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Transgender & Life expectancy


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#1 Shinobu-Chan

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 03:19 AM

A very curious question I have had for a long time has been this: Will transitioning and the use of hormones indefinitely have any effect on your overall health / life expectancy? I do not mean to include things like "increased risk of violence" or things like that, I simply mean SRS surgery and indefinite intake of hormones. It has sort of been a lifelong goal of mine to keep good health and try to live a long life. I was wondering what sort of an impact this could have. I know we have a few in-house doctors, so I would gladly appreciate any answers. Have any studies even been conducted on this? Who is the oldest living transwoman currently? What are the odds of living to over the average life expectancy? If I take care of all other aspects of my health, will this greatly decrease my overall well-being? Thanks, Shinobu-Chan.

#2 ludum-chan

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 06:41 AM

The only answer I've had from a doctor is that as no studies have been conducted (in part because trans people tend to like to live stealth) is that the long term effects are unknown.

Given that you're receiving HRT, the side effects of that would probably be a good starting point, from memory - slightly increased risk of various cancers, increased risk of blood clots and contraindicated if you have liver damage.

If you transition, you won't have an option about taking it as the side effects of no hormones in the long term include osteoporosis.
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#3 Tabemashoo

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 03:49 PM

The impression I've gotten is that upon starting HRT, you gain the weaknesses from being either sex naturally. The shorter natural lifespan of a male, whatever increased cancer risks as a female, etc. Don't take my word for it though, I haven't looked into it that much.

Anyway, the stress of staying in a body that doesn't match their gender generally kills trans people a lot faster than any cancer or liver weakness.
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#4 tyciol

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 02:20 AM

There is a risk of that with any drug. I definately think that supplementing hormones for aesthetic and lifestyle reasons rather than health reasons is not the best chemical approach. However, psychological health is very important too, if feeling out of place is negatively affecting you a lot to the point of instability or lack of productivity, it still might be in your best interests to take it.

I have to admit, I am curious about potential benefits. Like women tend to live longer, so if a guy took hormones to become more womany, would he increase his chances?

Similarly, there are a lot of associated health benefits with testosterone, so I don't know if a transman's experience would be entirely bad either.

A lot of things can theoretically decrease your lifespan. Delicious cake, exercise (metabolism creates ageing), testing medications, getting vaccines, getting your bloodwork checked.

All of these put stresses on the body. At the same time, they can prevent or cure many ills on their own. It's all about trading off to me. Personally, I think we can stress too much in regards to avoiding stress, when really we are just procrastinating a problem and slowing it down. we will have to face it some day and rejuvenate those problems.

#5 Tigersoul

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 02:28 AM

tyciol said:

...Delicious cake...

that's a psycological danger, because the cake is a lie! (sorry, couldn't help myself)

Seriously though...

Several other things to point out... any, ANY drug you take can and often does have adverse effects on your liver and kidneys (they are a filter system, and eventually they will become "clogged" (for lack of better term) and fail. Now, this is a long-term problem, if, as pointed out above, the short-term problem of suiside, depression, etc is cured, then it is a worthy trade-off.

Also the simple act of being Trans often is psycological stress. You will always run into somone somewhere that will read you (or you think read you) and you'll mentally panic or worry. Granted this happens with lots of things, but this is soemthing that happens a lot for the more masculine Transwomen and the more femanine transmen.

most of the rest was pointed out, but thought I'd throw those in there as well.
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#6 tyciol

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 02:35 AM

I don't like to look at it as pure distress, because I think transgender stuff's got a potential to be a eustress as well. You definately confront a lot of bigotry and persecution for expressing what you like and who you want to be, but if it forces us by necessity to stand up for ourself and others and work harder at stuff that matters more instead of lounging around in distractions like much of the population then it could pay off in the long run as a positive adaptation.

You're right about the organs... I'm not sure if 'clogged' is the best thing... do you mean like stuff it can't get rid of? Surely there's got to be a way to unclog it in that case using other therapies in the future. The problem would be if it was such a large variety you didn't know what you're trying to treat I guess.
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#7 katie335

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 02:38 AM

I believe 2 side effects are that you have an increased risk of breast cancer and a decreased risk of prostate cancer...

obviously there are others but those I know of as being scientifically proven.

I "think" decreased risk of cardio related disease is also a positive...

In my view the impotence thing kinda kills it.  If there was a way to get more curvy and feminine without losing my baby making abilities I'd definitely look into it.

#8 Abaddon

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 04:02 AM

I have a feeling that something along the lines of smoking or poor diet have far more of an impact on your lifespan than hormones.

#9 Shinobu-Chan

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 04:52 AM

Abaddon said:

I have a feeling that something along the lines of smoking or poor diet have far more of an impact on your lifespan than hormones.

Well thats a given! :lol:
I was just curious as to the impact overall. I mean, everything we do in some way effects our lifespan whether positively or negatively. I wondered though how detrimental the constant intake of artificial hormones are to ones body in the long run. Shinobu-Chan.

