No More Tears: Moral Healthcare for Women

With tears in her eyes, Lindsey approached me during her junior year in high school after hearing a lecture I gave on the negative side effects of contraception and the alternatives offered by the science of NaPro Technology.

Lindsey was on “the pill” because her obstetrician insisted that it was the best means to manage the severe pain, vomiting, and irregular cycles she was experiencing. Lindsey hated being on the pill. It made her feel “gross,” she sensed that it was just managing symptoms instead of fixing the problem, and she worried about her future marriage and ability to have children.

She pleaded for help. I could offer little. There were no OB/GYNs in Houston who did not prescribe contraception. The nearest was a three hour drive. And Mom insisted the pill was the best thing for Lindsey’s health—it’s what the doctors prescribed when she was a teen, and what they insisted on for Lindsey.

Two years, another OB, and five contraceptives later, Lindsey “forcefully expressed” that she did not want to take the pill again because of the side effects. “Unfortunately, Mom did not support this decision and backed the doctor up when she suggested a new pill.” Lindsey wrote “Mom isn’t convinced that there could possibly be an ‘underlying cause’ to everything that I am experiencing … this is definitely a touchy topic [in our house].”

Now an adult, Lindsey finally said “enough” and stopped taking the pills. “With the samples and prescription still sitting on the kitchen counter five months later, I refuse to even open the packaging.” She paid for it with her “all-time worst” cramps. Though it rarely, if ever, solves the underlying problems, contraception usually improves the symptoms experienced by many women.

So Lindsey searched desperately for an alternative without luck, until Houston welcomed Dr. Kathryn Karges and “Caritas Complete Women’s Care” as the only OB/GYN medical practice in the city that did not prescribe contraception.

By now, Mom was open to “natural” solutions and agreed to take Lindsey to Dr. Karges. Lindsey began charting her cycles, and found out that she had endometriosis on her appendix and other organs. Lindsey noted, “It turned out my right ovary was stuck to my pelvis due to the endo.” No wonder she was in such pain! She had surgery to remove the endometriosis this winter and feels better than she has in years.

Lindsey still has a ways to go as some symptoms still persist, but now for the first time she has a doctor who is seeking to find and cure the cause of those gut-wrenching symptoms. She recently wrote me, “The experience has been wonderful and switching to her has been one of the best decisions for my health. It has been so nice to finally find an OB/GYN who actually listens to what I am going through and actively searches for a solution instead of just giving away birth control.”

She tells me that her parents are now “beyond supportive,” “so impressed,” and “can’t say enough about” the excellent medical care she is receiving from Caritas.

If Lindsey sounds like a walking advertisement, it’s because she is! Clinics like Caritas in Houston, Tepeyac Family Center in Northern Virginia, and The Vitae Clinic in Austin routinely provide tremendous care for thousands of women such as Lindsey. They offer the best of moral medicine, and the women and families who benefit happily sing their praises.

I understand why loved ones may hesitate to take a daughter or wife to clinics like these. Their unique approach to reproductive health that works with the body instead of against it goes against the medical grain. Their approach, however, is rarely replicated not because it’s bad medicine but rather because it’s not as lucrative, and the culture automatically says, “give ‘em contraception.”

Tepeyac, Vitae Clinic, and Caritas offer women like Lindsey something that, in their respective regions, only they can offer because of their unique perspective and state-of-the-art training. Thankfully, such clinics are gradually springing up all over the country. I cannot possibly note them all here so I encourage readers to comment and share the word about similar medical practices that do not prescribe contraception and who offer moral medicine that meets the reproductive health needs of women. Such practices need support from us. More importantly, countless women—our wives, daughters, students or friends—can benefit from the healing care offered by Caritas, Tepeyac and Vitae Clinic.

Lindsey’s life was changed by this beautiful approach to the unique needs of women’s health. Today, there are no more tears.

(Photo credit:  Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.)

Arland K. Nichols

By

Arland K. Nichols is the founding President of the John Paul II Foundation for Life and Family.

  • Deacon Ed Peitler

    Here’s a recommendation to all you bishops out there: Instead of funding nonsense like CRS, CCHD, and all the other “social justice” projects out there, take some of the money that rightfully belongs to the Catholics in your diocese and fund one, just one, OB-GYN practice that is operated by a Catholic physician and that is contraceptive free. The practice will be booming once you promote it in your diocese.

