The human body produces dozens of different hormones which are released into the bloodstream and moved around the body. Some of these hormones are sex hormones, such as testosterone or estrogen. All men and woman produce both of these hormones, although men produce less estrogen and women produce less testosterone. For the transgender individual, transgender therapy can include receiving a higher dose of hormones of the sex of their identity.
Effects of Hormones
Testosterone has mostly masculinizing effects while estrogen has largely feminizing effects. The hormones in the body affect the way your reproductive system develops, as well as your height and build, how fat is distributed, and your level of muscle bulk. At puberty, these sex hormones help to develop sex characteristic like breasts, periods, body hair, facial hair, and deepening voice.
Physical Effects of Hormones
For a transgender woman, transgender therapy with hormones will cause many changes. It will redistribute fat to be around the hips. The testicles and penis may grow smaller and some transgender woman also find it harder to achieve erections. Muscle bulk can drop, and breasts may begin to feel tender or begin to grow. Facial and body hair may become weaker and male pattern baldness can slow or even stop.
Transgender men, on the other hand, will find that hormone therapy leads to the growth of body and facial hair. Male pattern baldness may also occur. The clitoris begins to increase in size and the libido may increase. The voice will deepen, and muscle bulk will increase. Some transgender men will develop acne and periods will start, although there may be breakthrough bleeding.
Length of Time on Hormones
Transgender individuals will take hormone treatments for the rest of their lives, assuming the effects are desired. However, if the testes or the ovaries are removed, your dose of hormones will be reduced, but not discontinued, in order to keep the changes that you want. Those who are on hormone blockers will no longer need to continue taking them.
Mode of Treatment
Transgender women may choose to utilize patches, gels, or pills that contain estrogen. Some transwomen will also take medication that reduces the effect of testosterone. Transgender men will take testosterone through injection, tablet, gels, patches, or pellets.