The answers can be read as a continuous text. However, we use basic concepts which are explained and illustrated in the SymptoTherm Basics booklet, to be purchased here.
Another question: Why doesn't sympto indicate "infertile" under the pill/hormone taking? sympto can determine the infertile and fertile phase only if it detects an ovulation. With the contraceptive pill or artificial hormones, sympto will indicate you almost always "blue fertile". Why? There is practically no ovulation any more. At the same time you know that sympto cannot be made responsible for an unwanted pregnancy that had occurred under the pill or because of having forgotten the pill. Our question we have to aks you is: What is the benefit of observing a cycle that has been mutilated by artificial hormones? Certainly, from a scientific point of view, it could be interesting to find out how many ovulations still occur under hormones. But this would be rather frustrating! With sympto, you observe your own natural cycle. As soon as you have recovered the confidence in your body and in your partner you can stop the damaging hormones.
Yes: sympto does not make you dependent on a device or a program. Instead you will discover where you are at in your own cycle. During the first days of a cycle, sympto signals the day on which you have to resume your temperature recordings: normally at the beginning of the fertile days. As soon as you leave the fertility window after ovulation and enter the phase of complete infertility, you do not have to take your temperature any more. You just need to wait for your next menstruation, which signals the beginning of your new cycle. This information has to be entered into sympto.
During your cycle, as soon as you have entered about 9 to 13 waking temperatures as well as your cervical fluid observations ? this fluid is the true life elixir for the sperm cells ?, the sympto programme calculates the infertile days before ovulation, the fertile and highly fertile days around ovulation and the infertile days after ovulation. Sympto surveys your cycles to delimit your fertility window. After the irst 12 cycles, most women will have more than 5 infertile days at the beginning of the cycle. Thus about two thirds of your cycle is clearly infertile.
No measuring instrument will ever be able to predict the precise ovulation day. This impossibility is due to the subtle interaction of the various female hormones during your cycle (mainly estrogens, progesterone, LH, FSH etc.). It is also due to the influence of external circumstances, such as stress, illnesses, jet lag, etc. You will find more details in the SymptoTherm Basics booklet and especially in the Sex Lies novel. However, you will be acquainted with your most fertile days. Ovulation happens on one of these days.
With sympto.ch you will know the probably most fertile days. On one of these days ovulation happens. Only echography can confirm the exact ovulation day but no system that measures from outside the body. You therefore have to take into account a safety margin.
Furthermore, you have to distinguish between biphasic cycles (with high temperatures) and ovulatory cycles: most biphasic cycles are ovulatory. But the following exception could explain a temporary infertility: the egg gets stuck in the opening follicule or the follicule remains closed and the egg cannot be released or there was no egg inside the follicule that turned into the yellow body. Other factors like a mucus or sperm problem might explain infertility.
Here you will find the most important clinical studies.
sympto has integrated the biological laws of the female cycle. These were first fully described by the Austrian MD J. Rötzer. Later, the Natural Family Planning schools adopted them and modified them slightly.
During the first 12 observed cycles, the standard symptothermal rules as well as sympto will only free up a maximum of 5 cycle days as infertile at the beginning of the cycle. Afterwards, according to the woman's profile, sympto will probably free up more, sometimes fewer, infertile days. This precautionary measure allows you to learn more about your fertility window and delimit it accurately. After ovulation, sympto will free up 7 to 16 days of absolute infertility. Your fertility window is established by the cross-check of two fertility signs: temperature and life elixir (cervical fluid), the core of the STM. More about this topic in the Booklet SymptoTherm Basics and the Disclaimer and general conditions.
This point is absolutely crucial. On sympto you cannot open a new cycle with the 3 drops (except once, the very first cycle) without certain conditions being strictly fulfilled. This must be so because sympto, the only device worldwide, can guarantee you an effective natural contraception when used correctly or the identification of the most fertile days!
The blue fertile phase continues because sympto couldn't identify an ovulation before the bleeding (the ovulation is always followed by a infertile yellow phase). Either it is an intermenstrual or ovulatory bleeding and you could become pregnant: your cycle just goes on! or you haven't entered enough key information in sympto. Please study the "sympto easy" page on sympto.org in order to understand this point thoroughly which is often ignored by the gynecologists! In this case, for your security, sympto cannot start a new cycle. Contact immediately your personal counsellor to discuss that matter. Chats on Forums will mislead you.
