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The Side Effects of Contraceptives: Is It Time for Men to “Woman Up”?

Mood swings.



Sound familiar at all? These are just a few of the many potential side effects of birth control, which have recently been brought to the public’s attention, following a study on male contraception.

In 2015, it was recorded that 64% of straight women were using some form of contraception: whether that be the hormonal pill, an injection or an implantable device. The pill, which was launched in 1962, was found to be the most popular option due to having the least side effects (despite being linked to weight gain, acne, breast tenderness, decreased libido and depression).  

Furthermore, the pill is found to be 99.9% successful – a figure which is pretty reassuring, no? However, I’m sure we’ve all realized at one point or another that we, as females, aren’t the only member of a relationship: what about the responsibility of our other half?

The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, recently published a paper on the Efficacy and Safety of an Injectable Combination Hormonal Contraceptive for Men which outlines a study exploring the effectiveness of male contraception: a form of birth control which is thought to be 96% effective.

In this study, 320 men aged 18-45, participated across ten different study sites (two in Australia, Germany, and United Kingdom and one site in Chile, India, Indonesia, and Italy) where they were injected with progestogen and testosterone every eight weeks.

The men who participated in the study were all in committed relationships with women who had “a coital frequency of twice [per] week on average”. The participants did not want children; however, they were accepting of the low, but also unknown risk of conceiving.

The study was put on hold and ultimately stopped due to “safety reasons”, after 16% of the participants claimed to be suffering from an array of problems, such as acne, palpitations, erectile dysfunction and hypertension. Other participants decided they could not continue as a result of mood changes.

Does this mean that the search for a male contraceptive will cease to exist?

Is it our job as females to put up with these side effects alone?

Isn’t it time that someone gave us a break regarding birth control?

Regardless of the side effects experienced, 75% of the male participants did acknowledge the efficacy and said that they would take responsibility – at the detriment of their mood (!!!) – and use this form of birth control.

So I guess there is still hope for a male equivalent of birth control. After all, it does take two to tango!


Information obtained from:

The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism: http://press.endocrine.org/doi/pdf/10.1210/jc.2016-2141

Cosmopolitan: http://www.cosmopolitan.com/health-fitness/a8038748/male-birth-control-study-stopped/

Quartz: http://qz.com/822177/a-birth-control-shot-for-men-was-successful-in-stopping-pregnancy-but-many-study-participants-quit-because-of-the-side-effects/

The Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/male-contraceptive-injection-successful-trial-halted-a7384601.html

Images obtained from:



Connie is a Linguistics Undergrad and languages-lover from London. You'll find her at her happiest when drinking good coffee, travelling Latin America and appreciating good food.
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