The transgender endocrinologist is a vital member of the treatment team for both transmen and transwomen. These doctors specialize in prescribing hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which is the initial step in the physical transition process for transgender patients. Ideally, each patient will first establish care with a mental health therapist, who can provide a referral to a knowledgeable endocrinologist.
Because many “masculine” and “feminine” physical characteristics are primarily related to the effects of sex hormones in the body, hormone replacement therapy is a central component of treatment for transgender adults. A true physical transition is not possible without HRT. Additionally, HRT is an effective treatment for gender dysphoria, with most patients reporting a decrease in symptoms like anxiety and depression.
HRT for transmen comprises treatment with testosterone, which is typically prescribed as an injection. The effects of testosterone include increased facial and body hair, deepening of the voice, increased libido, enlargement of the clitoris, and cessation of menstrual periods. Transmen can also expect to see a change in body composition, with an increase in muscle mass and a decrease in fat mass. While testosterone treatment does have a number of potential side effects, such as acne and psychological changes, a competent transgender endocrinologist can work with you to manage these side effects.
The HRT protocol for transwomen generally includes combined treatment with estrogen and an anti-androgen medication, which is used to decrease levels of testosterone in the body. For optimal results, transwomen should expect to take HRT on a daily basis. Effects of estrogen include decreased facial and body hair, shrinking of the testes, growth of breast tissue, and increased fat on the hips, thighs, and buttocks. Side effects of estrogen can include high blood pressure and mood changes—be sure to let your transgender endocrinologist know about any side effects you might be experiencing.
At the International Center for Transgender Care, our expert staff have assisted many patients in the physical transition process. Contact us to schedule a consultation and receive a referral to an experienced, board-certified transgender endocrinologist at (972) 543-2477.