Thursday, January 18, 2018

Expected Results From Hormone Therapy In Trans Men and Women

Hormone Therapy For Trans Men and WomenI would like to talk a little about what hormones can and cannot do for someone who is transitioning. I think the first thing is to point out that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is not some magic pill for transsexuals that makes everything better. The purpose of HRT is to develop secondary sex characteristics associated with ones gender identity thus helping the individual feel more comfortable with their own body. Also it must be noted that HRT can be very dangerous! More on the risks here: mtf and ftm. Lastly, for some people, particularly non-opt or pre-opt people it will not help hide external genitalia. Trans women will still need to tuck if they so choose, and trans men will still need to bind their breasts if they choose to as well.

Note that my intent here is to give a brief overview and this information is to serve only as a guide. Everyone is different and everyone has different results at different times. The effects listed below occur in varying amounts and some people do not experience all of these results in their entirety. Generally speaking, the less time that has passed since puberty the better one's response will be to HRT. The best way to get answers to what hormones can or cannot do for you is to consult your doctor.

That being said, here are some of the effects that can be expected when taking hormones...

HRT for trans women may...

  • Irreversible breast development
  • Irreversible nipple enlargement
  • Redistribution of body fat into a more feminine appearance
  • Decrease in muscle mass
  • Decrease in the appearance of veins
  • Thinning of the skin
  • Increased sensitivity to touch
  • Lessening of body hair
  • Slowed progression or a complete stop in male pattern baldness
  • Decreased in the size of ones testicles
  • Decrease in the number of (or the elimination of) morning erections
  • Decreased libido

What does not happen?
  • Estrogen does not effect one's beard growth. (Read more about hair removal here)
  • Estrogen does not regrow hair that has been lost due to male pattern baldness
  • Estrogen does not effect once vocal pitch
  • Estrogen does not change one's bone structure. While some fat is redistributed you will not magically gain hips. For those interested there are hip enhancement options!

HRT for trans men may...

  • Redistribution of body fat into a more masculine appearance
  • Increase in muscle mass
  • Increase in acne
  • Increase in body hair
  • Beard growth
  • Lowering of voice pitch
  • Cessation of menstrual cycle
  • Increase in the size of the clitoris
  • Increased libido

What does not happen?
  • Testosterone does not reverse breasts or nipple development
  • Testosterone does not change one's bone structure

General Questions

What are the risks of taking hormones?
This should be discussed with your doctor but I will say this... These chemicals are no joke so please do not attempt to self medicate. YOU CAN DIE! I also have a fairly in depth article for both mtf and ftm HRT risks.

Does you personality change after taking hormones?
From what I have read and what I have been told the answer is no. From experience it is a bit unclear. I know that I am not the same person I was when I started hormones but is it a correlation? I don't know. My gut says yes.

I find it more likely that as I become more comfortable with myself in my transition I am more comfortable expressing myself the way that I want. I also cannot discredit the notion that I am experimenting with my likes, dislikes, and my personality, something that is not unlike other girls going through puberty.

Does HRT effect my ability to have children?
Assume the answer to this is yes... Talk to a doctor before starting HRT if you think you may want to have children in the future.


Jasmine said...

I have heard of trans women who have regrowbn some hair from previously bald areas, if I am not mistaken it depends on long that area or individual hair follices have been bald. The longer the lower risk it will grow back. I know my hairline has gone foward a bit that is I have regrown some hair that has been lost.

Kind regards.

Kitty Kat Kat said...

Possible yes, likely... not so sure :) For me my hair loss stopped but has not improved

NĂ¥gon said...

For me I woke up one day. And felt sensations on my upper hair line and I looked and saw hairs come back. That was a happy day in my life. Though I was never really bald but my hair line was moving back and was moving back even before I started HRT.

If I am not mistaken it does seem like if one has lost hair in an area for a longer period the chances are slimmer that it may come back. But also HRT affects us all diffrently. :) Some trans wonmen lose allot of androgenic body hair, while others may only experience slim reduction over the years.

