Sexual Health news - Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Men may have a new contraceptive option in the future

When it comes to contraception, it may seem like men only have condoms to prevent pregnancy and the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. However, according to a study presented at the Endocrine Society's 94th Annual Meeting, a new gel can be applied to the male genitals to reduce sperm production.

The gel contains two hormones, which are testosterone and Nestorone, the latter being a synthetic form of progestin. Progestin has been reported to increase the activity of the testosterone, which can shut down sperm production. It's the first time the two have been combined as a gel to be used as a contraceptive. Previous studies have used the hormones in pill, implant and injection form.

The study observed 99 healthy men who were assigned one of three gels, one of which was the combination product. After 20 weeks, 88 to 89 percent of the men who used the gel with both testosterone and progestin saw a sperm count that is compatible with low pregnancy rates. Only 20 percent of the men who received testosterone alone had a significantly reduced sperm count.

Researchers observed that there were few reported side effects with the combination gel. This is most likely due to the fact that Nestorone contains no male hormones, which often cause acne and changes in cholesterol levels.

"The combination of testosterone with Nestorone had few adverse effects," said Christine Wang, M.D., a professor at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute. "It warrants further study as a male contraceptive."

Despite this advance in contraceptive options, men may be hesitant to use hormone therapy because of the side effects reported by women who take the pill, use the vaginal ring, or get the shot or the implant, according to MSNBC News. However, Wang and her colleagues believe that male options like the gel are safe, effective and reversible.