Obstetricians and gynecologists should create a welcoming environment in their offices for transgender young people and should know how to care for these patients, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
“These patients will be in our practice and we need to know what the main problems are,” said Dr. Veronica Gomez-Lobo, a child and adolescent gynecologist of the Children’s National Health System in Washington, D. C.
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Obstetricians and gynecologists need to address the gynecological needs of transgender patients in a sensitive way, said Gomez-Lobo, who was a co-author of ACOG committee statement published 21 December in Obstetrics and Gynecology.
They also have these young people’ primary care problems, or they have other doctors who can address those problems, she told Reuters Health.
People who are transgender identify as a gender different from the gender assigned at birth. The ACOG Committee on Adolescent Health Care says it is unknown how many people all over the world transgender.
“We have seen a lot of these kids,” Gomez-Lobo told Reuters Health. “We felt it was very important to the general obstetrician-gynecologists know about (them).”
While ACOG recommends that doctors understand gender identity and are able to treat or refer patients to the appropriate care, the statement acknowledges there are still large gaps in the doctors in training, knowledge, and comfort in this area.
The committee points out that young men who are transgender (female-to-male), uterus, ovary and breast cancer tissues. They experienced medical complications specific to the organs and can also become pregnant.
Doctors need to know about the hormones used for the treatment of transgender patients, discussions about fertility preservation and what changes may be permanent.
The committee says it is also important for physicians to understand the social and mental health of transgender young people. This group of children, the reports of the highest rates of sexual harassment; many drop out of school because of bullying.
Among the ways in which doctors can create a welcoming environment for transgender young people to use gender-neutral terms about the forms, training of employees and creating brochures about sexual minorities is available, according to ACOG.
“The essential elements of our role as healthcare providers does not change because an adolescent patient is transgender,” Gomez-Lobo said in a press release. “There should always be education about their body, conscious and thoughtful assessment of the complaints or problems and preventive care services, such as screenings and birth control. We are simply adding more nuanced cultural and medical knowledge of those practices.”
Patients should feel free to their gender-identity of their obstetricians-gynecologists, Gomex-Lobo told Reuters Health.
“I just think that is who the source is,” she said.