Transition memories: experiences of trans adult women with hormone therapy and their beliefs on the usage of hormone blockers to suppress puberty

J Endocrinol Invest. 2019 Oct;42(10):1231-1240. doi: 10.1007/s40618-019-01045-2. Epub 2019 Apr 5.


Purpose: In recent years, an increasing number of specialized gender clinics have been prescribing gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogs to adolescents diagnosed with gender dysphoria (GD) to suppress puberty. This paper presents qualitative research on the hormone therapy (HT) experiences of older trans-people and their views on puberty suppression. The main aim of this research was to explore the psychological aspects of hormonal treatments for gender non-conforming adults, including the controversial use of puberty suppression treatments.

Methods: Using a semi-structured interview format, ten adult trans-women were interviewed (mean age: 37.4) to explore their personal histories regarding GD onset and development, their HT experiences, and their views on the use of GnRH analogs to suppress puberty in trans-children and adolescents.

Results: the interview transcripts were analyzed using the consensual qualitative research method from which several themes emerged: the onset of GD, childhood experiences, experiences with puberty and HT, views on the puberty suspension procedure, and the effects of this suspension on gender identity and sexuality.

Conclusions: The interviews showed that overall, the participants valued the new treatment protocol due to the opportunity to prevent the severe body dysphoria and social phobia trans-people experience with puberty. It seems that the risk of social isolation and psychological suffering is increased by the general lack of acceptance and stigma toward trans-identities in the Italian society. However, during gender transitions, they highlight the need to focus more on internal and psychological aspects, rather than over-emphasize physical appearance. This study gives a voice to an under-represented group regarding the use of GnRH analogs to suppress puberty in trans-individuals, and collected firsthand insights on this controversial treatment and its recommendations in professional international guidelines.

Keywords: Gender dysphoria; Hormone blockers; Hormone therapy; Puberty suppression; Transgender.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Culture*
  • Female
  • Gender Dysphoria / drug therapy*
  • Gender Dysphoria / epidemiology
  • Gender Identity
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / analogs & derivatives
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / therapeutic use
  • Hormone Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy / psychology
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Perception*
  • Puberty / drug effects*
  • Sex Reassignment Procedures
  • Sexual Maturation / drug effects
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Transgender Persons / psychology*
  • Transsexualism / psychology*
  • Transsexualism / therapy
  • Young Adult


  • Hormone Antagonists
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone