random thought

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I was watching Life on the Rock tonight. The guest of honor was an Olympic quality cross-country skier, along with her husband and 4 year old son. She mentioned (among many other things) that she uses natural family planning.
I thought for a while about that while she went on talking about the other challenges of being a devout Catholic in the star athletics environment. I remembered all the news items about this that and the other scandals involving 'performance enhancement steroids' - especially the male sex hormones (Testosterone, androstendione, DHEAS, etc.) And then I thought about something else - and I wonder if there is a cultural blind spot here.
Many female athletes (Maybe even most) use supplemental female hormones to enhance their training and performance by manipulating their menstrual cycle. It is pretty well known that one can delay or prevent bleeding indefinitely through continuous use of everyday type oral contraceptives. The progestin (synthetic progesterone) component of oral contraceptives is usually made by tweaking testosterone until it looks to the body sort of like progesterone (at least, close enough to block the normal actions of ones own progesterone). So why is it that male athletes can't boost their own testosterone but female athletes can use synthetic hormones to tweak their estrogen/progesterone levels (and eliminate the menstrual cycle). Is it intent (i.e. contraception) that makes it OK?


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This page contains a single entry by alicia published on January 19, 2006 10:03 PM.

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