THURSDAY, June 20 (HealthDay News) -- For transsexual people who
seek hormonal therapy, a new study offers some welcome news:
short-term use of the treatment is safe and effective.
Surgery and hormone therapy are options for transsexual (also
called transgender) people who want to change their external
appearance in order to match what they feel is their true gender.
Hormone therapy involves taking large doses of male or female sex
hormones, which has led to concerns about possible health
The study assessed the effects of short-term hormone therapy
among 45 transsexual men and 42 transsexual women at four European
centers that specialize in such treatment. The female-to-male
transsexuals received a form of the male sex hormone testosterone,
and the male-to-female transsexuals received treatment to lower
their male hormone levels along with a form of the female sex
Treatment lasted for 12 months and the researchers monitored
patients' blood pressure, waist-to-hip ratio, and percentages of
fat and lean tissue mass throughout the study.
The hormone therapy was safe and effective, according to the
findings that were to be presented this week at the annual meeting
of the Endocrine Society, in San Francisco.
"Although transsexualism remains a rare diagnosis, the number of
trans persons seeking hormonal or surgical treatment has
drastically increased in recent years, making a detailed
multicenter description on the effects of cross-sex hormonal
treatment timely," study lead author Dr. Katrien Wierckx, an
endocrinologist at Ghent University Hospital in Belgium, said in a
society news release.
"Our study gives valuable information about the effects of
drastic changes in sex steroids on glucose [blood sugar] and lipid
[blood fat] metabolism, cardiovascular and bone health, so that we
can inform our future clients, their families and other caregivers
more accurately on the desired effects, side effects and adverse
events of cross-sex hormonal treatment," she added.
The data and conclusions of research presented at medical
meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a
The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association offers
health resources for transgender people.