Anabolic steroid use in female athletes and the implications for FTMs

As I’ve written on this blog several times, the increasing use of testosterone by teen girls and young women who are “transitioning” is not being studied in any systematic way. What we do have is some information on the use of testosterone–anabolic steroids–in female athletes.

I plan to eventually write a longer post on this issue, but as a start, at the bottom of this post are some links regarding the effect of testosterone on East German athletes. This was quite a scandal in the 1970s-80s, and many of these women have suffered lifelong ill health effects.

Before anyone hastens to assert that the “T” used in FTM “transition” is not the same as the doping of athletes: It’s true that any reputable doctor would not recommend the high dosage levels these women were subjected to. But here are three points to consider:

  • Testosterone use in FTMs has not been studied rigorously, and there are no researchers actively recruiting subjects from the huge wave of young women currently taking “T. ” The studies that need to take place are long-term, longitudinal studies–following the women for a lifetime. See my post here:

The testosterone guinea pigs aren’t being recruited

I would love to be proven wrong on this, so please, readers, tell me about all the peer-reviewed research being conducted on all these girls and young women.

  • Plenty of young women are getting their “T” not from doctors, but from transactivists who advertise their willingness to share their stashes. It is also very easy to order “T” online from shady dealers. I have also read blog posts from young FTMs who are experimenting with upping their testosterone dosage to achieve increased masculinization effects.
  • On blogs like Truth About Transition, we see lots of anecdotal evidence, gathered by females who themselves are currently taking testosterone, of adverse effects. In fact, personal blogs are the closest thing we have to an actual evidence base on the chronic use of testosterone in women.

Some links:

Excerpt from this 2004 New York Times piece:

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/26/sports/othersports/26STER.html

The words used in court were that the giving of relatively high doses of Oral-Turinabol to a girl around puberty has significantly contributed to development into transsexuality,“ said Franke, the molecular biologist whose research into the East German doping system formed the basis of the criminal prosecutions. Although the complex decision to have a sex change could not precisely be connected to steroids, the psychologist Ungerleider said,“Emotional fallout from high levels of testosterone can make people unsure who they are.”  

http://www.exberliner.com/features/lifestyle/doped-and-dropped%3A-the-endless-plight-of-former-east-german-athletes/

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2007/10/31/1193618974100.html

http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/news/dopings-darkest-hour-the-east-germans-and-the-1976-montreal-games/

http://www.newsweek.com/east-germanys-steroid-shame-253840

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4 thoughts on “Anabolic steroid use in female athletes and the implications for FTMs

  1. Im skeptical of online petitions but what about doing one that demands an ongoing data collection and study of long term use of testosterone by females/FTMs? It might raise awareness and allow FTMs and ex-FTMs to discuss their concerns about health problems they may have experienced from the use of testosterone.

    Like

      • Who would be the most effective person/org to address it to? Maybe Gallus Mag or Redressalert might have some ideas. There really does need to be studies done and regardless of whether one thinks that transitioning is an effective or ethical treatment for gender and sex dysphoria, I think everyone can agree that FTMs deserve better health care than what they are getting now.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Advice from an FTM and MTF: Don’t take this rocky road | 4thWaveNow

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