Pubertal blockade safe for pediatric patients with gender identity disorder
Pubertal blockade can safely be initiated in pediatric patients who experience gender identity disorder, according to researchers at the Canadian Pediatric Endocrine Group 2012 Meeting. With exposure to hormones such as estrogen or testosterone later in their adolescence, these patients will experience normal metabolic processes.
“If kids are persisting at puberty [about the need to be the other gender], they will almost always persist,” said Daniel Metzger, MD, FRCPC, a pediatric endocrinologist at BC Children’s Hospital in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and a clinical professor, division of endocrinology in the department of pediatrics, University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
Metzger spoke about the endocrine management of transgender youth and said pediatric patients who experience gender identity disorder require watchful management to reduce the risks for suicidality, depression, drug use and eating disorders, which are often secondary to gender identity disorder.
“These issues are frequently dealt with if patients can get on the road to transition,” Metzger said, noting that parental support is key in making the transition smooth.
Patients will undergo counseling and therapy if they express a desire to transition from male to female or female to male to ensure they are serious about their desire, he said.
“The effect of the puberty-blocking drugs is reversible,” Metzger said. “If they change their mind, they would come off the (puberty-blocking) drugs and enter puberty.”