Sleepovers were the worst — the awkward explanations to new friends, the gawking parents, the embarrassment at having my mom show up to jab a needle into my leg. Like a sprinter who comes out of his blocks too fast and burns out before he can finish the race, men with testotoxicosis shoot up quickly in their first few years, but their bones then fuse prematurely and they fail to reach their full heights. More than likely, the drugs hardly worked. Yet my dad reached five-foot without treatment, which is even more remarkable. The first time he showed up at NIH, the doctors gathered around and marveled at him like he was Yao Ming.
The working theory is that our family has tall genes that counteract the stunting effects of our mutation, but I may have been robbed of as many as five inches of height. The other goal of the drugs, to slow my puberty to a normal rate, was also something of a failure. The drug protocol was new and experimental; consequently, years passed before the right pharmaceutical cocktail was concocted — by which time the word normal had long since stopped pertaining to anything about my childhood.
Mom explained that I was only 4.
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The woman refused to believe it. She accused my mom of lying, of being a crazy, permissive, New Age parent. Mom stood her ground, but we were both in tears. My mom was usually the parent tasked with explaining the jarring gap between my appearance and my behavior; she was the one staying with me at NIH, the one administering my shots every night, the one apologizing to teachers and counselors and coaches for my hormonal outbursts.
She had been an actress with a promising career before I was born, and though she denies it, I suspect the all-consuming work of parenting me contributed to her decision to stop acting. She was a beautiful, outgoing young woman, the kind who puts people at ease. Those qualities made her a magnetic performer but also my greatest ally: People gave me a break because they liked my mom. Much of it came from my preoccupation with sex.
What was an innocent game of discovery for other 4-year-olds became, by virtue of my sexually capable body, decidedly less innocent for me. She and I were inseparable. This was impossible because I inevitably had an enormous erection. I was 5. I just felt an urgent, inscrutable need to do something, anything, with my engorged genitalia. Well into adulthood, these memories plagued me.
Had I been some kind of preschool-age predator? In my family, shame trickles down like a Champagne fountain overflowing into glass after glass until it spills everywhere and makes a big fucking mess. Their decision may have helped me keep up with my schoolwork, but it also set me up to be the class freak, which was not a role I accepted with grace. The hormonal roller coaster I was on led to irrepressible bouts of rage. I ricocheted from one emotional extreme to another. So when I got teased or bullied or left out, I got mad.
I was big and I was strong and I could punch harder than most 6-year-olds on the planet. I punched. People wanted to provoke the big kid, and I was easily provoked. The problem was that when teachers or coaches or parents arrived on the scene, the optics were not in my favor — a beast of a boy pummeling a much smaller child, who was often in tears. I remember the first time I heard it. It was open house in Mrs. I was 7. To decorate the classroom walls for open house, each of us had crafted a picture of himself or herself out of pipe cleaners, construction paper, and yarn.
As I led my parents to my creation, of which I was inordinately proud, my second-grade classmate Joey stood there with his parents. Joey was a quiet, happy kid. There was only one conclusion to draw: Joey had said this because it was true. You get attention, people know who you are, you develop a kind of mystique. All the negative scrutiny ends up transmuting into reinforcement. So after years of my hormones and freakish physical appearance undermining all of my efforts to fit in, I finally gave up: They want the Bad Kid?
My younger brother Nicholas was born before we moved to L. Nick ended up being as obedient a child as I was wayward. This was fortunate because, by the end of elementary school, I had started smoking cigarettes, sneaking out at night, and writing graffiti. My dad took a punitive approach to my behavior, and my mother followed his lead. Dad never got physical, but he was strict and traditional. Every time he caught me smoking, he grounded me for two weeks; he caught me often, and the groundings accumulated into months and months.
His approach did little more than drive me to greater acts of rebellion and more sophisticated methods of deception. The opposite held true. Of course he did. Testotoxicosis, this fucked-up mutation I had inherited from him, of all people, was never discussed. Like some kind of filial Sherlock Holmes, I later pieced together from hints and anecdotes that my father had started binge-drinking at 12 or 13 with his much older friends and cruising in his Thunderbird on the backstreets of Stockton, California.
