Crucial Role of Hormone Therapy In Treating Transgender Adolescents Highlighted During National Endocrinology Congress

EMBARGOED UNTIL MAY 28, 2016 AT 11:30AM

Monday, May 23, 2016 5:22 pm EDT

Dateline:

Orlando, FL
"Although the focus in earlier years was to treat those transgender patients who were committed to surgically changing their biological sex, today the emphasis is on patient-directed outcomes"

While top-of-mind awareness about transgenderism has been on the rise -- due in large part to high-profile advocates such as actress Laverne Cox,  television personality/LGBTQ rights activist Jazz Jennings and former Olympic decathlon champion Caitlyn Jenner -- few outside a specialized group within the medical community understand the profound and essential role hormonal therapy plays in enabling the transgender person to develop characteristics consistent with the gender with which they identify.

That topic was the focus of two presentations today during the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists’ 25th Annual Scientific & Clinical Congress in Orlando. Endocrinologists are highly specialized physicians who treat patients with disorders of the endocrine system and the system’s secretions, hormones.

Dr. Vin Tangpricha, Ph.D., F.A.C.E., who has been treating transgender patients for more than 15 years, presented in-depth standards of care for the evaluation, treatment and monitoring of transgender adolescents.

Once the patient has undergone the appropriate evaluation, including a psychological assessment to identify if he/she is ready to undertake the process of transitioning, the endocrinologist takes over the patient’s medical care, introducing a safe, effective hormone regimen that is two-fold, Tangpricha said.

First, medication is prescribed to suppress the pubertal hormones that produce the unwanted physical characteristics of the patient’s sex assigned at birth (natal sex). This reduces the need for later medical procedures and enhances the quality of a future gender change. Hormone suppression therapy is followed by the introduction of cross-sex hormones, typically around the age of 16 or, in some cases, earlier, as recommended in standards of care created by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH). At this age, the transgender patient is generally firm in their identification with the gender opposite the one they were assigned at birth, a critical factor since many of the changes related to cross-sex hormone therapy can be irreversible, Tangpricha noted.

“When I first began treating transgender persons with hormone therapy, they typically presented in their 40s, especially transgender females,” he said. “Today, I most often see patients who are younger and younger, mostly in their teens.”  

“Although the focus in earlier years was to treat those transgender patients who were committed to surgically changing their biological sex, today the emphasis is on patient-directed outcomes,” Tangpricha added. “That makes the role of endocrinology and hormone treatment that much more important.”

Joining Dr. Tangpricha on the speaker’s podium later in the day was Dr. Stephen Rosenthal, Co-Director of the Disorders of Sex Development Clinic at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) and founder and Medical Director of the UCSF Child and Adolescent Gender Center, who highlighted the medical approach to treating a transgender adolescent.

Dr. Tangpricha, Dr. Rosenthal and Jazz Jennings will be participating in a press briefing on Saturday, May 28, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. For more information, contact the AACE Public and Media Relations Department at (904) 353-7878.

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About the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE)

The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) represents more than 7,000 endocrinologists in the United States and abroad. AACE is the largest association of clinical endocrinologists in the world. The majority of AACE members are certified in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism and concentrate on the treatment of patients with endocrine and metabolic disorders including diabetes, thyroid disorders, osteoporosis, growth hormone deficiency, cholesterol disorders, hypertension and obesity. Visit our site at www.aace.com.  

About the American College of Endocrinology (ACE)

The American College of Endocrinology (ACE) is the educational and scientific arm of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE). ACE is the leader in advancing the care and prevention of endocrine and metabolic disorders by: providing professional education and reliable public health information; recognizing excellence in education, research and service; promoting clinical research and defining the future of Clinical Endocrinology. For more information, visit www.aace.com/college

Contact:

AACE
Mary Green, 904-353-7878 ext. 163
Asst. Director, Public Relations, Media and Creative
mgreen@aace.com
904-404-4223 (fax)