Nishmat's Women’s Health and HalachaIn memory of Chaya Mirel bat R' Avraham

  • Hebrew
  • English
  • Espnaol
  • Francais
Menu

Solving halachic problems with hormones

31 March, 2016

Question:

I have a major problem with the idea that halachic issues regarding niddah should be solved with hormonal birth control (e.g., in your answers here and here). Messing with hormones can cause major health problems. Some women can't even take hormones, and side effects can include many unpleasant things up to and including death. I don't see how this is halachically OK to throw at women on a regular basis. Women aren't halachically required to have children because it's a threat to her life. Birth control can be a threat as well, yet we give it to kallas and recommend it in all kinds of other situations. Isn't there a better solution?


Answer:

We agree that using hormonal birth control is a serious issue and is not to be taken lightly. Women who cannot take hormones for medical reasons, or women who are adamant about not using hormonal contraception, are encouraged to find other options.

However, hormonal contraception is considered medically safe and serious side effects are extremely rare. Many women choose to use various forms of hormonal contraception, manipulate their cycle with them, and even prefer them over other forms of contraception. That reality is reflected in our answers. For many women, extending the cycle with hormonal birth control proves helpful in alleviating some of issues involved in niddah. This is especially true where the woman is already using hormones for contraceptive purposes.

Regarding kallot, our position is that if a kallah has a regular cycle and can schedule her wedding accordingly, it is generally best not to use hormones. (See our posted questions here and here.) In practice, many kallot are unable to do this. It is considered medically and halachically acceptable to use hormones, under the guidance of a physician, to avoid a chupat niddah.


This internet service does not preclude, override or replace the psak of any rabbinical authority. It is the responsibility of the questioner to inform us of any previous consultation or ruling. As even slight variation in circumstances may have Halachic consequences, views expressed concerning one case may not be applied to other, seemingly similar cases. All health and health-related information contained within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is intended to be general in nature and should not be used as a substitute for consulting with your health care professional. The advice is intended to offer a basis for individuals to discuss their medical condition with their health care provider but not individual advice. Although every effort is made to ensure that the material within Nishmat's Women's Health & Halacha Web site is accurate and timely, it is provided for the convenience of the Web site user but should not be considered official. Advice for actual medical practice should be obtained from a licensed health care professional.

For further questions or comments: 

The Nishmat Women's Health and Halacha Site is a public service of Nishmat, The Jeanie Schottenstein Center for Advanced Torah Study for Women. This project and others like it are made possible by contributions from people like you. If you have benefited from the service, and wish to enable us to help others, click here to donate.


Users of Internet filtering services: This site discusses sensitive subjects that some services filter without visual indication. A page that appears 100% complete might actually be missing critical Jewish-law or medical information. To ensure that you view the pages accurately, ask the filtering service to whitelist all pages under yoatzot.org.