Medical matters (things to make you go “squirm”)

Of course, just because I write one piece that isn’t 100% absolutely about “the trans experience”, that doesn’t mean I won’t get back to it. And here, instantly after, is an intriguing question that arose yesterday.

As some of you may remember, I had my wrist slapped a week or so back for not taking my gp totally seriously and failing to go back for urine tests after they found traces of blood in ditto.

(We-ell: I thought he was just taking the piss! Ba-doom! tish!).

Turns out there’s a good chance it means nothing. But it also possibly means any manner of nasty stuff, from kidney stones, through to benign growths in or on my bladder, through to the really nasty one: an early and thoroughly ironic cancer of the prostate.

Don’t panic. There is absolutely no suggestion that it is the latter: just that they need to do the usual round of tests – this time involving my blood and far too many needles, in order to check it out.

The good news, as my new GP informed me, is that my current drug regime – finasteride and oestrogen – is pretty much what they would try anyway if it were the worst. So, for a number of conditions I am, adventitiously, already taking the right course of treatment.

Still, it set me to investigating. I hadn’t been sure whether my prostate would survive grs (turns out it will!): I was also interested in learning a bit more about the effects of hormones on that organ…and en passant, I turned up an interesting snippet.

Right now, my body is sort of at war. The oestrogen I am ingesting is carrying out a process of feminisation. Adequate, but not perfect: equally, though a pretty mild sort of medication. But various bits of my body are still stubbornly trying to pump out testosterone. Traitors!

Therefore, if the oestrogen doesn’t do the job, I either opt for early surgery or big league anti-androgen drugs. Those are far more potent, with many more potential side-effects. Much scarier all round.

Or – and I hadn’t really come across this before, but it makes sense: I could possibly opt for an early and separate orchidectomy. (That, dear blokes, is the removal of one’s balls. 🙂 Did that make you squirm?)

It is supposedly low-risk surgery…possibly doable under local anaesthetic and through a keyhole. (huh?) It aids early feminisation, negates the need for scary side-effect-prone anti-androgens and…well, sounds like an all-round good idea.

I shall be making inquiries (but am also interested to hear from anyone else who went down this track)

jane
xx

3 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Lucy Melford said,

    Apart from the ordinary risks of complications, infection, etc, this seems a good wheeze if the drugs don’t work.

    One wonders what proportion of transitioning MTFs take anti-androgens. My impression is that quite a lot of the younger ones do, but older folk need to avoid the dire side-effects and tend to have patches prescribed instead. I’ve never heard of anyone actually having an orchidectomy in advance of the main op, although it gets talked about.

    Lucy

  2. 2

    You probably wouldn’t even need the hassle of an orchi. There are other drugs also used in Trans circles such as Zoladex that will switch the pesky little blighters off and quite reasonable to use for a couple of years if you’re going that way anyway.

  3. 3

    Katty Stepman said,

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