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Male Birth Control: What Are the Options?

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Male contraceptive pill is safe and doesn’t impact sex drive, says a study

Gone are the days when contraception pills were believed to be just a ‘woman's thing’. With the introduction of male contraceptive pills, it has been determined that even men can take it, that too without affecting their sex drive. But what are male contraception pills and how can they control pregnancy, here is everything in detail.

What is a male contraceptive pill?

WHAT IS A MALE CONTRACEPTIVE PILL? Just like female contraceptive pills, a male contraceptive pill combines activity of androgen (a male hormone) and a progestin. It controls the production of sperms as it targets the hormone testosterone. This increase in testosterone levels causes the male pituitary gland to release less hormones.

Does it affect sex drive?

DOES IT AFFECT SEX DRIVE? The good news is, it doesn’t have any impact on a man’s sex drive. Experts have also mentioned this contraceptive pill as a "major step forward". Scientists have introduced a new drug which is referred to as dimethandrolone undecanoate, or DMAU. It includes a long-chain fatty acid which helps in slowing down the clearance. One dose each day is advisable by the experts.

The study

THE STUDY: The experiment was conducted at the University of Washington Medical Centre. The investigators tested three doses of DMAU - 100, 200 and 400 mg on 100 healthy men between 18 to 50 years old. Out of those, 83 men successfully completed the study. When the highest dose of DMAU was tested, it showed “marked suppression” levels of their testosterone and two hormones required for sperm production.

The right method to take pill

THE RIGHT METHOD TO TAKE PILL: According to doctors, pill works effectively if taken with food. A senior investigator also said, “Despite having low levels of circulating testosterone, very few subjects reported symptoms consistent with testosterone deficiency or excess. These promising results are unprecedented in the development of a prototype male pill."

The side effects

THE SIDE EFFECTS: As such, no major side effects were witnessed in the subjects. However, a few groups taking DMAU experienced some weight gain, as well decreases in HDL ("good") cholesterol. Also, whether these pills affect a man's capability of fathering in long run is not yet clear.

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