Category Archives: Symptoms

Gender Dysphoria

Although it is not something I tend to openly admit to, one of my guilty pleasures is indulging in an episode of Hollyoaks every now and again. I have been watching the show on/off since I was younger, as it was one of the Soaps my sister would watch every day after school without fail.  It is easy to get absorbed with all the intertwining plot lines that are not at all unbelievable and characters that are not as all stereotypical or one dimensional. The reason I have admitted to being a fan of Hollyoaks is because of one of the storylines shed light on a condition I had previously known nothing about, but which has been more focussed on recently by the media, increasing public awareness.

Gender dysphoria is a condition where a person feels that they are trapped within a body of the wrong sex. Those with gender dysphoria may experience anxiety and a persistent discomfort about the gender that they were born with, or may believe that their gender identity is different from their anatomical sex. For example, a woman may be convinced that she is a male, despite having a female body.

The symptoms of gender dysphoria usually begin to appear at a very young age; however the behaviour exhibited, such as a child refusing to wear typical boys’ or girls’ clothes is a phase many children go through, but in cases of gender dysphoria, it persists into later childhood and through to adulthood.  Those with the lifelong conviction that they’re trapped in the wrong body are referred to as transsexuals.

In the UK an estimated 1 in 4,000 people are recieving medical help for gender dysphoria. . On average, men are diagnosed with gender dysphoria five times more often than women.

Treatment for gender dysphoria varies from person to person, as it is fully dependent on what the individual wants to do. Some may choose to dress and live as their preferred gender, whereas some may take hormones that alter their physical appearance. The majority of transsexuals choose to permanently change their biological sex, however a series of steps must be completed before they are able to do this, and they must be over 18. First the person must live as a member of the opposite sex, full time, for at least a year. After this, they would take either male or female hormones (depending on whether they wanted to become male or female) for at least a year – sometimes longer. After this, they could have surgery to become a man or a woman permanently: a ‘sex change operation’.

 The number of people with gender dysphoria is steadily increasing as awareness of the condition  heightens, however many still feel it is something they can not admit to as prejudice and intolerance towards transsexuals is not uncommon.

If you are interested in gender dysphoria, a new documentary on Channel 4 has just begun called “My Transsexual Summer”, tune in Tuesdays at 10pm.

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Filed under General Knowledge, Media, Surgery, Symptoms

Tinnitus (Ringing Ears)

Have you ever heard a ringing noise in your ears, more than often it’s high pitched? The kind that irritates you but you simply cannot do anything to make it stop? This article will helpfully give you a better understanding of what exactly that is…

Tinnitus is the name given to this ringing noise.  It affects around 1 in 5 people and is a symptom of an underlying condition, for example an ear injury or age-related hearing loss. There are 2 classifications of tinnitus: objective and subjective:

Subjective tinnitus – the most common type of tinnitus; only you yourself can hear the tinnitus. It can be caused by problems in the ear or by problems with the auditory nerves in the part of your brain that interpret nerve signlas as sound.

Objective tinnitus – the more rare type in which an external person (ie your doctor) can hear the tinnitus when carrying out an examination. This could be caused by a blood vessel problem, muscle contractions or an inner bone condition.

Inside the ear are thousnds of tiny hairs, stereocilia. These vibrate in response to sound waves. There are then cells, which convert neural signals into tension on the vibrating basement membrane. A neural feedback loop (regulated by the brain) exists to connect the sensing cells with the vibratory cells. Your ears are very delicate; therefore things such as going to concerts and listening to loud music can destroy/damage the hair cells. Studies have shown that when hair cells are lost, different neurons are activated resulting in the activation of auditory parts of the brain and causing sound to be heard (such as the high pitched ringing).

When you are played a tone at an extremely high frequency, you may not be able to hear it whereas someone else is capable. When you are younger, you are one of the more capable people. As we age, more of our cells become damaged due to things such as loud noises and our capability to hear these loud noises decreases.

So, if you have ever wondered why you can hear that loud irritating noise after going to some mental concert, you now know why… Just be careful – destroying a few of your cells will not cause devastating damage. However, no one wants to become deaf due to self-infliction.

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Filed under Independent Learning, Symptoms