Saturday, 27 February 2010

Inadvertent tinkering

    A chance observation on Cynthia Lee's blog recently gave me cause for concern. Spearmint tea, it seems, has anti-androgenic properties. It's taken by women with polycystic ovaries to counteract the hirsuitism caused by that condition, and by all accounts it's pretty successful.
     Tea made from spearmint, and also its hybrid with some of the same properties peppermint has been my drink of choice in the afternoons at work for many years now as an alternative to the strong coffee that's always on-tap in my industry. I have enough problems sleeping as it is, without too much caffeine. I picked up this mint habit from my grandmother, it takes me back to summer evenings in the late 1970s learning the finer points of the card games considered respectable in her youth.
    So I've spent over a decade knocking back several mugs most working days of a mild anti-androgen without realising it. I've always considered myself rather fortunate not to have too much body hair, maybe now I know why. Not something I might have done, had I known.
    My poor doctor. I'm sure he hates questions that start "I read on the Internet that..."

10 comments:

  1. How mild is mild?

    I feel for your doctor :)

    Stace

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  2. I don't know, not being a specialist in such matters. Annoyingly I know a research scientist whose speciality is very much in that direction through a completely different sphere, however I don't really want to have to come out to him so I can't really ask him.

    Since my doctor is nice-but-clueless - one of this weekend's tasks will be to print out the NHS guidance for doctors on gender identity so when I see him on Wednesday I can shove it on his desk and tell him to read it so we can stop messing about with him suggesting CBT for me - I don't feel too guilty about it.

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  3. Cognitive behavioral therapy? I'm amazed that is suggested? That kind of goes with the 'We can cure you' thoughts doesn't it?

    Stace

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  4. CBT? You don't strike me as particularly trainable.

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  5. Yes, CBT. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. If I wasn't an ex-depressive I might have believed him but I know at first hand what it's all about. In effect they try to teach you to identify the stimulus for your depression and head it off before a depressive episode is triggered. It works for some people, wasn't very successful for me because as it turned out the gender issues were at the root of it all. As we'll all be aware, gender dysphoria is all about brain wiring rather than stimuli so CBT would be about as useful in this case as it would be to cure left-handedness. One of the first things it says in the NHS guidance is that gender dysphoria is NOT a mental illness.

    He's a nice bloke and means well, he's just clueless on this issue. I'm going to do three things on Wednesday, give him the guidance for doctors, ask him that if he's not so comfortable with dealing with it all could he refer me to his colleague in the same practice who already has some GD patients, and then ask for a referral to Charing Cross hospital for a diagnosis. For reasons I've bored you all silly with I may not be able to take the treatment on offer but at least I'll be talking to people with a clue who can put me onto counselling services if they're available.

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  6. Does Spearmint toothpaste count? Not sure I'm ready for Spearmint tea, though I sure could do with the side-effects.

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  7. Something to keep in mind with natural occurring foods/herbs that have similar properties as the medications you take is that they can sometimes bind the receptor sites that the medication works on and not allow the medication to do its job. Then with the food/herbal not being as effective you do not get the desired result. Now if your not on meds then by all means enjoy.

    B

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  8. Trouble is, I wasn't even wanting any medicinal benefit from the stuff, I was just knocking back an enjoyable beverage!

    Fortunately I'm not on any applicable medications so no receptors to be blocked, however you're right, there's no sense in messing with a carefully prescribed medication regime.

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  9. Now, if only I liked the taste of mint....

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