This week, I’m answering questions from QNews Magazine readers about gonorrhoea, breast cancer in trans women and butt implants.
I was recently diagnosed with gonorrhoea, but I never have sex without condoms. How could this happen?
Well you are not the first to ask this! Gonorrhoea is a very common bacterial infection, and it can be passed on through ways other than by anal sex. In fact, it’s quite common to isolate the gonococcus bacterium from the throats of people with no symptoms at all.
It can be passed on by oral sex, and there is increasing evidence that it is probably transmitted by deep kissing.
The really worrying thing is that there are starting to be reports of highly drug resistant cases of gonorrhoea, which means that one day our standard antibiotic treatment is not going to work anymore.
It’s possible that using an antibacterial gargle after any intimate contact may reduce the risk of contracting gonorrhoea.
I’m a trans woman on oestrogen and I’m worried about my risk of breast cancer. What should I do?
Whilst it’s true that long-term oestrogen therapy has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer in cis women, this was in women who were also on progesterone, and there was not the same risk seen in women on oestrogen alone.
Unfortunately there is not enough data to quantify the risk in trans women, but it probably goes up with higher doses and length of time on HRT. Once you have breast tissue, make sure you ask your doctor to show you how to check for breast lumps. If you are over 40 you are entitled to free screening mammograms.
I was thinking of getting butt implants, but is this risky?
Any surgical procedure carries risk. The big risk with butt implants is that if they are incorrectly positioned, there is a risk of fat tissue travelling up through the blood vessels and causing an embolism or blockage in the lungs or heart, which could be fatal.
The best way to reduce this risk is to choose a proper plastic surgeon to do your procedure. They cost more, but you are in safer hands!