Letter: What evidence supports puberty blockers, hormones?

Published: 04-10-2024 3:12 PM

The March 27 My Turn “The Truth about gender-affirming care for youth in NH from Dartmouth Health Children’s” assures us their practices are grounded in “evidence-based treatment protocols.” Where is this evidence, and how has it led them to such different conclusions than France, England, Norway, Sweden, and Finland whose health agencies have either restricted puberty blockers and hormones or issued stern warnings? Medical experts in Sweden combed through 9,934 abstracts, assessed the quality of the relevant research, and concluded that “hormonal treatment of gender dysphoria in this age group should be regarded as experimental treatment rather than standard procedure.” They warned that “these treatments are potentially fraught with extensive and irreversible adverse consequences such as cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, infertility, increased cancer risk, and thrombosis.”

England’s National Health Service effectively banned the use of puberty blockers and restricted cross-sex hormones to clinical research settings after systematic reviews showed no sound evidence these treatments improved mental health. Their new service model focuses on treating the underlying conditions that cause gender dysphoria, such as autism, emotional disorders, and trauma. Rather than giving us blanket assurances and citing the authority of major medical associations, why doesn’t Dartmouth Health share the evidence that supports its practices, including its own aggregate data regarding the long-term effects of these treatments on their patients’ cognitive ability and physical and emotional health?

Stephen Scaer


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