Catholic Teaching on IUD for Heavy Bleeding

Question

CANFP caught my attention at the Religious Education Congress in Anaheim.
I have been menstruating for almost 90 days, the flow is very heavy some days and light on others. I am 45 years old and I have been taking progesterone prescribed from a doctor. This same thing happend two years ago and it was more severe.

From a Catholic perspective, what would my options be if this continues? I was offered an IUD, and my understanding is that this would be against the teaching of the Church.

Don’t all the solutions prevent life? Does the Catholic Church give leeway if devices/surgeries are done for medical reasons?

Evelyn

Answer

Last Updated: December 1, 2021
Dear Evelyn,

With your unusual bleeding, you need to find out the cause. Inserting an IUD will not help you find the diagnosis. If it is being used to decrease the bleeding, there are other ways to treat the abnormal bleeding after the underlying cause is found.

I’m sorry I cannot be more specific on the possible treatments without knowing more about what evaluation and treatment has already been tried. If you conceive with an IUD, the newly formed life is not able to implant, and an early abortion occurs, so IUD’s are against Church teaching. However, there are some forms of treatment that would prevent life in the long run, but are still acceptable by the Church – such as a hysterectomy done because of cancer. Clearly your unique situation would need to be discussed with a doctor who can give you all of the treatment options, and possibly with a priest to discuss the moral implications of the treatments offered.

I hope your physician can guide you on the best solution for you, and I hope you feel comfortable enough to explain that you need a solution that does not go against your faith and the dignity of life.

Best wishes,

Lynn Keenan, M.D

Answered By:

Lynn Keenan, MD
Lynn Keenan, MD, Immediate Past President of the CANFP Executive Board, is a Clinical Professor at the UCSF/Fresno Internal Medicine Residency Program (now retired), Board Certified in Sleep and Internal Medicine, and Vice President of the International Institute for Restorative Reproductive Medicine. She earned her BSN at UCLA, her MD at Temple University School of Medicine, and completed her Residency in Internal Medicine at UCSF/Fresno. Dr. Keenan served on the Executive Board of CANFP since 2004, as President of CANFP since 2010, and graciously agreed to continue her service to CANFP on the Advisory Board at the beginning of 2019, upon her retirement from the Executive Board of CANFP

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