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Symptothermal Method: Advantages & Disadvantages

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 370 views

The Symptothermal method is a method of natural family planning. It was developed in 1960 by the doctor Josef Rötzer, which is why it is also known as the Rötzer method. The Symptothermal method helps to identify fertile and infertile days in the course of a cycle by observing or measuring several body signs. Read more about the Symptothermal Method here.

Symptothermal method: what is it?

If you want to use the Symptothermal method of family planning, you need to use several body signs:

The position and firmness of the cervix and cervix may also be assessed regularly.

measure temperature

Every morning immediately after waking up and before getting up (i.e. still lying down) you have to measure the basal body temperature (waking-up temperature). You need a thermometer that measures to two decimal places because the difference in basal body temperature on fertile and infertile days is only 0.2 to 0.4 degrees.

It doesn’t matter where you take the temperature, it just has to be the same: in the mouth under the tongue (oral), in the vagina (vaginal), or in the rectum (rectal).

Important: The measured values ​​can only be used if you have slept for at least five hours and always measure at the same time in the morning. Illnesses, medication and lack of sleep can affect the cycle and make the measurement useless.

The basis of the temperature method is the fact that the waking temperature stays relatively constant at a lower level during the first half of your cycle until ovulation. Ovulation is characterized by the lowest value in the temperature curve documented over a month. About two days after ovulation, the basal body temperature rises by about 0.2 to 0.5 degrees under the influence of the hormone progesterone (corpus luteum hormone). This elevated temperature remains until the next menstrual period. From the third day of elevated temperature until the next bleeding is the infertile period, when conception is not possible.

Check cervical mucus

With the so-called Billings method, you have to check the consistency and color of the cervical mucus (cervical mucus) every day. Because these parameters change in the course of your cycle:

During the infertile phase (after menstruation), the mucus is clumpy and viscous, forming a plug in the cervix and the vagina feels dry during this time. Due to hormone changes during the cycle, mucus production also changes. A few days before ovulation, the mucus becomes milky-cloudy, sticky and tough.

The closer you get to ovulation, the more liquid and clear your mucus will become – you are now in your fertile phase. In the most fertile phase of the cycle, the mucus is “spinnable” – you can pull a thread between your fingers with the mucus. The vaginal entrance is wet during this time. Soon after ovulation, the mucus becomes thick and cloudy again.

Write down the cycle according to Knaus-Ogino

With the Knaus-Ogino method, you must first document each cycle for six to 12 months. To calculate when you are most fertile each month, subtract 18 days from the shortest cycle and 11 days from the longest cycle. As a result, you get the estimated first and last fertile day of your menstrual cycle.

Extra help for the Symptothermal method

As an additional aid when assessing the fertile and infertile days using the Symptothermal method, you can regularly assess your cervix: If it feels tight and closed (immediately after menstruation), you are in the infertile phase. On the fertile days, on the other hand, the cervix is ​​soft and slightly open.

Advantage of the symptothermal method

The symptothermal method does not require any hormonal intervention in the body. Women have the opportunity to observe their bodies themselves and thus get to know them very well. The method is also inexpensive.

Even if the Symptothermal method does not require regular medical visits, it is important that women attend regular check-ups for early cancer detection.

Disadvantages of the symptothermal method

With this form of contraception, the woman is forced to constantly deal with the signs of her fertility. When are the fertile days and when are they not? Spontaneity in sexual intercourse is not always possible. In the fertile period it is necessary to use a condom.

In addition, certain factors that are not related to ovulation lead to an increase in basal body temperature. This includes:

  • different measurement time
  • alcohol consumption
  • Stress
  • medication
  • time shift
  • climate change

During breastfeeding, puberty, illness or menopause , there are often times when ovulation does not occur. In these situations, the method is therefore only suitable to a limited extent.

Pearl Index of the Symptothermal Method

The symptothermal method combines the method of temperature measurement and cervical mucus observation as well as the calendar method. On their own, each of these methods does not offer a particularly high degree of contraceptive certainty: your Pearl Index is between 3 (basal body temperature measurement) and 15 (Billings method). For example, if 100 women use basal body temperature measurement for contraception for a year, three of them will still become pregnant.

All three methods used together as a symptothermal method achieve a significantly higher level of safety. The Pearl Index for the Symptothermal method is between 0.8 and 10 – depending on the practice and experience you have gained in observing and interpreting your body signs.

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