Hormones. When coming out as trans, many of us want to take hormones, but don’t know what to expect? I’ve had a few endocrinologists and doctors over the years who couldn’t really tell me what to look forward to, which is another reason fighting for trans healthcare should be at the top of your list. One thing you’ll notice is many people will say, "your mileage may vary," (YMMV) and that's true. Everyone is different and, depending on other factors (i.e., age, heredity, pre-existing medical conditions), your body will react in a unique way.
Check out some of the common and major changes that you can expect when you start hormones:
1. Facial/Body Hair
Trans guys, get your razors ready. Typically, you can expect an increase in body and facial hair on testosterone (T) (with hair loss or thinning on your head), while many trans women report a reduction in facial and body hair thanks to estrogen (E). Overall, hair also has a huge hereditary factor. If you come from a long line of super hairy people, you’ll probably follow suit no matter your gender.
2. Body Fat Redistribution
Get ready for the “second puberty” munchies! For trans women, body fat redistribution can be a major thing. The prevailing narrative is that women are curvier, so the interesting thing is that E can often help with this by filling out your hips, breasts and even your cheeks. Again, heredity plays into this so pay attention to your relatives. As well, trans folks on T tend to lose those curves and redistribution, in addition to losing some size in their chests.
Long-term use of hormones is associated with infertility in both trans women and men. If you desire biological children, cryopreservation (sperm banking or egg freezing) is important to tackle before starting hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Additionally, trans men usually stop having periods. However, there are cases of trans men stopping hormones for a period to have children.
Mood swings. They happen on both sides of the spectrum. Many trans men report having a short fuse and being less tolerant of the BS, while trans women, on the other hand, often report being more in tune with all of their emotions from sadness, anger and happiness. Just remember, your body is going through many changes and it’s natural.
Trans women can usually expect their skin to feel softer and look clearer. Trans masculine folks, on the other hand, often deal with oilier skin and acne. No fear, there are so many treatments, meds and products out there. Good luck!
6. Strength/Muscle Mass
Feminizing hormones will certainly cause a decrease in muscle mass over time, as well as a decrease in strength. T will make it easier to gain muscle, but keep in mind that all of this is highly dependent on your exercise frequency. Regardless, we should all stay active.
While hormones typically don't affect the voices of trans women, trans men tend to develop deeper voices in as early as a few weeks. Don't be surprised if people start wondering if you're a completely different person on the phone.
Clearly, this is not a complete list, but it’s certainly a start. Many awesome trans folks have documented their transitions all over the web, especially on YouTube.
Remember hang in there because at the end of the day your worth, your beauty/handsomeness is not contingent on hormones!