Allergies and HRT

6/20/18

Biology is weird.

Up until this point of my life I’ve not really had to worry about allergies. I have an allergy to nickel which just means I have to avoid cheep jewelry and the water in Walla Walla inflamed my skin, and an allergy to car exhaust that made me mildly stuffed up and headache-y when the smog would get bad, but on the whole not that bad of allergies to have. Didn’t really have much of an effect on my day to day life. In fact, I not only didn’t have to worry about allergies, I grew up immune to things like poison ivy and bee stings. Go tromping through the briars and the bushes with out a care for leaves of three, and if any of those little yellow jackets got me it hurt for about 10 seconds then I got to enjoy a mild trip similar to taking a half dose of molly. Handy trick that when some bully is chasing one through the woods.

My overall point bring that genetics is weird.

Each and every person has a ton of DNA that they don’t use. Miles of double helix that just sit there doing nothing. And not junk DNA, but actual useful genetic information.

However, the cell is told not to look at that part of the genome when reading cell instructions which make the RNA and proteins necessary for the body to function.

So I started HRT a little over a year ago. The estrogen introduced into my body has done something amazing. It has flipped little switches all along my DNA turning certain genetic instructions on, and others off. This is causing all the beneficial changes I was looking forward to when I started HRT. Flipping these switches made my phenotype closer to what it would have been had my body been running on estrogen all along. Made my body more like what it would have been had I been born physically female.

If I had thought about it, I probably could have reasoned my way to the most uncomfortable discovery I recently made.
The women in my family are decidedly not immune to poison ivy. In fact, allergies to bees, synthetic fabrics, various plants, and many other annoyances are not just common, but expected for the women in my family.

So if I would have thought about it, that estrogen going around flipping all those little switches making my body feminine, I would have predicted the allergies to pollen and grass which currently has my nose running and arms all itchy. At least, that some sort of allergy would crop up.

Thankfully they are currently just a mild allergy. Not the full blown agony that smog and nickel can inflict on me, but still quite annoying. I’m just gonna go ahead and be thankful I didn’t discover this by way of bee sting. That could have been interesting.

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