moral problem

I have already read some of the thread about is contraception ever ok, but it did not really address my issue. So, here is my problem:

My spouse and I have been married for almost ten years and have not been able to conceive. We are okay with this as we trust in the will of God. We do not consider this to be a problem and we do not believe that we have “broken bodies” or anything like that. My spouse is in his sixties and I am forty something.

My problem is that I have debilitating migraines every month related to my cycle and have had them for at many years. I have extremely bad PMS and suffer emotionally and physically. Sometimes I want to give in and take birth control pills to ease my sufferings, but then I think about the fact that birth control pills kill any beginning life. Although we have not been able to conceive, it does not mean that God may not open my womb whenever He wills. Also, I have not lived a very good life in my early years and have welcomed the opportunity to do penance for my past and offer it up for the conversion of other sinners as well.

I just do not know what to do. Sometimes my suffering is so bad that I want to give up, but as I wrote above, I do not want to add onto my sins and do not want to lose out on any graces available for penances offered up in union with Christ’s sufferings…

My spouse is willing to do whatever I decide as he does not enjoy me when I have my problems. I wish we had a Spiritual Director, but we don’t, so this is why I decided to put out my question here.

Any input?

Your prayerful approach is certainly the correct one in this matter. While the Church rightly condemns all contraception, the Church does not condemn medicine that is taken to remedy a real physiological problem but also has contraceptive side effects. As long as the contraceptive effect is an unintended effect here, it would be moral for you to take this medicine. I would, however, recommend getting a second opinion in an effort to treat your symptoms without using a hormonal pill. It would probably be healthier to use an alternative.

God bless.

You might have a condition called endometreosis. Has your doctor ever discussed this with you? It does cause extreme pain and infertility. There is another thread in family life you should look into. His wife is also having pain and considering birth control. It is okay. You are using it as a medical treatment and not to close off your body from receiving life. Good luck, pray and I will pray for you.
Here is the link to the other forum.
forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=64060

The pill does nothing to help endometriosis other than mask the symptoms. It does not help to reduce it, it does not cure it and it does not aid in it’s prevention. It simply masks the symptoms. The only effective treatment of endometriosis is to have it removed……then treat the hormonal problems that caused it in the first place.

Given that, something to think about is whether the pill is the right answer, since you would be taking it to mask symptoms, instead of treat a medical condition.

Since you said you suffer from PMS, it may not even be endo that’s causing your problems. Often times the sever effects of PMS are caused by low progesterone in the post ovulatory phase of a woman’s cycle. Sometimes it’s caused by low estrogen during the pre-ovulatory time.

If you are interested in finding out definitively what the reasons are behind your PMS, I would encourage you to contact Pope Paul VI Institute, which specializes in women reproductive issues, in adherence to all Catholic teachings. www.popepaulvi.com

Thank you all for your input and advise. I will prayerfully consider all that you have offered. Thank you for your prayers. I will pray for all of your intentions, as well. It is awesome to belong to such a wonderful Catholic faith and family.

One more thing to add- I have a good friend who keeps a spiritual advisor. He is a very holy priest, and I would trust his judgement when he told her that if the BC pill was helping her condition, she should not worry at all, since her intent was not to avoid motherhood. Your problem is the same, and I would assume that perhaps because of underlying medical issues, you are childless in the first place. I do hope that someday, this will change, but I believe that you can go with God regarding the medical use of the pill. Wish you well.

I would see an integretive medicine doctor for this one. There may be a different approach to take other than birth control pills. I am not sure they would even help and it could make the problem worse for the migraines. I get them too every month, a couple times so severe I had to go to the ER. Luckily they seem to getting less frequent. I refuse to take the birth control pill, at my age it could trigger a stroke or blood clot. There are many reasons you could be having the migraines, besides the fall in estrogen that can trigger them monthly. There may be other things you can do, such as take extra magnesium and calcium, diet changes, avoid stress, etc. Also there are so many medications for migraine nowadays, I can not take Imitrex, but maybe you can. Check with a good Integretive Medicine doc.

Careful. If it is deemed morally acceptable to take medicine that has contraceptive side effects you should also make sure that you prevent any abortifacient side effects.

Also I advise to seek guidance from a faithful clergy member as to balancing the need for medicine vs. tolerating the undesirable side effects such as contraception. I am not sure what the official Church teaching would be regarding this. Certainly you have a right to seek relief from suffering.

I commend your thoughtfulness and love for Jesus.

