Female-to-male transgenders in their 20s face postmenopausal issues due to testosterone use

Experts warn of under-reported risks, including incontinence and sexual dysfunction, as gender clinics fail to provide patients with informed consent.

Female-to-male transgenders in their 20s face postmenopausal issues due to testosterone use
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
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A recent study has revealed that transgender-identifying biological women are suffering from “postmenopausal” problems, such as incontinence, at alarmingly young ages due to their use of testosterone.

The research, which analyzed 68 biological women taking the cross-sex hormone to transition from female to male, found that 95% had developed pelvic floor dysfunction, the Telegraph reports.

The participants, who had an average age of 28, exhibited bladder and bowel symptoms typically seen in women after menopause. Experts warn the impact of sex-changing drugs on bodily functions is under-researched and under-reported, with gender clinics failing to inform patients of the associated risks.

The study found that 87% of the participants experienced urinary symptoms, including incontinence, frequent toilet visits, and bed-wetting, while 74% suffered from bowel issues such as constipation or the inability to control stools or wind. Additionally, 53% reported sexual dysfunction, with almost half experiencing orgasm disorders and a quarter enduring pain during intercourse.

Researchers noted the rate of urinary incontinence among transgender men was approximately three times higher than that of the general female population, affecting one in four compared to 8% of women.

Elaine Miller, a pelvic health physiotherapist and member of the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, cautioned the drugs were putting young people on “exactly the same trajectory” as those going through menopause.

“A lot of women are absolutely fine until the menopause and then they start to get leaky. That appears to be exactly the same trajectory for female people who take cross-sex hormones, but there hasn’t been much in the way of research,” said Miller, per the Telegraph. “Wetting yourself is something that just is not socially acceptable, and it stops people from exercising, it stops them from having intimate relationships, it stops them from travelling, it has work impacts,” she said.

The study's authors, led by Lyvia Maria Bezerra da Silva at the Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil, highlighted the high frequency of pelvic floor dysfunction symptoms and called for more research into the long-term effects of testosterone, which remain largely unknown.

Kate Barker, chief executive at the LGB Alliance, expressed concern about the damage caused by experimental surgeries, stating that the group, which had “consistently spoken out about the damage done by these experimental surgeries, the overwhelming majority of which are carried out on LGB [lesbian, gay and bisexual] people.” The group heard testimony from detransitioners who live with the consequences of decisions made at a young age, including permanent sterilization and loss of sexual function.

The Cass Review, which prompted the NHS to stop prescribing puberty blockers outside of clinical trials and pause cross-sex hormones for under 18s, has called for increased care in the treatment of under 25s. As a result, the health service is currently reviewing adult clinics.

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