A guest speaker from St. Gianna Clinic visited UW Oshkosh Monday night and discussed common fertility and menstrual problems and how they can be treated with natural family planning.
Dr. Melissa Weidert is an OB-GYN that meets with patients of all faiths for natural family planning.
Weidert discussed the Creighton Model Fertility Care System which identifies bio-markers in the body for natural family planning. The Creighton model helps track menstrual cycles to learn about the women’s bodies.
From there, Weidert evaulted underlying causes of women’s health and reproductive concerns such as infertility, painful menstrual periods, irregular cycles, abnormal uterine bleeding and more.
“As a Catholic doctor, I don’t give out any birth control or use contraception for patients,” Weidert said. “So the use of these different charting methods is to actually figure out what is a women’s natural cycle doing and basically learning about your body. What is your body is meant to be doing, and if we’re identifying any abnormal problems, bleeding, menstrual cramping, PMS-type symptoms, how can we then evaluate those and treat those in a more natural approach.”
UWO senior Collin Killoren helped organize the event and said he reached out to the Women’s Center and the Titan Health Advocates who were interested as well.
“I find that a lot of our culture right now is very interested in natural approaches to health problems,” Killoren said. “And so I definitely think that this should be a part of this conversation.”
Weidert also discussed medical and surgical treatments that can be used to treat the root cause of a problem, such as endometriosis.
Weidert said she does not use a synthetic hormone, such as those in birth control. Instead, she identifies someone’s cycle and studies labs to figure out if the patient has low progesterone or estrogen levels.
“We can actually replace those levels by using bio-identical hormones, so you’re using a more natural approach to replace those hormones and you’re working more cooperatively with the body,” Weidert said.
Weidert said that from a Catholic perspective, the use of birth control does suppress the natural cycle, so it is suppressing ovulation.
“You’re not working with one’s body,” Weidert said. “And if you think about using birth control for people that are married or people that are sexually active, you’re basically kind of blocking that pro-creative aspect of when people are having intercourse. You’re kind of basically getting rid of that aspect, which is why it’s not followed by the Catholic Church from that standpoint.”
Weidert said in her experience not a lot of doctors know about the method so people that visit their regular family doctor often aren’t exposed as well.
“And if people can get that information out there into the community, you know, whether you’re a teenager, college student, older individual, anyone can benefit from learning this information,” Weidert said. “And if they can’t benefit from using it themselves, they can share it with others.”
UWO sophomore Morgan Russell said she shadowed Weidert in January and brought her into a class she did last semester.
“Not a lot of medical professionals or the public know about the certain kind of fertility awareness methods,” Russell said. “So I think we had a really great turnout and there was lots of information people can pass out and tell their friends.”
Weidert said patients may be given a birth control as a prescription as a type of Band-Aid approach.
“So they’re like, ‘Oh, you have this problem, not sure why you have it. Here you can take this birth control prescription to see if that will help,’” Weidert said. “But we never really know what that medical problem is. So instead of just covering up the problem, the use of the charting and investigation of the problem helps us figure out what is the actual problem. So is it endometriosis, is it polycystic ovaries? And then we can actually treat that exact problem instead of just covering it up.”
Russell said she is passionate about not putting a Band-Aid on things.
“So I think it was a cool way that women can learn that woman don’t need to take a pill for painful periods, they can fix it,” Russell said.