Cycle phases without ovulation frequently occur in teenagers, in women during pre-menopause, but also from time to time in women in the best of health who are subject to a serious stress factor (jet lag, etc.). As long as the typical temperature rise does not happen, there has been no ovulation: sympto will monitor this situation by displaying blue fertile? and by accompanying you until the true end of a full cycle with ovulation. It will also pinpoint the new life elixir phase that might take place during such a long cycle (verify the renewed occurrence of life elixir which you enter). The reoccurrence of an elixir period clearly shows that your cycle needs a second attempt to produce ovulation which - and that is the proof of ovulation - will immediately be followed by the typical temperature rise.
What about the question "Why always 3 drops to start a new cycle? Wouldn't be just 2 drops be enough?" Answer: for the sake of clarity on sympto, the new cycle is always started with 3 drops. What if you observe these 3 drops only on the second day of your menstruation? It does not matter! This shift has no incidence whatsoever on the contraceptive effectiveness of sympto. It just will extend the infertile rose phase 1 day and respectively also the infertile yellow phase. You will "gain" 1 infertile day in your cycle!
However, you want to know whether in your specific situation, the 2 drops (never 1 drop = spotting) would be enough to start the new cycle. You then take the temperature some days before the period. If you can see a drastic decrease of the temperature at the same time as you observe the 2 drops, this day is in fact the physiological beginning of the new cycle and you can enter 3 drops if you like (and leave a note).
You can start today by indicating your last menses and continue tomorrow by taking your first waking temperature. You can also start anytime in the past by introducing your menses. Once you have entered your menstruation, sympto will launch your first cycle and your temperature recordings can be restricted to certain days from the second cycle onwards. An accurate and fast thermometer made for measuring your waking temperature can be bought from our shop. Not every thermometer on the market will satisfy the STM requirements. It has to have an accuracy of 0.05°C/0,1 Fahrenheit and be marked ?temperature method? (or BBT method).
The most important action at the beginning of your first observations is to enter a new cycle. A new cycle always starts with menstruation, when the bleeding is heaviest according to your own subjective experience. By entering ?heaviest? into sympto you express your own past experience of your cycles and you launch a new cycle on sympto.
As sympto it is not yet acquainted with your previous cycles, it will not free up the first 5 cycle days as infertile during the first observed cycle. The preovulatory infertile days can be freed up only during the second cycle you observe. However, sympto will already let you know whether you have ovulated or not in the first cycle by freeing up the (yellow) infertile days after ovulation.
In the course of your observations, you might occasionally have a cycle without ovulation. You will notice this when sympto continues displaying blue (probably fertile) even though your menstruation has started and you have entered the sign for heaviest menstruation. Why is this? In situations such as these, ovulation may happen during or immediately after menstruation. In reality, this menstruation was only intermenstrual bleeding, not a real menstruation. To discover such hidden ovulations, you have to continue recording your temperatures during the bleeding and enter the numbers into sympto. But a temperature rise can also show up days, weeks or months later. Accordingly, your real cycle will last longer. Note that a cycle which ends with full bleeding but which has had no ovulation is no cycle at all and the bleeding is not a real menstruation: it is only a cycle phase before the next ovulation.
Since this point is absolutely vital, it has been fully covered in the « Temperature » chapter of the Learning Manual.
This question is often asked. However, it is misleading since after ovulation the contraceptive effectiveness is total, meaning 100 % (Pearl index 0,0). That is to say, it is more effective than any kind of ?pill?. During the first 5 cycle days, the Pearl index is 0,2. During the infertile days after day 5 and before ovulation (some 2 to 5 days), the Pearl index is 0,8. Even in this zone, the STM is as efficient as hormonal contraception. There is no simple answer to this question. It is up to you and your partner to achieve contraceptive effectiveness, depending on how you manage your fertile days: you can remain abstinent during this time or use a condom (which will decrease contraceptive effectiveness).
