Estradiol levels higher with injection vs oral, transdermal
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Intramuscular injections resulted in higher levels of estradiol than oral and transdermal routes for transgender women, whereas all hormone therapy routes result in similar testosterone levels in transgender men, according to study data.

This study aimed to examine the association of various gender-affirming hormone therapy regimens with blood sex hormone concentrations in transgender individuals.

This retrospective study included transgender people receiving gender-affirming hormone therapy between January 2000 and September 2018. Data on patient demographics, laboratory values, and hormone dose and frequency were collected. Nonparametric tests and linear regression analyses were used to identify factors associated with serum hormone concentrations.

-- Overall, 196 subjects (134 transgender women and 62 transgender men), with a total of 941 clinical visits, were included in this study.

-- Transgender men receiving transdermal testosterone had a significantly lower median concentration of serum total testosterone when compared with those receiving injectable preparations (326.0 ng/dL vs 524.5 ng/dL, respectively).

-- Serum total estradiol concentrations in the transgender women were higher in those receiving intramuscular estrogen compared with those receiving oral and transdermal estrogen (366.0 pg/mL vs 102.0 pg/mL vs 70.8 pg/mL, respectively).

-- A dose-dependent increase in the hormone levels was observed for oral estradiol and injectable testosterone but not for intramuscular and transdermal estradiol.

-- Older age and a history of gonadectomy in both the transgender men and women were associated with significantly higher concentrations of serum gender-affirming sex hormones.

Conclusively, in the transgender men, all routes and formulations of testosterone appeared to be equally effective in achieving concentrations in the male range. The intramuscular injections of estradiol resulted in the highest serum concentrations of estradiol, whereas transdermal estradiol resulted in the lowest concentration. There was positive relationship between both oral estradiol and injectable testosterone dose and serum sex hormone concentrations in transgender people receiving GAHT.