A recent study has shown that hormone treatment for transgender patients is both safe and effective.

The results of a multi-centre European study into hormone therapy were presented at the Endocrine Society’s 95th Annual Meeting in San Francisco last Saturday.

Easing concerns that the method could lead to adverse health effects, the results have indicated that transgender individuals seeking short-term hormone therapy experience both a safe and effective treatment, with few side effects.

The study lead author Katriern Wierckx said: “Although transsexualism remains a rare diagnosis, the number of trans persons seeking hormonal or surgical treatment has drastically increased in recent years, making a detailed multi-centre description on the effects of cross-sex hormonal treatment timely.

“Our study gives valuable information about the effects of drastic changes in sex steroids on glucose and lipid metabolism, cardiovascular and bone health, so that we can inform our future clients, their families and other caregivers more accurately on the desired effects, side effects and adverse events of cross-sex hormonal treatment.”

The study included 45 transgender men and 42 transgender women. Transgender men received a form of the male sex hormone testosterone, whereas transgender women received anti-androgen treatment in combination with a form of estrogen. The treatment lasted 12 months.

As part of the study, investigators measured participants’ waist-to-hip ratio, blood pressure, and the percentages of fat and lean tissue mass.

While effects ranged from both physical and emotional changes, including increased sexual desire and muscle and fat redistribution, there were no serious complications in either group.

Dr Wiercx added that these findings may also be used to solve other, more common problems, including “polycystic ovarian syndrome” in women and “prostate cancer treatment” in men.