Enough pills that you forget, patches that come off and rings that are difficult to insert, the contraceptive of the future is in gel: the American Society of Reproduction Medicine declared it. It is spread on the skin, three milligrams per day for 21 days, always distributed at the same time with a quick massage on the abdomen, on the legs, or on the shoulders. Here’s how it works and when it will be on the market.
How it works
The new gel belongs to the category of hormonal contraceptives, such as pill, patch and vaginal ring.The basic principle is always the same: small amounts of hormones, estrogen and progesterone are released, which block ovulation, but the pill must first be assimilated at the level intestinal, while instead the hormones present in the gel, after being spread on the skin, they enter directly into the circulation through the micro capillaries. In this way they reach the hypothalamus, the control unit of the brain that regulates ovulation. Compared to the patch, then, it is more discreet and there is no risk of it coming off.
Differences compared to other hormonal contraceptives
The real novelty is in the administration, even if the gel formulation is already used for other types of gynecological applications; an example is the hormonal replacement therapies in menopause. The type of formulation is usually well tolerated, even if, in the case of this drug, not all women absorb it in the same way and in some cases a higher dose is required. So for this reason the gel contraceptive is still in the experimental stage, also because a dispenser will be able to supply the precise quantity of product to be spread every day.
Test in progress
The new contraceptive in gel is in phase experimental, but the tests conducted on a group of women between 20 and 30 years after seven months had positive results: there were neither unwanted pregnancies nor side effects. Now the contraceptive will be tested on a large scale, and then put on the market.
The gel offers typical advantages of the new generation of contraceptives; the most important positive aspect is that synthetic hormones are minimized and as bio-identical as possible, ie able to mimic natural female hormones. Other advantages are a good tolerability of the product and the disappearance of side effects typical of old generation contraceptives such as nausea, vomiting, headaches, mood swings, weight changes, water retention and decreased desire.
The new gel it has an additional property: it can also be used during breastfeeding because it does not interfere with breast milk and does not create problems for the baby.
The contraceptive method obviously must be chosen with your gynecologist, based on the own lifestyle and after a medical examination. It is important to point out that hormonal contraceptives, with a safety level that exceeds 99% if taken correctly, do not protect against sexual diseases, but only against unwanted pregnancies.