Disorders of penis development are on the rise and we’re not sure why

By Mark Green and Andrew Pask

In prenatal ultrasounds or at delivery, many new parents look between their baby’s legs: the presence of a penis is taken as a strong sign that it’s a boy.

For humans and other animals, development of a penis was thought to be driven by “male hormones” (androgens) produced entirely by the testes of the male fetus as it grows in the uterus.

However, a new paper released today indicates this might not be the case.

New standards of care for trans and gender diverse children and adolescents

The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, 2017

The first Australian Standards of Care and Treatment Guidelines for trans and gender diverse children and adolescents, led Led by the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, have been released.

Dr Michelle Telfer, Head of Adolescent Medicine and Gender Services at the RCH, says health professionals, such as GPs, school counsellors and psychologists, from around the country often seek information from the RCH but until now only international guidelines had been available.

“With 1.2% of adolescents identifying as transgender, and referrals and requests for specialist support on the rise, there is definitely a need for Australia to have its own guidelines. Trans-medicine is a relatively new area of medical practise, and most doctors didn’t get taught how to manage the care of trans children and adolescents in medical school or in their later specialist training. These guidelines, developed by leaders in this field, will help to fill this knowledge gap,” she says.

The guidelines were developed using current evidence and the input of more than 50 specialists, and they have the endorsement of the Australian and New Zealand Professional Association for Transgender Health.

The guidelines include terminology, information about the unique clinical needs, treatment information, and the role of the various medical disciplines involved in the care.

Trans and gender diverse children and teenagers, and their parents, have also been consulted along the way.

“We frequently hear that many doctors, and other clinicians, don’t feel confident in what to do or say when they come across trans or gender diverse children or adolescents for the first time. With a guide to help them through all the stages of their care, our patients’ feel that they are likely to get better care and that others will also have a more positive experience when approaching doctors or psychologists,” she adds.

 

Sex drive: Understanding why low libido is a common problem in middle-aged women

While it’s hard to know exactly how many women experience low libido, it seems it might be more common than previously thought.

Almost 70 per cent of Australian women aged 40-65 years old reported a lack of sexual desire in a recent study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

The authors noted this was “somewhat higher” than estimates from previous studies, which used different survey methods.

 

Male contraceptive jab almost as effective as female pill, trial shows

Guardian, Friday 28 October 2016

A male contraceptive jab has been shown to be almost as effective as the female pill in a trial that could pave the way for men and women being able to share equal responsibility for birth control.

In the study, 350 men were given injections of hormones that were shown to dramatically lower their sperm count by “switching off” the male reproductive system. The drugs caused some unpleasant side-effects, however, meaning that the trial had to be halted early.

The findings are reported in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

 

Update on male contraceptive development

It Takes Two: How Men Fit into Expanding the Family Planning Method Mix

Contraceptive Technology Innovation (CTI) Exchange,  July 5, 2016 9:22 am

The terms “family planning” and “birth control” are synonymous with women’s health and associated with the struggle for equal rights and women’s liberation.  And while the advent of the pill and subsequent advances in contraceptive technology have had enormous implications for women’s health and agency over the last 60 years, male-controlled methods have been responsible for a substantial portion of prevented births for millennia.

Read more here

New Male Contraceptives: What’s in the Near-term Pipeline?

Contraceptive Technology Innovation (CTI) Exchange,  July 12, 2016 8:34 pm

Several groups are  researching novel methods of contraception for men from three angles:

  1. Hormonal contraceptives to suppress brain signals that direct the testes to make sperm
  2. Non-hormonal contraceptives that inhibit sperm production in the testes or their maturation prior to ejaculation, and
  3. Novel ways to plug the vas deferens.

Read more here

Genetic and Small Molecule Advances Bode Well for Male Contraceptive Development

Contraceptive Technology Innovation (CTI) Exchange, July 20, 2016 11:05 am

On the male side, only three viable methods of contraception have been developed over several millennia (withdrawal, the condom, and vasectomy). New research in hormonal contraception has led to current clinical trials in men; however, as in women, changes in hormone concentrations have adverse effects in men. Thus, to find a non-hormonal contraceptive for men or women would be a game changer.

Read more here

Making New Male Contraceptives a Reality

Contraceptive Technology Innovation (CTI) Exchange, July 29, 2016 4:05 pm

A steadfast and devoted group of non-industry scientists, clinicians and advocates—with a desire to bring new and innovative male contraceptive options to market—continues to move the idea forward.  Slow and steady progress is being made, but important challenges still need to be addressed before new male contraceptives become a reality.

Read more here