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Gender testing at the Olympics is controversial and complex because gender is complex. The rules on gender testing were originally brought in to prevent men competing in women’s events. Tests have previously used hair patterns, genes and chromosomes, or other factors, but these all have issues, and at this year’s Olympics, eligibility testing has been based on testosterone levels. Women generally have testosterone levels of somewhere below 3 nanomoles per litre, and the IOC is using the range of 7-30 nanomoles per litre (the normal male range). This takes the focus away from gender, pushing it towards the unfair advantage that the higher levels of testosterone would offer. However, this may still be unethical, as women with androgen insensitivity may have increased levels but cannot make use of the hormone.

Olympic Games 27 July – 12 August

Progesterone is one of the female hormones and some women develop autoimmune progesterone dermatitis, with symptoms ranging from allergic rashes to full anaphylactic shock. Treatments include steroids, antihistamines, progesterone-blocking drugs or removal of the ovaries.

See the paper in the International Journal of Dermatology. From Discover’s 20 Things You Didn’t Know About… Allergies.

Taller women have a higher risk of ovarian cancer. But while the risk is increased by more than 20% in a women of 5 foot 6 compared with a woman 5 foot tall, the lifetime risk is still small, only about 20 in 1000.

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