Hormonal therapy and sex reassignment: a systematic review and meta-analysis of quality of life and psychosocial outcomes

Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2010 Feb;72(2):214-31. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2265.2009.03625.x. Epub 2009 May 16.


Objective: To assess the prognosis of individuals with gender identity disorder (GID) receiving hormonal therapy as a part of sex reassignment in terms of quality of life and other self-reported psychosocial outcomes.

Methods: We searched electronic databases, bibliography of included studies and expert files. All study designs were included with no language restrictions. Reviewers working independently and in pairs selected studies using predetermined inclusion and exclusion criteria, extracted outcome and quality data. We used a random-effects meta-analysis to pool proportions and estimate the 95% confidence intervals (CIs). We estimated the proportion of between-study heterogeneity not attributable to chance using the I(2) statistic.

Results: We identified 28 eligible studies. These studies enrolled 1833 participants with GID (1093 male-to-female, 801 female-to-male) who underwent sex reassignment that included hormonal therapies. All the studies were observational and most lacked controls. Pooling across studies shows that after sex reassignment, 80% of individuals with GID reported significant improvement in gender dysphoria (95% CI = 68-89%; 8 studies; I(2) = 82%); 78% reported significant improvement in psychological symptoms (95% CI = 56-94%; 7 studies; I(2) = 86%); 80% reported significant improvement in quality of life (95% CI = 72-88%; 16 studies; I(2) = 78%); and 72% reported significant improvement in sexual function (95% CI = 60-81%; 15 studies; I(2) = 78%).

Conclusions: Very low quality evidence suggests that sex reassignment that includes hormonal interventions in individuals with GID likely improves gender dysphoria, psychological functioning and comorbidities, sexual function and overall quality of life.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Hormones / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quality of Life
  • Sexual and Gender Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Sexual and Gender Disorders / psychology


  • Hormones