Frequently Asked Questions
The following represent the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) we receive. If you have a question about reproductive health that is not answered here, please feel free to ask us. We invite you to contact us to ask questions, share a story about your personal experiences or even provide some insights about what you have discovered on your own about natural reproductive health care.
Q: Is the Justisse Method the same as the Rhythm Method?
A: There are no similarities between the Justisse and the Rhythm Methods. The Rhythm Method makes mathematical projections based on past menstrual cycle history to predict future fertile and infertile phases of the menstrual cycle. These predictions, though occasionally right, in general do not accurately reflect your current cycle; thus the low rate of success of the Rhythm Method. The Justisse Method teaches a person how to determine the status of their fertility through daily observations of their body’s signs of fertility. You will always know if you are fertile right now, today. You won’t need to wonder and guess.
Q: Do my menstrual cycles have to be regular in order to do this?
A: Even if your menstrual cycles vary in length, the Justisse Method will teach you how to reliably observe your symptoms of fertility.
Q: Don’t I have to abstain from sex for a lot of days every cycle in order for the Justisse Method to work as a form of birth control?
A: Every menstrual cycle is different. Couples need only abstain on fertile days. Generally, a female is fertile for about 1 week of every menstrual cycle when there is cervical mucus present and on ovulation day. Cervical mucus is present several days before and on ovulation day. It allows for the sperm to survive and wait for ovulation to occur. Sperm can survive in cervical mucus for several days. After ovulation, the egg lives only 12 to 24 hours and the cervical mucus disappears. When there is no cervical mucus present, the sperm die within minutes. The Justisse Method User's Guide has photographs and describes in detail how to look for cervical mucus secretions. It is recommended not to have sexual intercourse on fertile days for maximum effectiveness when using the Justisse Method for birth control. Some couples chose to use a Barrier Method on fertile days (condom, foam, cervical cap, diaphragm, etc.). If this is the case, they are no longer strictly using the Justisse Method for birth control, and can expect the effectiveness for birth control of the Barrier Method they are using.
Q: What about “Safe Sex” practices?
A: Justisse, like many other fertility awareness methods, is not a barrier method, and therefore does not provide protection against sexually transmitted diseases. If you are unsure of your health status – or that of your partner – seek medical guidance, and use protection (see our LINKS section for more information). Confidential counseling and testing is available in most communities.
Q: What is normal female fertility?
A: A normal menstrual cycle is determined by a series of events, with accompanying signs and symptoms that unfold daily. A menstrual cycle is made up of the following events: menstruation, follicle and egg development (accompanied by changes in the cervix and the appearance of cervical mucus) ovulation, development of the corpus luteum (accompanied by changes in the cervix and absence of cervical mucus) changes in the uterine lining both before and after ovulation, changes in the basal body temperature. There are other more subtle body events that can also be learned, such as ovulatory pain, or changes in cervical position and texture, among others.
Q: How can I assess my own fertility?
A: Having an Holistic Reproductive Health Practitioner guide you through the Justisse Method will help you gain a thorough understanding of your fertility and greater confidence in menstrual cycle charting. You may also wish to find individuals or groups in your area who offer fertility awareness education and consultation. For an overview , consult the Fertility Management User's Guide.
Q: What if I have extreme cramping and pain with my period? Is this method not for me?
A: Extreme cramping and pain, dysmenorrhea, does not interfere with the observations of fertility signs. Check out our Publications section for reading material that may prove helpful for understanding and getting help for dysmenorrhea.
Q: I’ve noticed clots in my menstrual flow. Is this a problem?
A: Clots indicate that your menstrual bleeding is too heavy (menorrhagia) and is symptomatic of several reproductive health problems. Check out our Publications section for reading material that may prove helpful for understanding and getting help for menorrhagia. Seeking help from your local health care provider is also recommended. Having many cycles of heavy menstrual bleeding can lead to extreme fatigue, anemia) and other serious health problems.
Q: What is cervical mucus?
A: In response to rising levels of the hormone estrogen, the cervix is stimulated to produce mucus. Rising levels of estrogen, and thus cervical mucus, signal the approach of ovulation. Cervical mucus is obvious. You have probably noticed it before when wiping yourself after going to the bathroom, or on your underpants. The Justisse Method teaches you how to monitor the presence of cervical mucus, and understand the changing pattern of these mucus secretions in relation to your fertility.
