WHAT ARE PU­BERTY-BLOCK­ERS?

The Mail on Sunday - - News -

‘PU­BERTY-block­ers’ halt the nor­mal re­lease of sex hor­mones dur­ing the teenage years, so stop­ping the de­vel­op­ment of sex­ual or­gans, and mak­ing sex­change surgery less dras­tic. In boys, the re­sul­tant sup­pres­sion of testos­terone also stops fa­cial hair from grow­ing and the voice from deep­en­ing. In girls, the fact that oe­stro­gen and pro­ges­terone are kept to low lev­els halts the men­strual cy­cle and the de­vel­op­ment of breasts. Pa­tients typ­i­cally take monthly in­jec­tions of the drugs, for­mally known as hy­potha­la­mic block­ers. They work by dis­rupt­ing chem­i­cal sig­nals that are emit­ted by the hy­po­thal­a­mus and pi­tu­itary gland in the mid­dle of the brain from the start of pu­berty.

Un­der nor­mal cir­cum­stances, th­ese sig­nals trig­ger a cas­cade of sex hor­mones through the body.

There are fears that long-term use of the drugs could have an im­pact on the strength of bones.

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