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Does menthol kill spermatozoa?

Tags: kill, menthol, spermatozoa
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Proton Soup
Apr27-11, 11:21 PM
P: 1,070
it's certainly an interesting thought. if someone can come up with a male birth control pill that only shuts down fertility short-term, it might be popular with at least some men. i believe they tried it with supplemental testosterone once, but it has the rather dubious side effect of shutting down the testes and making them shrink. which is psychologically devastating, unless maybe you're a bodybuilder.

but the sperm would have to be inactivated nearly 100%, which if iirc from scanning the paper, menthol doesn't quite achieve. there's also the issue of those receptors being in other tissues, which probably means if you found the dosage that guaranteed sterility, the side-effects would make it unbearable. maybe they'll eventually find a unique pathway to manipulate.
Apr29-11, 05:15 PM
P: 209
Quote Quote by Proton Soup View Post
it's certainly an interesting thought. if someone can come up with a male birth control pill that only shuts down fertility short-term,
Just by the way, to write it down, just for the sake of discussion: the original thought was - sort of an in situ** application, not ingestion - a direct contact of menthol with spermatozoa and in the first post I mentioned some ordinary common inconspicuous product as an example* for testing. The logic was: if you can ingest menthol (in a sense that you have it in mouth for long periods of time and it doesn't bother you nor damage the skin (what more - it heals it!)) that it wouldn't bother other mucous membranes either... that was the original thought.

* (quote: "say you have a menthol tablet for sore throat say 160mg in weight, containing 2mg of menthol, 0.1mg of sodium usnat and sorbitol artificial sweetener - would it kill spermatozoa? ")
** basically to 'stick it in' - I'm not so convinced that it would produce bad sensation as you suggested (to qoute you: "topically would seem to provide the most hilarious outcome.")
May4-11, 03:46 AM
Sci Advisor
P: 1,724
I've heard of Saran Wrap condoms: could this pave the way for Listerine emergency contraceptive / douche?

(Listerine, owing to its high alcohol content, would actually probably kill sperm as effectively as it kills mouth bacteria--however, I'd trust neither of the above ersatz solutions).
Proton Soup
May4-11, 02:06 PM
P: 1,070
contraceptive douche used to be common, but not recommended because of the damage to normal flora
Dec25-11, 01:24 PM
P: 209
Just to document it in this thread: I've just noticed on the internet that this very question of mine (see the beginning of this thread for reference) mysteriously popped-up here somehow:

Edit: removed link

I don't know who posted it there (but it would seem that more people are interested in the answer to this question).

Anyhow - the outcome on that thread is pretty much the same as here...

And while I'm here - just to remind you: the question was about whether or not putting a menthol tablet into vagina would efficiently serve as spermicide.
(it doesn't burn your mouth why would it bother any other mucus membrane tissue)

(The proposed method for testing this was to observe spermatozoa under microscope - put a piece of some menthol tablet in it and stir it to see if it kills spermatozoa efficiently enough.)
Dec25-11, 08:24 PM
Sci Advisor
P: 8,533
Menthol is among the substances tested in Baker's study: He grades sperm activity from 0 (no activity) to 3 (full activity). At a concentration of 1/16 %, guinea pig sperm activity was observed to be higher than 1, but less than 2.

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