    The USCCB is supposed to be pro-family. Wel,l do something concrete to support life, family life, marriages and chastity.

    In addition, every diocese ought to support at least one facility which offers comprehensive sebvices that are an alternative to abortion. Bishops, if you want to put some creditable action behind the words “evangelization” fund these two projects in your dioceses. If there was enough money for law suits for wayward priests, perhaps there is money to fund what is the real work of the Church.

    • C

      An excellent idea Deacon. I concur.

    • GaudeteMan

      Deacon, please don’t address our busy shepherds with such trivialities! There are illegal immigrants that require their full-time attention.

      • Deacon Ed Peitler

        I retract my suggestion…what WAS I thinking????

        • Sarah B.

          I can’t believe you are a deacon so clearly ignoring the mandate to serve the poor – not just ignoring it, but mocking it. Of course the poor includes unborn babies and women in crisis pregnancies. It also includes the, you know, poor.

      • Sarah B.

        WOW. Yes Jesus only loves Americans and perfect people who know how not to be poor though they were born into poverty in an impoverished country! Jesus is a big-time judger of poor people!

    • Dianne Hunt

      Thank you, Deacon Ed! I applaud your frank admonishment of our leadership and recommending they support those of us who, on our own, are offering wholesome moral healthcare to prevent our clients from needing or wanting an abortion or the “pill”. I am a family practitioner and NaPro Medical provider committed to provide care that protects fertility, celebrates chastity & parental involvement & support, marriage. I have been saddened by the lack of support by our clergy we have reached out to for support.

    • Truth

      Deacon Ed Peitler,
      I agree with what you have to say. I have been going to a Roman Latin Mass on and off for the past few years. I must say the difference today between the “true” Mass and the watered down Catholic/Protestant Mass is to be reckoned with. More Catholics need to wake up and realize what is going on in the Church today. I was in Colorado last summer at a Catholic Mass there and after Mass they had a booth set up for Women with Cancer and to “Support the Cause”. Well who supports the Cancer foundation-planned parenthood….! I tried to explain to Father the situation and he listened and then realized that he should have researched this cancer organization before Catholics start putting more money into anti Christ organizations. I am not saying all Cancer foundations are not good but many of them are not. Most of the proceeds from these Cancer organizations goes into the corporate hands of the “top CEOs, adminstrators etc”. Until the Bishops and priests start speaking the truth about abortion, homosexual marriages and end of life decisions to name just a few…in this country we are going to continue to go down the wrong path. God said all of these things would come about and that he needed real men and women of good faith to do his good work! So lets continue to spread the good news of God and continue to stand up for our faith, Thank you Deacon for your honesty and standing up for our Catholic faith. I know it is not easy. God Bless You!

    • Sarah B.

      WOW super offensive though. Yes, stop helping all the “undeserving” poor. Jesus hated the poor who came from other countries???!!!

  • James

    Moral healthcare for women”???

    What, exactly, is immoral about a 16 year old virgin taking birth control pills to manage endometriosis?

    It is tone deafness like this that keeps natural alternatives like NaProTechnology from being more popular. Yes, this woman found a much better treatment, but this is not a moral issue. Saying that it is implies that the only reason a doctor would pursue it is because of a (mistaken) view of Catholic teaching. Such language only serves to confine NaProTechnology to a “Catholic ghetto”. Quit calling a medical issue a moral issue.

    Instead, try using headlines along these lines:

    “Real healthcare for women.”
    “Better healthcare for women.”
    “Women healed”

    • Rock St. Elvis

      Do you think that if Lindsey got married, her regular OB/Gyn would stop prescribing the pill for cramps?

      • James

        It would not be immoral for her to take them if she needed them to treat a medical condition. (Of course, it may not be good medicine either.) Pius XII addressed the issue directly. See also Humanae Vitae 15.

        • Rock St. Elvis

          The principle of double effect counsels that If one may attain the good effect without the bad effect, one
          should do so. The fact that doctors prescribe this remedy cavalierly and not as an absolutely last resort therefore reflects a moral problem with the prescribing doctors, who apparently see no bad effect in artificial contraception regardless of the reason for prescribing it. NaProTechnology owes its existence in no small part to the moral sense of its developers, who sought an alternative that would avoid the sterilizing and potentially abortifacient effects of the pill.

