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

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Hysterectomy for staining?

26 February, 2004

Question:

Thank you for answering my question of when it is halachically justified to have a hysterectomy. You answered when it is medically mandated. My situation is that I have had between-cycle spotting for over a year and half (since the birth of my last child by c-section) that has not resolved itself by using birth control pills. A sonohysterogram was done and the spotting is "unexplainable" other than hormonal. Emotionally this has been very difficult on me and it affects every aspect of my life. Furthermore, spotting aside, my husband and I are overwhelmed with the 4 (b'h) children we have and could not imagine doing justice to them by having any more. Is there any halachic basis in my situation to allow a hysterectomy to resolve the spotting and take what I feel is a "burden" (dealing with the spotting) off of me? Or, perhaps there is some better medical advice you can give that can help. I have been on Ortho cyclen, and when the spotting occurs, I double up on the pills for a few days. I am soon to begin Seasonale – but I don't feel very hopeful.


Answer:

You could pursue a second opinion as to the cause of and best treatment for your spotting. However, if the spotting is caused hormonally, the first line of treatment is hormonal, and you have not yet exhausted all the potential hormonal treatments. A hysterectomy is a very serious surgical procedure with complications of its own. These issues are best discussed with your doctor.

Perhaps we can help you with handling the mid-cycle spotting. To that end, the first step is to assure that the spotting in fact would make you niddah. Please see the article on ketamim for further explanations and then, if desired, get back to us with more details.

As for birth control, there is a separate commandment, based on Leviticus 22:24, forbidding sterilization of animals as well as people. This is considered a Torah commandment for men and a rabbinic decree for women. Thus, only in very serious health situations would a hysterectomy or tubal ligation be permitted for women. Temporary methods of birth control such as the pill are preferred when contraception itself is permitted. Please feel free to contact us to discuss this topic further.    

 


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