Preventing menstruation?

Can a woman use contraceptives strictly to prevent periods (not to prevent pregnancies)

1 Like

Welcome to the forums.

Your post might get more answers over in Family Life or Moral Theology.

My answer would be this is something you need to discuss with your physician, research for yourself with regard to the safety and long term effects of such hormonal treatment, then talk to your priest. Things like your state in life would make a difference.

4 Likes

Is there a medical reason to stop having periods? From my understanding of Catholic “rules”, contraceptives may be used for medical reasons as long as contraception isn’t the object but just a side effect of the medical treatment.

I’m not sure but I’d guess that taking them just to avoid periods with no medical necessity would be frowned upon if not an outright No. You should discuss this with your priest and a doctor for any permissions or counsel.

To prevent periods will have the consequence of preventing pregnancies, so why the dichotomy and what is the goal of this wish?

1 Like

Sounds like a bad idea medically. Why would you want to disrupt natural bodily functions without a proportionate reason?

3 Likes

If you have heavy HEAVY periods with a lot of bleeding (requiring a change of product every hour or even more often), and that go on for days, possibly two weeks of each cycle–this is exhausting and delibitating for women, and is often due to a hormonal issue.

Chemical formulas commonly used for contraception can also be used to stop the periods and bring welcome relief to women. Meanwhile the gynecologist can work with her to regulate periods and bring everything into balance, so that the women can experience “normal” monthly periods that are not so heavy.

I personally see no sin in this, and if it were me, I would do it in a minute! I know that some people are terrified of any use of hormones in treatment, and that’s their choice. But there is no reason to avoid something that has a good purpose and outcome and does not harm an unborn child.

2 Likes

This is something to discuss with your priest and your doctor.

Personally I’d be cautious because you phrased it that you want to “prevent periods” (instead of phrasing it that you just, e.g., want medical alleviation of period symptoms that are worse than those dealt with by most women).

As women our periods are part of our natural fertility. They are a healthy thing. Granted, they’re also messy and inconvenient (and painful). But usually manageable.

If you believe you have an unusual situation, this’d be something to discuss with a trusted priest and doctor. Relevant factors might include: the impact your period symptoms are having on your life; the potential side effect of this medicine on your own body (including long term); and the specific medical tool you’re considering and whether it risks a potential abortifacient effect (if you’re sexually active).

1 Like

I’m not a woman, so bear with me, but if she has heavy, painful, unpredictable periods, she might wish to take birth control to regulate them. If she’s single and not having sex anyway, then it seems fine. In that scenario, contraception isn’t the purpose.

4 Likes

Yeah, I’ve never understood the “it’s natural therefore you can’t do anything about it” argument. Migraines are natural too. Doesn’t mean you can’t do something to alleviate suffering.

2 Likes

Or even the pain of childbirth, which is very natural and an example of our bodies working “as they should be.” There are potential harms associated with hormonal contraceptive use–but “it’s natural” is irrelevant, and as with any treatment the potential harm of the treatment needs to be balanced against the harms of NOT treating the issue. (Which, obviously, is a discussion to be had with proper medical professionals.)

But… periods aren’t in the same category as “migraines”.

A migraine is a sort of illness, a situation of un-health.

A period is part of the healthy state of things for a female of fertile age. Sure, a period is accompanied by symptoms that are unpleasant and inconvenient – but the period itself isn’t some disorder to be cured. It’s part of a rightly-ordered female body functioning at maximum health.

A female of otherwise fertile age whose period stops has become less healthy, not more healthy.

As I mentioned in my comment before it got strawmanned, I’m not against the idea of medical intervention to alleviate symptoms of a period. If a woman needs something to reduce the heaviness of bleeding, or reduce pain from cramps (etc) obviously I’m on board with that. I’ve had to miss work rolling around in pain, I’m familiar with the irritation of suddenly bleeding unexpectedly when I don’t have a product with me, I’m familiar with the tedium of changing hygiene products every hour.

But the OP didn’t say she just has unusually heavy symptoms she wants alleviated. Incidentally, she also didn’t say she’s unmarried. She simply phrased it that her period itself is what she wants to stop, without suggesting a reason why. So one possible situation here (though hopefully it’s not the case) is a married women who is sexually active and has minor period symptoms but thinks even those ‘shouldn’t’ have to be borne (and it’s not the primary intended effect but the side effect of probable childlessness is viewed positively). Another possible situation is a person with gender dysphoria who wants their period to stop because it reminds them of their femaleness.

I’ll also drop this here:

Studies do seem to suggest that if the contraceptive in question is ‘The Pill’, it comes with weird side effects not yet fully understood but including an increased risk of heart disease, a possibly long term change in a woman’s level of sexual desire, a during-use change in which men a woman finds attractive (so you don’t want to date on the pill if you plan to be married off the pill; you might wake up next to a husband you never would have felt attracted to if you hadn’t been on artificial hormones!), and even a “slight change in the shape of her eyeball”. This is beyond the possible risks to children if conception takes place despite recent use of the pill.

As I previously stated, I’m all in favour of medical alleviation of bad symptoms. I love and cherish my pain meds on bad cramp days, and I know people who have had serious medical conditions requiring the use of technical contraception though without contraceptive intent. But this is really something a woman should be discussing with her priest and doctor, not internet strangers. We don’t know the specifics of her situation, and are not qualified to weigh the relevant factors involved, especially medically.

3 Likes

Fair point. Periods and some degree of discomfort are supposed to occur; a migraine is a sign that something isn’t functioning as it ought to. But if we’re talking about discomfort or irregularity that is excessive and abnormal, isn’t that also potentially a sign that something is out of wack? A sign of un-health, as you put it.

She didn’t really say anything. We don’t even know if she is a she; this could just be someone asking a hypothetical out of pure curiosity.

This seems like another question entirely. We’ve been discussing whether it might be moral to take contraceptives without contraceptive intent, not whether it would be medically advisable. It might be one but not the other.

Certainly, but assuming OP is asking because she wants the birth control pill, she’s not going to get the prescription from Catholic Answers anyway. She’ll have to discuss this with her doctor at some point; presumably what she (again, assuming it’s a she) wanted from us is a discussion of the moral implications.

Lactation is a healthy state and for many women stops menstruation.

2 Likes

I feel bad about this because men were forbidden to masturbate for a reason that sperms have a life.

That is entirely incorrect.

2 Likes

:roll_eyes:

Sure (sometimes), and so does pregnancy.

Surely the point I’m gesturing at is more obvious than these replies suggest?

A ‘period’ isn’t a discrete, set-apart ‘thing’. It’s just a word for that particular time period during a woman’s fertility cycle when the uterine lining is flushed out because implantation of an embryo didn’t occur.

If implantation doesn’t occur, the body flushes the lining – because that’s healthy. If implantation occurs, the body doesn’t flush the lining. That wouldn’t be healthy (it’d kill the baby, for a start).

The point is that there’s a default disposition of what a body’s ‘most healthy’ mode looks like based on a variety of factors. Periods sometimes stop because of malnutrition, stress, illness. In a healthy body they usually don’t stop unless there’s an illness condition or the ultimate purpose of periods (keeping the uterus in good condition for a pregnancy) is achieved and the body moves to another mode of fertility.

1 Like

@CaptainPrudeman I just searched it up. You’re right. Thanks for informing me :heart:

Wow, this post got removed as being “offensive.” Amazing, to state that “natural =/= healthy” is so offensive.

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