FDA Says Puberty Blockers Are Linked to Brain Swelling in Children

FDA Says Puberty Blockers Are Linked to Brain Swelling in Children
  • Americans are bitterly divided on the issue of transgender children being allowed to transition.
  • Some parents have taken steps to suppress their children’s natural development.
  • Like Americans, doctors are also split on the issue, but some say it’s very dangerous.
  • New information alleges puberty blockers could injure the brains of children who take the medications.

(NewsReady.com) – The debate over whether transgender kids should be allowed to medically transition has been raging for years, with both parents and doctors bitterly divided. Advocates argue the medications allow kids to live as the gender they identify as, while critics worry the drugs will have an adverse and irreversible impact on a child’s body. Now, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is weighing in on the matter.

FDA Warning

In July, the FDA issued a warning about gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists. The federal health agency believes they’re a serious risk to children who take them to stop puberty from occurring. According to the alert, doctors studied six girls between the ages of 5 and 12 who were taking the hormone blockers and showed a “plausible association between GnRH agonist use and pseudotumor cerebri.”

The Mayo Clinic describes pseudotumor cerebri, also known as idiopathic intracranial hypertension, causes pressure on the brain. Symptoms of the disorder sometimes mimic tumors by increasing swelling, which can lead to vision loss, nausea, headaches, and other painful symptoms. Occasionally, it even results in surgery.

The FDA recommends doctors monitor patients who are taking puberty blockers for signs that they might have pressure on their brains. Unfortunately, the agency was unable to find a reliable incidence rate because the pool of cases was so small.

Pediatric Recommendations

As mentioned, the opinions on whether to use puberty blockers are mixed. The American Academy of Pediatrics released a statement in January 2022 making its position on the matter crystal clear. The national organization of pediatricians supports “gender-affirming care” and believes legislation to prohibit the medications is harmful because every patient is different.

The Mayo Clinic also doesn’t think an outright ban on the medications is the right way to go, but has recommended children meet strict guidelines before receiving the care. Some of the requirements are a child who:

  • has had intense, long-lasting patterns of gender dysphoria
  • is already in the beginning stages of puberty
  • has provided informed consent to their physician

Given the risks of intracranial pressure and the symptoms, including blindness, that result from the blockers, this is likely an issue that will continue to be debated by professionals and parents. Which side of the aisle do you fall on? Do you think kids should be able to take medication that pauses their puberty?

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