The constant rage I felt at being misunderstood and unfairly targeted must have been incomparably greater for my dad, yet he pushed on, graduating high school at 15 and going to work in a factory to support his mom and sisters. He worked his way through junior college and eventually got the hell out of Stockton and vowed never to treat his own son the way his father had treated him. He succeeded at that. He may have been emotionally handicapped by his own traumatic childhood, but I never doubted his love for me. Soon after Grandpa Bob was school age, his father dropped him off with some relatives on a farm in Nebraska and resumed his itinerant life alone.
From the outset, they thought him a freak and treated him like one. By 10 or 11 years old, my grandfather had started running away from the farm, hopping trains to far-off places. He would ride for thousands of miles until he found a suitable place to start a new life — not as a child but as an adult. He picked cotton on a plantation in the South when he was He hopped a train up to the Canadian border and joined the Border Patrol when he was Each time Grandpa Bob disappeared, Great-grandpa Bud would have to track down his son and haul his ass back home. My father tells me Grandpa Bob despised Bud, who was evidently as mean and abusive a son of a bitch as Grandpa Bob would later become.
He claimed he was 20 years old. Bud was undeterred. He eventually eluded his mother, claiming to recruiters that he was year-old Fred De Reaux — a name he came up with after seeing a car called the De Reaux on the way to the recruitment office. He was nearly six feet tall and had a full beard and the musculature of a young man. This time he was sent to fight in the trenches as punishment, where he served for six months before suffering mustard-gas poisoning and being hospitalized.
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Only then did the authorities discover his true age. I unwittingly — but enthusiastically — snatched the baton from my forebears and ran with it. The lie also enabled me to live a life my peers could only dream about — hooking up with older girls, buying cigarettes, driving cars, hanging out with older kids, even buying alcohol. By 12, I was smoking pot regularly and had experimented with pretty much every sex act except the deed itself which would happen at I was still writing graffiti, scrawling the all-too-apt LOST across bathroom walls, bus windows, and street signs all over Santa Monica and Venice.
And then they took me off the drugs. In the middle of seventh grade, I spent my annual two weeks at NIH getting tested, watching Home Alone in the hospital lounge, awkwardly socializing with the actual sick kids on my ward. Then, on my last day, the entire team of doctors came to my room. They said my bone age was now close enough to my actual age that they could take me off the meds.
I was elated. I went cold turkey. All of a sudden, my hormones were uncorked. I felt angrier and more unhinged than ever, more alienated from family and friends and teachers. I started skipping school almost every day, doing drugs, fighting. My mom recalls feeling panic every time she dropped me off at school, fearing the call from the principal that often came just hours later. And then, one bright spring day in my seventh-grade year, a different call came. This time from the police. I had come to school high on LSD, brought an extra tab of it with me, and, along with some other year-old buddies, decided it would be funny to slip the extra tab into the soda of an unwitting friend, Tania, who freaked out and got rushed to the hospital.
The police arrested me and marched me out to their squad car in handcuffs just as school was letting out, so everyone could gawk at the Bad Kid who had achieved a truly unprecedented level of badness. How does a year-old boy get his hands on LSD? Like them, I had crossed a threshold beyond which it was impossible to return to anything resembling normal adolescence. I got expelled from the entire school district. My parents shipped me off to a military academy in rural Indiana. I lasted barely six months before they also expelled me.
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At times my behavior shocked me as much as it did other people. On the contrary — I was tormented by guilt. I lacked control and I hated myself for it. By the time I got readmitted to the school district, I was 14 but looked pretty much as I do now: six feet tall, full beard, lean, hairy.
But something miraculous was happening; my peers were catching up to me. Other kids in my grade had started shaving, developing muscles, and thinking about sex as obsessively as I had been since age 4. Plus I was going to a public high school in Los Angeles with 3, students. Suddenly, I was just another skinny white kid who smoked too much pot. I stopped sticking out. Most important, after more than a decade, puberty was finally done with me.
The hormonal roller coaster leveled out. I calmed down. I could see beyond the immediate moment. Indeed, for the first time, I could see my future, and it scared the shit out of me. My past was stained with expulsions and arrests and violations. College seemed out of the question. It was this vision of personal apocalypse that spurred me to action.
I pulled away from my friends, many of whom were getting into hard drugs and would soon end up in rehab or prison. I stopped smoking cigarettes and started playing sports. I read. I took honors classes. I had a long-term relationship with a girl who was smart and kind and ambitious.
I got into Dartmouth and earned a fellowship to attend graduate school in Ireland. Proving the gods do have a sense of humor, infertility medicine is a subspecialty of endocrinology — the field that also studies familial male-limited precocious puberty. There is some evidence that this binding is what triggers the acrosome to release the enzymes that allow the sperm to fuse with the egg. When a sperm cell reaches the egg the acrosome releases its enzymes. These enzymes weaken the shell, allowing the sperm cell to penetrate it and reach the plasma membrane of the egg. Part of the sperm's cell membrane then fuses with the egg cell's membrane, and the sperm cell sinks into the egg at which point the sperm tail falls off.
Upon penetration, the egg cell membrane undergoes a change and becomes impenetrable, preventing further fertilization. The binding of the sperm to an ovum is called a zygote. A zygote is a single cell, with a complete set of chromosomes, that normally develops into an embryo. In addition to producing sperm, the male reproductive system also produces sex hormones, which help a boy develop into a sexually mature man during puberty. When a baby boy is born, he has all the parts of his reproductive system in place, but it isn't until puberty that his reproductive organs mature and become fully functional.
When puberty begins, usually between the ages of 10 and 14, the pituitary gland - which is located in the brain - secretes hormones that stimulate the testicles to produce testosterone. The production of testosterone brings about many physical changes. Although the timing of these changes is different for each individual male, the stages of puberty generally follow a set sequence. In boys, testicular enlargement is the first physical manifestation of puberty and is termed gonadarche. Testes in prepubertal boys change little in size from about 1 year of age to the onset of puberty, averaging about 2—3 cc in volume and about 1.
Testicular size continues to increase throughout puberty, reaching maximal adult size about 6 years later. While cc is reportedly an average adult size, there is wide variation in the normal population. The testes have two primary functions: to produce hormones and to produce sperm. The Leydig cells produce testosterone as described below , which in turn produces most of the changes of male puberty.
However, most of the increasing bulk of testicular tissue is spermatogenic tissue primarily Sertoli and interstitial cells. The development of sperm production and fertility in males is not as well researched. Sperm can be detected in the morning urine of most boys after the first year of pubertal changes and occasionally earlier. A boy's penis grows little from the fourth year of life until puberty.
Average prepubertal penile length is 4 cm. The prepubertal genitalia are described as stage 1. Within months after growth of the testes begins, rising levels of testosterone promote growth of the penis and scrotum. This earliest discernible beginning of pubertal growth of the genitalia is referred to as stage 2. The penis continues to grow until about 18 years of age, reaching an average adult size of about cm. Although erections and orgasm can occur in prepubertal boys, they become much more common during puberty, accompanied by development of libido sexual desire.
Ejaculation becomes possible early in puberty; prior to this boys may experience dry orgasms. Emission of seminal fluid may occur due to masturbation or spontaneously during sleep commonly termed a wet dream , and more clinically called a nocturnal emission. The ability to ejaculate is a fairly early event in puberty compared to the other characteristics, and can occur even before reproductive capacity itself. In parallel to the irregularity of the first few periods of a girl, for the first one or two years after a boy's first ejaculation, his seminal fluid may contain few active sperm.
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If the foreskin of a boy does not become retractable during childhood, it normally begins to retract during puberty. This occurs as a result of the increased production of testosterone and other hormones in the body. The penis contains two chambers called the corpora cavernosa, which run the length of the organ.
A spongy tissue, full of muscle, veins, arteries, etc. The corpora cavernosa are surrounded by a membrane, called the tunica albuginea. Erection begins with sensory or mental stimulation, or both. Impulses from the brain and local nerves cause the muscles of the corpora cavernosa to relax, allowing blood to flow in and fill the spaces. The blood creates pressure in the corpora cavernosa, making the penis expand.
The tunica albuginea helps trap the blood in the corpora cavernosa, thereby sustaining erection. When muscles in the penis contract to stop the inflow of blood and open outflow channels, erection is reversed. Pubic hair often appears on a boy shortly after the genitalia begin to grow. As in girls, the first appearance of pubic hair is termed pubarche and the pubic hairs are usually first visible at the dorsal abdominal base of the penis. The first few hairs are described as stage 2.
Stage 3 is usually reached within another 6 to 12 months, when the hairs are too numerous to count. By stage 4, the pubic hairs densely fill the "pubic triangle. For most men, testosterone secretion continues throughout life, as does sperm production, though both diminish with advancing age. Probably the most common reproductive problem for older men is prostatic hypertrophy, enlargement of the prostate gland. This causes the urethra to compress and urination becomes difficult. Residual urine in the bladder increases the chance of urinary tract infections.
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Prostate hypertrophy is usually benign, but cancer of the prostate is one of the more common cancers in elderly men. A TURP is commonly used to correct this problem if the symptoms do not improve in response to home treatment and medication. Erectile dysfunction ED is another common problem seen in aging males.
In older men, ED usually has a physical cause, such as disease, injury, or side effects of drugs. Any disorder that impairs blood flow in the penis or causes injury to the nerves has the potential to cause ED. Although it is not an inevitable part of aging, incidences increases with age: About 5 percent of year-old men and between 15 and 25 percent of year-old men experience ED. As discouraging as Erectile dysfunction may be, it is treatable at any age, and awareness of this fact has been growing. More men have been seeking help and returning to normal sexual activity because of improved, successful treatments for ED.
Boys may sometimes experience reproductive system problems. Below are some examples of disorders that affect the male reproductive system Disorders of the Scrotum, Testicles, or Epididymis. Conditions affecting the scrotal contents may involve the testicles, epididymis, or the scrotum itself. Vasectomy: In the procedure the vas deferens of each testes is cut and tied off to prevent the passage of sperm.
Sperm is still produced and stored in crypt sites causing inflammation. Because of this inflammatory response the immune system acts on them destroying them and then having antisperm antibodies. This causes a lower possibility if the vasectomy is reversed to becoming fertile again. Condoms: A device, usually made of latex, or more recently polyurethane, that is used during sexual intercourse.
It is put on a man's penis and physically blocks ejaculated semen from entering the body of a sexual partner. Condoms are used to prevent pregnancy, transmission of sexually transmitted diseases STDs - such as gonorrhea, syphilis, and HIV , or both. While singing in the choir, Ben suddenly notices his voice is constantly cracking.
This is caused by. Joe has a bulge in the groin area that seems to get worse when he lifts things. This most likely is. Androgen : The generic term for any natural or synthetic compound, usually a steroid hormone, that stimulates or controls the development and maintenance of masculine characteristics in vertebrates by binding to androgen receptors.
This includes the activity of the accessory male sex organs and development of male secondary sex characteristics. They are also the precursor of all estrogens, the female sex hormones. The primary and most well-known androgen is testosterone. Apocrine Glands : Apocrine sweat glands develop during the early to mid puberty ages approximately around the age of 15 and release more than normal amounts of sweat for approximately a month and subsequently regulate and release normal amounts of sweat after a certain period of time. They are located wherever there is body hair.
These glands produce sweat that contains fatty materials. Mainly present in the armpits and around the genital area, their activity is the main cause of sweat odor, due to the bacteria that break down the organic compounds in the sweat. Chemotaxis : Chemotaxis is a kind of taxis, in which bodily cells, bacteria, and other single-cell or multicellular organisms direct their movements according to certain chemicals in their environment.
This is important for bacteria to find food for example, glucose by swimming towards the highest concentration of food molecules, or to flee from poisons for example, phenol. In multicellular organisms, chemotaxis is critical to development as well as normal function. In addition, it has been recognized that mechanisms that allow chemotaxis in animals can be subverted during cancer metastasis. Corpora Cavernosa : one of a pair of a sponge-like regions of erectile tissue which contain most of the blood in the male penis during erection.
Ductus Deferens : epididymal ducts from each testis converge to form a large, thick walled, muscular duct. Ejaculatory Ducts : two ducts, receive sperm from the ductus deferens and secretions from the seminal vesicle; the ducts then empty into the urethra. Erectile Tissue : smooth muscle and connective tissue inside the penis that contain blood sinuses; large, irregular vascular channels. Erection : the penis at its enlarged and firm state; occurs when the corpora cavernosa become engorged with venous blood.
