The Special Care Needs of the LGBTQ+ Community

Happy Pride Month!!!!

We are reposting an old post broadly discussing the LGBTQ+ community, with special focus on transgender individuals. Please keep checking back as we continue to discuss specific issues relating to the care of the LGBTQ+ community.  

Amy Stein PT, DPT and Fiona McMahon PT, DPT

rainbow flag

Who are LGBTQ+ individuals?

At Beyond Basics Physical Therapy, we have been meeting and studying with experts about the LGBTQ + community. LGBTQ+ refers to individuals who do not identify as heterosexual or do not identify as cis- gendered (although these two categories are not mutually exclusive). Cis-gender means you identify with the genital anatomy you were born with. People who belong to the LGBTQ+ community can be cis-gendered (meaning they identify with the genital anatomy that they were born with) and be gay/lesbian/ bisexual/ questioning etc.  They can be transgender and heterosexual or some combination thereof. Basically LGBTQ+ is a term that includes people who are not both cis-gender and heterosexual. LGBTQ+ is an acronym for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, and other individuals.  

Never Assume. Listen, Ask.

We were excited to understand and learn more about how we can help, specifically with patients experiencing pain or weakness in the pelvic floor..  First rule of thumb:  with all patients, don’t assume and be open to any questions or discussion. Ask if your patient would like you to stay away from certain terms regarding their anatomy, as well as their   pronouns. Use language that they want us to use.

For everyone, we want to get the medical and surgical history during or prior to the visit. In the trans community, we must be informed as to what gender affirming interventions an individual has had in the past as that will more than likely inform their care.  Hormones,  lupron, puberty blocking, and testosterone suppressing agents can be used in many patients, but are also used specifically to aid in transition in transgender patients. Many hormones have side effects and our patients need be educated on the various options. 

For those who opt for surgical transition, complications like pelvic pain and or weakness may arise and it is important to keep keen eye on the lookout should they arise.  Like we mentioned before, there is no one surgical protocol and it will vary from surgeon to surgeon, from changes in hormones from the removal of certain organs.  Knowing what tissues have been removed or moved and or where scar tissue could have been formed, is important to best address a patient’s symptoms.  Also, it’s important to ask if the patient was having these symptoms or pain prior to any of the surgeries or hormonal medications. 

How can physical therapy help?

At Beyond Basics Physical Therapy, we specialize in abdomino-pelvic disorders, including pain, weakness, bladder, bowel and sexual dysfunction.  We also specialize in orthopedics and functional manual therapy.  We treat the LGBTQ+ community and we welcome any questions at desk@beyondbasicspt.com or call 212-354-2622. We are happy to help and look forward to hearing from you!
Resources: Center of excellence for transgender health.

WPATH center for care Endocrine Society

  • speaks on hormone therapy (however some information may be out of date).

 Adolescent Health Center

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