ESPE2022 Poster Category 1 Sex Differentiation, Gonads and Gynaecology, and Sex Endocrinology (56 abstracts)
Context: For transgender women undergoing gender-affirming hormone therapy (HT), breast development is an important treatment outcome. Since earlier studies showed small breast volumes in trans women treated with HT, we hypothesized that testosterone exposure during puberty might negatively influence breast development and that early initiation of puberty suppression (PS) might have a positive effect on breast development.
Aim: To investigate the influence of timing of PS and subsequent HT on breast volume, satisfaction with breast size, and self-esteem.
Methods: Twenty-three trans women who started PS in early puberty (Tanner stage G2-3), and 19 who started in late puberty (Tanner stage G4-5) were included. Twelve individuals who had breast augmentation were excluded (early pubertal n=5, late pubertal n=7). 3D-scans of the breasts were used to calculate breast volume. Participants filled out questionnaires on breast satisfaction and self-esteem.
Results: Mean age at time of study was 19.4±1.9 years in the early group and 21.0±1.8 years in the late pubertal group. Both groups had used HT for 4.2±1.6 years. BMI was higher in the late group (median 21.6, IQR 19.1 to 30.3) compared to the early group (median 18.9, IQR 17.7 to 21.2). Mean breast volume was 114 cc (IQR 58 to 203), i.e. bra cup-size <A. Breast volume was 47 cc (95% CI -9 to 104) larger in the late group but this difference was only 20 cc (95% CI -43 to 83) after correction for BMI. In total, 64% of subjects were satisfied with their breast size (57% vs 74% in the early and late group, respectively). Participants had a self-esteem score of 19.0 ± 4.3; the early group scored 2.9 points higher (95% CI 0.3 to 5.4) than the late group.
Conclusion: In this study, early start of PS was not found to result in larger breast volume. There even was a trend towards larger breast volume in the late pubertal group, but this seems related to a higher BMI. These findings suggest that pubertal testosterone exposure does not affect breast development during HT. However, exclusion of those who had undergone breast augmentation may have introduced bias. Despite a higher satisfaction with breast size, the late pubertal group had lower self-esteem scores. This might be explained by other physical differences due to longer testosterone exposure. The impact of timing of PS on other breast characteristics, such as breast shape and positioning, deserves further study.
15 Sep 2022 - 17 Sep 2022