Flagellum : the whip-like tail of a sperm, propels the sperm towards the egg in hopes of achieving fertilization. Follicle-Stimulating Hormone FSH : hormone that stimulates production of sertoli cells, to make immature sperm to mature sperm. Libido : In its common usage, it means sexual desire; however, more technical definitions, such as those found in the work of Carl Jung, are more general, referring to libido as the free creative—or psychic—energy an individual has to put toward personal development, or individuation.
Luteinizing Hormone LH : hormone that stimulates Leydig cells in the testes to produce testosterone. Prostate Gland : male accessory sex gland that secretes an alkaline fluid, which neutralizes acidic vaginal secretions. Puberty : the period of maturation and arousal of the dormant and nonfunctional reproductive system; usually occurs in males between the ages of 10 and Scrotum : skin covered sac that houses the male testicles; keeps the testicles away form the body so that they can stay a few degrees cooler than the body, for better sperm production.
Seminal Vesicle : male accessory sex glands that supply fructose to ejaculated sperm and secrete prostaglandins. Sertoli Cell : A Sertoli cell a kind of sustentacular cell is a 'nurse' cell of the testes which is part of a seminiferous tubule. Testes : located in the scrotum, produces testosterone which stimulates production of sperm. Testosterone : male sex hormone secreted by the leydig cells of the testes, vital for the production of sperm.
TURP : transurethral resection of the prostate. During TURP, an instrument is inserted up the urethra to remove the section of the prostate that is blocking urine flow. This is most commonly caused by benign prostatic hyperplasia BPH. A TURP usually requires hospitalization and is done using a general or spinal anesthetic. It is now the most common surgery used to remove part of an enlarged prostate. Urethra : the last part of the urinary tract; in males, it is the passage for both urine and sperm. Vasectomy : most common sterilization procedure in males; small segment of each ductus deferens is surgically removed after it passes from the testis.
Both male and female reproductive systems may seem somewhat isolated from other body systems in that their purpose is to create new life and not just to maintain existing life. There are however significant relationships between the reproductive system and other body systems. All systems relate in one way or another to help our bodies maintain homeostasis. From Wikibooks, open books for an open world. Cross-sectional diagram of the female reproductive organs.
Raises and lowers scrotum to help regulate temperature and promote spermatogenesis.
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Voluntary and involuntary contraction. Contraction by wrinkling to decrease surface area available for heat loss to testicles, or expansion to increase surface area available to promote heat loss; also helps raise and lower scrotum to help regulate temperature. Begins at the vas deferens, passes through the prostate, and empties into the urethra at the Colliculus seminalis.
Causes reflex for ejaculation. During ejaculation, semen passes through the ducts and exits the body via the penis. Three columns of erectile tissue: two corpora cavernosa and one corpus spongiosum. Urethra passes through penis. Stores and secretes a clear, slightly alkaline fluid constituting up to one-third of the volume of semen. Raise vaginal pH. Usually white but can be yellow, gray or pink blood stained.
After ejaculation, semen first goes through a clotting process and then becomes more liquid. Components are sperm, and "seminal plasma". Seminal plasma is produced by contributions from the seminal vesicle, prostate, and bulbourethral glands.
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Contain proteins, enzymes, fructose, mucus, vitamin C, flavins, phosphorylcholine and prostaglandins. High fructose concentrations provide nutrient energy for the spermatozoa as they travel through the female reproductive system. Junctions of the Sertoli cells form the blood-testis barrier, a structure that partitions the interstitial blood compartment of the testis from the abdominal compartment of the seminiferous tubules.
Cells responsible for nurturing and development of sperm cells , provides both secretory and structural support; activated by FSH. Also called "mother cells" or "nurse cells". Gonads that produce sperm and male sex hormones.
Production of testosterone by cells of Leydig in the testicles. Branch of the abdominal aorta. It is a paired artery. Each passes obliquely downward and laterally behind the peritoneum. Tubular structure that receives urine from bladder and carries it to outside of the body. Also passage for sperm. Muscular tubes connecting the left and right epididymis to the ejaculatory ducts to move sperm. Each tube is about 30 cm long.