sympto remains within the bounds of the classic STM but it takes advantage of current technical knowledge. Thus, it enhances the applicability of the STM and simplifies it in order to increase motivation. You do not have to fill out your charts manually day by day. This job is performed by sympto which, due to the small size of the cell phone, displays a simplified chart. The full chart is visible only on your sympto.ch account on the website. The cycle information in your cell phone is regularly transmitted to your account on the site where you can print it out. Your account stocks your cycles in case your cell phone gets lost.
sympto is the first mobile system which integrates all important fertility signs required by STM (elixir, temperature, Döring/Rötzer day, cervix examination). Those fertility indicators which take only the temperatures or a type of hormones are based on one fertility sign only and do not allow the symptothermal cross check; they are recommended only for women with truly regular cycles, without anovulatory episodes, which is rather rare. Thanks to its user friendliness, sympto adapts also to irregular cycles and is destined for all women during her fertile life span, from menarche to menopause.
To increase your chances of conception, you should determine your most fertile days. You will succeed in this task without any difficulties when you are able to examine your elixir discharge and to observe (as well as the wave of inner sensation) and to identify your Peak Day. This day will always be identified as very fertile even if your observation on that day was only a . In addition to this procedure and independently of it, the sympto engine projects 5 highly fertile days into your current cycle by reporting the most fertile days of the previous cycle. These special days are the first and second day of temperature rise and the three days preceding them.
If you are practising natural contraception, we recommend abstinence during these highly fertile days, because every barrier method involves some degree of risk.
No! The STM is the ideal observation tool by which a girl can keep track of the maturation process of her cycle. Only in this way will she know whether she ovulates regularly.
When a girl has her first sexual encounters, she has to protect herself against sexually transmitted diseases with a condom or a Femidom anyways, even if she is perfectly sure that she is in an infertile phase of her cycle (except if she has known her partner for a sufficiently long time). The STM can become an alternative for the young couple as soon as the girl has a record of at least 6 biphasic cycles. The STM does not prohibit the use of condoms, but it does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases either. The STM is only appropriate for couples - especially when it comes to young ones - who have a good knowledge of their health condition and are not afraid to communicate openly about intimate questions.
For the sexually-abstinent girl, it makes a great deal of sense to use the STM because it will acquaint her with her cycle, for as the motto goes: ?What I value, I also protect!? To encourage this kind of observation, sympto.ch offers the ?I would like to observe my cycle? option at the beginning of a new cycle. It is a perfectly legitimate choice. The STM does not make the young woman commit to either contraception or conception. sympto.ch even offers a fourth choice: ?whatever?, meaning ?whatever may come?. This option is fully justified for women in stable relationships who want to be surprised by a new pregnancy.
The sympto.ch system does not protect you against sexually transmitted diseases. We have to state the obvious again and again because of the unjustified attacks that are still made against the STM.
On the other hand, the use of the STM allows women to protect themselves against the side effects of the pill and other contraceptive hormones which may harm their body in the long run. There is a worldwide consensus about artificial hormones being a risk factor for cancer (more on www.komen.org), especially if the woman is a smoker. Certain breast and uterine cancers can thus be prevented. This fact must be repeated here and now especially to the medical doctors who still do not know the basics of the STM. They should in fact never prescribe ?the pill? to smokers because by so doing they combine several risk factors. To most physicians, however, the STM is not appealing because women become independent and gain more confidence in their own bodies. We are still actively in search of medical doctors and natural therapists who recommend the STM. Our foundation's ultimate goal is to help women feel confident in their bodies and to empower them. Below we quote some excerpts from the open letter that Professor Rötzer addresses to his colleagues in his best seller, A Complete Guide to the SympoThermal Method.
Prof. Rötzer's open letter to his MD colleagues is here reproduced in an abridged and modified fashion, p. 131, 'Natural Conception regulation'. This expression is replaced by the term 'symptothermal method' or STM):
My dear colleague,
Around the world there is an evident and increasing interest in the symptothermal method STM. The World Health Organisation in Geneva, for instance, has its own working party dealing with methods for the determination of a woman?s fertile period. The STM is fundamentally different from the obsolete and unreliable calendar rhythm methods of Knaus and Ogino, and goes far beyond the old basal body temperature methods. Under certain circumstances it is even possible to forego the use of the thermometer altogether. The most efficient method is the STM.
