Abstract

Background: Knowledge regarding the effects and side effects of gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT) in adults is rapidly growing, partly through international research networks such as the European Network for the Investigation of Gender Incongruence (ENIGI). However, data on the effects of puberty suppression (PS) and GAHT in transgender and gender diverse (TGD) youth are limited, although these data are of crucial importance, given the controversies surrounding this treatment. Aim: We sought to present a detailed overview of the design of the ENIGI Adolescents study protocol, including the first baseline data. Methods: The ENIGI Adolescents study is an ongoing multicenter prospective cohort study. This study protocol was developed by 3 European centers that provide endocrine care for TGD adolescents and were already part of the ENIGI collaboration: Amsterdam, Ghent, and Florence. Outcomes: Study outcomes include physical effects and side effects, laboratory parameters, bone mineral density, anthropometric characteristics, attitudes toward fertility and fertility preservation, and psychological well-being, which are measured in the study participants during PS and GAHT, up to 3 years after the start of GAHT. Results: Between November 2021 and May 2023, 172 TGD adolescents were included in the ENIGI Adolescents protocol, of whom 51 were assigned male at birth (AMAB) and 121 were assigned female at birth (AFAB); 3 AFAB participants reported a nonbinary gender identification. A total of 76 participants were included at the start of PS, at a median (IQR) age of 13.7 (12.9-16.5) years in AMAB and 13.5 (12.4-16.1) years in AFAB individuals. The remaining 96 participants were included at start of GAHT, at a median (IQR) age of 15.9 (15.1-17.4) years in AFAB and 16.0 (15.1-16.8) years in AMAB individuals. At the time of this report the study was open for inclusion and follow-up measurements were ongoing. Clinical implications: In response to the rising demand for gender-affirming treatment among TGD youth, this ongoing study is fulfilling the need for prospective data on the effects and safety of PS and GAHT, thus providing a foundation for evidence-based healthcare decisions. Strengths and Limitations: This study has a strong multicenter, prospective design that allows for systematic data collection. The use of clinical and self-reported data offers a broad range of outcomes to evaluate. Nevertheless, the burden of additional measurements and questionnaires may lead to withdrawal or lower response rates. Few participants with a non-binary gender identity have been included. Conclusion: With the ENIGI Adolescents study we aim to create a comprehensive dataset that we can use for a wide range of studies to address current controversies and uncertainties and to improve healthcare for TGD adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-356
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Sexual Medicine
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2024

Keywords

  • GAH
  • GnRHa
  • adolescent
  • estradiol
  • puberty
  • testosterone
  • transgender

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