WHAT ARE PUBERTY-BLOCKERS?
‘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.