Q: What is the number of days from ovulation to my next menstrual period?
A: The normal number of days from ovulation to your next menstrual period ranges from 12-14 days. This is called the post-ovulatory, or luteal, phase. A post-ovulatory phase that is consistently less than 12 days or greater than 14, may indicate a hormonal and/or endocrine dysfunction, and a reproductive health assessment would be indicated.
Q: What affects male fertility? Does stress play a role in male fertility?
A: Environmental degradation over the past 50 years is partly responsible for declining male fertility. Fertility is affected by diet and lifestyle, including regular consumption of certain prescription and recreational substances, caffeine, fried and processed foods, and exposure to excessive heat, radiation, and certain pollutants. Men can improve their fertility by reducing environmental and physical stressors. Varicoceles, prostrate infection, history of high fevers, hypothyroidism, and andropause also affect male fertility. See our Publications section for reading material that may be helpful in understanding male fertility and male reproductive health.
Q: What is a semen analysis and what does semen analysis look for?
A: A semen analysis is a safe, non-invasive procedure and is the first step in diagnosing a man’s fertility. A semen analysis examines a man’s:
Sperm count – the number of sperm should be at least 20 to 40 million per milliliter of semen
Motility – the spontaneous motions (60% of the sperm should be vigorously swimming)
Morphology – shape of the sperm (60% of the sperm should be normally formed)
Viscosity – the quality of the seminal fluid
pH – acidity/alkalinity
Discuss the details of your analysis with your urologist, and make sure you keep a copy of your lab results. Semen analysis is not necessarily final – it reflects your current condition. Like other body functions, fertility can wane or be enhanced. You may want to test your fertility at differing intervals, while improving your overall health and thus your chances at improving fertility.
Q: I experience days of spotting just before my period. Will this affect the success of the Justisse Method?
A: The Justisse Method provides for ways of interpreting individual variations in the menstrual cycle. If spotting occurs for more than 1 or 2 days before menstruation, a consultation with a reproductive health care provider is advised to assess the cause.
Q: What does it mean if my periods are less than three days long? Am I infertile?
A: Light menstrual bleeding of less than three days duration may indicate poor development of the endometrial lining due to hormonal imbalances. Or this type of bleeding may not be menstrual bleeding but rather ‘break through bleeding’ due to prolonged estrogen stimulation of the endometrium without ovulation occurring (common with the use of birth control pills). A consultation with a reproductive health care provider to assess the condition of your fertility is advised.
Q: What if my period is more than 9 days in length – would the Justisse Method still work for me?
A: The Justisse Method provides for ways of interpreting individual variations in the menstrual cycle. When your period lasts for more than 7 days, a consultation with a reproductive health care provider is advised to make a thorough assessment of your reproductive hormone and endocrine functions.
Q: What does it mean when my mucus is tinged with blood, hardened, or like glue?
A: It is not unusual for cervical mucus to be tinged with blood accompanying ovulation. If this occurs for more than two days and is more than just a tinge, you may want to consult your Justisse HRHP or other reproductive health care provider. Cervical mucus that appears hardened or glue-like may indicate cervical dysplasia or cervicitis and is not uncommon in the first few cycles coming off hormonal birth control. If it persists for more than three cycles, see your Justisse Holistic Reproductive Health Practitioner or other reproductive health care provider.
Q: I see a small amount of clear and/or stretchy mucus on only one day. Should I contact my doctor?
A: Cervical mucus on one day only may indicate low estrogenic activity. A consultation with your Justisse Holistic Reproductive Health Practitioner or other reproductive health care provider is advised.
Q: I typically experience a lot of clear, stretchy mucus for longer than a week. Am I overly fertile?
A: The presence of clear, stretchy cervical mucus for longer than a week is not a sign of being overly fertile; rather it may indicate a difficulty with a hormonal or endocrine feedback loop. A consultation with a Justisse Holistic Reproductive Health Practitioner or other reproductive health care provider is suggested to make a thorough assessment of your reproductive hormone and endocrine health.