Physical and hormonal evaluation of transsexual patients: A longitudinal study

Abstract

The physical and hormonal characteristics of 60 male-to-female transsexuals and 30 female-to-male transsexuals were measured before or during treatment with commonly used forms and dosages of hormones. Only two patients (both female-to-male) had either a congenital defect in hormonal production or abnormal genital development. Patients were seen at 3- to 6-month intervals for an average of 18 months. The response to therapy was examined over time; physical parameters, hormonal concentrations, liver function tests, lipids, and glucose were measured. Three patients were changed from ethinyl estradiol to conjugated estrogen because of liver enzyme elevations. Ethinyl estradiol (0.1–0.5 mg/day) was equal to conjugated estrogen (7.5–10 mg/day) in its ability to suppress testosterone and gonadotropins and to promote breast growth. Maximum breast growth required 2 years of therapy. During treatment with testosterone, female-to-male transsexuals had a significant mild elevation of cholesterol and triglyceride. The female-to-male transsexuals receiving testosterone cypionate, 200 mg every 2 weeks, ceased to have menstrual periods and became progressively masculinized. A mean maximal clitoral length of 4.6 cm which achieved by 1 year of therapy. Based on the data generated by this study, we recommend as hormonal therapy 0.1–0.5 mg/day of ethinyl estradiol or 7.5–10 mg/day of conjugated estrogen for male-to-female transsexuals, and intramuscular testosterone cypionate, 200 mg every 2 weeks, for female-to-male transsexuals.

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Correspondence to Walter J. Meyer III M.D..

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This study was made possible by support from the Department of Pediatrics.

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Meyer, W.J., Webb, A., Stuart, C.A. et al. Physical and hormonal evaluation of transsexual patients: A longitudinal study. Arch Sex Behav 15, 121–138 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01542220

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Key words

  • transsexual
  • hormone
  • estrogen
  • testosterone
  • breast
  • clitoris
  • testes