Cross-sex hormone therapy for gender dysphoria

J Endocrinol Invest. 2015 Mar;38(3):269-82. doi: 10.1007/s40618-014-0186-2. Epub 2014 Nov 18.


Purpose: Gender identity is the sense one has of being male or female. Gender dysphoria (GD) refers to the distress caused by the incongruence between gender identity and biological sex in gender-nonconforming individuals. Cross-sex hormone therapy (CHT) aims at easing GD, improving well-being, and quality of life of gender-nonconforming individuals. This can be achieved by inducing and maintaining the desired-sex characteristics in accordance with the specific aspirations and expectations of each individual. Nevertheless, CHT can be associated with potentially serious long-term complications.

Methods: Here, we review when, how, and how long to prescribe CHT to adult transsexuals as well as what to expect and monitor once it has been initiated.

Results: In recent years, transsexualism has become more and more recognized and depathologized. To manage GD, National and International Standards of Care have been established. Nevertheless, the needs of transgender patients can still be ignored or dismissed. Moreover, some questions remain unanswered because of the lack of specific retrospective or prospective studies on CHT.

Conclusion: Education and culturally sensitive training must be supplied to healthcare professionals to overcome the existing issues on GD management and change the perspectives of transsexual people.

Keywords: Anti-androgens; Cross-sex hormone therapy; Estrogens; Gender dysphoria; Testosterone; Transsexualism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Androgen Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Gender Dysphoria / drug therapy*
  • Gender Identity*
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Quality of Life*
  • Transsexualism / drug therapy*


  • Androgen Antagonists
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones