Hormone Replacement Therapy
Method: Injections, Gel, Patches, or Pill. Most common methods are injections and gel.
Timeline of Changes *Remember everyone is different and changes come at different times for everyone*
1-3 Months after Starting Testosterone
- Increased Sex Drive
- Vaginal Dryness
- Clitoral Growth
- Growth, coarseness, and thickness of hairs on arms, legs, chest, back and abdomen.
- Oilier skin
- Increased acne
- Increased muscle mass and upper body strength
- Redistribution of body fat to a more masculine pattern (more fat around the waist, less around the hips)
1-6 Months after starting Testosterone:
- Menstrual periods stop
3-6 Months after starting Testosterone:
- Voice starts to crack and drop within first 3-6 months, but can take a year to finish changing
- Year of more after starting testosterone:
- Gradual growth of facial hair (usually takes 1-4 years to reach full growth)
- Possible male-pattern baldness.
*Testosterone affects the entire body, it is not possible to get some changes without others*
As you will need to continue meeting with your endocrinologist to ensure your body is reacting as it should to the testosterone you will be asked about changes to your body. In the first two years, when most of the changes take place, your doctor will most likely ask/do the following:
- Look at your facial/body hair and, if you shave, ask how quickly your hair grows back.
- Ask about changes to your sex drive, clitoris, or other sexual changes.
- Changes to menstruation
- Changes to skin
- Changes to voice
- Order a blood test to see what your hormone levels are
- Ask how you feel about the changes that have happened thus far. After two years have passed, you will most likely be asked what (if any) new changes you’re experiencing and how you are feeling.
- Deeper voice
- Male-pattern baldness
Possibly Permanent Changes
- Clitoral growth
- Body and facial hair will decrease but does not usually disappear completely.
- Menstrual periods will return
- Fat/muscle/skin changes will reverse
Risks of Testosterone
- Decrease of good cholesterol and increase of bad cholesterol
- Increase fat deposits around internal organs and in the upper abdomen
- Increase blood pressure
- Decrease body sensitivity to insulin
- Cause weight gain
- Can increase red blood cells and hemoglobin
- Cause or worsen headaches and migraines
Maximize the Benefits & Minimize the Risks
- Be informed: Understand how testosterone works, what to expect, possible side-effects/risks, ask questions, do research.
- Stop Smoking (or at least cut down): Smoking increases the risks involved with testosterone therapy, so if you smoke testosterone levels might have to be kept low.
- Find a trustworthy health care provider: You’ll need to talk to someone you can trust and be able to share what you wants, concerns, questions, and provide information of all medical history. Lying or hiding anything to do with your health (physical or mental) can be very dangerous.
- Deal with problems early on: Waiting to deal with issues resulting from the hormone therapy can make things worse.
- Don’t change medication on your own: Never start or stop testosterone of change the dose of your testosterone without permission from a doctor.
- Notice Mental Health: Keep doing check-ins with yourself and mental health professionals.