Dysmenorrhea and Endometriosis in Transgender Adolescents

J Pediatr Adolesc Gynecol. 2020 Oct;33(5):524-528. doi: 10.1016/j.jpag.2020.06.001. Epub 2020 Jun 11.


Study objective: To study the presentation of dysmenorrhea and endometriosis in transmasculine adolescents and review their treatment outcomes.

Design: A retrospective review.

Setting: Boston Children's Hospital.

Participants: Transmasculine persons younger than 26 years old who were diagnosed with dysmenorrhea and treated between January 1, 2000 and March 1, 2020.

Interventions: Not applicable.

Main outcome measures: An electronic medical record review of the clinical characteristics, transition-related care, and treatment outcomes.

Results: Dysmenorrhea was diagnosed in 35 transmasculine persons. Mean age was 14.9 years ± 1.9 years. Twenty-nine (82.9%) were diagnosed after social transition. Twenty-three of 35 (65.7%) were first treated with combined oral contraceptives, but 14/23 (61%) discontinued or transitioned to alternative therapy. Twelve patients with dysmenorrhea alone initiated testosterone treatment, and 4/12 (33.3%) experienced persistent symptoms. Seven of 35 patients with dysmenorrhea (20.0%) were laparoscopically evaluated for endometriosis, and it was confirmed in all seven. Six had stage I disease, and one had stage II. Three of the 7 (42.9%) were diagnosed after social transition, with one diagnosed 20 months after initiating testosterone treatment. Their endometriosis was treated with combined oral contraceptives, danazol, or progestins; four experienced suboptimal response during treatment with these therapies alone. Two of those with suboptimal response subsequently resolved their dysmenorrhea when using testosterone. Five patients with endometriosis initiated testosterone treatment, and of the 5 (40%) experienced persistent symptomatology with combined testosterone and progestin therapies.

Conclusion: To our knowledge, this is the first study to characterize endometriosis in transmasculine persons. Evaluation for endometriosis was underutilized in transmasculine persons with dysmenorrhea, despite those who underwent laparoscopic evaluation and had disease confirmation. Although testosterone treatment can resolve symptoms in some, others might require additional suppression. Endometriosis should be considered in transmasculine persons with symptoms even when they are using testosterone.

Keywords: Adolescent; Endometriosis; Testosterone; Transgender.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Boston
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Combined / therapeutic use
  • Danazol / therapeutic use
  • Dysmenorrhea / diagnosis
  • Dysmenorrhea / drug therapy*
  • Endometriosis / diagnosis*
  • Endometriosis / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Testosterone / therapeutic use*
  • Transgender Persons*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Contraceptives, Oral, Combined
  • Testosterone
  • Danazol