How Do Male Contraceptive Pills Work and What are Its Side Effects

There are many choices for woman when it comes for preventing pregnancy. On the other hand, men have limited choice of contraception. Male contraception is limited to abstinence, withdrawal, condom use and vasectomy. Research has suggested that someday soon men too will be able to shoulder a share of responsibility with newer modes of contraception which includes contraceptive pills. Scientists are nearing in developing male contraception by hormonal method. It consists of androgen alone or in combination with progesterone hormone. The primary clinical trials have been found acceptable to both the partners.

What is it and how does male contraceptive work:

Researchers have developed male contraceptive which consists synthetic version of hormone progesterone and testosterone. Progesterone is considered to be predominantly a female hormone, whereas androgen (testosterone) is considered as dominant male hormone. The action progesterone with this type of contraception is to stop production of sperm in the testes. Normally the sperm life is 70 days after it is produced in the testes. Hence if a man opts for this method, he has to keep a buffer period of three months before expecting the action to be started.

Recently scientists in Australia have used progesterone in their trial. It is given in injection form at an interval of every three months. Trials of testosterone were done in the form of implants. The implant has to be renewed every three months. Researchers till now have not united both the contents together in a single mode of pill. Detailed trial is still required for combination of both. They need to perfect the dose of individual drug before they use it in combination. The progesterone based pill is given in tablet form. It has to be taken daily on same time.

Effects and side effects of male contraceptive pills:

  • In a study conducted by Australian researchers, contraceptive male pill has been found promising. It is nearly effective cent percent. But studies conducted in other countries such as UK the success rate is slightly less. This is in context with production of sperms. But the female hormonal version is found to be more effective.
  • Usually with all forms of researches, it was found that male pills reduced libido. This negative effect resisted men from using contraceptive pill. But with progesterone pill and injection of testosterone volunteers did not complain of decreased sex drive. Instead because of testosterone they experienced increase in their sex drive.
  • Although research suggests this type of pill combined with testosterone injection does not possess any side effects, research still needs to be done to ascertain its certainty. Often using only female version, there can be weight gain, increased moodiness and reduced sex drive among men.

Advantage and disadvantage:

  • Implant or injection will reduce the chances of men forgetting to take the pill daily.
  • Risk of pregnancy is extremely less as it curtails production of sperms.
  • It may increase vigor and strength in men.
  • This contraceptive pill is not suitable for men suffering from hormonal problem.
  • It will not provide protection against sexually transmitted diseases unlike condom.

Although the pill or implant for contraception in men is still in trial stage, all hopes are there that an effective male contraceptive pill will be available in near future within 5 years.

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