Birth Control


My boyfriend and I are not sexually active but I do use birth control. When I was 16 my doctor gave it to me because my periods were so bad that I would end up in the hospital because of the pain and the severity of them… I also was not regular. She gave me the birth control as a method to correct these problems and I have seen a huge difference. My boyfriend is considering joining the catholic church and I know that catholics don’t believe in birth control but I don’t use it to prevent becoming pregnant and I was wondering what they thought about that. Any help would be great, because going off of the birth control would be dangerous to my health but I know that my boyfriend is very serious about the teachings of the church.



Aren’t you a little bit worried that using artificial birth control in this way is sort of a bandaid approach? It does nothing to address the underlying problem, it just masks the symptoms, and keeps you from understanding how your cycle really works. Plus, what about having children? How would that work if you have to always be using artificial birth control?

It seems like it would be a good idea to see an NFP only practioner who would be more open to taking an honest look at what is really happening. Even if you don’t become a Catholic, that to me seems like the most reasonable thing to do.


First, your doctor is probably lying to you. Young women your age normally have irregular cycles and pain. Tell him you want another method to treat your symptoms.


I started having my period when I was 11, I know how my cycle works it has never been regular. i even quit taking it for about 6 months last year to see if I had gotten any better and I hadn’t. I want very much so to have children, and would quit taking the birth control when I decided I was ready. And would just have to deal with the pain until I got pregnant.


Using the pill to treat a legitimate medical problem does not go against the teachings of the Church. I just think it might be a good idea to find out why you have this pain, and if there is some type of underlying problem that could be treated. It would be nice if you had another alternative. A lot of gynecologists aren’t always willing to go the extra mile and look into this since prescribing birth control pills is the easy route for them.


I second what the other posters have said. You need to see a doctor that will actually treat your symptoms, not just give you the pill as a band-aid.

My sister had very painful periods, and most doctors would have just put her on the pill, but all she needed was a change in her diet and exercise routine. I think one of the things she started doing was taking a fish oil supplement…anyways. A few resources to look into:

“Fertility, Cycles, and Nutrition” by Marilyn Shannon. great book The Creighton Model of NFP, also includes “Fertility Care” which will allow you to work with a doctor to find out WHY you have such heavy/painful periods and treat the symptoms. also has in on Creighton, finding a doctor who will work WITH your fertility, not against it.

Is it a lot more work to do it this way? Absolutely. But it’s worth it to be in tune with what your body needs and get a treatment that respects God’s most beautiful gift to women: our fertility and ability to have children.


Go to the One More Soul website to learn more about contraception. You can also find a NFP only doctor there.

You’re better off finding out what is causing your periods to be so difficult to live with and fixing that problem, especially if you want children later in life. The contraception may make your life a little easier, but in the long run, you wouldn’t want a real problem to go untreated.

It won’t hurt to get a second opinion!


Also, the pill creates an ‘artificial cycle’, where you have a ‘withdrawal-from-the-hormone-bleed’ every month, not a REAL period…so you could be developping real issues there, like PCOS or endionetrosis and never know…until you try for a baby! So…ask for proper treatment!

Anna x


The pill has a post-fertilization effect built into it. Some women continue to ovulate even while taking it. So the pill then causes your body to abort the baby if you do happen to conceive while taking it. You really wouldn’t want to be using the pill when you’re married.

This article from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) will let you know about the post-fertilization effect of oral contraceptives.


Morally, your situation might meet the criteria of the Principle of Double Effect-- which should be discussed with a priest. Double Effect states that such a consequence can be tolerated when it is not the primary purpose. However, it should be a last resort. And, because BCP can be abortifacient (preventing a conceived embryo from implanting) it is a serious issue and may not meet the criteria under Double Effect because your life is not threatened if you do not use BCP.

That said, I suggest you find a different doctor. These types of issue have an underlying cause. Putting you on BCP doesn’t treat anything. It doesn’t fix anything. And, long term use could damage your fertility.

I recommend you read this article by Dr. Paul Hayes:

And find an NFP/pro-life doctor:


The OP said her periods were so bad she ended up in hospital. My own daughter suffered in the same way and was on the pill from age 14 after two hospitalizations and ruling out all kinds of possible causes.

She was greatly helped by the pill. After a decade, however, she began to have unpleasant symptoms attributable to the pill and decided to go off it. She has done quite well.

My own experience in early marriage (before I was Catholic) was that using the pill for about 18 months markedly helped to ameliorate my hideously heavy and painful periods. After I went off the pill, my periods were again painful, but not as painful as before the pill.

The OP might want to test herself “without” after she has stabilized “with.”

You don’t want to say on this stuff forever!


