Birth Control: The Latest Research

Science continues to advance the field of pregnancy prevention. These are the top contraceptives that scientists have discovered. These contraceptives may prove to be more efficient, safer and easier than existing birth control options.

The Latest Contraceptives

In recent years, the FDA approved four new methods of birth control:

Long-acting vaginal ring.

It is the first vaginal contraceptive ring you are able to use for one year. Annovera is a vaginal ring that uses segesterone estradiol. Annovera can be worn for up to three weeks before you take it out for your period. You'd normally insert another one after about a week. Annovera can be reused for as long as a year, unlike NuvaRing. It doesn't require refrigeration, so it can be stored more easily.

The progestin-only contraceptive pill.

The hormones estrogen and progestin are combined in regular birth control pills. These hormonal combinations prevent your eggs from being released (called ovulation). Drospirenone, also known as Slynd, is an estrogen-only progestin that can be used to treat any health concerns such as blood clots or other issues related with your reproductive system.

Other progestin-only pills, also known as minipills (or birth control pills), are available. These pills don't necessarily stop ovulation. They also have to be taken at the exact same time each day. Slynd is a preventive agent that stops the body from releasing eggs during your period. Without the need for a backup contraceptive, you can miss one dose of Slynd and still take the pills as normal.

Hormone patch.

The market has a second form of birth control. The transdermal patches contain the hormones levonorgestrel, ethinyl esteradiol (Twirla). This patch works in the same way as norelgestromin or ethinyl esteradiol (Xulane) Each contains the same progestin, but contain different estrogens. You place the Twirla on your skin for three weeks. Then, take it off during your fourth week. Twirla does not contain as many hormones. This may reduce the potential side effects.

Twirla has not been approved for those who are overweight. Contraceptives may not be as effective for women with lower body weight than they do for those who are more. The risk of developing blood clots may increase in obese people.

Sperm-killing gel.

This hormone-free spermicide Gel contains lactic, citric, and potassium bitartrate. (Phexxi). It can be placed in your vagina for up to one hour prior to having sex. This spermicide is different than other ones because it adjusts to your natural vaginal pH. This makes it difficult for the sperm to flourish.

Phexxi will not cause damage to the vaginal lining compared to other spermicides using the nonoxynol-9 ingredient (N-9) in order to kill or paralyze the sperm. You will be protected from HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS by having less of your vaginal lining broken down.

Future Contraceptives

Research continues to uncover new methods to prevent pregnancy and to enhance existing ones. Let's take a look at future options for birth control.

Men can use hormone birth control.

For years, scientists have been studying this possibility. Many men experienced side effects such as depression or low sex drives in recent scientific studies of male birthcontrol. Researchers are currently looking for new compounds that can hold back male hormones without side effects. Researchers are also looking at other forms of birth control, such as oral birth control or a hormone gel you can apply to your arm.

Condom for women redesigned

Many women don't like the bulky condoms. Researchers are developing a new design. The condom is the size of a tampon and can be placed inside your vagina. It expands as it contacts vaginal fluid. Studies of the redesigned condom show that 3 out of 5 of those who tried it liked it better than the male condom, and 85% would suggest it to a friend.

Copper IUD with controlled release

Researchers are studying a new type of copper intrauterine device (IUD) that has a copper core wrapped in two types of plastic (polyethylene and silicone). This device slow releases copper ions in order to destroy sperm entering the uterus. In a matter of months, standard IUDs release copper ions quickly. Scientists believe that controlled copper release could help to prevent side effects such as bleeding and pain.

Reliable adhesives for patching.

The skin irritation caused by hormonal birth control products can lead to severe reactions. Scientists are creating a new sticky adhesive for hormone birth control pills that can cause skin irritation and better bond with skin.