Boys, girls and birth control: Should men consider their options?


It takes two to make a baby, right? However, for the last 60 years, since the invention of the combined oral contraceptive pill – more commonly known as just birth control or “the pill” – women have generally been held responsible for the prevention of pregnancy. It’s their responsibility to make sure they avoid an unwanted pregnancy if they want to.

It should really be a two person system, though. With that being said, a lot has been in the news recently about a form of male birth control that was in testing stages in 2011 before it’s untimely termination.

For women, it’s pretty typical to be on the pill and use it as your major source of protection against pregnancy. But it does have it’s many other benefits too, such as shorter, lighter periods, improves symptoms like mood and cramps, lessens the risk of ovarian and uterine cancer and helps get rid of acne. This is why the pill is commonly presented to women who are not sexually active or not straight.

Although it has so many advantages, there are a still a lot of problems associated with the pill that can range from little annoyances to severe, long-term health issues. Commonly, ladies who take birth control can experience problems with weight gain, headaches and spotting.

Periods are already known for their apparent ability to transform women into crazy monsters. Birth control also has a history of causing these “mood swings” to worsen and can even result in mild to severe cases of depression. According to a 13 year research project that came out of Denmark and was published in a journal by JAMA Psychiatry, birth control causes a greater risk of developing depression and increases of severity of preexisting mental health issues – most commonly depression and anxiety.

In the studies conducted on this new male birth control, which would be administered in the form of an injection every 8 weeks, it was found that depression and mood swings were common symptom. Exactly like the effects found in female birth control.

What I find strange is that it’s a big problem for this new drug to come on the market when there are already so many like it in terms of repercussions. The risk of depression is present in so many different medications – including the pill for women. so what exactly makes the side effect so much more of an impact on men?

Mental health is already a factor in many people’s lives, and wanting to be diagnosed with any form of it is not on the top of anyone’s ‘to do list’, I’d assume. If there is a form of male birth control that actually works and is as effective as female birth control, I feel like having similar symptoms for both genders wouldn’t be much of an issue. Men and women should share an equal load.

According to planned parenthood, there are five forms of male birth control: abstinence, condoms, outercourse, vasectomy and withdrawal. None of these are medically proven or a ‘real’ form of birth control. Meanwhile, women can apparently choose from a list of 20 given options that prevent pregnancy. Seems pretty unequal.

One day, I’m sure, there will be a male version of the pill. Will it come with the same downsides of the pill for girls? Maybe. Will it take a little bit of weight off of women’s shoulders? Hopefully.

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