I know that I’m always looking for a birth control alternative that reduces some of the pill’s side effects, so I was intrigued to see an article about a new contraceptive gel which (researchers claim) may reduce the incidence of side effects like acne and weight gain. The gel, which women apply daily and which transfers doses of hormones to prevent pregnancy, was tested on 18 women in a new study. Over the course of seven months, none of the women became pregnant. It’s also safe for nursing mothers to use.
The lead researcher, Dr. Ruth Merkatz of the Population Council, pointed out the benefit of having more forms of birth control available, saying, “It is really helpful to have different ways of administering contraception.”
I agree with Jezebel’s Anna North, who seems cautiously excited about the new birth control. She points out that it does nothing to address one of the most irritating aspects of the pill, which is daily usage, and also wonders whether it has an impact on the pill’s sexual side effects. Side effects from birth control are also difficult to pin down, so I imagine that more studies will be needed before researchers can say that this gel is unlikely to cause certain side effects in most women.
The researchers are right: it’s always good to have more options. But they have to be affordable, and as Anna points out, when on earth are they going to make a similar version for men?
What do you think? Do you think a contraceptive gel would be popular, and is it necessary?
Photo from Flickr.