Basics of hormone therapy

  • Transgender or gender-nonconforming individuals may experience Gender Dysphoria, defined as a marked distress caused by a conflict between one’s gender identity and their sex assigned at birth.
  • As transgender or gender-nonconforming youth proceed through puberty, gender dysphoria may increase.  Puberty blockers, like Depot Lupron, may be used to temporarily pause further pubertal progression.  This allows youth and their families some time to figure out which next steps are right for them without the distress of developing a body that does not fit with their gender identity. The effects of blockers are reversible and can be given to anyone who has entered puberty.
  • Cross-sex hormones may be used to promote physical changes and make an individual’s body more congruent with their gender identity.  This may include  taking testosterone by an individual assigned female at birth or estrogen in an individual assigned male at birth. Some of these physical changes are permanent and can not be reversed.  Prior to starting cross-sex hormones, all individuals must have clearance from a mental health provider and minors less than 18 years old also require parental consent.
  • Hormone therapy may negatively impact an individual’s fertility.  Prior to starting pubertal blockers or cross-sex hormones, it is important to explore the desire to have genetically-related children. It may be possible to freeze gametes (that is egg and sperm) for future reproductive options.
  • When cross-hormone therapy is started, an individual will experience the changes of puberty for either the first or second time (depending on when hormone therapy is started).  This can come with a lot of emotional changes. These changes are generally positive but transitioning is a different journey for everyone. We strongly encourage our trans fabulous patients to remain in counseling/therapy during this process.
  • It’s natural to have lots of questions about what hormones can and can’t do and what to expect along the way. Talk to your doctor to help you find the best management plan for you!