For many transgender men and women, hormone replacement therapy or HRT offers a path to realigning their physical body with their gender identity. By altering the hormones in the body, certain sex characteristics can be changed from the sex assigned at birth to closer match a person’s internal gender. HRT changes do not occur overnight and there are side effects to be aware of before beginning HRT. Here are some of the basic expectations and possible side effects of feminizing and masculinizing HRT.
What to Expect with Feminizing HRT
For feminizing HRT, you will be using one medication to block androgen receptors and estrogen to increase feminine traits while reducing testosterone production. Changes occur to your body over several months, including (in chronological order):
- Decreased libido and erections
- Slowing of hair loss on the scalp
- Soft skin
- Testicular atrophy and breast development
- Body fat redistribution and decreased muscle mass
- Decreased facial and body hair growth
What to Expect with Masculinizing HRT
Those who undergo masculinizing HRT will be receiving testosterone therapy. The process begins with lower doses and increases over time. When masculinizing HRT begins in adolescents, it can stop the formation of secondary feminine traits. For adult patients, it can begin to alter the physical traits of the body over several months, including (in chronological order):
- Menstrual cycle will stop
- Voice will deepen
- Increased body and facial hair
- Body fat redistribution
- Vaginal atrophy and clitoral enlargement
- Increased muscle mass
Most hormone changes begin within 3-6 months after treatment begins for both feminizing and masculinizing HRT, but some may be noticed within one month. Some changes are permanent, while others require ongoing treatment to maintain results.
Transgender HRT is a long process with many rewards, but it is important to understand the possible side effects. Our knowledgeable medical team can discuss the benefits and what to expect during transgender hormone replacement therapy. To learn more about our transgender HRT services at Arcadia Wellness Center, contact our office in Phoenix to schedule a consultation.