Transgender Medicine: Is Transgender Hormone Therapy Effective?

transgender medicine

Transgender healthcare includes the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of physical and mental health conditions. This also includes gender reassignment therapies for transgender individuals. 

New York transgender medicine specialists offer comprehensive care for transgender patients that is inclusive of hormone management, post-operative care, and health risk evaluation.

How does hormone therapy help transgender patients?

Your doctor will evaluate you through a physical exam to determine the right course of hormone therapy to achieve the desired results. Hormone therapy is helpful during the transition process for men and women.

  • For transgender men, testosterone helps to reduce feminine features and enhances masculine characteristics. 
  • For transgender women, estrogen helps to feminize the body, while anti-androgens inhibit the functions of androgens. This reduces the masculine features. 

Hormone therapy is very effective for transgender individuals, and once the transition begins, you will need a lifetime of medical care and support. 

However, if you wish to retain your reproductive organs like the prostate or ovaries, it is essential to discuss cancer screenings with your doctor. Hormone therapies can increase your risk of certain reproductive cancers. 

Furthermore, hormone therapy over the age of 35 is risky since it may predispose you to medical complications, including the formation of blood clots and stroke. 

What is testosterone therapy? How long does it take to work?

Testosterone therapy is a method of artificially replacing the hormone testosterone, which is a primary male sex hormone. You can expect significant changes within 3 months of starting the therapy. These changes include:

  • Vaginal atrophy
  • Cessation of menstruation
  • Stimulated libido
  • Enlarged clitoris
  • Increased body and facial hair
  • Increase in muscle mass
  • A noticeable deeper voice

What is estrogen therapy? When can you see the results?

Estrogen therapy is a process involving the replacement of female sex hormones, namely estrogen. This is responsible for the development and regulation of the female reproductive system. This therapy can take up to 2 years to show results. You can expect the following changes from this therapy:

  • Breast growth
  • Increased body fat
  • Decreased size of testicles
  • Reduced erectile functionality 

What are the other transgender medicine services?

Transgender medicine services available include:

  • Health education
  • Annual physicals
  • Blood pressure screenings
  • Health risk assessment 
  • Pre- and post-operative medical and sexual care
  • Mental health care through counseling 
  • Speech-language therapy


Members of the healthcare team need to play an important role in creating an environment that respects and responds to the needs of the transgender community. They need special attention and care owing to the cascade of hormone therapies and surgeries that they go through. Mental wellness is essential since they also go through immense physical and verbal abuse. 

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