Greg

[quote=OneLife2live]I would see an integretive medicine doctor for this one. There may be a different approach to take other than birth control pills. I am not sure they would even help and it could make the problem worse for the migraines. I get them too every month, a couple times so severe I had to go to the ER. Luckily they seem to getting less frequent. I refuse to take the birth control pill, at my age it could trigger a stroke or blood clot. There are many reasons you could be having the migraines, besides the fall in estrogen that can trigger them monthly. There may be other things you can do, such as take extra magnesium and calcium, diet changes, avoid stress, etc. Also there are so many medications for migraine nowadays, I can not take Imitrex, but maybe you can. Check with a good Integretive Medicine doc.
[/quote]

I ditto this. Since the pill has many side effects itself, I would urge you to seek some other options for dealing with the migraines, particularly diet related ones, sometimes the addition of a supplement or avoiding or added certain foods can have a quick, dramatic affect. check out your local library, much new information reguarding migraines has been published in the last 5 years or so.

I also used to suffer terribly from them during my period, so my heart goes out to you.

cheddar

The information in “Fertility, Cycles, & Nutrition” by Marilyn Shannon eliminated my PMS. It may be a place to start. For those interesed, this book also discusses endometriosis/nutrition and the migraine/magnesium connection. I read an interesting article in GreatLife July 2003 about Migraines and OTC supplements, including magnesium. The article cited references from Clinical Neuroscience, Cephalgia, Neurology, and Headache. You may find GreatLife in your library… my local health food store keeps back issues. It is an interesting article. I would be more than happy to summarize the info, just contact me. Of course, you should discuss supplements with your clinician.

[font=Arial]The pill does nothing to help endometriosis other than mask the symptoms. It does not help to reduce it, it does not cure it and it does not aid in it’s prevention. It simply masks the symptoms.

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[font=Times New Roman][font=Arial]I respectfully disagree with your opinion http://www.endometriosis.org/treatment.html). If you have a credible source, please share. A review of the medical literature found hormonal contraceptives beneficial for the treatment of endometriosis (www.clinicalevidence.com). My humble understanding is that COCPs can prevent the risk of further seeding of endometriosis in select cases. COCP may also be part of the treatment plan in addition to surgery, GnRH antagonist, etc. Some sources also state COCPs reduce the risk of endometriosis. [/font]

The only effective treatment of endometriosis is to have it removed……then treat the hormonal problems that caused it in the first place.

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[font=Arial][size=2]There is no cure for endometriosis, and the cause is unknown (([font=Arial][size=2]www.clinicalevidence.com[/size], endometriosis.org/causes.html). There are documented cases even in mem. I am not promoting a “one size fits all” treatment, and I do not think the pill is the answer to every female reproductive complaint or problem. I simply maintain that hormonal contraception is medicinal in some cases. There is no argument on the Church’s teachings regarding contraception from me; however, there are certainly legitimate medical reasons for hormonal contraception. I also agree that hormonal contraception is too easily prescribed, but that does not negate its benefits in select patients. I can give more than one example of patients who have exhausted treatment options only to find relief with hormonal contraception. Some medical conditions simply have no cure (known at this time). Perhaps, these medications should be considered a last resort, but a legitimate option in some circumstances.

Maybe someone here can direct me to evidence that proves hormonal contraceptive has no medicinal value ever.

Autumn

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Autumn -

I respect your thorough research. I would encourage you, in the spirit of that research, to check out the Pope Paul VI Institute. An article can be found here: catholiconline.com/featured/headline.php?ID=1196 and the Institute website is here: www.popepaulvi.com . The website is nothing spectaular, but it’s a start.

I assume (and forgive me if I am wrong) that your research was based on need, because you are affected by endo. Most people don’t even know what it is if it doesn’t effect them or a loved one. I was too glib by saying that surgery “cures” endo. You are correct; it can, in some cases does, return after removal.

A question though….if indeed your statement of “hormonal contraceptives beneficial for the treatment of endometriosis”, then why would you not treat the underlying hormonal issues without ABC ? Why would a woman risk her fertility when there are other options?

Faith leads me to search out Dr. and other medical practitioners whose life goal is to adhere to the Magisterium, and to find other ways, outside of secular medicine, to help women do the same. I think you and I agree though, that ABC should be a last resort.

