Transgender Hormone Therapy: What Should I Expect?
Transgender hormone therapy is a form of hormone-replacement therapy. This is done to ensure hormonal changes in the body of a transgender person so that their body aligns with their gender. The problem faced by a transgender person is that the sexual characteristics of their body do not match their gender identity. Transgender hormone therapy helps to correct this.
This therapy involves the administration of hormones. For transfeminine people, estrogens and antiandrogen hormones are administered; this is referred to as feminizing hormone therapy.
In the case of transmasculine people, androgen is given; this is called masculinizing hormone therapy.
How Transgender Hormone Therapy Is Conducted
The hormones for transgender hormone therapy may be administered in the form of oral medication. They can also be administered as an injection. Sometimes, they are given as a patch (cream or gel) or as a pellet (inserted under the skin once every three months).
What Can You Expect?
If you have started transgender hormone therapy, there are certain things you need to keep in mind:
It is sometimes described as second puberty: Just as puberty doesn’t happen overnight, similarly you cannot expect changes to happen very quickly with transgender hormone therapy. It takes time for the hormones to show their effects and make changes in your body.
Physical changes will manifest gradually: The first few weeks of treatment may cause the skin to become brittle, leading to easy cuts and bruises. The skin tends to become thinner and drier. Secondary sex characteristics also start to develop within a few weeks.
You can expect weight changes: Fat generally tends to accumulate on the hips and thighs, especially for those undergoing feminizing hormone therapy.
Hormone therapy can have an effect on muscle mass: Exercise is a must during transgender hormone therapy, because without it, fat can accumulate and will be very difficult to burn later.
The face and eyes will also see changes: They slowly show a more feminine or masculine appearance depending on the hormones taken.
Body hair changes occur: Body hair increases in the case of those taking androgen. Transfeminine people see a decrease in body hair.
The biggest impact is psychological: People experience an emotional rollercoaster ride during transgender hormone therapy. Just like in puberty when a teen develops mood swings, similarly during this “second puberty,” you will experience drastic mood changes. You may feel depressed for no reason.
Marked changes occur in your reproductive system: These can be confusing and scary. Make sure you talk to Mr. Inglefield regarding these changes. He will be able to advise you on how to best handle them.
Changes as a result of hormone therapy do not have to be permanent: If for any reason you are not happy with the way your body is changing, you can always stop the therapy.
Transgender hormone therapy can be considered by trans people who want to develop masculine/feminine body characteristics in line with their gender identity. It is a slow process but yields results. You will need to consult with Mr. Inglefield and have regular clinical visits to monitor your progress.
Arrange a Consultation with Mr. Inglefield
Plastic surgeon Mr. Chris Inglefield is an expert on all aspects of the gender-confirmation process. Contact us to set up a consultation with Mr. Inglefield, where you can ask any questions you may have.