Hi :slight_smile:

I would suggest seeking additional treatment just to rule out that you do not have an underlying health issue. This is because often a doctor will treat the symptoms but not the actual problem with the Pill.

The Pill cannot not treat the underlying medical condition alone & alone as a course of treatment it will only mask it. Which could mean you don’t get treatment for something that you need. This could lead to later complications. You need to address what is causing the pain, extreme pain indicates you might have an underlying health condition. If your doctor hasn’t done additional tests before just giving you the Pill this is very important. Get a second opinion (see if you can get into an NFP doctor) make sure they do testing to rule out other health problems like poly-cystic ovarian syndrom (PCOS) or endometriosis (ENDO) for example.

It may turn out that hormones are part of the course of treatment & in that case it would be legit as pp wrote (it falls under the double principle effect) but you also don’t want to miss anything that could also help you feel better, live a healthier life overall & keep your future fertility healthy.

I have been there (I use to cry for days when I would have my period & bleed very heavily), please get a second opinion. It’s a real lifesaver to be able to feel more normal in your own body and to know you have done the best & healthiest overall course of treatment at the same time!

BTW–That’s wonderful to read that your BF is thinking about conversion to the Catholic Church & that you 2 are keeping your faith center in your relationship! You won’t regret it!! :thumbsup: Many prayers for him as he makes the journey & for you as you move ahead in your future :gopray2:


What treatment would you recommend for her condition? Statements like this just irritate me to no end–assuming a woman should just suffer from a medical condition because someone with no medical training believes they should.

I agree with the other posters, what you are doing is not a sin, you are taking medication for a condition. But, a second or third opinion can’t hurt you. I’ve known women who were greatly helped by the pill, others who weren’t. Only you, your parents (at your age) and your doctor(s) can make that decision.


What do you consider a “regular” cycle?
My cycles range anywhere from 27 to 38 days on a “regular” basis… and I consider these very “regular”…

Have you tried any alternatives for pain control?
It is very normal to require regular pain killers (ibuprofen) during your period…
Also there have been lots of studies done on diets and exercise that can help with menstrual pain…


I know what the poster is talking about when she speaks of heavy and painful periods. I also get very irritated when people give out these sanctimonious opinions when they don’t have any idea what the person is going through. I have been there, and it is almost like being in labor and having a baby every month. The pains are worse than severe. If the doctor does find something wrong, the cure usually is hysterectomy or something that ruins your uterus like cleaning out the lining for good. I think it is much better to go on the pill so you can have a life and remain employed. At least you can still hope to have children someday. I don’t think people should be so worried about fertilized eggs that don’t “take” when you are on the pill. This happens a very small percentage of the time. The pill usually suppresses ovulation. If you are not using anything (including NFP), a fertilized egg doesn’t “take” maybe 50% of the time. It is a natural thing for an egg to be fertilized and then to be lost through the woman’s period. You can find this information in medical books.


I have tried pain killers and it’s like I’m eating candy…they don’t help. I have also tried changing my diet and the thought of exercising during my period is nice but I don’t have the energy. I am in very good shape and eat a very healthy diet with mostly organic foods and little to no sweets. I trust my doctors opinion when she says there is nothing wrong with me other than I have very severe periods. Some women do and that is all that is wrong.


Also when I said I wasn’t normal I mean that I would skip my periods some months and have it others. I could go two months without it and then have it for three months straight. And it was even more painful to have it after and month when I didn’t.


It sounds like you may have an underlying medical condition. Have you had your hormone levels checked while not on the birth control? If you were my daughter, that is what I’d advise you to do. You are in the position to do something positive for yourself, learn about your own cycles, and correct potentially major problems that could affect your fertility.

It is very empowering to take these actions. Please listen to the other posters and read the books also. You may be in great shape, diet etc. but something could be missing that you aren’t even aware of.

Why deny yourself the opportunity to learn more? Do you really like being in the dark? There must be something else going on here.


That you have very severe periods is self-evident. Your doctor isn’t telling you anything that you don’t already know. Don’t you want to know WHY your cycles are like this and what you can do to regulate them? :shrug:


Has your doctor done other testing or did she only give the Pill?

Without other testing your doctor hasn’t given you a totally well-formed medical opinion. It may be that the Pill is part of your overall treatment, but it may also be that by only taking the Pill you are not treating the underlying medical condition properly that can lead to a lot of health complications later in life.

Diet & exercise are also always part of any treatment, particularly any relating to reproductive health. They would be part of taking the Pill as well because a poor diet and poor exercise could increase the possible negative health side effects from hormones.

Ask your doctor to test further just to make sure you are not just or find a doctor who will. It’s not about just the Pill in this case but about your longterm health.

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