Another thing that you might find of interest is: cwnews.com/news/cwreport_featured.cfm and ewtn.com/vondemand/audio/seriessearchprog.asp?pgnu=2&SeriesID=-6892288 scroll down to #37.

and vitalsignsministries.org/vsmnewabort.html

The hard part is that too many doctors don’t even know what they are looking for and rule out endo, when they haven’t even taken a look, or like you said, simply Rx ABC with no regard for their patient’s personal beliefs, or physical needs, simply because that is what they were taught in medical school.

It’s really a shame, and a true disservice to women, of any or no faith, that they can’t be treated to find out what is really wrong with them, and are only be treated for their symptoms.

Schana,

Thank you for your response and the links. The NaProTECHNOLOGY is very promising, but I admit this is a new area for me. I approach it with optimism and skepticism. I wish I would have known about this approach when I was struggling with infertility. I want another baby, so I am happy to have this information in case I need assistance.

I do have endometriosis, but I am a Women’s Health NP. I have worked in a family planning clinic since 1997. Well, I have only worked a day and a half since my son was born last year.
I have read a wealth of research on contraceptives and Women’s Health in general as part of my profession, so I would like to see the research support the NaProTECHNOLOGY claims. I am very pro evidenced-based practice. If NaPro is as effective as reported, there will be those women who do not respond and may still find a solution to their problem in more conventional medicine (even hormonal contraceptives).

A question though….if indeed your statement of “hormonal contraceptives beneficial for the treatment of endometriosis”, then why would you not treat the underlying hormonal issues without ABC ? Why would a woman risk her fertility when there are other options?

This implies the underlying cause of endometriosis is hormonal. The cause is unknown. We do “know” that ovarian hormones exacerbate endo. Similar to gasoline on a fire. If the ovarian hormones are turned off or at the very least trickling, the endo is not being fed (not the best description I admit). Hormonal contraceptives shut down the ovaries, granted the degree varies woman to woman. Why do you believe the woman is risking her fertility? What other options? The course of treatment involves various factors. Endometriosis is a known risk to fertility. Alablation of the endometrial implants is one aspect of treatment. Then, prophylactic treatment is needed. The prophylactic treatment is usually hormones, which in some cases is hormonal contraceptives. I am concluding from your statements and questions that you believe ABC risks fertility. I suppose if the hormonal contraceptives fail to “control” the endo. Based on my clinical experience and review of research, there is no greater incidence of infertility in combination hormonal contraceptive users than nonusers. Depo is beast all to itself, which iI admit my opinion is influenced by my own HORRIBLE experience.

I admit that NaPro is promising. I read the story of Abby and her successful treatment of endometriosis with surgery. I am interested if this success is long-term. Recurrence is one issue with endometriosis. Based on what I have read, which is limited, does Dr. Hilgers find the underlying cause of endometriosis to be hormonal? If so, I would like to see data supporitng this. I should order the text.

(Continued)

Faith leads me to search out Dr. and other medical practitioners whose life goal is to adhere to the Magisterium, and to find other ways, outside of secular medicine, to help women do the same. I think you and I agree though, that ABC should be a last resort.

I wish more people would do this. I wish more people would research health care period. Sometimes I believe we need representation when we seek health care… someone to ask the right questions,etc. Uggg, the things I know, hear, and see happen in health care.

My audio isn’t working on this machine (probably the user not the machine) so I was unable to listen to #37. I don’t have to be conviced that hormonal contraceptives cause chemical abortions. I hid behind the word games for years, then I began reading THESE FORUMS (an example of how you never know the impact of sharing your knowledge). I always reviewed the three mechanisms of action found on the package insert… I never kept the facts from my clients.

The hard part is that too many doctors don’t even know what they are looking for and rule out endo, when they haven’t even taken a look, or like you said, simply Rx ABC with no regard for their patient’s personal beliefs, or physical needs, simply because that is what they were taught in medical school.

Or make a defintive diagnosis rather than a possible or presumptive diagnosis. I have cared for a number of women “diagnosed” with endo who have never had a laparoscope.

It’s really a shame, and a true disservice to women, of any or no faith, that they can’t be treated to find out what is really wrong with them, and are only be treated for their symptoms.

I would like to believe this is the exception, but I am sorry to say it may not be. A good clinician will find the underlying problem, though symptom treatment may be the only true option.

I absolutley 100% agree with Dr. Hilgers approach to health care… find the underlying cause and treat it. I want to work with Dr. Hilgers.

Autumn

Autumn -

Just sent you a private message.

Schana

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