no regard for the side-effects especially for young women who are still developing.

\ I never knew that. Thank you.

It is important in this instance to be totally honest about the reasons for using the medication. A girl or woman can go to the doctor complaining of acne or irregular periods, hoping that the pill will be prescribed to treat her complaint, but also so that she can take advantage of its contraceptive effect without admitting to it. She can fool the doctor, her husband, her parents, her confessor and even herself, but she cannot fool God.

Please note that I’m not accusing anyone of doing this. I am simply pointing out a dangerous possibility.


No, it’s not a sin, according to Encyclical Letter Humanae Vitae of Pope Paul VI, which states,

*Lawful Therapeutic Means
15. On the other hand, the Church does not consider at all illicit the use of those therapeutic means necessary to cure bodily diseases, even if a foreseeable impediment to procreation should result there from—provided such impediment is not directly intended for any motive whatsoever. (19) *

That said, yes the Church allows the use of contraception for medical reasons, for example some women use it for regulation of menustration in cases of profuse bleeding, profuse pain, etc. It can also be used in cases of endometriosis or recurrent or persistent fibroid tumors. Some women get ovarian cysts that are regulated by hormone levels: they come, they go, they grow, they shrink: if they’re problematic contraceptives can be used to control them.

But baltobetsy is also completely correct: you’re only fooling yourself and God if you go to your doctor falsely complaining about signs and symptoms in order to get prescribed OC for “medical reasons” when in fact, you’re doing so to get a free ticket to OC. In that case, if one is going to take it without regards to the teachings of the Church, don’t bother making up false signs and symptoms because it goes on your medical record and may come back to bite you in the butt later.

In addition, OC use has been linked to deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism and stroke and some types of cancers, among other things. So unless you really need it, it’s probably not a good idea to be on them if you can avoid it… you can always look up the risks and benefits of these medications by reading their product data information sheet. They’re available on the manufacturer’s website, your doctor’s office and pharmacies.

Does the pill CURE anything? Nope, it masks symptoms.

And since when is an irregular period a bodily disease? It may be a symptom of a disease, but, in and of itself it is not a disease.

Among other things, it corrects hormonal imbalances. For example, some ovarian cysts are influenced by hormone levels. They grow, they shrink, they go away, they come back, all the while being influenced by hormone levels. For some women, they just come and go and sometimes women don’t even know they have them unless they’ve been caught during an exam. But other women experience pain and/or abnormal bleeding. By taking OC, which is hormone therapy, those cysts can shink and stay gone, or shrink to a point of not being problematic. OCs don’t mask those symptoms, they help reduce them with the influence of hormones.

Periods are accompanied by bleeding and pain. That’s normal and expected. But an irregular period can cause really painful cramping that can interfere with a woman’s normal function in day-to-day activities. Irregular periods can also cause profuse bleeding that causes women to be anemic, and in some cases need blood transfusions. Irregular periods can cause either no bleeding for weeks, or bleeding for days and days without a break. These women in particular can benefit from OC because it relieves the pain and profuse bleeding.

Again, OCs are not good for women. But there are circumstances, just like any other medication, where the benefits of taking the medication outweigh the risks or drawbacks.

What you define is treatment, not a cure.

It’s a legitimate treatment all the same :slight_smile: If there is no cure for a particular disorder, treatment shouldn’t be rejected by default due to there not being a cure. It can still be treated and controlled.

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