Blog Series, Blogging A-Z, LGBT, Mental Health, Transition

H is for Hormone’s

What do they do? How do they do it? How long will it take for XYZ to happen? How do I get them?

I can’t answer all of the questions, I especially don’t know a lot about feminising hormones, I want to preface this by admitting that I do not know all about hormones, but I thought for today I would cover what I do know.

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Hormones affect everyone differently!

This is key. Not everyone reacts the same, not everyone’s bodies work the same. The way hormones of any kind affect you relates to how your body is made up. It goes based on genetics, what your family look like, how hormones affected them, etcetera. It isn’t an exact science, but it is a good guess to base your look on. A lot of guys I know who are on hormones now look similar to the males in their families, again though this is not always a dead certainty.

The way you get hormones varies from country to country, and even state to state if you are in America.
Over here, the first thing you’ll need to do is speak to your GP, or another medical professional who can make referrals. In Brighton, if you are worried about speaking to your GP, you can go to the 3 monthly Clinic T, where some of the staff there are happy to refer you. It is about making sure a medical professional can see you. In most cases, you need to be referred to a GIC. However, this isn’t the quickest of things and you have to be prepared to wait.

In some places, you can be referred to an endocrinology department who may be happy to prescribe you hormones. It isn’t the case everywhere, but it is worth looking into. In Brighton again, it is possible, so speak to your medical professional about it. They can then assess you, in both pathways, and see if you are right to receive them based on an assessment from gender professionals, which includes blood tests.

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Image not my own, but I thought it wonderful!

You need to get your levels observed.

I do not support self medicating, and so I shall not be giving any advice around that except to say even if you are self medicating, you need to have your levels observed. This makes sure the hormones are affecting you in good ways, and allows doctors and other medical professionals to keep an eye on everything, and medicate you/refer you if things go wrong. I am really out of date on my blood tests and had to go to my GP recently to make sure I could get them checked, so I am doing so the week after next (they are doing it at a specific time for me). Even if you are out of  date on getting them checked like me, do it. Especially if you are out of date. You need to make sure nothing is going wrong.

Some effects of testosterone are reversible, but a lot are not. Don’t get pressured into taking hormones.
Be certain you want to be on hormones before you agree to it. If you feel you are being pressured by professionals or people close to you, take a step back and tell them it is your decision. There is no rulebook that states you have to go on hormones if you are trans, even the medical advice in the UK states you have full control over the choice to be on them or not (as long as you assessed to be suitable of course).

To give you a better idea, here are some of the changes you may get on testosterone treatment.

For trans men, taking Androgens i.e.; testosterone cause among other changes:

    Increased musculature and decreased body fat
    The development of facial and body hair
    Deepening of the voice

Irreversible changes

    Deepening of the voice
    Growth of facial and body hair
    Male-pattern baldness (in some individuals)
    Enlargement of the clitoris
    Growth spurt and closure of growth plates if given before the end of puberty
    Breast atrophy – possible shrinking and/or softening of breasts

Reversible changes

    Increased libido
    Redistribution of body fat
    Cessation of ovulation and menstruation
    Further muscle development (especially upper body)
    Increased sweat and changes in body odor
    Prominence of veins and coarser skin
    Acne (especially in the first few years of therapy)
    Alterations in blood lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides)
    Increased red blood cell count

Taken from the Wikipedia article.

I hope this post has been somewhat helpful for some people, and educational for others. If you have anything else to add, let me know, is there anything else you are unsure about? Leave me a comment and I will try my best to answer it – maybe even adding it to the post itself.

Keep an eye out for my next post in the A-Z Challenge, I, for I Am… where I talk about being more than just my gender. See you soon!

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