Catholic Women ONLY answers appreciated

This may be TMI, but lately I have been having menstrual issues which are not normal for me. I know this because since I was a teen, I would keep track of my cycle which was regular to the point where I could predict it within a day or two. Over the past almost two years, the cycle has not been as regular, and there have been points where I wouldn’t get my period for a couple months, and then when I finally did I would bleed like no tomorrow.

The bleeding really worries me and when I’ve tried to talk to a doctor about it, I get one answer each time: birth control. I really don’t want to be on the pill not just because I am Catholic, but also because of all the other adverse effects that I’m starting to learn about it. But the hormonal pill is the only thing I have been told, and can think of which can help regulate my cycle to normal again. If anyone else has solutions that I could consider and look into, that would be greatly appreciated.

And I want to repeat-- I have no desire to get on hormones.

Some people have recommended the Pope Paul VI institute for help with hormonal problems. I have no idea if it works, what research is behind it, what their statistics show, how much it costs, etc. But here is their website:

I’m sure others will pipe in soon, but in the meantime, you can check the website and contact them.

I hope you find something to work for you. Going on ABCs is not something I would want to do either due to the side effects and risks. If there is an alternative that will work better, it’s worth researching.

I don’t know anyone IRL who has been able to find a solution that helped them like ABCs, but then I don’t know anything about the PPVI institute either…

Also try finding a NFP only doctor… they have a list of NFP only doctors.

I see one, and I finally feel respected and understood by an OB/GYN…

Allopathic medicine treats symptoms, with a quick pharmaceutical fix to make your symptom go away. Of course that is not the same as bringing your body back into balance and healing and curing anything, and of course any quick fix of a symptom will eventually give you side effects and other symptoms… but then those can be treated too with pharmaceuticals…which in turn produce more side effects. That is the nature of the business of medicine. It’s a very big business.

If your body is out of balance… getting it back into balance is a different issue than treating symptoms. It is a much bigger study.

Unfortunately a lot of our food in the modern day contains hormones, pesticides, herbicides, and other chemicals that can mimic or disrupt the action of hormones in the body. BPA leaching from plastics can mimic hormones. On top of that, everything from how much stress you are under, to how much light and sunlight you get, to too much under or over weight… can mess up your hormones. Soy foods and soy milk have become very popular in recent years, but soy (and peanuts) and some other foods tend to block iodine absorption by the body… and if your thyroid doesn’t get its iodine needs met, it can throw both your metabolism and your period out of whack…and so any excess intake of foods that interfere with your iodine absorption can easily mess up your cycle.

In short, there are a whole lot of things that can mess up your cycle, and if you want to get it into balance, you will need to figure out what it messing it up…
It takes a lot of observation and study to figure out how to get one’s body back into balance. You might have better luck with a naturopathic rather than allopathic doctor.

I was going to ask about your diet. Has it changed lately? Did you lose or gain some weight? These things can greatly affect your body and hormones. There are some books about fertility and nutrition that some women on these boards have recommended maybe they will chime in with the titles.

As some previous posters have suggested - consider looking into some pro-life medical options (the Pope Paul VI mentioned above and the onemoresoul website mentioned above are great places to start! :thumbsup:)…

However, sometimes those doctors aren’t in all areas (none are close to me!)… so my only other suggestion would be to see a specialist such as a Reproductive Endocrinologist. Usually these doctors will be more inclined than your OB/GYN to get to the root of the problem rather than simply cover the symptoms with the pill.

Diet and exercise are also huge factors when it comes to menstrual/hormonal issues, so be sure to get a handle on everything there and see where you can make any improvements.

GOOD WORK wanting to find a solution other than the pill!!! You’ll be in my prayers that you find some relief soon!

I know you said hormones aren’t for you, but I tried all the Catholic solutions when I was younger (excessive pain, like I would be on the floor screaming from pain, and given painkillers constantly). In college, my Catholic mother finally let me try the Pill, it was a miracle! I wasn’t drugged up on morphine, and I could function like a normal person (for example, I couldn’t drive since I was on pain pills two weeks a month). I went off of them after 6 months, but the pain never returned, and I’m regular like a Swiss made watch.

The Catholic docotors were recommending surgery (which would make me infertile at 16) or take pain pills (yay for future addicts). Granted, I was in a very bad area for Catholics, so maybe they were quacks. I hope you get some relief soon, it took me 7 years.

