5 Tips for Taking Hormones During Gender Transition

James Wilson
August 17, 2018
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Approximately one out of 300 people in this country are transgender. The challenges and tribulations they face have drawn much more attention in recent years. The number of gender transition surgeries increased by 19 percent in 2016.

The process is different for every transgender patient. Some patients will need to undergo hormone replacement therapy (HRT) before they can receive surgery. A lot of factors come into play:

  • Proximity of their body type to the gender they intend to transition to.
  • Their current hormone levels.
  • Their body type and mass.
  • Their body’s tolerance for certain hormones.
  • Their willingness to receive a surgery without participating in hormone therapy first.

Patients receiving hormones for gender transition therapy must understand the process and potential side effects. Here are some insights they must keep in mind.

Understand the role of different hormones to make educated decisions

Knowledge and expertise of different doctors varies greatly. You need to make sure that you do your own research, in case your doctor tries prescribing hormones that aren’t appropriate.

It is important to be aware that there are three different types of hormones that are used in HRT therapy. One of these hormones, progestagen, is less commonly used for HRT. Medical experts have mixed opinions about itseffectiveness, because there is little empirical evidence to support its value. If your physician tries prescribing it, you should consider asking for second opinion. You don’t want to undergo treatment with a hormone that isn’t going to assist you.

Some doctors may also prescribe HGH along with their HRT medications. You need to understand its role and the effects it will have on your body.

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Base your dosage on your physician’s recommendations, not online literature or forums

Many transgender patients seek information from online platforms and forums, such as Susan‘s Place.These can be great support networks and offer valuable advice for overcoming some of the more mundane challenges that you will face while going through HRT.

However, you don’t want to use them for a reference when setting your hormone doses. The ideal therapeutic dose for patients going through gender transition varies significantly based on a number of different factors.

Only listen to your doctor’s recommendations. If the dose isn’t working for you, be sure to let them know. They will be able to adjust it accordingly.

Understand the different side effects

All medications have side effects. Due to the invasive nature of HRT medications, the changes to your body will be significant. Is important to understand the expected changes that will occur. You need to know whether the changes you are experiencing our normal or are side effects of gender transition medication.

Here are some of the most common side effects of HRT:

  • Bloating, indigestion and nausea
  • Lower body cramps and soreness
  • Headaches and fatigue
  • Swelling of the breasts and other parts of the body

Keep in mind that side effects will be different for MTF and FTM patients.

Be aware of the long-term risks

There are few long-term risks associated with HRT, but you need to be aware of them. The elevated risk of cancer is one of the biggest concerns.

According to the NHS, the risks of breast cancer increase slightly for MTF patients undergoing HRT. The prevalence of breast cancer for these patients is 27 per 1000 menopausal woman, compared to 22 per 1000 for women that did not participate in HRT.After five years of discontinuing HRT, the risk of breast cancer drops to normal levels.

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Make educated decisions about HRT

Going through gender transition therapy will be one of the most difficult things you do. Make sure that you understand the various risk factors and expected changes. Do not hesitate to speak with your doctor if you have any questions about the process.