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All You Need To Know About The New Male Contraceptive Pill

New research has come into light, which states that scientists have come one step closer to creating a male contraceptive pill. Earlier there were only female contraceptive pills which contained a mix of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone, which can cause weight gain, nausea and erratic moods.

Here's all you need to know about the male contraceptive pills:

  • Currently, the male contraceptive pills are largely limited to condoms, which have the chances to fail up to 18 percent of the time, if it's worn incorrectly.
  • A compound called EP055 binds to sperm proteins and reduces mobility without affecting hormones, making EP055 a potential male contraceptive pill without side effects, a study published by the University of North Carolina stated in the journal Plos One.
  • The compound EP055 has the ability to simply turn off the sperm's ability to swim, significantly limiting fertilization capabilities.
  • At present, the only alternatives to condoms are hormonal drugs in clinical trials that target the production of sperm. But, these drugs affect the natural hormones in men much like female contraceptives affect hormones in women.

The female contraceptive pills work by preventing ovulation. There are different types of female contraceptive pills which contain synthetic forms of the hormones oestrogen, progesterone or both. These pills do not prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that only a condom can help.

The Side Effects Of Female Contraceptive Pills

The common side effects of contraceptive pills are nausea, inter-menstrual spotting, breast tenderness, headaches, migraine, weight gain, mood changes, missed periods, decreased libido, vaginal discharge, changes in eyesight for those using contact lenses, etc.

Let's have a look at the side effects in detail below:

1. Intermenstrual Spotting

Sudden vaginal bleeding is common between expected periods. This usually occurs within 3 months of starting to take the contraceptive pill. During the spotting, the pill is still effective, as long as it has been taken correctly without missing any dose. If you experience 5 or more days of bleeding while on pills or heavy bleeding for 3 or more days, you should immediately seek a doctor.

2. Breast Tenderness

Birth control pills or female contraceptive pills may cause breast tenderness or enlargement. This usually occurs a few weeks after starting the pill. If you find a lump in the breast or are having a persistent pain or tenderness or severe breast pain, you should visit a doctor. However, reducing caffeine intake, salt intake and wearing a supportive bra will help in relieving breast tenderness.

3. Nausea

When a woman takes her first pill, she may experience mild nausea. The symptoms of nausea may reduce after a while, and taking the pill with food or at bedtime may also help. If you experience your nausea to be severe or persisting for a longer period of time than 3 months, you should seek medical help.

4. Headaches & Migraine

The hormones present in contraceptive pills can increase the chances of headaches and migraine. Pills with different types and doses of hormones may lead to different kinds of symptoms. For example, using a low dose pill may reduce the incidence of headaches. Fluctuations in the hormonal levels caused by menstrual cycle can trigger headaches for some women too. But, if your migraine headache persists, seek a doctor.

5. Weight Gain

Some types of hormonal contraceptive pills have been linked to an increase in weight in women. Having oestrogen in high doses can trigger weight gain due to increased appetite and fluid retention. A recent study found out that, in the first six months of using birth control pills, one out of four women gained 5 percent or more of their starting weight.

6. Missed Periods

A woman has the higher chances of missing her periods, even with proper pill use. The factors that influence this are illness, stress, travel, hormonal or thyroid abnormalities. The pill works by introducing different hormones into your body, and this can have an affect on your menstrual cycle. If you miss your periods or your periods are very light, while using the pill, a pregnancy test is recommended.

7. Changes In Mood

Studies have suggested that oral contraceptive pills may affect women's mood and increase the risk of depression or other emotional changes. Some women may experience depression, or irritable mood. Those women who take a cycle of birth control pills had more symptoms of depression and mood swings than those taking an inactive pill.

8. Vaginal Discharge

While taking the pill, changes in vaginal discharge may occur. There may be an increase or a decrease in vaginal lubrication or a change in the nature of the discharge and if this persists, you need to seek medical help. Though vaginal discharge isn't harmful, alteration in colour or odour could indicate an infection. Also, low amount of vaginal discharge, can make the vagina prone to yeast and bacterial infections.

9. Eye Changes

Contraceptive pills cause hormonal changes which have been linked to the thickening of the cornea in the eyes. In addition, other medications like antidepressants and anti-anxiety medicines can cause a change in the vision. The strong pregnancy hormones can also cause irritated, dry or watery eyes.

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