Women have a lot of birth control options, like pills, injections and intrauterine methods. But when it comes to birth control for men, the options are few and far between. Men can choose from condoms, vasectomies or the pull out method. But a recent study shows that a hormone-based birth control pill for men may be on the horizon.
The new study was presented last week in Chicago. In this short study – just 28 days – researchers observed 83 healthy men, between the ages of 18 ad 50. The men were divided into three treatment groups and one control group.
The three treatment groups were given a hormone pill called dimethandrolone undecanoate (DMAU) in three different dosages: 100, 200 and 400 milligrams.
This oral birth control lowered testosterone levels, along with other hormones necessary for sperm production. In fact, in all three dosages, testosterone blood levels were at castrate levels.
That means that there was about 50 nanograms per deciliter. And just to give you some context, normal testosterone levels are usually between 350 and 1,100 nanogram per deciliter.
In the treatment group with the highest dosage (400 milligrams), testosterone blood levels were significantly low – 13 nanogram per deciliter.
By lowering testosterone, the birth control tricks the body and interrupts its sperm production.
But another thing that dropped was libido. And according to Dr. Seth Cohen, assistant professor of urology at Langone Health in New York University, “When you put that on a large, multimillion-person basis, you have a huge portion of men running around with a very low libido.”
Because it was a short study with a small group of participants, researchers admit that further studies are necessary to better understand the wider implications of this potential birth control option for men.