Hormone-based birth control methods, like the contraceptive pill and hormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs), are highly effective. But these can cause side effects like including mood changes, reduced sex drive, sore breasts, nausea and headaches.
A gel is applied inside the vagina that can be an effective way to prevent unwanted pregnancy. It has been block sperm injected into female sheep and it may provide an alternative to hormonal contraceptives.
It’s a hormone-free vaginal gel without the side effects
Although some Non-hormonal contraceptive methods like condoms, diaphragms and fertility tracking apps don’t have these side effects but they tend to be less reliable at preventing unwanted pregnancy to people.
A hormone-free vaginal gel that may work as well as hormonal contraceptives but without the side effects. This is developed by Ulrike Schimpf at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden and her colleagues .This gel contains chitosan which is a biopolymer. It is is derived from fungus or crab shells. The chitosan forms cross-links with proteins that are secreted in cervical mucus.
How does this help works ?
This thickens the mucus so that it blocks sperm from getting past the cervix and into the fallopian tubes. Fallopian tube is where the egg fertilisation occurs. A syringe applicator was used to insert the gel towards the backs of the vaginas of sheep by the Researchers. Backs of the vaginas of sheep are similar to those in humans. After one hour, they artificially inseminated each of the eight sheep tested with 1 billion sperm. also read:-Bruce Lee died from drinking excessive water? Is overhydration harmful?
After this procedure, the gel was found to spread throughout the vagina and into the entrance of the cervix. It formed an effective barrier with sperm managing to get past the cervix of only one of the sheep in the study. And, in that case it was just two of the 1 billion swimmers.
Another form of non-hormonal birth control,chemical spermicides, the chitosan gel didn’t cause inflammation of the vaginal walls. This can make it less irritating to use.
More studies needed
More studies in sheep to test whether the barrier created by the gel stays intact during sexual intercourse and prevents pregnancies are being planned by Schimpf and her colleagues. To determine how long before sex the gel should be inserted into the vagina and how long any protection would last, trials in people would also be needed.