          • Angela Goudman

            Some birth control pills (e.g. Plan B) are now available over the counter. I take metformin, a drug originally used to treat diabetes, to help my PCOS. Ironically, metformin is available by prescription only – and yet the side effect profile is safer than the Pill, and the common side effects are less inconveniencing than those of the Pill!

    • Michael Doyle

      Thank you. This is a real condition with real suffering atatched. Surgery does NOT always work,

      • BBNY

        And the Pill NEVER cures endometriosis. It only allows the doctor to avoid having to do his job and find out what’s really wrong, to do his job of HEALING. This woman suffered from a medical condition that went undiagnosed for YEARS because doctors are so blinkered that they just ‘hand ’em a pill’ instead of seeking to cure.

        Too many women – I know a number of them – could repeat this story as their own story: they had problem periods and the medical profession has only one option (which is no option): Go on the Pill. But the Pill has so many negative and dangerous side-effects that it’s basically a poison. Their ‘solution’ is a dangerous medicine for the rest of your life, rather than trying – TRYING – to find a real cure for something like endometriosis, something that ‘does no harm’ and takes the woman’s general health into consideration.

        The women I know didn’t find out what their real problem was until they started charting and consulted a pro-life doctor or they were in a class on NFP prior to getting married. I know one young woman, recently married, who found out what her problem was ONLY through NFP classes. Doctors were telling her it was ‘all in her mind,’ but the charts proved something was really interfering with her cycle. Doctor after doctor could not diagnose endometriosis. Finally the young woman diagnosed it herself by doing a search on the Internet. She’s now making arrangements to consult with a Catholic doctor who specializes in naprotechnology, since the mainstream medical profession failed her as a teen (they prescribed the Pill) and as an adult (after she went off the Pill because of how it made her feel, the dangers associated with it, and because she wanted to live a chaste life, and being on the Pill made unchastity a little too easy a temptation).

        Women who have problem periods: Go to a doctor who knows naprotechnology and will NOT prescribe the Pill. Go to such a doctor FIRST. Don’t waste YEARS of time and risk your future fertility while the Pill destroys your natural cycle and something like endometriosis could be getting worse and worse as the months and years pass.

        • Dianne Hunt

          Anyone in the Southern NH region can go to Humanae Vitae Family Healthcare for NaPro Technology care that will search for underlying problem and treat it. It is in Londonderry NH right off exit 4 of Rt 93. There phone # is 603-432-4005. I hope that helps!

      • Arland Nichols

        Surgery may not always work for every problem caused by endometriosis. But nobody is claiming that it does. BBNY’s comments below are a good response to your concern.
        That said excellent surgeons in this area of medicine (and there are few of them) have consistently excellent results. Take as an example a recent study published by a colleague of Dr. Karges, Dr. Patrick Yeung: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21420081

      • James

        I’m very much a supporter of alternatives to the pill, but it has it’s place in medicine. Such use is completely moral under Catholic teaching, even for married women.

        • Angela Goudman

          This is true. However, sometimes the Pill is simply used to treat the “problem”, without determining the underlying cause. Other treatments may also be effective. I have polycystic ovary syndrome, which causes a lack of periods due to anovulation. I tried the Pill for a year. Women in my family do not react well to it; I tried 2 different formulations (one of which has the least androgenic progesterone on the market apart from Yaz) and still did not do well on it. I switched to metformin, which will help prevent me from developing diabetes (PCOS is largely due to insulin resistance), has a safer side effect profile than the Pill, and doesn’t cause the mood swings I had on the Pill.

    • BBNY

      As a woman, I consider it immoral to FORCE a woman to take a medicine that is not helping her, but only dulling her symptoms to avoid the hard work of finding out what’s really wrong with her.

      Notice that she didn’t find out that she was ‘managing endometriosis’ until she went to a pro-life doctor who does not prescribe the Pill. Before that, all the doctors did was give her the Pill – which has horrible side-effects, including the risk of cancer – instead of finding out the underlying cause of her problem and trying to fix that.

