The day may not be far when all you have to do is rub some gel on your body to avoid getting pregnant, for New York scientists claim they have developed a body cream that works exactly like the Pill.
So far, it has proved to be just as effective but has showed no side effects such as weight gain, acne, moodiness, or headaches that affect 40 per cent of those who take the Pill.
The cream, called Nestorone Estradial, may also be preferable for the many other women who dislike having to remember to take a pill once a day, reports the
. Another big advantage is that breastfeeding mothers may also use the cream.
The cream contains a combination of the sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone - the chemicals found in most forms of the Pill. But it contains a different type of progesterone - called Nestorone, which in early trials caused far fewer side effects.
The cream has been developed at the Population Council research centre in New York and is expected to be widely available in the next few years.Early trials on 18 women in their 20s and 30s over a three-month period have shown that it was just as effective as the Pill in preventing pregnancy.
"From this small study we found it was effective in preventing pregnancy, but we need to test it over longer periods of time,” said Dr Ruth Merkatz, from the Population Council.