Health concerns for transgender people

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Health concerns for transgender people

Understand common health concerns for transgender and gender-diverse people, and get tips for maintaining good health.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Everyone faces certain health risks. But there are specific health concerns that transgender and gender-diverse people need to be aware of.

Some of these health concerns may be due to an experience called gender minority stress, which often involves:

  • Negative attitudes and disapproval toward transgender and gender-diverse people. This is sometimes called social stigma.
  • Discrimination, abuse, harassment, neglect, rejection or unfair treatment of transgender and gender-diverse people.
  • Turning the negative attitudes or behaviors of others into negative attitudes and thoughts about oneself. This is called internalized stigma.

Gender minority stress is linked to transgender and gender-diverse people seeking preventive health care and health screenings less often than do other people. This might be due to a lack of insurance coverage, being refused care, difficulty finding a health care provider with expertise in transgender care or fear of discrimination in a health care setting.

Because of gender minority stress, transgender people may be at higher risk of:

  • Emotional and psychological abuse.
  • Physical and sexual violence.
  • Sexually transmitted infections.
  • Substance misuse.
  • Mental health problems, such as depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide.

What you can do

Make health care a priority

Don’t avoid getting health care out of concern that you may have a negative interaction with a health care provider. Look for a provider who has expertise in transgender health, who understands your concerns and who puts you at ease.

For guidance finding a provider with transgender expertise, check the websites for WPATH: World Professional Association for Transgender Health and GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality.

Once you find a health care provider with whom you feel comfortable and safe, be open about your health history. Talk with your provider about:

  • Your gender identity.
  • Medicines or supplements you take or have taken.
  • Surgeries or procedures you’ve had.
  • Health problems or concerns you may have.
  • Any family history of medical conditions you may have.
  • Your sexual history.
  • Stress or discrimination you may have experienced and how you cope.
  • Mental health concerns you may have, including anxiety, depression or any past suicidal thoughts or attempts.

The more your provider knows about you, the better equipped your provider will be to help guide your health care.

Get preventive care

It’s important that you get the vaccinations you need, as well as tests to screen for possible health problems. Talk with your health care provider about what’s right for you.

Recommended screenings may include tests for the following conditions:

  • Breast cancer.
  • Cervical cancer.
  • Colon cancer.
  • Diabetes.
  • Heart disease.
  • Hepatitis.
  • High blood pressure.
  • High cholesterol.
  • Osteoporosis.
  • Prostate cancer.

Your provider also may recommend screenings for:

  • Mental health conditions.
  • Substance misuse.
  • Sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
  • Intimate partner violence.

If you’ve had gender-affirming care — such as hormone therapy or surgery, or other gender-related health care — tell your health care provider about it. Based on that information, your provider may recommend additional screenings or preventive care.

Your health is important. If you’re due for a screening, don’t put it off. And share with your health care provider any health concerns you might have. Open communication between you and your provider can help promote good long-term health.

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Feb. 04, 2023

  1. AskMayoExpert. Healthcare for transgender and gender diverse people. Mayo Clinic; 2022.
  2. Keuroghlian AS, et al., eds. Basic principles of trauma-informed and gender-affirming care. In: Transgender and Gender Diverse Health Care: The Fenway Guide. McGraw Hill; 2022. https://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com. Accessed Dec. 19, 2022.
  3. Coleman E, et al. Primary care. In: Standards of Care for the Health of Transsexual, Transgender and Gender Nonconforming People. 8th version. World Professional Association for Transgender Health; 2022. https://www.wpath.org/publications/soc. Accessed Dec. 19, 2022.
  4. Feldman J, et al. Primary care of transgender individuals. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed Dec. 15, 2022.
  5. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Committee Opinion No. 823: Health care for transgender and gender diverse individuals. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 2021; doi:10.1097/AOG.0000000000004294.
  6. Erickson-Schroth L, ed. General, sexual and reproductive health. In: Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource by and for Transgender Communities. 2nd ed. Kindle edition. Oxford University Press; 2022. Accessed Dec. 21, 2022.

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