Contraceptive gel could be an alternative to the Pill

A contraceptive gel that is simply rubbed on to the skin could provide women with an alternative form of contraception.

According to findings by the Family Planning Association, there are approximately 2million women using a contraceptive method that they are unhappy with.

However, this might be about to change with a new contraceptive gel, tested by the Population Council research centre in New York. By rubbing the gel onto the skin, it delivers a dose of hormones that prevent pregnancy.

Dr Ruth Merkatz, who will present the findings at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, said: ‘It is really helpful to have different ways of administering contraception.’

The daily treatment was tested on 18 women aged between 20 and 39 over a seven-month period and had very high acceptability.

Not one of the women fell pregnant while using the gel and none of the usual side effects associated with the Pill, such as acne and weight gain, were reported. The gel is also reported to be safe to use while breastfeeding.

The gel contains Nestorone, a new type of progesterone, and oestrogen and works by interfering with the hormones normal patterns of production.

Simon Blake, chief executive of sexual health charity Brook, said: ‘Obviously this is still in the early stages of development but anything that can help young women has to be a good thing.’

If clinical trial results continue to be positive, the gel could become widely available as an alternative measure of contraception.

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