There are hundreds of centres in dozens of countries across the face of the globe teaching this modern form of natural family planning.
When the timing of the fertile phase is undertaken as a cooperative effort involving both spouses (and not relegated to the wife as 'her responsibility'), provided the couple has reliable information available, the effectiveness of the STM rivals that of the 'Pill'. With competent instruction, every couple can learn to time intercourse to avoid pregnancy and to do so effectively.
As a general practitioner or gynecologist, you undoubtedly already have a heavy schedule of professional responsibilities. It is not at all the intent of this letter to suggest you instruct your patients in the STM. The woman presenting this letter to you is already learning the STM and can obtain additional information whenever she needs it. My only request to you is this: Please take a genuine and sincere interest in the new form of STM selected by your patient. You can obtain further information in the book from which this letter was copied.
I would be very thankful to you if you could make the STM more known among those women who are looking for an alternative to hormonal contraception.
Josef Rötzer, M.D.
Unfortunately, this appeal written some twenty years ago has not been noticed by the health services and medical doctors. Still, do not give up, but rather copy it and give it or send it to your doctor.
The best way to receive competent advice and counseling about the particularities of your cycle evolution is to contact a symptothermal counsellor. You can find one on our Address page. Thanks to this file you are connected to all the symptothermal specialists of the world! Do not hesitate to contact them by e-mail! The counseling fees vary from country to country but they are rather low. Finally, you can share your impressions on the Blog and on Facebook (sympto.ch) and hopefully feel less alone with your cycle observations.
More in the Learning Manual. Part 2. The Language of sympto
Whatever you decide later on, to pay the fees of your sympto.ch account or not, you can print out your first chart from your account. After this period of time you will decide how to continue. You can go back to the traditional method of filling in your paper charts manually. The empty charts can be downloaded from the Learning Manual (User's manual) page in PDF format. You will be able to fill them out yourself as soon as you know how to apply and interpret the STM laws correctly.
The advantages are manifold. Basically, it is like leaving manual bookkeeping behind and using an accounting programme which places all the numbers in the right place and adds them up correctly. Therefore, sympto.ch is not a medical device but a useful calculation assistant and a help for presenting your own observations. You will always remain the only one responsible for all your input, which you can change at any time for various reasons. We by no means want to ridicule the classic STM but just make it more appealing, especially to younger women. Our complete offer package is described in Disclaimer and general conditions.
In the course of your temperature observations, you will come upon one very important day: that of the first temperature rise. This is the Döring/Rötzer value, the beginning of your temperature shift.
The Döring/Rötzer value is close to ovulation and tends to occur one day after the Peak Day. This Döring/Rötzer value, named after two medical researchers, refers to the first rise in temperature. You then take the first temperature rise of all previously observed cycles and subtract 7 days for safety reasons: the sympto application does this calculation automatically. This is how you arrive at the Döring/Rötzer day: Your fertility window opens at the latest on this special day provided that you could not observe the appearance of your life elixir before that day. If this is the case, fertility starts at the outflow of life elixir. For the first 12 months, the Döring/Rötzer day is set on cycle day 6, provided your own values are not shorter. If they are, your fertility may start before day 6, which happens very seldom or in women over 35. In most cases, after 12 months of observation, your Döring/Rötzer day will be beyond cycle day 6 and you will ?gain? infertile days before ovulation without losing effectiveness.
In the Parameters menu an experienced symptothermal woman can enter her own Döring/Rötzer day right from the start. It will then apply from her second observed cycle onwards. You will find more explanations and also some typical examples in the SymptoTherm Basics booklet.
By keeping your sympto.org account with an unlimited accès throughout pregnancy and breastfeeding, you will support an important women's cause that enhances health and general wellbeing. You can also benefit from sympto's special features during this time. More about in Disclaimer and general conditions as well as on the product page.
See disclaimer and general conditions, especially also our Manual 'When Sex and Fertility make Friends: The full symptothermal Method based on sympto', see Manuals on sympto.org.
