News and Commentary

Study: No, Blocking Puberty With Drugs Doesn’t Help Kids

Studies show that 80-95% of children who suffer from gender dysphoria outgrow their gender confusion by the time they reach adulthood, eventually identifying with the gender corresponding to their biological sex. Although this number is incredibly high, the Left is increasingly pushing the normalization of puberty blockers for children as young as nine years of age, claiming that the blockers are safe, effective and reversible.

But a new article published on Tuesday in The New Atlantis, which focuses in on over 50 peer-reviewed studies concerning children suffering from gender dysphoria, blows a massive hole in the argument in favor of the potentially dangerous blockers.

The three medical professionals who co-authored the article — Dr. Paul W. Hruz, a professor at Washington University School of Medicine, Dr. Lawrence S. Mayer, professor at Arizona State University and scholar at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Dr. Paul R. McHugh, University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine — found four major problems with puberty blockers, as outlined by The Heritage Foundation’s Ryan T. Anderson.

1. Puberty blockers prolong gender dysphoria in children who would otherwise outgrow such damaging confusion.

Transgender folks face incredibly high rates of homelessness, depression and suicide; it would be best if children suffering sexual confusion at a young age escaped such a fate by identifying with the gender corresponding to their biological sex. Transgender-affirming puberty blockers actively work against this best outcome, all but eliminating the option for children to outgrow the confusion.

The medical professionals explain that puberty blockers “may drive some children to persist in identifying as transgender when they might otherwise have, as they grow older, found their gender to be aligned with their sex.”

“Gender identity for children is elastic (that is, it can change over time) and plastic (that is, it can be shaped by forces like parental approval and social conditions),” notes the article. Therefore, “the increasing use of gender-affirming care does cause children to persist with their identification as the opposite sex, then many children who would otherwise not need ongoing medical treatment would be exposed to hormonal and surgical interventions.”

The professionals claim that puberty blockers and subsequent cross-sex hormones (typically taken at 16 years of age) “may have solidified the feelings of cross-gender identification in these patients, leading them to commit more strongly to sex reassignment than they might have if they had received a different diagnosis or a different course of treatment.”

They doctors add, “the interference with normal pubertal development will influence the gender identity of the child by reducing the prospects for developing a gender identity corresponding to his or her biological sex.”

As argued by Dr. Hruz before a federal court, the reversion of children to their biological gender “provides the greatest lifelong benefit and is the outcome in the majority of patients and should be maintained as a desired goal. Any intervention that interferes with the likelihood of resolution is unwarranted and potentially harmful.”

2. Puberty blockers are experimental, at best.

As laid out in The Daily Signal, puberty blockers are “not supported by any rigorous science. And there is no way of knowing if it is even safe, let alone effective.”

“Reading these various guidelines gives the impression that there is a well-established scientific consensus about the safety and efficacy of the use of puberty-blocking agents for children with gender dysphoria, and that parents of such children should think of it as a prudent and scientifically proven treatment option. But whether blocking puberty is the best way to treat gender dysphoria in children remains far from settled and it should be considered not a prudent option with demonstrated effectiveness but a drastic and experimental measure,” argue Hruz, Mayer, and McHugh.

Beginning the radical process of transitioning in children has “been accepted so rapidly by much of the medical community, apparently without scientific scrutiny,” note the doctors, “that there is reason to be concerned about the welfare of children who are receiving it, as well as reason to question the veracity of some of the claims made to support its use—such as the assertion that it is physiologically and psychologically ‘reversible.’”

3. It’s likely not reversible, despite what the transgender movement is selling.

“There are virtually no published reports, even case studies, of adolescents withdrawing from puberty-suppressing drugs, and then resuming the normal pubertal development typical for their sex,” explains the article, therefore, it is unclear how “reversible” puberty blockers actually are.

Furthermore, the doctors argue that the delay itself caused by the puberty blockers is, of course, irreversible.

“If a child does not develop certain characteristics at age 12 because of a medical intervention, then his or her developing those characteristics at age 18 is not a ‘reversal,’ since the sequence of development has already been disrupted,” reads the article.

“In developmental biology, it makes little sense to describe anything as ‘reversible,'” Hruz, Mayer, and McHugh note.

The “claim that the initial treatments are reversible may make them seem less drastic,” but that claim “is not well supported by evidence,” they continue.

“It remains unknown whether or not ordinary sex-typical puberty will resume following the suppression of puberty in patients with gender dysphoria,” add the medical professionals.

4. Puberty blockers can cause damaging health effects.

As noted by The Daily Signal: “In both boys and girls, it negatively impacts their growth rates in terms of height. Children placed on puberty blockers also have an increased risk of low bone-mineral density. Hruz notes that ‘[o]ther potential adverse effects include disfiguring acne, high blood pressure, weight gain, abnormal glucose tolerance, breast cancer, liver disease, thrombosis, and cardiovascular disease.'”

Moreover, the children who follow-up puberty blockers with cross-sex hormones will be infertile.

As outlined in a piece from PJ Media, the move to push transgenderism on children has left a wake of real victims in its tracks.

A now-22-year-old who suffered from gender dysphoria as a child was put through a transition at a young age; now that she’s outgrown such confusion, she’s speaking out against what the so-called “transgender cult” did to her: “I am a real, live 22-year-old woman, with a scarred chest and a broken voice, and five o’clock shadow because I couldn’t face the idea of growing up to be a woman, that’s my reality,” she said. “Gender was done to me, gender was traumatizing to me, I don’t want anything to do with it anymore.”

Hruz, Mayer, and McHugh conclude: “[W]e frequently hear from neuroscientists that the adolescent brain is too immature to make reliably rational decisions, but we are supposed to expect emotionally troubled adolescents to make decisions about their gender identities and about serious medical treatments at the age of 12 or younger.”

Before we undergo medical experiments on children under the false banner of caring and acceptance, we must examine all the real-life consequences of such virtue-signaling.

H/T The Daily Signal

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