Understanding cross-sex hormone therapy

Pediatrician Johanna Olson, MD Medical Director, Center for Transyouth Heath & Development, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, explains everything about cross-sex therapy to help parents and children understand it better
Understanding Transgender Hormone Therapy
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Understanding cross-sex hormone therapy

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Cross-sex hormone therapy is the addition of hormones that will induce secondary sexual characteristics of the gender that matches the internal gender. So, in other words, a male-bodied person, who has a female gender identity and would like to bring their body as close to that identity as possible, those young people would get estrogen. Estrogen is the feminizing hormone that creates breast development. It also causes fat redistribution. It causes some skin changes. This is the primary homone we would use to feminize someone's body. For a female-bodied person, we use testosterone. Testosterone is the hormone that masculinizes the body. It causes the voice pitch to drop. it causes the developent of male facial hair, beard, mustache, as well as male-pattern body hair. It also causes some genital changes. These are all things that people who wish to undergo this type of transition desire in their medical treatment. Cross-sex hormones are actually quite affordable. Most people can afford them out of pocket if they aren't covered by their insurance plans. Testerone is given commonly. The most common form is injectible, so young people would have to do a weekly or bi-weekly injection of testosterone, which they quickly learn to do on their own, We teach them how in the beginning, but then they are off and running after a few injections. and an ability to do it themselves. For young people who are male-bodied, that are taking estrogen, estrogen comes in an injectible form and also in oral form. So they can take pills. It's a person-to-person decision based on how they feel about taking medications. By mouth, which they have to remember to take every day. Or if they have an issue with needles, maybe taking oral medications is easier for them.

Pediatrician Johanna Olson, MD Medical Director, Center for Transyouth Heath & Development, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, explains everything about cross-sex therapy to help parents and children understand it better

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Johanna Olson, MD

Medical Director, Center for Transyouth Health and Development, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles

Johanna Olson, MD is a pediatrician in the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Medical Director of the hospital’s Center for Transyouth Health and Development.  She specializes in the care of transgender youth, gender variant children, youth with HIV, and chronic pain. Board certified in Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Dr. Olson is also an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. She has appeared on ABC's 20/20, The Dr. Phil Show, CNN, Dateline NBC and The Doctors to educate audiences about the needs of transgender youth.

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