A daily dab of a new gel may be a side-effect-free alternative to the Pill for the 10 million American women who now use oral contraceptives, a new study has found.

Rubbing as little as 3 milligrams of the gel on the abdomen, thighs, arms or even shoulders releases ovulation-preventing hormones that are quickly absorbed, researchers told the American Society for Reproductive Medicine meeting in Denver.

None of the 18 women tested with the gel in a trial became pregnant, and none reported side effects often associated with the Pill, such as headaches and weight gain.

Authorities also said that, unlike the Pill, the gel — which could be on the market in five years     — doesn't interfere with a woman's milk supply so it is suitable for mothers who are nursing.

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