The author is not a medical professional, and this information should not be considered medical advice. This information should NOT be used to replace consultation with or treatment by a trained medical professional. The listing of a medication herein does not imply endorsement by the author.
Overview What kind of changes does T therapy bring? Other changes reported by trans men Will T make me a different person? How fast do the changes happen? If I double up my doses, will my changes happen twice as fast?
Can I decide which changes I will get? Do I have to stay on T my whole life? What will happen if I stop taking T?
What changes are permanent? Bone Density: An important factor to consider What are the different types of testosterone available, and how do I take them? What are the health concerns associated with FTM testosterone therapy? Where can I find reliable information about testosterone and health care to show my doctor? Also check out the page ” Myths and Misconceptions about Testosterone, Transition, and Trans Men ” for additional information. Overview For trans men who have been born into “typically female bodies” i.
In FTM testosterone therapy, testosterone often called “T” for short can be administered into the body in a number of ways. The most common method is intramuscular injection with a syringe.
Testosterone is not stored by the body for future use, so in order to maintain healthy levels, it must be administered in timed intervals and in appropriate dosages. Injectable and subcutaneous T pellets remain active in the body the longest. For more information on different types of T and common dosages, click here. What kind of changes does T therapy bring? Over time, the ongoing administration of testosterone will result in the development of masculine secondary sex characteristics, as well as the cessation of menses monthly periods.
The following masculinizing effects can be expected as a result of testosterone therapy. These effects may take several months to be noticeable, and will continue to develop over a period of years. Other changes reported by trans men The changes listed below have been noted anecdotally by some trans men, but are not usually listed in the medical literature as masculinizing effects of testosterone therapy.
Will T make me a different person? Many people worry that taking T will drastically change their personality, or that it will make them become a different person on the inside.
Hudson’s Guide: FTM Testosterone Therapy Basics
While T may effect certain moods and feelings, it is generally not considered to be something that will magically change who a person is at their core.
Of course, taking T is usually a life-changing experience, and with any life-changing experience one can expect to feel some changes, both good and bad. However, for the most part, the person taking T will not suddenly become someone else.
Hudson’s Guide: FTM Testosterone Therapy Basics
See also Myths and Misconceptions about Testosterone, Transition, and Trans Men for a more detailed discussion of this point. The speed at which changes take place will differ depending on several variables, including the dosage of T, the intervals at which it is taken, the delivery method used, and the individual’s own bodily sensitivity to the effects of testosterone.
In other words, not all individuals will see the same results from T therapy- even at the same dosage and over the same period of time! Some men both trans and non-trans simply do not tend to grow thick facial or body hair.
Some men tend toward male-pattern baldness, and some tend toward deeper voices. There will always be a range in the characteristics that different individuals will develop.
It has been hypothesized that the earlier hormone therapy is started in life, the more effective it will be in terms of masculinizing effects. However, many trans men have begun hormone therapy late in life and have been very satisfied with their results.
In general, the first changes noticed by most trans men upon starting T therapy are lowering of the voice, increased sex drive, and enlargement of the clitoris.
These changes usually begin to happen within the first few months of hormone treatment. Changes from taking testosterone are cumulative, meaning that they build gradually over time. It may take several years, for example, for a beard to fully grow in, even though the first signs of facial hair might begin on the upper lip or chin during the first few months of treatment.
Believe it or not, it is possible that doubling your dose might actually slow your changes. This is because excess testosterone in your body can be converted into estrogen by an enzyme called “aromatase.
Hudson’s Guide: FTM Testosterone Therapy Basics
Therefore, taking very large doses of testosterone might not be a great idea.
Speak openly to your doctor, have your T levels checked periodically especially during the first year of treatmenttake note of your changes and the feelings in your body, and adjust your dosage within reasonable limits if necessary. You might even find that a slightly lower dose could work better for you.
For more on T dosing, click here to go to the section ” Testosterone Types and Delivery. It is not possible to pick and choose which changes will come with T therapy, just as it is impossible to predict exactly when they will occur and to what degree.
You might look at your father, male siblings or other male relatives on either side of your family to try to predict possible results, but even that might not be an accurate indicator of what is to come. Consider, too, the fact that most non-trans boys cannot pick and choose what happens to their own bodies when they go through puberty.
Some non-trans guys end up with acne while others have clear skin, some grow lots of facial hair quickly while others can never grow a beard or mustache, some develop deep voices while others might see little change in their voices over time, some experience male-pattern baldness at and early age while others keep a full head of hair their whole lives, and so on.