Your thermometer has to be very precise; it also needs to be specifically designed for this use. We recommend the thermometer that you can find purchase from our shop. It is called Cyclotest Lady, a German product, which you can also order in your drugstore. You could also work with the somewhat cheaper gallium thermometer, Geratherm, again a German quality product. But it requires at least 3-5 minutes? time for measurement, while Cyclotest Lady displays a precise result after only 30 seconds and records it reliably. We warn you against all other fever thermometers which do not explicitly recommend the use of the STM and will therefore not measure the precise waking temperature (also called Body Basal Temperature (BBT)).
If your desire is to achieve the highest precision and effectiveness possible, you have to go symptothermal. Your sympto application makes your job easier and performs the synthesis of both observations by means of their cross-check. But depending on your personal needs, especially if you already have a good knowledge of your cycle, you can choose either the pure temperature method or the life elixir observations (Billings method). For instance, you are travelling and without your thermometer. Switch for this cycle on the Billing mode and add cervix exam. For safety reasons, your fertility window might extend some more days and you will ?lose? some infertile days in your cycle. You cannot have your cake and eat it too!
The characteristic temperature rise shows the passage of ovulation. The rise is the proof that ovulation has taken place and will not happen again in this cycle. Without the observation of elixir, more days need to be considered as fertile for safety reasons. The temperature option requires a 4th and 5th temperature rise, sometimes even a 6th value, before freeing up the phase of postovulatory infertility. Furthermore, this option does not exempt you from your elixir observations, as your elixir flow may happen to start very early, i.e. before the Döring/Rötzer day, and make you fertile from that moment on. On the other hand, the temperature method also works for irregular cycles.
How does the Billings method (exclusive observation of life elixir) work on sympto.ch?
If you feel comfortable and safe enough to work with life elixir observations only, you should have observed at least 12 cycles and be able to confirm that your cycles do not vary in length by more than 6 days and that they are biphasic. Then you can go into the Parameter menu and activate the Billings option. Only under these conditions can sympto application free up the infertile phase (after ovulation) 4 days after the Peak day.
If you enter life elixir observations without having activated this Parameter, sympto is not able to free up the infertile days after ovulation and is therefore not of much use.
The cross-checks which open and close the fertility window are the trademark of the STM. These checks combining the temperature and life elixir observations are vital for optimizing your contraceptive effectiveness, for keeping your fertility window as short as possible, for identifying your most fertile days and, especially, for managing irregular cycles.
How exactly does sympto application perform these cross-checks? More in the booklet "SymptoTherm Basics".
The STM is based on the daily observation of your fertility signs, whereas with the Rhythm method (also known as Knaus/Ogino method, called after two medical doctors of the twenties and thirties of the last century), you calculate the past fertile calendar days and project them into the current, not yet finished cycle. The rhythm method is therefore very unreliable, even for women with such slight cycle variations that are still considered as regular. It is also very often confused with the temperature method which was developed in the fifties of the last century by Döring, Marshall, Vollmer and others. The STM, however, integrates some important elements from the temperature method as described in question 23
When your identification of the Peak day remains unclear, the cervix examination gives you a direct access to your elixir where you can identify one of the four Peak day possibilities described in the User Manual. Without any elixir observation however (may be because you don't see any elixir) but with a high cervix position, followed the next day by a horizontal bar or the yellow cloud, the Peak day will be generated (also by the icon of blue wave, followed the next day by the bar or the yellow cloud).
The Symptotherm Foundation is a humanitarian, non-religious NGO exempted from Federal income taxation. Over the years, the foundation has tried to improve the applicability of the STM by better instruction and with the help of the Bioself fertility indicator. Faced with the necessity of developing a new generation of Bioself (a multimillion Euro project), the foundation has opted for a much more comprehensive, more powerful and less expensive concept, sympto.ch. By creating your account on sympto.ch, by paying the annual participation fee or making a donation, you will help us promote the STM, support an important women?s and couples? cause and foster health-preventive measures as well as finance translation into other languages and improve the sympto software.
Within Switzerland: Alternativbank Schweiz ABS, PB, 4601 Olten, Postal account 46-110-7, Clearing 8390, Account number 0209 205.002.000.001
From outside Switzerland: Swiss Postal Account Sympto-Therm, No: 17-123624-3, IBAN CH13 0900 0000 1712 3624 3, BIC POFICHBEXXX.