Contraceptive gel for men: Researchers develop reversible option

Researchers are said to be making progress in their efforts to develop a reversible birth control gel for men.

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Detailed information about Reversible Contraceptive Gel for Men

Based on CNNResearchers tested a “hormone gel that men rubbed on their shoulders once a day.” With prolonged use, the gel aims to suppress sperm production.

This product was developed by the National Institutes of Health in partnership with the nonprofit Population Council. Furthermore, the gel uses Nestorone, which “blocks the production of testosterone.” Meanwhile, extra testosterone maintains a healthy balance for men “but not so much that they produce enough sperm to get pregnant.”

The paper adds that researchers have been “formulating and fine-tuning” the product since 2005. After recent gel testing, they believe “they got it right.”

The gel has been studied in human trials

According to a June 2 report from Endocrine Association, a recent trial included “222 men who completed at least three weeks of daily treatment with a contraceptive gel.” According to reports, the men were between 18 and 50 years old. NBC News. In addition, they also apply gel to their shoulder blades every day.

Then, by week 15 of the trial, 86% of men showed a sperm count of “1 million sperm or less per milliliter of semen.”

CNN note that healthy sperm counts are reported to “range from approximately 15 million to 200 million sperm per milliliter of semen.”

The report adds that it takes “9 to 15 weeks” for a man’s sperm to become inhibited.

“Faster prevention time may increase attractiveness and acceptability,” senior researcher Diana Blithe, PhD, director of the Contraceptive Development Program at the National Institutes of Health, said in the report. of this drug to potential users”.

Still, Blithe shared excitement about what the gel and the researchers have achieved so far.

“We are really delighted with the results. This combination appears to provide better containment, faster than we expected,” she said, according to CNN. “I would say our expectation is that it will be similar to hormonal contraceptives. And I can only say that it is much better than that.”

This is why male contraceptive gels may be more appealing than women’s birth control pills

Based on CNN, women’s contraceptive methods have a failure rate of 7%. Meanwhile, condoms have a failure rate of 13%. However, male contraceptive gels appear to have a better chance of preventing failure and unwanted pregnancy.

If a man whose sperm production is “completely inhibited” misses a day of using the gel, there is no high risk of pregnancy. This is because, despite the missed date, it takes “8 to 10 weeks for a man’s sperm count to recover to a level that can cause pregnancy.”

Blithe also noted that the men did not appear to suffer from mood swings or depression during the trial. However, CNN note that men may experience “dry or oily skin,” “increased or decreased sexual desire,” and “hair growth or loss.”

Furthermore, the agency reports that if a person chooses to stop using the gel, their sperm count will return to normal levels after about two or three months.

NBC News reports that researchers have now moved on to testing the gel on male participants in monogamous relationships. Couples must use the gel as their sole form of contraception. Additionally, they are only allowed to have sex once a month because men’s sperm counts continue to be monitored.

If throughout the test the man’s sperm count remains low, it will be inferred that the chances of pregnancy are “very slim”.

CNN adds that the researchers are currently awaiting “FDA approval for the trial.” If approved, they will begin the final phase of testing in 2025 with more couples in larger locations. This trial is said to take “several more years”.

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