Puberty Blockers for Youth
Information on puberty blocker medication used to delay the onset of puberty.
The changes to your body that happen during puberty can be distressing if they are not in line with your gender. Puberty blockers can help relieve this distress. Delaying puberty gives you more time to explore your gender identity, before changes happen to your body that can’t be reversed.
If you are under age 19, the criteria for getting a prescription for a puberty blocker are:
- a long-lasting and intense pattern of gender non-conformity or gender dysphoria.
- gender dysphoria emerged or worsened with the onset of puberty.
- coexisting psychological, medical, or social problems, if any, are stable enough to start treatment.
- the adolescent having given informed consent. The consent of your guardian is preferred but not absolutely necessary under the BC Infants Act
Usually an endocrinologist (hormone specialist) monitors puberty blockers and hormone therapy for youth, due to changing needs during adolescence. The endocrinologist can work with your primary care provider for routine monitoring.
The puberty blocker used most often in BC is called Lupron Depot. It is given through a monthly injection in the thigh. Lupron Depot is quite expensive; it costs around $400 a month. It is covered by BC PharmaCare; some families have the cost covered by the PharmaCare Plan G. Extended health care plans may also cover this medication.
Effects of puberty blockers
If you were assigned male at birth, puberty blockers will stop or limit:
- growth of facial and body hair
- deepening of the voice
- broadening of the shoulders
- growth of Adam’s apple
- growth of gonads (testes) and erectile tissue (penis)
If you were assigned female at birth, puberty blockers will stop or limit:
- breast tissue development
- broadening of the hips
- monthly bleeding
In both cases, puberty blockers will temporarily stop or limit:
- growth in height
- development of sex drive
- impulsive, rebellious, irritable or risk-taking behaviour
- accumulation of calcium in the bones
There are no known irreversible effects of puberty blockers. If you decide to stop taking them, your body will go through puberty just the way it would have if you had not taken puberty blockers at all.
Risks of taking puberty blockers
Puberty blockers are considered to be very safe overall.
We are not sure if puberty blockers have negative side effects on bone development and height. Research so far shows that the effects are minimal. However, we won’t know the long-term effects until the first people to take puberty-blockers get older.
If you have erectile tissue (penis) and think you might eventually want to have a vaginoplasty, talk with your primary care provider or endocrinologist for more information. Vaginoplasty is the surgical procedure that creates a vagina. If you start taking puberty blockers early in puberty you might not be able to have the vaginoplasty surgery that is most commonly used in Canada, later as an adult. There are alternative techniques available, such as the use of a skin graft or colon tissue.
Risks of withholding puberty blockers
Health care providers refusing to provide puberty blockers to youth can cause additional distress, and may lead to anxiety and depression.
Withholding puberty blockers and hormone therapy is not a neutral option and can result in an increased risk of mental health issues.
3 thoughts on “Puberty Blockers for Youth”
Hello Tildeb. The science data is in and verified. All the major medical associations agree that puberty blockers are safe and reversible. Period! Anything else is fringe misleading myths made up by the same people that claim Covid was not real and that the Covid vaccine is the real killer implanting chips in the human body. You know the same people recommending Ivermectin parasite medication to cure / prevent a virus. The same people you used here as a valid source of information about trans issues, simply because they supported your anti-trans bullshit, which is refuted with facts / medical data. Hugs
Scottie … as in EVERY issue in which there is debate, there are always going to be people on opposite sides. Each one is convinced their side is correct. Look at what is happening in the political world! This issue is no different.
Personally, I do NOT think tildeb is “anti-trans” per se — he just has some strong reservations about puberty-blockers … and I agree with him on that. Puberty in and of itself can be very stressful. Emotions are at an all-time high and the bodily changes can be confusing to ANY young person. Providing blockers just to help them through their confusion is, IMO, NOT the best option. Reversible or not, considering all factors, it just doesn’t seem possible that such a modification wouldn’t alter a young person’s overall body processes in some way.
OK. I’ve said my piece. I’m not a physician so this is all personal opinion. And all I’m going to add is I’m very, very glad I’m no longer of the child-bearing age!