If you’re looking for information about hormones, or would like to begin taking hormones, and are trying to figure out the next step, you’ve come to the right place!
What are the steps to start taking hormones in Saskatchewan?
Starting hormones in Saskatchewan is a relatively simple process if you have a doctor who will prescribe hormones. Generally, starting hormones happens in 3 steps:
1. Research hormones and make the decision to start taking them
Before starting hormones it’s really important that you understand what hormones can and cannot do for you, as well understand what risks are associated with taking hormones.
You can find more information and resources in the link below!
2. Find/Get a referral to a doctor who prescribes hormones
If you have a doctor you are comfortable with, you can approach them about starting hormones – if they’re uncomfortable treating you, or prescribing hormones, you can ask for a referral to one of the doctors in our list of providers list who does prescribe hormones.
3. Physical and Mental Health Assessment
Before prescribing you hormones, your doctor will want to have a conversation to ensure you understand what can and cannot be accomplished with hormones, ensure you understand the risks and social implications of starting hormone therapy, and rule out or address any physical or mental health contraindications.
The health assessment should be geared towards ensuring you are
4. Initiate Hormones
Most doctors in Saskatchewan use the criteria set out in the WPATH Standards of Care when prescribing hormones. If you meet the following criteria, your doctor should be able to write you a prescription.
WPATH Criteria for Initiating Hormones
a. Age of majority (18)
b. Persistent well documented gender dysphoria (see below).
c. Capacity to make fully informed decisions and consent to treatment
d. If significant health or mental health concerns are present, they must be reasonably well controlled.
Diagnostic Criteria for Gender Dysphoria in Adults
1. A marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender, of at least 6 months’ duration, as manifested by at least two of the following:
– A marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and primary and/or secondary sex characteristics (or in young adolescents, the anticipated secondary sex characteristics).
– A strong desire to be rid of one’s primary and/or secondary sex characteristics because of a marked incongruence with one’s experienced/expressed gender (or in young adolescents, a desire to prevent the development of the anticipated secondary sex characteristics).
– A strong desire for the primary and/or secondary sex characteristics of the other gender.
– A strong desire to be of the other gender (or some alternative gender different from one’s assigned gender).
– A strong desire to be treated as the other gender (or some alternative gender different from one’s assigned gender).
– A strong conviction that one has the typical feelings and reactions of the other gender (or some alternative gender different from one’s assigned gender).
2. The condition is associated with clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
5. Monitor Hormones
Once you’ve started taking hormones, your doctor should be scheduling regular blood work and check-ups.
If your doctor is not monitoring your progress and ordering regular labs, you should have a conversation to ensure that begins happening. If your doctor requires information on how to monitor a hormone regime, you can provide the following resources:
- Sherbourne Health’s Guidelines and Protocols for Hormone Therapy and Primary Care for Trans Patients
– Trans Health BC’s guide to Physical Aspects of Transgender Endocrine Therapy
Who can perscribe hormones in Saskatchewan?
In Saskatchewan any doctor can prescribe hormones, however for a variety of personal and professional reasons many doctors do not feel comfortable prescribing hormones.
To find a doctor who will prescribe you hormones, take a look at our Health and Mental Health Provider list.
What will hormones do to my body, and what are the risks?
Hormones will affect every body differently, and before starting hormones, it’s important that you understand the effects and risks of hormone therapy. We recommend reviewing the resources provided by Rainbow Health Ontario:
I’m non-binary, can I still take hormones?
Absolutely! Every person has the right to bodily autonomy, and that includes the ability to access hormones and other transition-related healthcare regardless of your gender.
Non-binary people are often forced to jump through additional hoops before being able to access hormones and other transition related healthcare. This is because of a combination of lack of knowledge, and personal prejudice, that makes people believe that transitioning as a non-binary person is somehow different than transitioning as a binary person.
If you experiences difficulties obtaining a prescription for hormones, try another doctor from our Health and Mental Health Practioners list, or reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org; we can help advocate for your needs, or find another doctor who will prescribe hormones to non-binary people.
How much do hormones cost?
The amount you pay for hormones will vary depending on the type of hormones you are prescribed, and the dosages they are prescribed at. The values listed below represent approximate costs associated with the most common hormone therapy regimes, and may be significantly different than your costs.
Estrogen/Antiandrogen based hormone therapy typically costs around $40-$160/mo
Testosterone based hormone therapy typically costs around $20-$70/mo.
Hormones are covered by most health plans in Saskatchewan (Treaty Coverage, Sask Social Services, and most private plans). If you do not have a health plan, you may be eligible for Saskatchewan’s High Drug Cost Assistance program.
What if I’m making a terrible mistake?
Lots of people feel some degree of uncertainty around starting hormones – so know that you are not alone! Many of the people who do feel anxious or uncertain about starting hormones find that once they begin taking them, they start feeling a lot better. If you are feeling uncertain, we encourage you to talk to a doctor who prescribes hormones– they will be able to provide more information about the timelines and reversibility of effects, if those are concerns.
While many people speak to a doctor once they have already made the decision to start hormones, it’s good to remember that it is also absolutely ok to talk to a doctor if you haven’t made that decision yet.
I bought hormones off the Internet, is that ok?
Disclaimer: TransSask does not condone self-administering hormone therapy, and recommends sourcing hormones from licensed pharmacies whenever possible.
For a variety of socioeconomic reasons, trans people are sometimes denied access to hormone therapy. When that happens, some people take matters into their own hands, and find alternative ways of sourcing hormones. If you are sourcing hormones from anywhere except a licensed pharmacy, we recommend the following harm reduction techniques:
A) Find other transgender people who are self administering hormone therapy and stick to online pharmacies that are trusted by the community.
B) Talk to a doctor about the possibility of them monitoring your hormone therapy, or writing you a prescription for hormones. Many doctors take a harm reduction approach to treating patients who are self-administering hormones.
C) Do your research. For more information on what you should be concerned about, take a look at the following resources:
– Rainbow Health Ontario’s Estrogen/Antiandrogen Based Hormone Therapy
– Rainbow Health Ontario’s Testosterone Based Hormone Therapy
– Sherbourne Health’s Guidelines and Protocols for Hormone Therapy and Primary Care for Trans Patients
– Trans Health BC’s guide to Physical Aspects of Transgender Endocrine Therapy
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