Sex & Relationships

Men Quit Birth Control Study Citing Same Symptoms Women Have Been Dealing With For Years

Complaints included mood change and increased libido.

Photo Credit: Ocskay Mark / Shutterstock

A new study from the University of Edinburgh published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that a new shot for male birth control is 96% effective. But don't throw out those birth control pills just yet. According to the study, released on October 28th, twenty of the 356 men who began the study dropped out of the study before the 56 weeks were up. Why couldn't they make it all the way through? Turns out they couldn't handle the same effects women have been putting up with for years, including mood swings and acne. The men also reported side effects such as pain at the site injection and increased libido, which, one would think would be a positive outcome of a birth control injection. 

The concerns echoed the results of another recent Danish study which indicated that 20-30% of women taking hormonal birth control pills experience depression and other negative mood changes. Women generally shoulder the burden of contraception, despite the best efforts of certain "no glove, no love" condom PSAs from the early 90s.

Elisabeth Lloyd, a biology professor at Indiana University of Indiana and scholar at the Kinsey Institute was concerned about this discrepancy telling CNN, "Twenty percent or 30% of the women who take oral birth control pills experience depression and have to take medication for it. So the difference just struck me...They terminated this study once it showed 3% depression for the men." Researchers, as CNN also reported, said that "nearly 39% of these symptoms -- including one death by suicide -- were unrelated to the shots."

Despite this setback, the study's authors still see it as a success. As CNN noted, "More than 75% of participants reported being willing to use this method of contraception at the conclusion of the study. Author Richard Anderson called the study "a great step forward," especially considering its 96% effectiveness rate, in an interview with Broadly, and played down the side effects. He also noted that this injection is not the only option being considered. Other promising choices include a gel, which men could apply to themselves at home, rather than in a doctor's office as required by the shot. 

Male hormonal birth control is closer than we think, if only the men participating in studies could make it through the whole thing. 




Ilana Novick is an AlterNet contributing writer and production editor.

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