Tuesday, July 23, 2024
Health & Happiness

Transgender menopause: It’s a thing

October is World Menopause Month and while most cisgender women know what to expect from menopause, male and female transgender folks can also be affected by the natural process of bio women.

We asked two educators to help clear up some of the misconceptions around menopause and whether or not the change in life is something experienced only by cisgender women whose ovaries have retired!

If we are describing trans men as men who ‘used to be women,’ depending on how and when they have transitioned, and if they used exogenous testosterone, might they experience some symptoms of menopause?

Wendy Goodall McDonald M.D.: I would expect that many trans men would either use exogenous testosterone or no hormones at all. Masculinizing hormones are typically what is needed. Often ovaries are relatively dormant during that time, but often at least one ovary is left in place for those who have undergone a surgical transition because removing the ovaries and creating surgical menopause is bad for bone and heart health. That all said, yes, someone who has ovaries and reaches the age of menopause and is not on masculinizing hormones will feel the symptoms of menopause to the same degree as a cisgendered woman, which can vary widely from person to person. I didn’t realize this, but they can also experience menopausal symptoms when starting masculinizing hormones. This article gave a nice breakdown.

If we describe trans women as women who ‘used to be men,’ how might their use of estrogen, testosterone blockers, and progesterone give them menopause symptoms?

Wendy Goodall McDonald M.D.: I wouldn’t think that the use of estrogen and testosterone blockers would cause menopausal symptoms, but stopping them absolutely could. I would expect someone who is taking feminizing hormones to feel symptoms akin to menopause if they have to stop the medication for any reason. Some need to stop their meds to have other procedures or sometimes for affordability reasons. Hormonal changes, whether starting or stopping, can affect sleep, mood, cause hot flashes, night sweats, affect concentration etc. 

In your opinion, what genders do experience menopause sand how valid is the term ‘male menopause’ ?

Wendy Goodall McDonald M.D.: People of all genders can experience menopausal symptoms or hormonal changes caused by aging. I’m not sure about the validity of the term “male menopause.” It almost needs to be a question posed to people in the trans community to determine how that nomenclature can best apply. 

What symptoms of menopause might be felt and experienced by any genders, in your opinion?

Andrea Donsky: The symptoms that all genders may or can experience include mood swings, depression, irritability, rage, memory loss, excessive sweating, fatigue, lower libido, muscle loss, weight gain around the midsection, dry skin, insomnia (and other sleep issues), hair loss, etc. Much of my research over the last five years has focused on signs and symptoms and I’ve discovered there are 85+ of them — way more than the 20 to 40 I had heard about previously — which is important as many of us are dismissed for how we feel and/or told we are too young to be in this phase of life. I have a list of the signs and symptoms on my website  and we are always adding to it. You can find it here https://wearemorphus.com/blogs/signs-and-symptoms.

About the Experts
Dr. Wendy Goodall

Dr. Wendy Goodall McDonald

Dr.Wendy Goodall McDonald is a Board-Certified Obstetrician Gynecologist and published author. Known in the media as Dr. Every Woman, Dr. McDonald shares evidence-based health information to educate the masses and inspire future physicians through music and literature in fun and innovative ways. Dr. Wendy is a Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine graduate and practices full-time Obstetrics and Gynecology in downtown Chicago at Women’s Health Consulting and Northwestern Prentice Women’s Hospital. Learn more at dreverywoman.com and @dreverywoman on social.

Andrea Donskey

Andrea Donsky

Andrea is a Nutritionist, Media Personality, Entrepreneur, Best-Selling Author, Health & Wellness Lifestyle Expert, Menopause Educator and Podcast Host. She is the Co-Founder of NaturallySavvy.com—a multiple award-winning website, and Wearemorphus.com (together with her business partner of 22 years, Randy Boyer). Among her numerous publications, Andrea co-authored the best-selling book “Unjunk Your Junk Food” published by Simon and Schuster. She also co-authored “Label Lessons: Your Guide to a Healthy Shopping Cart,” and “Label Lessons: Unjunk Your Kid’s Lunch Box.” Andrea hosts the weekly Morphus podcast, and appears as a Healthy Living Expert on TV across North America.  Follow Andrea on TikTok @andreadonsky

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