Endocrine Treatment of Gender-dysphoric/Gender-Incongruent Persons

An Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline

Wylie C. Hembree; Peggy T. Cohen-Kettenis; Louis Gooren; Sabine E. Hannema; Walter J. Meyer; M. Hassan Murad; Stephen M. Rosenthal; Joshua D. Safer; Vin Tangpricha; Guy G. T'Sjoen

Disclosures

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2017;102(11):3869-3903. 

In This Article

Summary of Recommendations

Evaluation of Youth and Adults

  1. We advise that only trained mental health professionals (MHPs) who meet the following criteria should diagnose gender dysphoria (GD)/gender incongruence in adults: (1) competence in using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and/or the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD) for diagnostic purposes, (2) the ability to diagnose GD/gender incongruence and make a distinction between GD/gender incongruence and conditions that have similar features (e.g., body dysmorphic disorder), (3) training in diagnosing psychiatric conditions, (4) the ability to undertake or refer for appropriate treatment, (5) the ability to psychosocially assess the person's understanding, mental health, and social conditions that can impact gender-affirming hormone therapy, and (6) a practice of regularly attending relevant professional meetings. (Ungraded Good Practice Statement)

  2. We advise that only MHPs who meet the following criteria should diagnose GD/gender incongruence in children and adolescents: (1) training in child and adolescent developmental psychology and psychopathology, (2) competence in using the DSM and/or the ICD for diagnostic purposes, (3) the ability to make a distinction between GD/gender incongruence and conditions that have similar features (e.g., body dysmorphic disorder), (4) training in diagnosing psychiatric conditions, (5) the ability to undertake or refer for appropriate treatment, (6) the ability to psychosocially assess the person's understanding and social conditions that can impact gender-affirming hormone therapy, (7) a practice of regularly attending relevant professional meetings, and (8) knowledge of the criteria for puberty blocking and gender-affirming hormone treatment in adolescents. (Ungraded Good Practice Statement)

  3. We advise that decisions regarding the social transition of prepubertal youths with GD/gender incongruence are made with the assistance of an MHP or another experienced professional. (Ungraded Good Practice Statement).

  4. We recommend against puberty blocking and gender-affirming hormone treatment in prepubertal children with GD/gender incongruence. (1 |⊕⊕⊖⊖)

  5. We recommend that clinicians inform and counsel all individuals seeking gender-affirming medical treatment regarding options for fertility preservation prior to initiating puberty suppression in adolescents and prior to treating with hormonal therapy of the affirmed gender in both adolescents and adults. (1 |⊕⊕⊕⊖)

Treatment of Adolescents

  1. We suggest that adolescents who meet diagnostic criteria for GD/gender incongruence, fulfill criteria for treatment, and are requesting treatment should initially undergo treatment to suppress pubertal development. (2 |⊕⊕⊖⊖)

  2. We suggest that clinicians begin pubertal hormone suppression after girls and boys first exhibit physical changes of puberty. (2 |⊕⊕⊖⊖)

  3. We recommend that, where indicated, GnRH analogues are used to suppress pubertal hormones. (1 |⊕⊕⊖⊖)

  4. In adolescents who request sex hormone treatment (given this is a partly irreversible treatment), we recommend initiating treatment using a gradually increasing dose schedule after a multidisciplinary team of medical and MHPs has confirmed the persistence of GD/gender incongruence and sufficient mental capacity to give informed consent, which most adolescents have by age 16 years. (1 |⊕⊕⊖⊖).

