Women will soon get access to a new gel, which works in a similar way to the contraceptive pill. The gel, which is rubbed onto the stomach each day, is being tested in four countries world-wide.For many women, protecting against pregnancy means the daily ritual of popping the contraceptive pill. But now there's a new option under trial.
Dr Edith Weisberg from the Family Planning Association says "The gel is like any other gel, but it contains a new hormone - progesterone - based on the female hormone, not the male, and its rubbed into the tummy. It's absorbed into the skin and acts as a contraceptive".
Each month, hormone levels are tested and an ultrasound done to see how much of the gel is needed to stop ovulation occurring."The gel is packed in little sachets so they have the right amount for a single dose and just have to squeeze it out and rub it in" Dr Weisberg says.
So far, women using the gel report only minor side effects such as an irregular periods, and researchers are hopeful that in the long term the gel could be a useful addition to the range of contraception currently on offer.Dr Wiesberg says "Its major advantage is that it gives women another option, and the more sage effective methods, the more likely women are to find a method that suits them at a stage in their lives".