Currently, there are very few birth control options for men that are safe and boast a high success rate. However, despite the limited choices, the future of male birth control now looks increasingly bright due to extensive research. While previously, research in male birth control was marked by dead ends and setbacks, there have been successful clinical trials for various options. Nevertheless, some of these options are still in their early phases and are not easily accessible or declared entirely safe.
While there are a lot of diverse birth control options for women, ranging from birth control pills to intrauterine devices (IUDs), more innovation and research might be needed for male birth control.
The available options, despite their effectiveness, can still lead to health complications and have individual limitations. Therefore, understanding male birth control options is crucial to encourage their use.
Safety is non-negotiable, and distinguishing between safe and unsafe birth control options can be challenging due to limited awareness. This article aims to provide comprehensive information about safe birth control options for men, along with guidance on their proper use. Our goal is that you make fully informed choices to have a healthy lifestyle.
This is the most reliable and safe method of birth control available for men. Vasectomy is a surgical procedure that involves the cutting of tubes that carry the sperm from the testicles to the urethra. It is, therefore, not only the safest but also the most effective procedure with a high success rate. Some facilities even give you the option of getting a same day vasectomy, which means you can get the procedure done right after you get a consultation. There are two types of vasectomy: no-scalpel and traditional vasectomy. In the traditional method, the doctor makes a small incision in the scrotum to reach the tubes called vas deferens, which are then cut or blocked by the doctor.
In the no-scalpel vasectomy procedure, the doctor makes a small puncture on the scrotum skin instead of an incision, and then the tubes are blocked. Being much less painful, this method has a quick recovery period and is more convenient.
Overall, vasectomy is a procedure that is safe and permanent, making it highly preferable among men as a form of birth control.
2. Use Condoms
Condoms are arguably the most widely used birth control method to prevent pregnancy. Typically made of latex, condoms are worn on the organ, acting as a physical barrier that prevents semen from reaching the female reproductive tract. Consequently, the process of fertilization cannot take place. When used correctly, condoms boast a 98% success rate in preventing pregnancy.
They come in different shapes, textures, and sizes, which are safe. However, following a few precautions is paramount to ensure safety: a new condom should be used every time, and you should look out for any allergies that can be caused by latex condoms. Non-latex condoms made of lambskin and polyurethane are also available.
Throughout history, there have been all kinds of substances used to prevent pregnancy. In 1850 B.C. Egyptian women mixed acacia leaves with honey, and in 4 B.C., the Greeks prepared ointments made with cedar oil to prevent pregnancies. These are all examples of spermicides, chemical agents that inhibit sperm growth and kill them. They are available in various forms, such as gels, foams, and creams. The spermicide must be placed deep in the vagina near the cervix to ensure the best results.
Spermicides are generally safe, but chemical agents can cause different kinds of allergies, so you must look out for any side effects and consult your healthcare provider before using this method regularly.
4. Testosterone Injections
Testosterone, a male sex hormone, plays a vital role in the development of male reproductive tissues and secondary sexual characteristics. It is often used to treat low libido, fatigue, and mood swings in men. An excessive amount of testosterone can result in a reduced sperm count. Elevated testosterone levels cause the pituitary hormones to be produced in lesser numbers. This, in turn, leads to decreased sperm production, as these hormones are essential for this purpose. Testosterone injections are administered weekly or monthly, and the sperm count is reduced, preventing pregnancy.
One study showed that these injections were 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. It is still important to note that these injections also have several side effects, such as muscle pain, injection site pain, acne, mood swings, and psychological disturbances.
5. Contraceptive Gel
The Nestorone/Testosterone gel is another safe and effective birth control option for men. As the name suggests, the gel is a combination of two hormones: Nestorone, a progestin, and testosterone. Nestorone works to reduce sperm production, while testosterone decreases the side effects such as lower libido and weight gain. The synergistic effect of both these hormones makes this a strong contraceptive.
This gel can be used by applying it on your skin daily, which absorbs it. This causes the suppression of sperm production. Along with being highly effective, it is also an easy-to-use method without any complicated procedures.
6. Male Birth Control Pill
Dimethandroloneundecanoate (DMAU)is a male birth control pill that has shown promising results. Just like testosterone injections, this pill uses testosterone and a progestin hormone. This pill works by suppressing pituitary hormones that produce sperm. The combination of both these hormones works seamlessly by reducing sperm production and fighting any symptoms that are caused by the low testosterone in the body.
The pill is to be taken orally daily. All research on this pill has shown it to be a viable option for male birth control.
Male birth control is not uncharted territory; there has been extensive research ongoing for decades for safe and effective options. Recently, there have been great strides in this arena. With that being said, it is imperative to acknowledge the fact that currently, there are only a few birth control options available that can be deemed as completely safe and highly effective. Firstly, this includes the surgical procedure of vasectomy, which is the most convenient method for men in terms of time, money, and health implications. However, it is, in most cases, permanent, so the next best option is using condoms. They work simply by blocking the sperm from reaching the vagina and are highly successful. Other options include the use of spermicides to kill the sperm before it reaches the egg. Furthermore, testosterone injections, contraceptive gel, and the birth control pill are three very effective hormonal options that are safe to use. However, please consult your physician or urologist before considering any option.