OK, when I say this I am not talking about “the pill” - but find yourself a pro-life Catholic doctor - they may need to do some tests but if you have hormonal balances you may need hormonal therapy. That is what many OB/GYNs go for when they reach for “the pill.” The reasons there are so many side effects is that they are not tailored to your issues. You definetly need a medical professional to handle this and definetly one that shares your values. :slight_smile:

How old are you? Is it possible you are in perimenopause? In the ten years or so before menopause, it is not unusual for periods to become erratic as to timing and flow. Apparently, the body has trouble getting one more egg to move…and this throws off the body’s production of hormones from past patterns. Apparently, this can start happening as early as the 30s. (If this is you, get ready to start crying at the National Anthem on a far more regular basis. :rolleyes:)

With a similar issue–and I also had a past pattern that was without complications and like a clock–my doctor told me that birth control pills were a possibility. He also made it clear, though, that this would be a treatment for symptoms I didn’t like. The symptoms themselves were not to the point that they required treatment, so just living with it was a medically viable alternative.

I decided that I could cope with the heavier bleeding (and it comes more often, too, oh joy) as long as I knew that it was not harmful or indicative of any disease.

One alternative, then, is to ask your doctor a) if it will hurt anything to leave the condition untreated and b) to explain what symptoms or set of symptoms should prompt you to return for a follow-up exam.

If you are getting older, then taking good care of yourself is going to be progressively more necessary–and I mean those having reached 30 or 35, not only the candidates for AARP subscriptions. Having said that, though, there may not be any treatments save hormonal ones (either natural or artificial) that are going to do much. The natural ones have to do with naturally-occurring compounds in plants that mimic human hormones.

I don’t have enough background in the science behind these natural remedies to know if any of them work as promised, let alone by the mechanism of action that their proponents propose. I do know enough science to have concluded that there are people in naturopathic medicine who just make stuff up when it comes to explaining the mechanism of action. Some of the stuff probably works, but some is wishful thinking and some may have unknown and unintended side effects. There is just no way to know. The laws concerning nutritional supplements are such that very few of them get tested, let alone tested with scientific rigor. Some of the remedies worked for centuries, but were also developed back when life expectancies were not as long and things like losing teeth in old age were unremarkable. It is just very hard to tell. Generations past didn’t know as much as we do, and somehow they were able to sleep at night! I figure that the take-home message is that Grandma may very well have been right, some of the old treatments are undoubtedly gems, but if anyone tells you that Grandma was a biochemist, take that part of the sales pitch with a very big grain of salt.

Hi there,

I completely hear you about wanting to avoid hormonal contraception as a treatment option (outside of moral objections.)  I think it's absolutely unacceptable that so many doctors (in my experience) offer it as a fix-all, despite its side-effects and contra-indications.  (Not to mention the environmental impact...)

I looked at your age on your profile, and given that you’re so young, I’m with Mary Gail, above. Find yourself an NFP-only doctor. I say this because an NFP-only doctor will most likely have more treatment options for you and might also encourage you to learn to chart your cycles, which can give a ton of insight into cycle changes.

I know it can be hard to find an NFP-only doc in some areas (mine included.) If you can’t find anyone close by on, you can also try word-of-mouth among friends whose judgment you trust or looking for doctors who support natural child-birth (they’re sometimes more open to other “natural” treatments.) In the worst case, my mom’s strategy when she had a not-great HMO (Kaiser) was to call around and pick a doctor who did not perform abortions.

I hope you can find a doc to help you out. Good luck and hope that helps!

Have you been tested for endometriosis? Fibroids and/or adhesions can contribute to very heavy cycles.

I second the Pope Paul VI Center - I went there for treatment for my own issues, and I’m very happy with the results. (And trust me, my periods were WAY more irregular than yours.)

They have affiliated doctors all over the USA (and beyond). Check them out - they don’t use the birth control pill at all.

Here’s the one for Canadians.

There’s a book by Marilyn Shannon called: Fertility, Cycles & Nutrition. She deals with a lot of different issues in the book. You might even be able to check it out at the library if you don’t want to buy it. It’s a VERY good book!!