  5. We recognize that there may be compelling reasons to initiate sex hormone treatment prior to the age of 16 years in some adolescents with GD/gender incongruence, even though there are minimal published studies of gender-affirming hormone treatments administered before age 13.5 to 14 years. As with the care of adolescents ≥16 years of age, we recommend that an expert multidisciplinary team of medical and MHPs manage this treatment. (1 |⊕⊖⊖⊖)

  6. We suggest monitoring clinical pubertal development every 3 to 6 months and laboratory parameters every 6 to 12 months during sex hormone treatment. (2 |⊕⊕⊖⊖)

Hormonal Therapy for Transgender Adults

  1. We recommend that clinicians confirm the diagnostic criteria of GD/gender incongruence and the criteria for the endocrine phase of gender transition before beginning treatment. (1 |⊕⊕⊕⊖)

  2. We recommend that clinicians evaluate and address medical conditions that can be exacerbated by hormone depletion and treatment with sex hormones of the affirmed gender before beginning treatment. (1 |⊕⊕⊕⊖)

  3. We suggest that clinicians measure hormone levels during treatment to ensure that endogenous sex steroids are suppressed and administered sex steroids are maintained in the normal physiologic range for the affirmed gender. (2 |⊕⊕⊖⊖)

  4. We suggest that endocrinologists provide education to transgender individuals undergoing treatment about the onset and time course of physical changes induced by sex hormone treatment. (2 |⊕⊖⊖⊖)

Adverse Outcome Prevention and Long-term Care

  1. We suggest regular clinical evaluation for physical changes and potential adverse changes in response to sex steroid hormones and laboratory monitoring of sex steroid hormone levels every 3 months during the first year of hormone therapy for transgender males and females and then once or twice yearly. (2 |⊕⊕⊖⊖)

  2. We suggest periodically monitoring prolactin levels in transgender females treated with estrogens. (2 |⊕⊕⊖⊖)

  3. We suggest that clinicians evaluate transgender persons treated with hormones for cardiovascular risk factors using fasting lipid profiles, diabetes screening, and/or other diagnostic tools. (2 |⊕⊕⊖⊖)

  4. We recommend that clinicians obtain bone mineral density (BMD) measurements when risk factors for osteoporosis exist, specifically in those who stop sex hormone therapy after gonadectomy. (1 |⊕⊕⊖⊖)

  5. We suggest that transgender females with no known increased risk of breast cancer follow breast-screening guidelines recommended for non-transgender females. (2 |⊕⊕⊖⊖)

  6. We suggest that transgender females treated with estrogens follow individualized screening according to personal risk for prostatic disease and prostate cancer. (2 |⊕⊖⊖⊖)

  7. We advise that clinicians determine the medical necessity of including a total hysterectomy and oophorectomy as part of gender-affirming surgery. (Ungraded Good Practice Statement)

Surgery for Sex Reassignment and Gender Confirmation

  1. We recommend that a patient pursue genital gender-affirming surgery only after the MHPand the clinician responsible for endocrine transition therapy both agree that surgery is medically necessary and would benefit the patient's overall health and/or well-being. (1 |⊕⊕⊖⊖)

  2. We advise that clinicians approve genital genderaffirming surgery only after completion of at least 1 year of consistent and compliant hormone treatment, unless hormone therapy is not desired or medically contraindicated. (Ungraded Good Practice Statement)

  3. We advise that the clinician responsible for endocrine treatment and the primary care provider ensure appropriate medical clearance of transgender individuals for genital gender-affirming surgery and collaborate with the surgeon regarding hormone use during and after surgery. (Ungraded Good Practice Statement)

  4. We recommend that clinicians refer hormonetreated transgender individuals for genital surgerywhen: (1) the individual has had a satisfactory social role change, (2) the individual is satisfied about the hormonal effects, and (3) the individual desires definitive surgical changes. (1 |⊕⊖⊖⊖)

  5. We suggest that clinicians delay gender-affirming genital surgery involving gonadectomy and/or hysterectomy until the patient is at least 18 years old or legal age of majority in his or her country. (2 |⊕⊕⊖⊖).

  6. We suggest that clinicians determine the timing of breast surgery for transgender males based upon the physical and mental health status of the individual. There is insufficient evidence to recommend a specific age requirement. (2 |⊕⊖⊖⊖)

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