Masculinising and feminising hormone interventions for adolescents experiencing gender dysphoria or incongruence: a systematic review

Jo Taylor, Alex Mitchell, Ruth Hall, Trilby Langton, Lorna Fraser, Catherine Elizabeth Hewitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Clinical guidelines outline the use of hormones for masculinisation/feminisation in adolescents experiencing gender dysphoria or incongruence. Robust evidence concerning risks and benefits is lacking. There is a need to aggregate evidence as research becomes available.

AIM: Identify and synthesise studies assessing the outcomes of hormones for masculinisation/feminisation in adolescents experiencing gender dysphoria/incongruence.

METHODS: Systematic review and narrative synthesis. Database searches (MEDLINE, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Web of Science) were performed in April 2022, with results assessed independently by two reviewers. An adapted version of the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale for Cohort Studies was used to assess study quality. Moderate- and high-quality studies were synthesised.

RESULTS: 12 cohort, 9 cross-sectional and 32 pre-post studies were included (n=53). One cohort study was high-quality. Other studies were moderate (n=33) and low-quality (n=19). Synthesis of high and moderate-quality studies showed consistent evidence demonstrating induction of puberty, although with varying feminising/masculinising effects. There was limited evidence regarding gender dysphoria, body satisfaction, psychosocial and cognitive outcomes, and fertility. Evidence from mainly pre-post studies with 12-month follow-up showed improvements in psychological outcomes. Inconsistent results were observed for height/growth, bone health and cardiometabolic effects. Most studies included adolescents who received puberty suppression, making it difficult to determine the effects of hormones alone.

CONCLUSIONS: There is a lack of high-quality research assessing the use of hormones in adolescents experiencing gender dysphoria/incongruence. Moderate-quality evidence suggests mental health may be improved during treatment, but robust study is still required. For other outcomes, no conclusions can be drawn. More recent studies published since April 2022 until January 2024 also support the conclusions of this review.PROSPERO registration number: CRD42021289659.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberarchdischild-2023-326670
JournalArchives of Disease in Childhood
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 9 Apr 2024

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