      Lazy medicine is unethical medicine, and unethical medicine is – in my view – immoral, especially if it compounds the problems (she changed cramping pain for an overall feeling of ill-health) while doing nothing to heal.

      The doctor’s first rule is ‘do no harm.’ This young woman complained constantly that the Pill was ‘doing her harm’ by making her feel bad. Clearly, in retrospect, it ‘did her harm’ by not getting to the bottom of her problem and relieving the cause, instead of putting a band-aid over the symptoms. To my mind, causing needless suffering for YEARS while refusing to listen to the patient is – immoral medicine.

      • Catholic_Mom_of_6

        You took the words right out of my mouth, BBNY.

      • familydoc

        Although I can not vouch for this woman’s experience, I have never met or worked with an OB/GYN who would not fully investigate a woman’s complaint of pelvic pain or painful periods. I am a family physician. Are there physicians out there who would ignore a woman’s concerns and just prescribe a pill? Maybe, but I have yet to meet one.

        There is no ultrasound or X-ray or CT scan that can pick up endometriosis. The only way to definitively diagnose this problem is to do laparoscopy. If they see endometriosis, then it can be treated with laser therapy. But, considering that many cases of endometriosis can be managed by OCP’s, would you subject your 16 year old daughter to a surgery that she might not need? There are significant risks with surgery, anesthesia, and post-op infection. Do no harm? Unfortunately, any man-made intervention has the potential to do harm, whether it is surgery or birth control pills. It is a risk that the physician and patient have to weigh together.

        (Also, the birth control pill decreases the risk of ovarian cancer, one of the most difficult female cancers to detect before it is too late.)

        I’m certainly not saying that I promote the use of OCP’s. I can see an enormous degree of personal and societal problems that stem from the use of OCP’s. But I disagree with the assertion that to use a birth control pill for a medical disorder is immoral medicine. In fact, the reverse could be said.

        • slainte

          You are willing to prescribe a known Carcinogen (the Pill) to a wide spectrum of female patients for an assortment of undiagnosed conditions, and then justify this decision by arguing that some women might be protected from ovarian cancer?
          Bizarre reasoning.

          • familydoc

            Bizarre reasoning? No, I was simply adding a factoid in my response to a previous writer. Would I give a birth control pill to someone just because of the BENEFICIAL side effect of decreasing the risk of ovarian cancer? No. But if someone MUST be treated with an OCP for a medical condition, that certainly is a plus.

            Wow…. I didn’t expect to become engaged in an online conversation. This would be my first. I am a little surprised by the sanctimonious tinge to several of these posts.

            • slainte

              It is not sanctimonious to request that a doctor not distribute a known carcinogen to unwitting female patients.
              I am sure there are other solutions that can accomplish your care protocol without endangering your patients’ long term health.

              • familydoc

                In my final posting EVER in an online forum (as I should have been cleaning the kitchen and making school lunches last night), I would just like to underline my primary problem with this article and with a few of the comments. I believe that by painting all physicians who prescribe OCP’s as lazy and immoral, you do a disservice to women in that you would immediately swipe away a bunch of really good docs. I am a Catholic physician who cares and worries about my patients. I follow up with them routinely to ensure that WE are getting to the bottom of any problem. Otherwise we change course. I listen to them intently and value their beliefs. I guide them in the way that I think is medically the best path, but if we need an alternative approach, I am open to that. My patients know that they can tell me anything and they will not be derided or made to feel silly.

                Am I a rarity in the medical field? I don’t think so. Am I immoral and lazy? Absolutely not. Do I encourage NFP? Yes. Do I prescribe OCP’s? When medically indicated.

                That’s it. Now, off to enjoy my precious little ones on my day off. Peace.

