Contraceptive gel breakthrough for men

450 couples will apply this method to a contraceptive test within the next year.

If successful, the male method of using contraceptive gel will be considered a breakthrough in medicine, helping to address the burden of contraception that only women suffer.

According to Guardian, 29-year-old James Owers and 27-year-old Diana Bardsley of Edinburgh (UK) are one of the couples involved in the trial, using only a hormone inhibitor gel to prevent pregnancy within a year.

At the end of June, this trial began with the participation of 450 couples with the aim of demonstrating the equivalent efficacy of this method compared with the use of contraceptives for women. This will contribute to changing social attitudes towards pregnancy and birth control.

Picture 1 of Contraceptive gel breakthrough for men
James Owers and Diana Bardsley are among the first 450 couples to test the contraceptive gel for men.(Photo: The Observer).

'Men need more choices. Currently, it is easy for men to say "It doesn't really depend on me". If this method becomes popular, your choice does not mean that you decide to be irresponsible , 'said project researcher Owers.

'I think this is a big solution. It gives men the opportunity to combine autonomy and responsibility. This also has a positive impact on the relationship between men and women in society ' , Bardsley - a social researcher - explains.

This gel is applied daily to the man's chest, shoulders and biceps.Gel contains a mixture of progesterone and testosterone . While Progesterone disables the ability to produce sperm in the testicles, testosterone in the gel will compensate for the lack of male hormones that the gel causes.

When not receiving testosterone supplements, men often experience some unpleasant side effects such as poor mood, weight gain and reduced libido.

Because testosterone is rapidly metabolized in the liver, it is unlikely to be introduced to humans through the oral route and this has previously been a major obstacle to finding male contraceptives involving hormones.

The method applied to the skin is considered a significant improvement. Scientists hope that the gel version has been validated in research centers in England, Sweden, Chile and Kenya, men will be easy to use and have fewer side effects.

The gel is contained in a spray box like a toothpaste tube. Men have to remember to apply them on their shoulders, chest and biceps every morning.

A minor inconvenience to this method is that female sex partners must avoid contact with body parts to prevent a secondary testosterone reaction, such as increased male hormones and growth. beard. Therefore, men need to take a bath before going to bed or wearing a T-shirt at night.

Owers said that after using the gel for 6 weeks, his sperm count dropped to almost zero.

It will take a similar amount of time for sperm to be returned to normal. This means that if you accidentally forget to apply the gel for a few days, the risk of getting pregnant for couples will not increase rapidly, unlike female pills to comply strictly.

'After 9 weeks of using gel, side effects have been minimized: there are only a few small spots on the lower back, sexual desire increases slightly and the body increases by about 2kg, the only noticeable changes. I feel it has little impact on my life , 'Owers said.

If the results of a year-long trial are optimistic, the team hopes that pharmaceutical companies will be interested in mass production and bring products to market. This process can take 4-5 years to complete.

'Before the birth control pill was born, we could not predict its influence in society. Similarly, I don't think we can really predict the effect of this method. But like pills, I think everything is promising, ' said John Reynolds-Wright, a clinical researcher in Edinburgh, who leads the test project - the conclusion.

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