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Periodic Abstinence

Periodic abstinence means that a couple refrain from sex during the unsafe days of her period cycle. Dr. Billings who invented the Billings ovulation method wrote in his website the following sentence:

“Abstinence from genital contact during the days of possible fertility is required for the avoidance of pregnancy in all natural methods. They do not involve drug taking nor the use of any appliances, and acts of sexual intercourse are always normal.”

This text contains the two problems with these natural methods:

1. Very few people have the will power to practice sexual abstinence. It is theoretically noble, but practically difficult to do. I say this with the experience of many years in general practice, where unplanned pregnancies lead to abortions on demand.

2. It is true that there is no side effect physically. However, couples feel often very anxious and sometimes as much under emotional pressure as a couple during a fertility work-up where pressure is felt from the expectation of well meaning relatives who want to have a grandchild so badly.

 Periodic Abstinence

Periodic Abstinence

The emotional distress is not acceptable for every couple and the 99% success rate of contraception for some select, disciplined couple as cited by Dr. Billings is certainly laudable. I recommend to those who want to study the Billings method to visit the link above. However, if a couple cannot abstain from sexual relations for a period of 5 to 7 days (sometimes 10 days), it might be wise to study other birth control options (see link under “contraception”).

 

References:

1. The Merck Manual, 7th edition, by M. H. Beers et al., Whitehouse  Station, N.J., 1999. Chapter 235.

2. B. Sears: “Zone perfect meals in minutes”. Regan Books, Harper  Collins, 1997.

3. Ryan: Kistner’s Gynecology & Women’s Health, 7th ed.,1999 Mosby,  Inc.

4. The Merck Manual, 7th edition, by M. H. Beers et al., Whitehouse  Station, N.J., 1999. Chapter 245.

5. AB Diekman et al. Am J Reprod Immunol 2000 Mar; 43(3): 134-143.

6. V Damianova et al. Akush Ginekol (Sofia) 1999; 38(2): 31-33.

7. Townsend: Sabiston Textbook of Surgery,16th ed.,2001, W. B.  Saunders Company

8. Cotran: Robbins Pathologic Basis of Disease, 6th ed., 1999 W. B.  Saunders Company

9. Rakel: Conn’s Current Therapy 2001, 53rd ed., W. B. Saunders Co.

10. Ruddy: Kelley’s Textbook of Rheumatology, 6th ed.,2001 W. B.  Saunders Company

11. EC Janowsky et al. N Engl J Med Mar-2000; 342(11): 781-790.

12. Wilson: Williams Textbook of Endocrinology, 9th ed.,1998 W. B.  Saunders Company

13. KS Pena et al. Am Fam Physician 2001; 63(9): 1763-1770.

14. LM Apantaku Am Fam Physician Aug 2000; 62(3): 596-602.

15. Noble: Textbook of Primary Care Medicine, 3rd ed., 2001 Mosby,  Inc.

16. Goroll: Primary Care Medicine, 4th ed.,2000 Lippincott Williams &  Wilkins

17. St. Paul’s Hosp. Contin. Educ. Conf. Nov. 2001,Vancouver/BC

18. Gabbe: Obstetrics – Normal and Problem Pregnancies, 3rd ed.,  1996 Churchill Livingstone, Inc.

19. The Merck Manual, 7th edition, by M. H. Beers et al., Whitehouse  Station, N.J., 1999. Chapter 251.

20. The Merck Manual, 7th edition, by M. H. Beers et al., Whitehouse  Station, N.J., 1999. Chapter 250.

21. Ignaz P Semmelweiss: “Die Aetiologie, der Begriff und die  Prophylaxis des Kindbettfiebers” (“Etiology, the Understanding and  Prophylaxis of Childbed Fever”). Vienna (Austria), 1861.

22. Rosen: Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice, 4th  ed., 1998 Mosby-Year Book, Inc.

23. Mandell: Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, 5th ed.,  2000 Churchill Livingstone, Inc.

24. Horner NK et al. J Am Diet Assoc Nov-2000; 100(11): 1368-1380.

25. Ferri: Ferri’s Clinical Advisor: Instant Diagnosis and Treatment, 2004 ed., Copyright © 2004 Mosby, Inc.

26. Rakel: Conn’s Current Therapy 2004, 56th ed., Copyright © 2004 Elsevier

Last modified: November 12, 2014

Disclaimer
This outline is only a teaching aid to patients and should stimulate you to ask the right questions when seeing your doctor. However, the responsibility of treatment stays in the hands of your doctor and you.