                • Arland Nichols

                  Thank you, familydoc. I appreciate your concerns regarding charitable discourse in comment boxes. Too often there is not nearly enough charity.
                  I’d like to respond to a couple of your concerns: Firstly, In fairness I do not think this article describes any physician as lazy or immoral. While surely some doctors are, my suspicion is that many just don’t know any better – contraception is what they were taught and what they practice. I presume no ill will. Secondly, while I am happy to know you work with your patients and respect their beliefs I can tell you that I am constantly hearing of physicians (particularly OB/GYNs) who simply do not. Many push sterilization and contraception even on patients who express reservations – it is the de facto “preventive treatment” for fertility and other actual ailments. Contraception is regularly promoted as the only – or best – “treatment” for countless conditions when the fact of the matter is that medically this simply is not true. Everywhere I speak women share such stories with me. I also speak at medical schools 5-10 times a year and at every stop I hear the same from pro-life or Catholic med students and residents.
                  There are some amazing options out there for women that often make oral contraception unnecessary. Many patients and doctors simply do not know of these options. This is in large part because of how ubiquitous contraception is in medical training/practice today. It’s also because of the contraceptive mentality in society at large. There are, I am sure other reasons as well.
                  Since you are open to alternative courses of treatment may I humbly suggest that you get in touch with Paul VI Institute in Omaha, the American Academy of Fertility Care Professionals, or one of the doctors from the medical practices I mention in my article. I regularly hear from doctors who at one time prescribed contraceptives (but now do not) how their approach to reproductive health transforms their practice of medicine for the better, deepens their appreciation of the human person, and increases their commitment to the ethical teachings of the Church. Blessings to you in your practice.

                  • familydoc

                    I will look into those groups. I don’t believe my views are too vastly different from your’s and your readers, but I will certainly be open to learning more.

                    I should also say that it wasn’t really your article that struck a nerve in me. It was some of the responses.

                    I promised myself not to write anymore, but I wanted to let you know that I appreciate your response. In any discussion, whether it be political or theological, one can win many more hearts and minds with civil discourse. Otherwise you’re just preaching to the choir. So, thank you.

            • jdrman

              I am an Emergency Physician and was once miseducated by the PC culture of death as to the great health benefits of using oral contraceptives for all manner of female disorders. After I properly educated myself about the risks and significant dangers of oral contraceptive use I realized that I had been miseducated and do my best now to educate other medical providers who have been lied to as I was. I have attached a link below to a study performed by the WHO and published in 2007. If you read it you will note that combination OC’s are listed as Class 1 carcinogens (liver, endometrial and breast cancer). As you know, ovarian CA is uncommon and to delude oneself into thinking that we are BENEFITING woman by prescribing a known carcinogen is illogical. Please, Doctor, do yourself and your Patients a favor and read the link. May the Peace of Christ be with you always..http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Monographs/vol91/mono91.pdf

            • jdrman

              I am an Emergency Physician and was once miseducated by the PC culture of death as to the great health benefits of using oral contraceptives for all manner of female disorders. After I properly educated myself about the risks and significant dangers of oral contraceptive use I realized that I had been miseducated and do my best now to educate other medical providers who have been lied to as I was. I have attached a link below to a study performed by the WHO and published in 2007. If you read it you will note that combination OC’s are listed as Class 1 carcinogens (liver, endometrial and breast cancer). As you know, ovarian CA is uncommon and to delude oneself into thinking that we are BENEFITING woman by prescribing a known carcinogen is illogical. Please, Doctor, do yourself and your Patients a favor and read the link. May the Peace of Christ be with you always..http://monographs.iarc.fr/ENG/Monogra

        • Angela Goudman

          As a rule, laparascopic surgery is quite safe. Obviously, there are risks with anesthetics, but that can be somewhat mitigated through the use of spinal anesthetic. Furthermore, although it is true that the endometriosis will likely return, the surgery will treat if for far longer than the Pill will.

          • Arland Nichols

            Angela,

            You may be interested in this abstract from Dr. Patrick Yeung’s recent study: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21420081

            They conclude: “Complete laparoscopic excision of endometriosis in teenagers–including areas of typical and atypical endometriosis–has the potential to eradicate disease. These results do not depend on postoperative hormonal suppression. These data have important implications in the overall care of teenagers, regarding pain management, but also potentially for fertility. Further large comparative trials are needed to verify these results.”

        • leogirl87

          The pill does decrease the risk of ovarian cancer, but so does having children! There were cases centuries ago where nuns kept getting cancer because the other women were having babies and they weren’t. The pill was classified as a group 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organization in 2005. I would also like to add that it is not immoral to use the pill if it is for a reason other than contraception. And I know people who were on the pill for many years and then finally had a baby through IVF in late 30s’/early 40’s who got ovarian cancer. Cancer risk increases by being on the pill for a certain number of years before having their first child.

