Apr 012014
 

CC - see linked URLBeen a busy month here. First, let’s have the news!

Transgender

  • A study has failed to find support for the theory that transgender people can be separated into different typologies based on sexual orientation. Source.
  • Gender dysphoria has been found to be correlated with autism/asperger’s and attention deficit disorder. Source.
  • Among trans people seeking care in the emergency department, 52% have at least one negative experience. 32% heard insulting language and 31% were told their provider didn’t know how to provide care. These statistics were gathered in London, Ontario. Source
  • Cross-sex hormones change cortical thickness in the brain. Source.
  • A meta analysis found that the type and dose of estrogen does not impact breast size for trans women. They also did not find an effect, positive or negative, for progestins. Source.
  • A panel lead by a former U.S. surgeon general has urged the US military to eliminate its ban on transgender service members. Source.

Sexuality

  • Pap smears may soon be replaced by HPV-only testing. Source.
  • 43% of young adult and teenaged men report having experienced sexual coercion. 95% of those were initiated by a woman. 18% of those incidents were physical force, 31% verbal, 26% via seduction, and 7% via drugs/alcohol. Tell me again how sexual violence is a woman’s problem. Source.
  • Shout Out Health posted their reminder of how you can find a gay-friendly health care provider

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On an administrative note, I’ll be attending a medical school in Connecticut come the Fall. I don’t know yet what that’ll mean for post frequency here at Open Minded Health, but be warned that things may shake up a little bit.

As always…  Stay healthy, stay safe, and have fun!

Nov 052013
 

News for the month of October - CC BY 2.0 - flickr user  cygnus921It’s that time of month again! No, not when we try to take over the world… it’s time for the monthly news! In no particular order, then, here we go:

  • Analysis of herbal supplements finds that many are contaminated with species not listed in the ingredients label. Herbs are typically classified as supplements in the United States, and are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration the way medications are. The FDA website has more on the regulation of herbsSource.
  • One dose of Gardasil may be enough to protect against cervical cancer (but please remember to follow your physician’s instructions about vaccines!). Source. At the same time, the HPV vaccines may be less effective for people of African heritage than for people of European heritage. Source.
  • More evidence that monthly changes in sex hormones in cisgender women are associated with changes in sex drive. Source.
  • Germany’s “indeterminate” birth certificate sex designation law comes into effect. The “Indeterminate” marker is, from what I understand, intended to denote intersex babies, not transgender people. The BBC did a fairly good summary of some community reactions. Source.
  • Low prolactin levels in cisgender men as they age has been correlated with reduced sexuality and sexual functioning. Low prolactin levels were also correlated with general unwellness. Prolactin is a hormone most well known for being involved with lactation in breast-feeding parents, but has other effects too. Source.
  • A new study examining sexual satisfaction in women with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome (CAIS) or Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser Syndrome (MRKH Syndrome, aka Müllerian agenesis). Women with CAIS reported less sexual satisfaction and confidence than women with MRKH Syndrome, who mostly reported being satisfied with their sex life. The abstract on this paper is fairly scarce so I’ll try to grab a copy for better examination. Source.
  • A study in Ontario, Canada found that 1/3 of trans people needed emergency medical services in 2012, but only 71% were actually able to receive it. 1/4th of those in the survey reported avoiding the emergency room because they are trans, and just over half needed to educate their provider. Source.
  • Another study has found a decrease in psychopathology (i.e., symptoms of mental illness, such as depression or anxiety) when trans people transition. The biggest drop was just after starting hormone therapy. Source.
  • A study on the changes in sexual desire/activity in trans people was published. In a nutshell, sex drive went down for trans women with hormone therapy but recovered a bit after surgery (compared with those who wanted/planned surgery but hadn’t had it yet). In contrast, trans men generally had their sex drive go up with hormones/surgery. Source.
May 022013
 

 

CC BY-NC 2.0 - flickr - Jonathan Gill Summary of some of the interesting news bits from April 2013.

  • Researchers in Sweden find that early vaccinations against HPV are more effective than late vaccinations (93% effective before 14 years, 76% after 14 years and before 20 years). Abstract. Open Source Full Text.
  • Despite low risk of side effects and mild side effects, fewer U.S. parents were less likely to vaccinate against HPV in 2010 than in 2008 (43.9% unwilling to vaccinate in 2010 vs 39.8% unwilling in 2008). AbstractOpen Source Full Text.
  • Anal cancer rates have dramatically increased since 1973. Abstract.
  • Roughly 3/4ths of men who show “hypersexual” behavior report being distressed by it or having functional problems. Slightly more than half have relationship problems. Abstract.
  • Attitudes about female circumcisions have been assessed via Facebook in the “Middle East”. Female circumcision is done by doctors about half of the time, and was more common in rural areas than urban areas. Nearly half of the sample indicated that female circumcision was “necessary” or “very necessary.” Abstract.
  • Persistant genital arousal disorder may be caused by a mass, according to a recent case study.
  • In women with menstrual cycles, estrogen may have a delayed positive effect on libido. Progesterone may have a negative effect on libido. News article.
  • The U.S. Department of Justice has issued new guidelines for medical examinations after a rape. These guidelines now emphasize the survivor’s emotional and physical needs over any forensic needs. News articleGuidelines.
  • Recent cases of meningitis in gay men raised concerns that gay men may be at risk. After analysis the cases appear not to have been related. Gay men who have been sexually active in or around New York City since September 1st are still advised to get a meningitis vaccine to be on the safe side. News article.

