Ever since the birth control pill first became available in 1962, the responsibility of preventing pregnancy has fallen on women.
While some birth control options like condoms and spermicide focus on male anatomy, contraception is a gendered burden that disproportionately rests on women’s shoulders. Even alternatives to the pill, like implants, shots, and IUDs, all target the woman’s reproductive system.
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There’s good news and bad news for anyone who’s ever hoped that their male partner could help with contraception in a more significant way than condom use.
The good news: A birth control shot for men exists and it’s effective. The bad news: Because 20 of the trial participants experienced side effects, the trial will not move forward. But the most ridiculous part is that those side effects are commonplace for women who use contraceptives.
The drug trial in question was an injected male contraceptive, and the trial studied 320 men. Researchers found that the birth control shot was 96 percent effective over the course of one year, which is similar to success rates of existing contraception.
Some men experienced the same exact side effects that millions of women deal with every day: depression, muscle pain, mood swings, acne, and changes to libido.
Even though only 20 men reported side effects to an “intolerable” degree, the trial will not move forward. The Indpendent notes that women deal with the same reactions every day, and that these symptoms aren’t even the most serious.
Anna Rhodes writes, “One of the most dangerous risks to women of taking the combined pill is the increased risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which can be fatal. It affects two in 10,000 women. Young women’s lives have been cut short because they were taking the pill. The advice from the regulatory agency? ‘The benefits outweigh the risks.'”
In addition to the same side effects that these men experienced, women also have to worry about higher rates of breast and cervical cancer when taking birth control.
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This news is obviously frustrating to women, especially those who have to put up with depression, acne, and body aches because of contraceptives. It’s unfair that women are forced to face potentially life-threatening complications when men are able to bow out over less serious symptoms.
(via The Independent)