#10 emlscs

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 07:29 AM

i think caral should put her two cents into this thread... :P

one thing I can comment on is the supposed 'benefits of oestrogen on the heart'. Studies *positively* show that the risk of heart disease increases after menopause. However, one interesting theory to explain this fact is that oestrogen doesn't protect your heart directly, it is due to menstruation which causes a drop in your body iron, which in turn, protects the heart. The reason behind this theory is that those with hemosiderosis (a genetic condition where you have excessive iron in your body) usually die early due to heart attacks.

So, whether female hormones will give the male body a longer 'female' life expectancy is a question that nobody can definitely answer at the moment. As to whether it will *shorten* your life expectancy, again, an unanswerable question.

Risk of prostate and breast cancer? There have been a couple of studies, but too small to be conclusive in any way. The best thing to do (from a personal point of view)? Aim for as low dose as possible, and always keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary - including breast self-exam, annual prostate exams, other screening programmes, as well as staying healthy (healthy weight, healthy lifestyle, etc).

My two cents... :mrgreen:
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#11 dtgen

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Posted 14 June 2008 - 11:00 AM

tyciol said:

You're right about the organs... I'm not sure if 'clogged' is the best thing... do you mean like stuff it can't get rid of? Surely there's got to be a way to unclog it in that case using other therapies in the future. The problem would be if it was such a large variety you didn't know what you're trying to treat I guess.
Essentially, by and large, the liver is not designed to have to sift hormones, and so taking oral medication can damage it, but I've a feeling the same goes for most orally taken medication (from what my aunt tells me)

#12 Mezimomo

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Posted 15 June 2008 - 03:06 AM

lol, Life expectancy of Transgender people is wumthing Ive been thinking of doing for a research study as a thesis for my neuroscience degree :3 . I think it would be an awesome, but sort of tough study to conduct :/ . But I already know tons of TG people, even those who are stealth, so I have an advantage of trust with alot of TG people.
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#13 Caral

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 03:23 AM

emlscs said:

i think caral should put her two cents into this thread... :P

Transgender life expectancy?  I don't think anyone who's transgendered should expect to have a life ;)

As for the effect of hormones on longevity I haven't actually done enough research and there are all sorts of complexities.  As genetic women reach the menopause their testosterone levels also drop.  I do know that in post-operative MTF transsexuals some endocrinologists recommend small doses of testosterone to help prevent osteoporosis.  Untreated osteoporosis can be indirectly life threatening by increasing the risk of fractures.  A fracture of the hip or femur in older patients is associated with a significant mortality rate.  Things like that need to be factored into any calculation.

The human body is an incredibly complex collection of interdependent systems and doing the sorts of things we do with cross gender hormone therapy changes many things we know about and probably things we still don't know.  MTFs on cross gender hormones do have an increased risk of breast cancer compared to equivalent males so some risks increase and some decrease.  Blood lipids change (cholesterol and fatty acids).  Blood clotting factors change.   Progesterones and progestins may increase the risk of pituitary tumour.

I'll have to poke around to see if there are any peer reviewed published studies on FTM and MTF life expectancies and report back.  Must renew my library membership to give me Medline access again.
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#14 Caral

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 03:30 AM

Mezimomo said:

I already know tons of TG people, even those who are stealth, so I have an advantage of trust with alot of TG people.

Yes, but it's dead TGs you really need to learn about - how long did they live and what killed them?  You could of course go round bumping off all your living TG friends as a basis for a paper but I suspect it would be flawed research :twisted:
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#15 Mezimomo

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 04:42 AM

wutever it takes to get famous and rich baby ;)
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#16 Caral

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Posted 24 June 2008 - 10:44 AM

Mezimomo said:

wutever it takes to get famous and rich baby ;)

Don't get famous and infamous confused ;)  I, for example, am definitely infamous :D
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#17 tyciol

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 03:44 PM

Abaddon said:

I have a feeling that something along the lines of smoking or poor diet have far more of an impact on your lifespan than hormones.
Not really. In regards to evaluating the immensity of impact of something, you have to look at quantity and quality. How much smoking? Are you using a filter? How bad a diet? How many hormones? What kind of hormones?

#18 Abaddon

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 06:26 PM

tyciol said:

Abaddon said:

I have a feeling that something along the lines of smoking or poor diet have far more of an impact on your lifespan than hormones.
Not really. In regards to evaluating the immensity of impact of something, you have to look at quantity and quality. How much smoking? Are you using a filter? How bad a diet? How many hormones? What kind of hormones?

Are you serious?

By this argument you're opening up the possibility that smoking and poor diet are potentially less harmful than hormones? That's utterly ludicrous.

#19 Shinobu-Chan

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 07:57 PM

Abaddon said:

tyciol said:

Abaddon said:

I have a feeling that something along the lines of smoking or poor diet have far more of an impact on your lifespan than hormones.
Not really. In regards to evaluating the immensity of impact of something, you have to look at quantity and quality. How much smoking? Are you using a filter? How bad a diet? How many hormones? What kind of hormones?

Are you serious?

By this argument you're opening up the possibility that smoking and poor diet are potentially less harmful than hormones? That's utterly ludicrous.

I agree with Abaddon. I couple of milligrams per month of a synthetic hormone (though still "bad" for you technically) is FAR less harmful than the quality of what you shove into your face 3+ times a day. Also, any type of carcinogens you purposely inhale will undoubtably affect your health in the long run, adding a filter doesn't help much.




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