Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Ah Spit

Well, there goes that theory. Cruelly slain by an ugly little fact.

Back in September last year, I'd written about what fragments we know about IPSR - Idiopathic Partial Sex Reversal. There's isn't a lot. I had stated that
"All other previous cases have been in their 40's. All have been TS though, and this one doesn't break the pattern."
Now there's one at 60, and this guy is a guy, not a gal. No reported gender identity issues.

From the UK Telegraph:
A man with high levels of the female hormone oestrogen is naturally turning into a woman, but doctors say the process is irreversible.

Terry Wright, 60, started losing his hair and beard ten years ago.

Since then, the father of five has developed smooth skin, hot flushes and breasts.
...
Mr Wright, who has to wear a wig, has a slim build and is 5ft 4in height, making him appear even more feminine.

Blood tests have revealed that Mr Wright has abnormally high levels of the female hormone oestrogen. But doctors who have examined him say they have never seen such a case – and do not know what to do to reverse the process.

Some testicular cancers can produce high levels of oestrogen and drugs that used to treat prostate cancer can have similar effects, however doctors say this in not true in this case.

An MRI scan has ruled out the oestrogen surge being caused by a tumour and a psychiatrist has judged him mentally sound.

His GP wrongly suspected he was trying to change gender and offered him a sex swap which he refused.

"I am a man, not a woman. And I do not want to be a woman. I just want to get my life back to normal," he said.

Professor Richard Ross, a hormones specialist and the head of Endocrinology at The University of Sheffield said: "This case seems very unusual."

Mr Wright added: "Doctors call me an 'interesting case' and 'unique' but I just want to go back to being a proper man."
Ah Spit. Being Transsexual is hard enough when you're born with it. Naturally (and partially) changing apparent sex due to hormonal weirdness is also a pretty tough thing to go through. Take my word for it - benn there, done that. It's bad enough when it's in the right direction, but in the wrong one... it doesn't bear thinking about.

The Sun in its usual inimitable style (and who would want to imitate it?) doesn't plays it for laughs for once. The reader comments... are best left unread. Astonishingly, the "Sun Doctor" has some surprisingly insightful things to say about the situation.
TERRY’S condition is highly unusual, distressing and completely baffling.

When men develop symptoms like these, there’s usually a reason like an abnormally high oestrogen level from a tumour.

Some testicular cancers can produce oestrogen.

Drugs that block or counteract male hormones can have similar effects.

This happens with some drugs used for prostate cancer, for instance.

But this isn’t the case here.

Terry has high levels of both the female hormone oestrogen and the male hormone testosterone. So there must be some other explanation.

While it’s rare for the body to stop responding to a hormone, it may be that Terry’s tissues have developed resistance to testosterone.

In which case, the effect of oestrogen on his body would dominate.

This would give him exactly the symptoms that are so troubling to him and are clearly so hard to treat.
I say again, Ah Spit. Yes, AIS is possible. Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome. Expletive Deleted. Unladlylike Language. Ah Spit once more, with extra feeling.

I've sent an e-mail to Professor Ross. Maybe we can pool medical data, get causation sorted out, and maybe find a regime of treatment for this poor man. If it's adrenals, maybe an LH and FSH supressor might help. We just don't farnarckling well know.

UPDATE:
The story so far of my own natural change is here.

2 comments:

Joanna said...

Liver disease can cause a male to have unusually high levels of oestrogen. Cirrhosis can impair the livers ability to metabolise naturally produced E. Consequently, the levels get higher.

Another common symptom of liver disease is ascietes, an accumulation of fluid in the abdomen. How is it treated? Besides tapping the abdomen the patient gets...spironolactone! Combined with lasix it keeps the ascietes and edema at bay. I can verify it does start the feminizing process.

Anonymous said...

It's spelt 'shit'. Get with the programme!