        • Margarett Cahill Zavodny

          How on earth does a hormone-containing birth control pill PREVENT ovarian cancer? I am at risk for same and would never consider birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, nor would my doctor!

          • Arland Nichols

            Margarett, It is established that the synthetic estrogens in oral contraceptives reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. But, it is also established that the delay of childbirth and these same synthetic estrogens dramatically increase the risk of breast cancer and other cancers. Breast cancer is much more common in women and a significantly higher number of women die as a result of breast cancer than ovarian cancer.

        • Sarah B.

          I got the tests I needed but the GYN practically shoved an IUD into me when I firmly had told her several times that I was not interested.

      • James

        I understand your point, but what I read from the headline was that the primary benefit of NaProTechnology is that it is a moral way of treating cycle disorders, which, from a Catholic perspective, makes little sense. Catholic teaching permits us to use medicine when we are sick, and that includes hormone therapy commonly packaged as birth control pills.

        As familydoc points out, the course of action for treating a patient in such a condition isn’t entirely clear, and, whatever that may be, it is well beyond the scope of the author’s expertise and the subject matter of Crisis Magazine.

        NaProTechnology is great and there are a lot of benefits from cycle tracking over the pill, but the headline makes it seem as if the only reason to use NaPro is because it is “moral”, implying birth control pills as medicine are “immoral”.

    • Arland Nichols

      James, Perhaps you are aware that headlines are rarely chosen by authors and are written by editors? That said, describing something as “moral” when it is in fact, moral, does not necessarily mean that other alternatives to that act are immoral. It’s simply an accurate statement of fact. The healthcare Lindsey received was moral and excellent. That’s the statement I make in my article and that the headline makes.
      Please note that I never claim that it is immoral for Lindsey as a chaste non-married young lady to use artificial hormones as a means to mitigate her health problems.
      There are a number of prudential concerns raised when a young woman is placed on birth control at a young age: What will she do when she is married? And, don’t medical practitioners have an obligation to provide the best of medical care to their patients? Failure to heal a woman of a significant health issue may well be a moral issue.

      • James

        I stand by my statement that it was a poorly chosen headline, although not an inaccurate one.

  • smokes

    American Woman, Catholic and non, won’t reproduce. The result is a shortage of new Americans over the last 40 years and the need for endless importation of peoples from other lands. Most mooch from the taxpayer with 1 or 2 children and others wire pressure cookers while dependent on American families. Wouldn’t it make more sense to have your own 3rd or 5th child? That’s what grandma did…and her grandma, too.

    Remember, you’re gonna pay for your replacements. Why not choose them and raise them to rebuild the former Western Civilization? Each kid’s a voter down the road, too!

  • Pro-Life

    Organizations that have listings of NaPro physicians across the country include One More Soul: http://www.omsoul.com and the Catholic Medical Association: http://www.cathmed.org. It is well worth seeking them out!

  • Derenzopa

    I would like to also suggest the Pope Paul VI Institute ( http://www.popepaulvi.com ) for those suffering from Endometriosis, PCOS and other female reproductive issues. I was like Lindsay in this article, placed on the pill and other meds at age 13 to “manage” menstrual problems. It wasn’t until I was 27 that an OB/Gyn finally got to the bottom of my problems and performed surgery for Endometriosis. I wish my parents had found a doctor who cared about me and my future when I was a child. I am lucky that I was able to have children.

  • slainte

    The medical establishment’s treatment of symptoms rather than underlying illnesses is far more expansive than merely treating menstral irregularities with contraceptives. How many people when diagnosed with high cholesterol or high triglycerides are immediately medicated, rather than thoroughly examined to determine and eliminate the cause of these very common maladies? Lipitor is the new Aspirin.
    The willingness of a doctor, however, to treat a woman of child bearing age with the Pill, a known Carcinogen, to alleviate menstrual distress or endometriosis, is not only un-proportional to the malady, but is criminal. Must a young woman subject herself to cancer to relieve a doctor of the burden of identifying the root cause of her menstrual distress?
    This trend in medicine is symptomatic of a profession that eschews the Hippocratic Oath to Do No Harm, opting instead to partner with a Pharmaceutical Industry that is driven by lucrative and repeat profits for quick fix medical solutions . If exposure to one medication over time leads to more dangerous and complicated conditions (ie., Cancer), then those new “symptoms” can also be treated by new and different medications. The medical and pharmaceutical partnership is guaranteed repeat business and the patient is guaranteed to never escape from the system.
    Thank you Mr. Nichols for an excellent and timely piece.

