At UChicago Medicine, we understand that gender transition is a very personal process for transgender and gender expansive people of all ages. Our adult and pediatric endocrinologists (hormone specialists) can provide safe, effective gender-affirming hormone therapy to help adults and adolescents reach their goals.
When you come to UChicago Medicine, our team will talk with you about your options and can work with you to make a personal treatment plan based on your needs. We follow guidelines from the Endocrine Society, the Pediatric Endocrine Society and the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH) on using these medications properly and safely. More information is available in our Transgender Health section.
Gender-Affirming Hormone Therapy for Adults
At the University of Chicago Medicine Gender Clinic, we offer feminizing hormone therapy and masculinizing hormone therapy.
Feminizing hormone therapy causes physical, emotional and sexual changes. Some of the first changes that happen include skin softening, changes in body fat distribution and a lower strength and sex drive. Growth of a small amount of breast tissue may be a permanent effect of feminizing hormone therapy. Some body hair will thin out and also grow at a slower rate.
Masculinizing hormone therapy can lead to permanent effects that include more hair growth, a deeper voice and enlargement of the clitoris. Some changes that may be reversible are in body fat distribution (the amount and location of fat around the body) and an increase in muscle mass. The amount of change will depend on things like genetics, diet and exercise.
Options for Children and Teens
Older teens with gender dysphoria may be able to get gender-affirming hormone therapy. To have treatment, teens must be evaluated by our medical team to make sure they meet conditions for treatment and have reached mental maturity. Before beginning this kind of treatment, it is important to understand a young person’s goals. A child psychologist can help with this process.
Young people with gender dysphoria who have started puberty must be evaluated by our team. The evaluation includes an expert in child and adolescent developmental psychology who can help decide if the young person may benefit from puberty blockers. Puberty blockers are medicines that prevent puberty from happening. These drugs delay unwanted body changes and can give your child or teen more time to explore their gender identity. If they choose to stop taking puberty blockers, their body will continue to develop following their sex assigned at birth.
For children who have not reached puberty, hormone therapy is not recommended. Treatment for gender dysphoria in children is a social process.