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Pubertal Suppression

Explain what Pubertal Blockade/supression is and why it used.... the following is form Seattle Children's. Recommend writing something and adding it to our encyclopedia.


… An important intervention to explore is pubertal suppression. It’s like hitting a “pause” button on the whole pubertal process. You stop it, but it’s easy to start it again. This isn’t something that will solve any issues long-term; you want your teen to go through a physical puberty at some point. However, this can buy valuable time in terms of your teen’s mental health and emotional well-being.

The reason to suppress puberty is so medical and mental health providers can assess your teen for hormone therapy. We’ll talk more about hormone therapy later, but basically, it involves giving testosterone to biological females who want to look male, or estrogen to biological males who want to look female. If hormone therapy is used through puberty, patients are much more likely to have the masculine/ feminine features and build that they desire.

But it’s a big step. It takes a lot of evaluation, and your teen may not be ready to make this decision. In this case, pubertal suppression gives you time while they are evaluated, while they mull their options, while they make what will be one of the biggest decisions in their life. It’s easy and reasonably safe, and a very good option for a teen traumatized by the unwanted effects of puberty on their body.

Puberty is medically suppressed by administering a type of drug called a GnRH agonist. This medication suppresses reproductive hormones in both male and female patients, and its effects are completely reversible. If a biological female started taking a GnRH agonist at age 12, and stopped at age 14, she would still reach the same puberty that she would have otherwise- just in a different time frame. (In addition to a GnRH agonist, certain medications can be used to stop menstruation in FTM teens: Depo-Provera shots, continuous hormone use, etc. Talk to your health care provider about your options.)

GnRH agonists are not without side effects. While they are rare, you and your teen should work through a cost-benefit analysis with your teen’s medical provider. While GnRH agonists carry some risks, not suppressing puberty can carry risks too. For a transgender teen, going through puberty can be a nightmare and can cause severe distress. Make sure you, your teen, and your medical provider are on the same page about this.