    • Adam__Baum

      “Lipitor is the new Aspirin.”

      It might be “a” new Aspirin, but it is not “the” new Aspirin, because it will have to compete with Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil and whatever other new SSRI permutation is now available and not the subkject of a clas-action lawsuit. Let’s not forget Xanax, although I think it’s not an SSRI.

      All are the “Soma” predicted by Huxley.

      • slainte

        Have you ever visited a local pharmacy and observed the sheer number of packages filled with meds that are awaiting some of their customers.
        It is a kind of madness how medicated our society has become, and the meds are often very expensive. How unfortunate for all of us…better living through pharmaceuticals…Not!

        • Adam__Baum

          Indeed.

        • Sarah B.

          How do you have any idea what those meds are for, and how dare you judge the people who need them?

        • Sarah B.

          Lucky you if every trip to the pharmacy is just a look and see gawking visit.

      • Angela Goudman

        Xanax is indeed not an SSRI – it’s a benzodiazepine, which is a medication that was formerly used to treat anxiety. (It’s not anymore, except on an “as-needed” basis for panic attacks or severe anxiety – antidepressants work much better.) Additional benzodiazepines include Ativan and Valium. In fairness, I am on an antidepressant (Cipralex, an SSRI) due to generalized anxiety disorder. (I can be very difficult to live with when I’m NOT on it; I don’t even like myself.) Unfortunately, women who have polycystic ovary syndrome as I do are at greater risk for the development of anxiety and depression. As it turns out, I likely had some degree of GAD for probably about 9-10 YEARS before it was diagnosed and treated. I actually feel a lot better on the medication. While it is true that antidepressants do not need to be used for everyone, I think it’s a mistake to write them off as being completely unhelpful.

        • slainte

          A good friend was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (“PCOS”) some years ago and was prescribed the Pill, which she declined to take. She continued to pursue the root cause of her PCOS, which symptoms included very painful menstrual periods, missed periods, mood swings, and depression.
          She later learned that she had HypoThyroidism which is often linked with PCOS. She treated the Hypothyroidism and the PCOS symptoms went away. Just a thought.

        • Adam__Baum

          And for every individual with a condition such as yours, there’s ten people getting SSRI’s rather than give up some destructive “co-dependent” relationship.

          • Angela Goudman

            I agree. We know that when it comes to depression, for example, genes contribute to about 1/3 of it, and 2/3 is situational. For depression, in adults psychotherapy (regardless of the technique used) has been shown to produce similar results to antidepressants.

            • Sarah B.

              “Situational” doesn’t mean it’s simple to recover from or that real changes have not occurred in brain chemistry. Not every physical illness is genetic either, but we don’t begrudge people with infections their antibiotics.

            • Sarah B.

              Neither has shown the results that both together (meds and therapy) have shown.

          • Sarah B.

            Where is your data to back that up?

            • DE-173

              I’ll get back to you in a year.

      • Sarah B.

        Is there a reason you feel the need to further stigmatize people with mental illnesses whose quality of life is tremendously improved by these medications? Xanax is an SSNRI – it inhibits the reuptake of serotonin and norepinephrine to combat depression and anxiety for those whose brain chemicals are not functioning properly. You don’t criticize those who take cardiac medication if their hearts are not working properly, do you?
        The lack of care for people with mental illness in this country is astonishing. And stigma is a big piece of it.

        • DE-173

          Is there some reason you’ve taken to answering year old posts?
          As for my opinion on SSRI’s I know from experience what I’m speaking about.

          • Sarah B.

            One individual’s experience does not a body of research make. This is when I read the article. I don’t think I need to apologize for that. You obviously were notified.

