The newest birth-control innovation is a contraceptive gel that women can spread on their skin. But will it be better than the pill?
According to the Guardian, the new gel was recently tested on 18 New York women, none of whom got pregnant after seven months of use. The product apparently had "very high acceptability," and it sounds pretty easy to use — the women simply spread a small amount (3 mg is enough) on the stomach, thigh, arm, or shoulder once a day. The gel reportedly lacks some of the side effects of the pill, such as weight gain and acne (though evidence on which pills cause weight gain and how much has always been somewhat murky). It's also not excreted in breast milk, so it's safe for nursing moms to use.
The gel does seem like a good option for some women, especially those who experience side effects with current birth control methods. It doesn't solve all the problems of the pill, though. It still has to be used once a day, and although it's apparently absorbed quickly, I'd be somewhat concerned about it rubbing off on clothing or other people — other hormonal gels have had disturbing effects when they came in contact with unintended recipients. There's also no word on whether the gel has any of the sexual side effects women sometimes experience on the pill. And finally, while the contraceptive gel does seem like a reasonably useful invention, there's one way its manufacturers could make me really impressed — make a version for dudes.
Contraceptive Gel Could Offer Alternative To Pill [Guardian]
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