If you have received a letter from your therapist indicating a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, then it’s time to start the hormone replacement therapy (HRT) phase of your transgender FTM transition. This generally involves the use of testosterone to begin changing the way your body is shaped, distributes fat and displays such secondary sex characteristics as facial hair.
Most commonly, patients receive testosterone therapy through injections with a syringe. However, other methods include sending it through the skin with a patch, cream or gel. Some patients take tablets orally, although some research connects oral testosterone with liver damage. Still others have pellets inserted beneath the skin or dissolving a tablet on their gums or beneath the tongue. The choice depends on such factors as cost, personal preference and the individuals health benefits or risks.
While different transgender FTM patients respond to testosterone therapy differently, there are a number of common effects that most patients can expect to see. Because every patient is different, the speed in which these effects become visible differs. Some take a few months before you notice them, while others develop more slowly as several years go by.
Effects on the voice include a deepening as the vocal cords thicken. Facial hair will come in, as a mustache and/or beard will start to appear. Hair also appears elsewhere on the body, most noticeably on the arms, chest, legs, back and belly. The body’s muscles will grow, particularly if the testosterone therapy is accompanied by weight training. Menstruation will stop, and the clitoris will enlarge. Body fat will move to where the body looks more masculine, shifting from the buttocks, thighs and hips to the abdomen.
Transgender FTM patients on testosterone therapy will also start to notice that the skin’s oil glands are more active — which can lead to acne outbreaks. The skin may also develop a rougher texture, and body odors may change. A physical examination may reveal that cholesterol levels will alter, as the “good” (HDL) cholesterol will decrease while the “bad” (LDL) levels will go up. Also, red blood cell counts may increase. Finally, sex drive may also go up as well.
Some other anecdotal changes include increases in appetite and energy level. Some patients report growth in the width of the hands and in the size of the feet. This may be the result of growth in muscle, cartilage or connective tissue. Some patients also report that they have a shorter fuse or feel down at different points in the testosterone cycle. Hormone treatments can cause emotional changes in transgender FTM patients, but there is no evidence connecting these changes with extreme behavior.
Sexchangeoperation.net has listings and reviews for professionals who can help you with the hormone replacement therapy in your transgender FTM process. Put this information to work for you as you consider what steps are going to be the right ones for you. Every transgender FTM patient is unique — which means that the path to wellness is unique as well.