It may not be the best source but wikipedia does say
''Head hair may slightly change in texture, curl, and color (new hairs that is, not hair that has already formed and reached the surface prior to HRT), this is especially likely with hair growth from previously bald areas.''

Indicating that yeah, hair can possibly come back. :)

Lady Ann Velvet said...

Usually can help regrowth, but only what has recently been lost. Not what you lost years ago, Massaging the scalp when showering can stimulate hair growth as well.

Meg Lund said...

I didn't know that there was such a high risk in taking hormones. I'm glad that you suggest in your first general question that you make sure that you are staying regulated in what hormones you are taking with your doctor so that you can make sure you are going through the transition in a healthy manner. Being aware of this risk will definitely make me cautious as well as (I hope) everybody else taking supplemental hormones so that they don't risk their own lives. Thanks for your insight on the process you have taken in your own transition and your experience in hormone therapy.

Anonymous said...

Although I see the point of the recommendation to seek a doctor´s advice I must mention that they are no gods in white and don´t know everything, some even too little. I know by experience concerning other issues in my life time. In one case I went to not less than 8 (!) specialists who gave me 8 different diagnoses, all considering the one before as complete humbug. None, I repeat: none had treated me as an individual but what I call a "standard patient" (which does not really exist). None had considered life circumstances, eating, drinking, sleeping habits, psycholgical and/or social background etc. etc.

To put it in a nutshell: Whatever you choose to do above all use your common sense, seek independent information, use medical services only where unavoidable (e.g. tests) and draw your own conclusions.

Anonymous said...

I'm 55 and took MTF hormones off and on over several years under a doctor's care. To briefly explain, going through the changes was exciting and made me feel wonderful about myself, but once my breasts became impossible to hide I'd become socially terrified, have a "WTF am I doing" episode, and take a break from the hormones to allow me to get my mind around things. Once I was comfortable I'd resume. I repeated this cycle many times over a 10 year period. I never quit presenting as a man so I never had to technically de-transition, but a little over 5 years ago I decided to abandon this path because the stress of the transition was too hard on me. I applaud those who can stay true. I thought of having a double mastectomy because I don't have pecs, I have big 44C breasts and they're the first thing to enter the room, but I decided this was the one thing I did to feel good about myself so I decided to keep them.

With that said, I want to mention the changes the hormones had on my body because most have proven to be permanent for me. Note that I've been off hormones now for 5 years.

1) I have 44C breasts. My nipples never grew much, but my areolas grew to over 2-1/4" in diameter. Since stopping hormones neither my breasts nor my areolas have reduced in size at all. On the contrary, my breasts periodically starts growing again. My breasts become super firm, my areolas become overly enlarged and puffy, and my nipples get all dark. My nipples and areolas both get firm and super sensitive and overly erotic just like when I was on hormones. My breasts now almost completely fill a D-cup. I'm not taking anything so I credit this to my medications and age.

2) Hormones permanently emasculated me. The size of my testicles went from pinballs to white grapes. My penis was never big, but it's now embarrassingly small and for practical purposes I'm now impotent. I've regained the ability to occasionally get a soft erection but not firm enough for sex. Neither my penis nor my testicles ever regained any size. According to my latest bloodwork my testosterone is still way below normal for my age but they're coming up. My doctor says I'm producing enough to maintain bone density and doesn't want to put me on testosterone shots yet, but for me, the hormones basically left me as a eunuch.

3) Literature says hormones causes fat redistribution and if stopped the fat will be redistributed back into a masculine shape. This hasn't been my experience. Once the hormones started working they caused any NEW fat to go to my hips, butt, and thighs and my body is still distributing fat there today. Until my testosterone levels come up into an acceptable range, if ever, my body will continue to be feminized. I'm actually ok with this. I just wish men's pants would fit again.

So while the older you are the less feminization hormones may have on you. However, the older you are the longer it will be before your body remembers it's a man again. I'm questioning if my body ever will. As long as I'm healthy I'm ok.