When it comes to staying healthy and taking care of your body, there are lots of things to consider. For transgender and nonbinary people, there are even more considerations – from accessing gender-affirming healthcare to understanding your own fertility and how to stay safe through contraception and safer sex. In this blog, we’ll explore the essentials for staying healthy and taking care of your body if you are trans or nonbinary.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Introduction to Transgender and Nonbinary Sexual Health
- If I’m Trans or Nonbinary, What Are My Birth Control Options?
- Safer Sex Practices
- If I Am Using Gender-Affirming Hormones, Do I Need to Worry About Getting Pregnant?
- Official Guidance from the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH)
Introduction to Transgender and Nonbinary Sexual Health
The first step to understanding your own sexual health is learning more about the basics of trans and nonbinary healthcare. Transgender and nonbinary people have unique healthcare needs. At Plume, we know how important it is to find a healthcare team that is knowledgeable, respectful, and supportive. Learn more about how our Care Team can support you by clicking here!
It’s also a good idea to research local transgender community resources and organizations, as this can provide you with additional support and access to accurate information.
When it comes to health and wellness, transgender and nonbinary people may have different considerations than cisgender people. For example, you may need to consider gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT, sometimes also called HRT or hormone replacement therapy), gender-affirming surgeries, and other gender-affirming treatments. You may also have different considerations when it comes to fertility and contraception.
If I’m Trans or Nonbinary, What Are My Birth Control Options?
For transgender and nonbinary people, contraception is an important consideration. There are a variety of birth control options available for trans and nonbinary people, including hormonal methods, barrier methods, and long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs).
Hormonal methods, such as the pill, patch, ring, and injection, work by releasing hormones into the body to prevent pregnancy. Barrier methods, such as condoms and diaphragms, work by preventing sperm from entering the uterus. Long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) are devices such as intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants that are inserted into the body and are effective for up to five years.
Non-hormonal methods include condoms, diaphragms, the copper IUD, withdrawal, and non-penetrative sex.
It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider about which type of birth control is right for you. Your provider can help you make an informed decision based on your individual needs and health history
Safer Sex Practices
Safer sex practices are an important part of staying healthy and preventing the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). As a transgender and/or nonbinary person, it’s important to understand how certain hormone therapies and gender-affirming surgeries may impact your risk of infection. Bear in mind that statistical observations are based on studies, not a reflection of your lived experience! Your individualized needs are always best served by working with a provider who understands you, such as your Plume Care Team.
For example, because of your gender identity, you may be statistically at an increased risk of HIV. This could be either because of your sex life or because you use an injectable medication and don’t have access to clean syringes. To prevent the spread of HIV, it’s important to know your status and get tested for STIs. Always use condoms and other barrier methods.
Additionally, the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) recommends that people who are taking gender-affirming hormones should get tested for HIV and other STIs every three months.
If I Am Using Gender-Affirming Hormones, Do I Need to Worry About Getting Pregnant?
For some trans and nonbinary people, taking gender-affirming hormones may cause fertility issues. For example, if you are taking testosterone, it can cause your body to stop producing eggs, which can make it difficult for you to get pregnant.
If you are taking hormones, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider about your fertility options. If you are considering conceiving a child, you may wish to consider freezing your eggs or preserving your sperm. Additionally, if you are using gender-affirming hormones, it’s important to use contraception to prevent pregnancy. You can learn more about gender-affirming hormones and fertility here.
Official Guidance from the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH)
The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) is the official global organization for transgender healthcare providers. WPATH provides guidance and standards of care for transgender and nonbinary people, including guidance on fertility and contraception.
According to WPATH, transgender and nonbinary people should be offered the same contraceptive options as cisgender people. WPATH also recommends that transgender and nonbinary people who are using gender-affirming hormones should be offered additional contraception counseling, including information about fertility and the risks of pregnancy.
Transgender and nonbinary people have unique healthcare needs that must be taken into account when it comes to staying healthy. It’s important to understand your own fertility and contraception options, as well as the importance of safer sex practices. Additionally, it’s important to find a clinic where your provider is knowledgeable, respectful, and supportive. Plume is always here to answer questions and refer you to helpful resources!
If you have questions about safer sex, your birth control options, or how gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT, sometimes also called HRT) could affect your fertility, reach out to your Care Team. Together, you can develop an individualized plan to stay healthy and safe.