Physiologic Response to Gender-Affirming Hormones Among Transgender Youth

J Adolesc Health. 2018 Apr;62(4):397-401. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2017.08.005. Epub 2017 Oct 19.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the physiologic impact of hormones on youth with gender dysphoria. These data represent follow-up data in youth ages 12-23 years over a two-year time period of hormone administration.

Methods: This prospective, longitudinal study initially enrolled 101 youth with gender dysphoria at baseline from those presenting consecutively for care between February 2011 and June 2013. Physiologic data at baseline and follow-up were abstracted from medical charts. Data were analyzed by descriptive statistics.

Results: Of the initial 101 participants, 59 youth had follow-up physiologic data collected between 21 and 31 months after initiation of hormones available for analysis. Metabolic parameters changes were not clinically significant, with the exception of sex steroid levels, intended to be the target of intervention.

Conclusions: Although the impact of hormones on some historically concerning physiologic parameters, including lipids, potassium, hemoglobin, and prolactin, were statistically significant, clinical significance was not observed. Hormone levels physiologically concordant with gender of identity were achieved with feminizing and masculinizing medication regimens. Extensive and frequent laboratory examination in transgender adolescents may be unnecessary. The use of hormones in transgender youth appears to be safe over a treatment course of approximately two years.

Keywords: Cross-sex hormones; Gender dysphoria; Gender transition; Transgender; Transgender youth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Gender Dysphoria / drug therapy*
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / administration & dosage*
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Transgender Persons / psychology*
  • Young Adult


  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones