Hormone therapy improves mental health for transgender youths, a new study finds


Transgender youth reported greater life satisfaction and fewer symptoms of depression. And anxiety after receiving gender-affirming. Hormone therapy for two years. According to a new study.

The study, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. Evaluated 315 transgender youth. Ages 12 to 20, through age 16, over. Two years while they were being treated with gender-affirming hormone therapy.

The researchers are a group of physicians and professors affiliated with universities. And children’s hospitals in Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles. The research was supported by a grant from. The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health. And Human Development.

The researchers used scales that measure depression and anxiety, feelings. Of positive emotions and life satisfaction. And appearance congruence — meaning a trans person feels. Their outward appearance is consistent with their gender identity. Participants rated each of these factors .

The researchers found that, on average, participants reported increases in positive emotions. Life satisfaction, and appearance similarity. These increases. Were associated with reductions in depression and anxiety symptoms.

The researchers wrote, supporting the use of hormone therapy as. An effective treatment for trans and nonbinary youth.

The researchers said their findings also suggest appearance matching. Is important to the well-being of trans. And non-binary youth. Differences in mental and physical health between young people.

Who experiencedubstantial “gender-nonconforming” puberty—that is. Puberty associated with the sex they were assigned at birth—and those who did. Not support the importance of appearance convergence for well-being.

Only a small subgroup (24 participants) in the study did not go through. Massive gender-inconsistent puberty. Because they started puberty blockers early in puberty. Or started sex-affirming hormones when they started puberty.

“Those who did not go through significant gender-incongruent puberty. Had higher scores for appearance similarity. Positive affect. And life satisfaction and lower scores. For depression and anxiety at baseline than those. Who went through large heterosexual puberty,” meaning the assigned. Sex associated with their puberty, The researchers wrote.

They also noted that symptoms of depression and anxiety were reduced. And life satisfaction increased among trans. Aand nonbinary youth designated. At birth for women but not for men designated at birth.

This difference, they wrote. Can be attributed to several factors: First, some physical changes associated with estrogen. Such as breast growth, can take between two and five years to reach their “peak effect.”

As a result, the researchers hypothesized that a longer follow-up period may. Be needed for trans feminine yout. To see effects on mental health.

Second, they wrote that physical changes that occur. As a result of going through. Testosterone-driven puberty. Such as a deeper voice, may be “more pronounced. And observable” than those associated with estrogen-driven puberty.

Third, the researchers wrote Hormone that differences in anxiety and life satisfaction. May be related to lower social acceptance of transfeminine people compared. To transmasculine people.

Research published in 2021 in the Journal of Adolescent Health suggests. That transfeminine youth. May experience more minority stress, which. Is pressured by stigmatized minority groups such as LGBTQ people. Compared to transmasculine youth.

The authors of the new study wrote that understanding. The impact of gender-defining hormones on the mental health. And well-being of transgender. And non-binary youth “seems important. Given the documented mental health. isparities observed among these populations, particularly. The increasing politicization of gender-defining medical care.”

In the past two years, state legislatures have considered dozens of bills that seek. To limit access to gender-affirming medical services, such as puberty Hormone blockers. therapy and surgery for transgender minors.

The governors of four states — Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee and Arizona. Have signed restrictions on such care into law. But the measures.So far this year, lawmakers have introduced such laws. In at least 16 states.

Proponents of the law argue that the care is experimental and that minors are too young. To make decisions about medical care that could have irreversible effects.

But, medical associations such as the American Medical Association. And the American Academy of Pediatrics. Among others. Oppose efforts to limit gender-affirming care to minors.

These groups point to the growing body of research that caregiving. Has significant positive effects on men

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