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Treatment of transsexualism

Vin Tangpricha, MD, PhD
Section Editors
Peter J Snyder, MD
Alvin M Matsumoto, MD
Deputy Editor
Kathryn A Martin, MD


Transsexualism is the condition in which a person with apparently normal somatic sexual differentiation of one gender is convinced that he or she is actually a member of the opposite gender. It is associated with an irresistible urge to be that gender hormonally, anatomically, and psychosocially. The treatment of transsexualism will be discussed here, while its definition and diagnosis will be discussed separately. (See "Transsexualism: Epidemiology, pathophysiology, and diagnosis".)


Standards of care — The international organization involved with professional help to transsexual persons, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), formerly known as the Harry Benjamin International Gender Dysphoria Association, has drafted Standards of Care for the diagnosis and treatment of transsexual individuals [1].

The mission statement of WPATH is the following: “As an international multidisciplinary professional association the mission of WPATH is to promote evidence based care, education, research, advocacy, public policy and respect in transgender health [1].”

WPATH publishes a Standards of Care (SOC) document, the goal of which is to “provide clinical guidance for health professionals to assist transsexual, transgender, and gender nonconforming people with safe and effective pathways to achieving lasting personal comfort with their gendered selves, in order to maximize their overall health, psychological well-being, and self-fulfillment. This assistance may include primary care, gynecologic and urologic care, reproductive options, voice and communication therapy, mental health services (eg, assessment, counseling, psychotherapy), and hormonal and surgical treatments. While this is primarily a document for health professionals, the SOC may also be used by individuals, their families, and social institutions to understand how they can assist with promoting optimal health for members of this diverse population” [1].

The most current version of the SOC can be found at the WPATH website.


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Literature review current through: Jul 2016. | This topic last updated: Oct 15, 2013.
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