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Will men soon be responsible for contraception?
Until now, contraception has mostly been a task for women. The so-called birth control pill is used by many women around the world for contraception. Researchers have now found that hormone injection in men is an alternative method of contraception. This type of contraception is also very reliable and safe.
Scientists at the World Health Organization (WHO) found in an investigation that hormone injection in men can be an effective method of contraception. With her, contraception could perhaps be done more by men in the future. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism".
The effectiveness of the hormone injection is almost 96 percent
A study of 270 male volunteers showed that a contraceptive hormone injection had an effectiveness of almost 96 percent. Only four couples became pregnant after using the syringes. However, the syringe leads to a relatively high number of side effects, including acne and mood swings, the doctors explain. Researchers have been studying the potential for male hormonal contraceptives for about 20 years.
Researchers are looking for an effective way to suppress sperm production
Men constantly produce sperm. For this reason, high levels of hormones are required to lower the normal sperm count from over 15 million per milliliter to below one million per milliliter. Researchers were looking for an effective way to suppress sperm production. However, this should not cause any unpleasant or intolerable side effects.
Aim of the study: Reduce sperm count to less than one million
In their examination, the doctors looked at men aged 18 to 45 who had been in monogamous relationships for at least one year. The men's sperm were checked at the start of the study. This was to ensure that the sperm were normal. Subjects were then given two hormone injections (progesterone and a form of testosterone) every eight weeks. The sperm count was monitored for up to six months until the sperm count dropped below one million, the experts add.
Results are promising
As soon as the subjects stopped the injections, it was observed how quickly the sperm recovered, the doctors say. The treatment lasted up to a year. The current study showed that a hormonal contraceptive for men actually reduces the risk of unplanned pregnancies, explains Dr. Mario Festin from the World Health Organization (WHO).
Hormone injections can lead to severe side effects
However, there were unpleasant side effects that many participants reported. These include depression and mood swings, as well as muscle pain and acne, the scientists explain. Because of the side effects, even 20 men had to end the study prematurely.
Doctors are now experimenting with the combination of the hormones it contains
Other researchers are now working on a combination of different concentrations of the hormones. Different types of administration, such as a gel, were also checked, the experts say. These are important steps in the long search for the right combination for male hormonal contraception.
75 percent of the participants would use hormone injections
There is certainly an unmet need for an effective reversible contraceptive for men in the sense of the hormonal contraceptive for women, the researchers explain. The contraceptives in this study were extremely effective and promising if the number of side effects could be reduced. It was remarkable for the researchers that 75 percent of the men taking part were willing to use hormone injections again for contraception. (as)