    • Dave

      Thank you, Pro-Life! I was basically going to write the post you wrote above. The “treating symptoms rather than root cause” pervades the medical industry, though the most heinous expression of it is in “women’s health” where harmful drugs are used to alter a woman’s body from a healthy state to dysfunction.

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  • Jeannie

    As a Navy wife, the cold, “herd” mentality of the military hospitals concerned me when I became pregnant. Having to ask for “permission” to go elsewhere to receive medical care was a long, complicated and frustrating process. While living in Burke, VA I became pregnant with our second child. I was fortunate enough to find the Tepeyac Family Center. I would still be a patient there today if wasn’t for all the moving around a military family does. I will never forget their gentle, concerned care for me and my baby, now 15. They not only provided excellent medical attention, but spiritual as well. I remember vividly praying with the doctors and PA’s during checkups as I approached my due date. I am so happy to hear that they are still in existence, still doing God’s work in the name of Mary, Mother of the Redeemer.

    • Adam__Baum

      “As a Navy wife, the cold, “herd” mentality of the military hospitals concerned me when I became pregnant. Having to ask for “permission” to go elsewhere to receive medical care was a long, complicated and frustrating process. ”

      Think of it as good experience for Obamacare.

  • ralph+

    Thank you Lord for making me a man

    BTW – I am not Ralph

  • OurLadyPray4US

    As far as I know, hormonal contraceptives reduce the risk of ovarian cancer slightly (15-20%), but they raise the risk of breast cancer 1.5-2.2-fold, the risk of triple-negative breast cancer 4.2-fold, and also raise the risk of hepatic, cervical, and colorectal cancer. At any rate, breast cancer is much more common than ovarian cancer, thus raising the risk of breast cancer outweighs the benefit of a reduced risk of ovarian cancer. Also, the aggressive sub-type of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) has a particularly bad prognosis and few treatment options. TNBC accounts for about 10% of all breast cancers. The large increase of risk for TNBC in hormonal birth control users is very bad news.

    President Obama mentioned in his speech, when he was pushing for the birth control drug mandate in Catholic institutions, that doctors prescribe the pill to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer. I can’t believe that any doctor would prescribe the pill for the primary purpose of preventing ovarian cancer, knowing that they would increase the risk of breast cancer and the other mentioned cancers, in addition to risking the occurrence of potentially fatal blood clots, pulmonary and cerebral embolisms, strokes, heart attacks. It is quite saddening that President Obama made such a misleading and factually unsupportable statement on national television, in the presence of Secretary of Health, Kathleen Sebelius.

    • Gilbert Jacobi

      Am I the only one noticing the heavy irony of the non-participation of the father of the girl in this article, who apparently surrenders his half of the God-given parental authority over his daughter’s health care to “Mom” and doctor, while the Great Black Father in Washington feels free to stick his nose into the most intimate business of American women, by, as OurLadyPray4US says, “pushing for the birth control drug mandate in Catholic institutions”? This is a perfect example of the unholy relationship between government, left wing ideology (feminism) and the disintegration of the family. Dad better not exercise any authority over his minor daughter’s health decisions, (or, by government mandate, be present during his wife’s first ultra-sound, for another example) but government may not be denied access to the most private reaches of conscience, nor excluded from the most intimate moments of married life.

  • DrRosemaryEileenMcHugh

    Lindsey will likely continue to have pelvic pain because endometriosis can be hard to clear. Sometimes endometriosis clears after a pregnancy, due to the increase of certain hormones in the body. As an alternative, hormone pills often relieve the painful symptoms. There are a variety of hormone pills available, and Lindsey may be willing in future to see if other hormone combinations are more easy for her to tolerate in order to reduce the pain of endometriosis. Hormone pills are necessary in other medical conditions and are used for purposes other than for birth control. Sadly, hormone pills have been demonized by the Catholic Church, which is unfortunate, because many women around the world are grateful for hormone pills for various medical conditions and for the ability to have control of their fertility. I am a family physician and I have taught modern methods of natural family planning for years. Some women and couples do very well by using NFP to control their fertility. However, many other couples cannot use NFP for various reasons, and can feel intimidated by those who find NFP easy to use and therefore lack compassion for those who cannot use NFP.
    Sincerely, Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh, M.D., M.Spir., Chicago

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