HI , sorry as all git to hear of your troubles ! I started menopause at 22 and had a terrible time with the doctors thinking that could not possibly be the trouble since I was so young . Listen to your gut and make the doctors listen to your symptoms , be your own advocate , get online and check out your symptoms but remember the sites are only guides and you may have many of the same symptoms and not the exact problem they say . It took me years to find out what was up , had several docs insist I was preggers ( was not active at the time ) and 2 others wanted to do exploratory and lift out my organs to see if there was something else in the cavity that did not belong … everything eventually got straightened out tho it did take many years . Hang in there , dont take what the doctors say as gospel especially if you have not peace … we will join in your prayers and applaud you standing by your Catholic convictions ! :thumbsup:

Just my 2 cents–and please please PLEASE talk to your doc about it first–but you can buy over-the-counter natural hormone creams (I’m thinking they’re made with wild yam?). They’re very mild and won’t affect your fertility at all (so I’m guessing it would be OK with the Church?), but may help your cycle to regulate.

You can usually find this in health food stores.


Birth control will treat only the symptoms rather than the cause. As others have said, find a doctor who will look for the root cause of why your periods are irregular.

My friend had irregular, heavy periods, and the doctor put her on birth control pills for several years. Sure, it made her periods regular again–but several years later, she found out that she had cysts on her ovaries, which had been growing for years and had made her irregular. Not trying to scare you at all,:slight_smile: but just saying that birth control is nothing but “quick fix” anyway that may not solve the real problem.

To answer everyone’s questions:

I’m only in my mid-20’s, so how could I possibly be experiencing menopause? I haven’t even had a baby yet, and I’m still a newlywed.

My diet hasn’t changed much, but over the past 1.5 years my cycle has not been normal. Like I said before, it was regular but there were a lot of stressful incidences which occurred between that time and late last year. I got sick a few times and had to practically take horsepills (antibiotics) each time because I was affected so badly. This happened almost once every 1.5-2 months. Then there was a time where I didn’t get my period for a couple of months, and that hasn’t happened to me since I was a preteen and first started my period.

During this time, I’ll admit that I gained a lot of weight-- from the time that I got married up until the last few months I gained about 20 pounds. Right now I am in an effort to lose that weight (and more). Whenever I tried to talk to a nurse or doctor about it, I’d usually get answers such as “you don’t need to bleed every month”, “why don’t you try the pill,” or “this is normal.” I even had my FSH and LH tested because when I didn’t get my period I honestly thought I was pregnant. The results said “normal” and I wasn’t pregnant.

To be honest, it’s not so much the not getting my period part that greatly concerns me, but the amount of bleeding I’ve been getting. Once again not to be TMI, but I never used to get lots of clots and now I do. In fact, some of the clots almost make me scream :eek: I’ve also started going through a couple jumbo packs of tampons as well, when before it would take me a couple months just to go through one. I’ve also had to change them once every hour, and for this cycle (right now), I’ve been bleeding for 3 weeks, and had to change tampons once every hour to 2 hours for an entire week. There have been a couple nights where I bled through, and these were the super plus tampons.

This is a little distressing because I work a job where I don’t always get the luxury of being able to go to the restroom when I want. I’ve already had a couple small accidents at work (thankfully no one else noticed, and I wear oversized dark t-shirts) because I bled that much.

I looked at the links which were suggested, and the only ob/gyn that I found which was close to me was retired:confused: I need to be able to find a doctor within close distance, and that will also work with insurance. As of now (this will change), I don’t have health insurance to go to a ob/gyn. In fact, I’ve never been to a ob/gyn (you can yell at me if you like) because in the past I was never sexually active up until marriage.

I really don’t want to go to the doctor only for them to tell me to take hormones, or that everything’s “normal” after they run a test, or related.

There is nothing wrong with going on BCP if you are not married and not having sex. I asked Fr Marx who started Human Life international (May his Memory be Eternal!) I had lots of problems. Pain and heavy bleeding. The pills helped but my body made me throw up so much that I quit. After I had kids(3 girls) the pain was worse. I went to my doc(Not pro-life but a great doc) she gave me all my options and I had a hysterectomy. You are young so wait till you are older for that:)

Not all OBs will push the pill on you. Many will disagree with you but respect your choice never the less. Keep looking for a doc who will really want to help you. They do have things that can be done.

Have you had your thyroid checked?

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