Maybe you got excited when you heard there was a potential new option for reversible birth control—that doesn’t include women. It’s for males! It’s been in the study phase. But researchers decided to drop the study on injectable birth control for men due to “severe side effects,” including mood swings, acne, increased libido and rashes and soreness at the injection site. For those of us who have suffered some pretty severe side effects from birth control over the years—headaches and mood changes from the pill, rashes from the patch—it kind of seems like it’s their turn, right?
The study examined the effects of a new birth control on healthy men, 18–45 years old and their 18–30-year-old female partners. 320 men worldwide received hormonal shots every eight weeks. A combination of some big words—synthetic testosterone and norethisterone enanthate—the shot works by lowering sperm count. The effectiveness of the bi-monthly injection seemed promising—only four of the female partners got pregnant during the study. However, participants began to drop out due to side effects, which were admittedly pretty serious in some cases, including extreme mood swings (one attempted suicide) and severe acne. Participants also experienced muscle soreness and pain at the injection site. Ultimately, the researchers decided to cut the study short, although many of the men would have continued and said they would use this method if it were available.
What does it mean for us?
So what does all this mean for women who are tired of gaining weight, losing their sex drive and suffering emotional side effects from hormonal birth control methods? Researchers will continue to tinker with the hormonal formula for the Y chromosome, but it’s safe to say men probably won’t be on birth control anytime soon.
But, on another note, let’s think about it. Yes, it would be nice to pass responsibility to the guys once in awhile, especially if you are in a committed relationship and suffer side effects from most types of birth control. BUT it also makes you think about how much trust you have to have in your partner when he is the one responsible for birth control. How motivated is he going to be to go get his shot every eight weeks? If he forgets to take his birth control for some reason, you’re the one who is going to carry the baby, not him.
At the end of the day, it’s your body. Evaluate the risks if and when male birth control becomes available. You should ALWAYS use a condom with new partners to protect against STDs and HIV, even if you’re on hormonal birth control. Same goes for male birth control—it’s not going to protect you from anything but pregnancy, so wrap it up. #DrNita