Hormone Therapy Considerations

Many trans and gender diverse people are happy with their bodies, or find comfort with their bodies without hormone therapy. Only you can decide whether hormone therapy is right for you.

If you choose to begin hormone therapy, your primary care provider may be able to provide you with more detailed information that is specific to your needs. The information on this page, although reviewed by medical professionals, is not intended to replace consultation with your primary care provider.

What is hormone therapy?

Hormone therapy is the use of sex hormones to alter secondary sex characteristics. Hormone therapy can be used to promote physical characteristics reflective of one’s gender identity or gender expression and relieve distress related to gender. Estrogen, often in combination with a testosterone blocking medication, is used to reduce testosterone-related features and induce estrogen-related features. Testosterone is used to reduce estrogen-related features and induce testosterone-related features. Hormones can be used in lower doses to achieve an effect more in line with an individual’s gender-affirming goals. 

Why hormone therapy?

If you experience discomfort or distress because your gender identity (internal sense of being male, female, or an alternate gender) and the sex you were assigned at birth are different, hormone therapy may provide significant comfort.

Hormone therapy may help you to feel more at ease in your body, which may have positive effects on your emotional wellbeing. It may also improve your ability to be read by others as your gender identity.

Who decides?

The decision to start hormone therapy is yours. Your primary care provider’s role is to encourage, guide and assist you in making fully informed decisions and becoming adequately prepared.

Primary care providers such as family physicians, nurse practitioners and pediatricians may be able to assist you to get started on hormone therapy or refer you to someone who can. Some will have received adequate training to assess hormone readiness and prescribe and monitor hormone therapy but some may not feel adequately prepared to provide this care. In this case, they may suggest a referral for readiness assessment and/or hormone therapy initiation. We hope that as more health care providers receive education about providing gender-affirming care, this will occur less frequently. If you are having trouble accessing hormone therapy please call our health navigation team, see contact information at Contact Us

If you have a primary care provider who is interested in learning more about how to provide gender-affirming care please pass on our contact information.

They can also get support from a doctor with experience in this field by contacting the R.A.C.E. Line (Rapid Access to Consultative Expertise).

Who monitors hormone therapy?

It’s important to have regular follow-up and monitoring when you are on hormone therapy. Typically people will have this follow-up with whoever is prescribing their hormones such as your nurse practitioner, family physician, pediatrician or endocrinologist. Sometimes more than one healthcare provider is involved in monitoring hormone therapy, for example a pediatric endocrinologist and a nurse practitioner. 

Hormone therapy funding

You may have a benefit plan that covers the cost of hormone therapy medications (i.e. through an employer, income assistance or disability assistance).

If you are enrolled in the Fair PharmaCare program, depending on your income, many hormone therapies will be covered.

If the medication your doctor prescribes is not covered by the plan or program you are enrolled in, they can apply to have it covered by Special Authority.

If you are not covered by a benefit plan or social program, you will be required to pay for your hormone therapy.

Hormones obtained without a prescription 

There are some health risks associated with buying or borrowing hormone medications rather than getting a prescription from a health care provider. You cannot be sure about the quality and dosage of the product. Unlike medications from a pharmacy, they may be diluted or mixed with unknown substances. Neither will you be able to have your use of these medications and your dosage monitored by a health care provider in order to manage risks. The dosage required for optimal effects varies from person to person and is best determined through blood work.

SOURCE: Hormone Therapy Considerations ( )
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