Why the flower picture? It’s a tongue-in-cheek reference to the “flower of the month.” Besides, it’s pretty!

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments.

Hope you all had a lovely month!

Oct 192012
 

Data from a University of Maryland School of Medicine survey were just released showing that nearly four out of ten lesbians do not get regular pap smears. Pap smears screen for cervical cancer, among other things. Cervical cancer is usually caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). HPV can be spread by skin-to-skin contact, so lesbians are just as much at risk for getting HPV as bisexual or heterosexual women. Screening is important to detect precancerous changes and cancer in their earliest stages so that treatment can be done when it’s most effective, preventing deaths.

Why do so few lesbians get their screenings? The primary reasons cited in the survey were: a) not having a physician referral, and b) not having a physician. Together, these two reasons account for 34.8% of study participants. We already know that lack of access to care is a big problem in gender and sexual minority communities. This just helps to confirm it. The survey authors note that lesbians who were open with their physicians about their sexual orientation were more likely to be screened than those who weren’t open.

There has been a recent change to pap smear recommendations. Pap smears are no longer recommended every year for most people. Screening starts at 3 years after first sexual activity, or age 21, whichever is first. From age 21-30, screen every 3 years, then from age 30-65, screen and do an HPV test every 5 years. After 65, no screening is recommended. If a pap smear is abnormal, screenings become more frequent. I should also note that these guidelines apply to everyone with a cervix, regardless of gender identity.

I, personally, think it’s highly advisable for everyone to know their HPV status and get vaccinated if possible, in addition to regular pap smears. HPV vaccines are not a replacement for pap smears because they don’t vaccinate for all HPV strains which cause cervical cancer. However, vaccines do protect against some.

EDIT (10/21/2012): I should also note that during a pap smear, a physician can do other screenings. This includes gonorrhea/chlamydia screening, looking for signs of other STDs or vaginal cancer, and checking the ovaries for lumps.

Jul 022011
 

I’ve gotten some questions in, so it’s time to do a question and answer post!

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Question: Can urethral sounding be done with cooking oil?

Answer: NO. Cooking oil = edible fat = energy. Micro-organisms (like bacteria) can use it as a source of food. Using cooking oil in the urethra can increase your chances of a urinary tract infection (or bladder infection or kidney infection…). Use a lubricant without glycerin instead.

 

Question: Can rubber urethral sounds be used by women?

Answer: Rubber should not be used for sounds for women or men. Why? They cannot be sterilized at home. The recommended method of sterilization (very hot steam in a pressure cooker) will ruin the rubber (Source). Stick to sounds made of stainless steel to be safe.

 

Question: Why does urethral sounding feel good?

Answer: That depends on whether your genitals are male or female. For men, it can stimulate the corpus spongiosum, which can be pleasurable. For women, it can stimulate the Skene’s Gland, which can also be pleasurable.

 

Question: Do heterosexual women get anal cancer?

AnswerYes.

 

Question: What kind of steel is used in genital piercings?

Answer: Surgical steel. There are a few grades of surgical steel that are appropriate. Specifically, “steel that is ASTM F-138 compliant or ISO 5832-1 compliant; ISO 10993-(6,10, or 11) compliant; or (EEC [European Economic Community] Nickel Directive compliant.)” (Source).

 

Question: Can HPV be passed by oral sex?

Answer: Yes. It’s been implicated in head and neck cancers for that very reason.

 

Question: Why is it bad to do rope bondage on joints?

Answer: Two big reasons. First, joints are very sensitive. If they get damaged, they take a long time to recover and may not recover at all. So it’s best to avoid damage. Second, a lot of nerves and blood vessels travel through joints. This makes them ideal for cutting off blood/nerve supply to a limb… definitely a no-no.

 

Question: Can a post-operative transsexual have an orgasm?

Answer: Yes. The quality of the orgasm may be different than it was before transition. A recent study came out about sexual health for transmen.

 

Question: Would a genital piercing affect the way I pee?

Answer: If it passes through the urethra, yes. If it could be in the path of the urine, yes (e.g., labia or foreskin piercings). Otherwise, probably not.