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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2019 Apr 1;104(4):1181-1186. doi: 10.1210/jc.2018-01777.

Progesterone Is Important for Transgender Women's Therapy-Applying Evidence for the Benefits of Progesterone in Ciswomen.

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Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research, Department of Medicine/Division of Endocrinology, School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
British Columbia Women's Health Research Institute, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.



Although the 2017 Endocrine Society Guidelines for gender dysphoria stipulated that cross-sex hormone therapy (CHT) achieve gonadal steroid levels equivalent to those of a cisperson of the chosen sex, for transgender women (male-to-female gender dysphoria), current gonadal therapy is usually estradiol. Accumulated evidence indicates that normally ovulatory menstrual cycles are necessary for ciswomen's current fertility, as well as for later-life bone and cardiovascular health and the prevention of breast and endometrial cancers.


Extensive past clinical experience with transgender women's CHT using estradiol/estrogen combined with progesterone/medroxyprogesterone and pioneering the addition of spironolactone. Comprehensive progesterone physiology research plus a brief review of transgender women's literature to assess current therapy and clinical outcomes, including morbidity and mortality.


To emphasize that both ovarian hormones, progesterone as well as estradiol, are theoretically and clinically important for optimal transgender women's CHT.


It is important to add progesterone to estradiol and an antiandrogen in transgender women's CHT. Progesterone may add the following: (i) more rapid feminization, (ii) decreased endogenous testosterone production, (iii) optimal breast maturation to Tanner stages 4/5, (iv) increased bone formation, (v) improved sleep and vasomotor symptom control, and (vi) cardiovascular health benefits.


Evidence has accrued that normal progesterone (and ovulation), as well as physiological estradiol levels, is necessary during ciswomen's premenopausal menstrual cycles for current fertility and long-term health; transgender women deserve progesterone therapy and similar potential physiological benefits.


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