We care for transgender and gender non-binary individuals who are seeking feminizing or masculinizing hormone therapy.
We recognize that gender transition is a very individualized process that may involve hormonal treatment to reach your gender affirmation goals. Our endocrinologists (hormone specialists) will talk to you about the risks and benefits of starting hormone therapy treatment for gender affirmation. From there, the decision to start treatment is up to you.
Hormone therapy consultations are provided by our endocrinologist, Isabel Casimiro, MD, PhD. To improve the success of your treatment, you will likely also meet a behavioral health expert and a social worker on our team. A mental health provider meets with new patients for a behavioral health “check in” and can assist with referrals for psychotherapy and other mental health needs if necessary.
Our goal is to provide you with the support and resources you need to ensure your gender-affirming hormone therapy is as safe and effective as possible. We strongly advise that all patients have a primary care provider to manage any co-existing health issues and for general health maintenance.
Gender-affirming Hormone Therapy Services Available
We provide respectful and safe gender-affirming hormone therapy to transgender and gender non-binary communities in a comfortable and affirming environment. We offer the following services:
- Feminizing hormone therapy
- Masculinizing hormone therapy
- Referrals to the gender affirmation surgery team
- Referrals to the fertility preservation team
Frequently Asked Questions
No. Our adult patients do not require a letter from a mental health professional before they begin gender-affirming hormone therapy. That is because physicians at UChicago Medicine are knowledgeable about the diagnostic criteria for gender-affirming treatment and follow a patient-friendly “informed consent” model. That means we ensure you are able to understand the risks and benefits of using hormone therapy, similar to how we talk to patients about medications for managing diabetes or arthritis, for example.
The goal of safe and effective gender-affirming hormone therapy is to suppress the body’s natal sex hormone secretion, while maintaining levels of sex hormones within the normal range for the person’s affirmed gender.
Hormone therapy can change your body in some ways that are permanent and some that are reversible. When you come to UChicago Medicine, our team will discuss these changes in detail.
Feminizing hormone therapy will cause physical, emotional and sexual changes. Some of the first changes that occur include skin softening, changes in body fat distribution and a reduction in strength and sex drive. A permanent effect of feminizing hormone therapy is growth of a small amount of breast tissue. However, the degree of breast development that occurs from hormone therapy varies between individuals and is usually no more than a small “B” cup. Body hair will also thin out slightly and will grow at a slower rate.
Testosterone therapy will result in several changes. The skin usually becomes thicker and oilier, which may result in the development of acne. Some of the permanent effects of masculinizing hormone therapy include more hair growth, deepening of the voice and enlargement of the clitoris, while reversible changes include changes in body fat distribution and an increase in muscle mass. The changes in muscle mass and strength will depend on several factors including genetics, diet and exercise.
If you take gender-affirming hormone therapy, you may begin to see changes in as soon as three to six months. However, it is important to recognize that the effects of taking hormone therapy as an adult will vary from individual to individual and will also depend on how old you are when you start hormone therapy. Taking higher doses of your hormone regimen will not result in faster changes. Instead, it can result in adverse side effects or complications.
Hormone therapy is not recommended for pre-pubertal children. Treatment for gender dysphoria in children is entirely a social process. Teens and adolescents with gender dysphoria who have started puberty should be evaluated by a multidisciplinary team including a trained mental health professional in child and adolescent developmental psychology to determine if they may benefit from puberty blockers.
Older adolescents with gender dysphoria who have been evaluated by a multidisciplinary team, have met criteria for treatment and have reached mental maturity may be considered for gender-affirming hormone therapy.
A pediatric endocrinologist can provide more details about the care of youths during puberty and older adolescents.