What is Persona?

The Persona contraceptive device was launched in October 1996. Manufactured by Unipath Ltd, it consists of a hand-held monitor and urine test sticks.


How does it work?

Although an entirely new form of contraception, the method may be considered an update of the 'rhythm' method. Each month users perform a number of simple urine tests (sixteen for the first month, eight on subsequent months). Persona measures hormone levels in these samples. It learns your monthly cycle and uses a system of red and green lights to advise the user on which days she is at greatest risk of becoming pregnant.

What are the advantages?

  • No side effects
  • Easiest natural method available
  • Can be combined with barrier methods to give higher reliability and allow intercourse right through your cycle
  • Couples can both be involved.


What are the disadvantages and common side-effects?

  • Not suitable for use in women: whose menstrual cycle lengths do not fall within the range 23-35 days
  • Not suitable for women who are using the contraceptive pill, hormone replacement therapy or infertility treatments or who have experienced menopausal symptoms or who are breast feeding;
  • Certain medical conditions and certain medications can effect the way Persona works. Tetracycline in certain conditions may affect the performance.
  • Offers no protection from sexually transmitted infections or HIV
  • Not suitable for use in women with liver or kidney diseases, polycystic ovarian syndrome or for whom pregnancy is contra-indicated (ie women undergoing chemotherapy) or taking certain medications.
  • It is expensive, around 50 UK Pounds for the starter kit and 10 UK pounds each month for the urine test sticks.


How reliable is it?

The manufacturers claim the product is 94% reliable. This means if 100 women use Persona for one year, six would be expected to become pregnant as a result of incorrectly identifying the fertile phase of their cycle.

Where can you get Persona?

Initially Persona was marketed exclusively through Boots Chemists in the UK and is now available from other UK pharmacy outlets




What is the rhythm (Calender) method?

The rhythm of your menstrual cycles is observed to calculate your most likely time of fertility, based in the knowledge that ovulation usually occurs around two weeks before your next period starts. But because even women with the most regular cycles can sometimes ovulate early or late, the rhythm method got a bad reputation for it's high failure rate. Now that we
have more reliable methods of fertility awareness the rhythm method us no longer recommended.




What is the sympto-thermal method?

This natural contraceptive method combines BBT (temperature charting) and cervical mucus observations and feeling and charting the position of your cervix and characteristics of the cervical os (opening).These together give a very reliable way to determine when you ovulate and therefore when to avoid intercourse or use a barrier method.

How does it work?

By combing three indicators to ovulation. First, most women can reliably detect when ovulation has occurred by measuring basal body temperature (BBT). A temperature rise of 0.2-0.6 degrees C that is sustained for three days is a pretty good evidence that you have ovulated. Second, you can learn to detect the rhythmic changes in your cervical mucus by noting it's amount and appearance, what it feels like, and how damp or dry your vulva feels. During your fertile phase the mucus becomes increasily copious, clear, watery and stretchy. Thirdly, you can detect as ovulation approaches your cervix feels
softer, larger, higher in your vagina and the cervical os is more lax. The more changes you chart, the less likely you are to make a mistake about when you're fertile.

What are the advantages?

  • There are no known side effects
  • It is highly effective if coitus is confined to the second infertile phase
  • The method is acceptable to most religious doctrines
  • Once you have been taught the method there is no follow up or further expense
  • It allows you to understand your reproductive cycle better which will help you to conceive when your ready to
  • Many couples find that the co-opertation needed strengthens their relationship

What are the disadvantages and common side-effects?

  • Some women find it hard to observe and interpret the changes
  • Regular daily observations are essential some busy women find this difficult
  • There may be conflict and frustration during the abstinence period (this can be eliminated by using a barrier method during ovulation)
  • Frequent travel by one partner may make it difficult to co-ordinate sexual activities and periodic abstinence

How reliable is it?

The Sympto-Thermal method can be up to 98% effective at preventing pregnancy if use according to instruction. This means that 2 women out of every 100 relying on this method would get pregnant within a year.





Q. My periods have always been erratic. Is it safe for me to use Persona?

A. Persona is not the most reliable contraceptive method if you have erratic periods. You are at higher risk of method failure so this is not the best method for you.

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