There is a wide range of characteristics in all men and in all people, for that matterand we cannot always predict which changes or characteristics we will develop individually. Generally, most trans men remain on a maintenance level of T for their whole lives, even after they have gone through significant masculinization.
There are a number of reasons for this, both health-related and emotionally-related. First, if your ovaries are still present and functional, the cessation of testosterone may cause the return of certain feminine body characteristics, including monthly periods see section below on ” What changes are permanent?
Second, if your ovaries have been removed or are no longer functional and you stop taking testosterone, your body will not be able to produce a “normal” amount of either estrogen or testosterone by itself. This would cause a menopause-like state, which could include hot flashes, loss of bone mass see also the section below on bone densityand other health considerations.
Maintaining a level of testosterone within a healthy range over the lifetime of a trans man can protect against those potential problems. There are differing medical opinions as to the benefits and drawbacks to hormone replacement therapies- be sure to speak to your doctor if you are considering stopping testosterone therapy for any reason. There are other reasons why trans men remain on T for their whole lives. Many feel more emotionally balanced and at home in their bodies with a maintenance level of testosterone.
T can also help maintain the libido. Finally, for some men, testosterone is an integral part of their male identity. You may choose to stop taking T at any time, either for health or personal reasons.
Some of the effects of testosterone are permanent, and some are reversible, as summarized below. It should be noted that starting and stopping hormone therapies will have a major effect on your body as it is forced to adjust to changes.
Therefore, all health considerations should be weighed carefully with a medical professional before beginning or ending any hormonal treatment. Voice: The voice should stay at the pitch level that it has reached at the point T therapy is stopped.
It might change slightly in texture or growth rate- depending in part on whether the individual’s ovaries are still active and producing estrogen- but the beard will not disappear.
Electrolysis would be required for permanent hair removal. If the individual does not have a large body fat percentage to begin with and remains trim, a return to female fat patterns won’t be as dramatic.
Hair Loss on Head: There have been different anecdotal reports regarding the rate of hair loss upon stopping T. Some individuals who have quit taking T report that their hair loss stopped immediately. Others report that their hair continued to fall out for a while after stopping T. If an individual has lost some head hair, it most likely will not grow back upon stopping T. Red blood cell count and cholesterol levels will probably revert to levels that are closer to the prior, pre-T levels.
Again, whether or not an individual has functioning ovaries may play a part in the results, as will overall health. Bone Density: An important factor to consider In general, the maintenance of healthy bone density in all people is partly dependent on both estrogen and testosterone levels. When an individual’s body produces estrogen as its main sex hormone as in the case of female-bodied peoplethat estrogen in healthy levels protects against bone loss.
If a female-bodied person were to begin testosterone therapy, there would be a time of transition in the body while hormone levels adjust. If a trans man discontinues testosterone therapy, there are two possible outcomes for his hormone balance. If he still has his ovaries and they are still functional, the cessation of testosterone would shift the body back to a more estrogen-dominant system. If he no longer has functional ovaries due to oophorectomy or some other reason, then the cessation of testosterone would leave him without a significant amount of either testosterone or estrogen in his system.
This would be problematic for maintaining bone density. Some medical professionals therefore advise against stopping testosterone treatment once the ovaries have been surgically removed or are no longer functional. It is thought that continuing a maintenance dose of testosterone or estrogen, in the event that an individual no longer wishes to continue testosterone therapy, though this would of course have feminizing effects will help protect against bone loss and osteoporosis, a condition that literally means “porous bones.
All these factors should be considered and discussed with your doctor to help ensure healthy bones. What are the different types of testosterone available, and how do I take them?
To learn learn more about the different types of testosterone, examples of dosages, and the different delivery methods for testosterone, please go to the section ” Testosterone Types and Delivery.
To learn more about related health concerns, please go to the section ” FTM Testosterone Therapy and General Health. Check out the following two web sites, which contain free, downloadable information written by care providers for care providers and trans patients. You may wish to forward these web addresses to your care provider s. Nick Gorton’s site www.2015genelsecim.org Contains the downloadable book Medical Therapy and Health Maintenance for Transgender Men: A Guide For Health Care Providers by R.
Nick Gorton MD, Jamie Buth MD, and Dean Spade Esq. This is the most complete care guide available for FTM patients to date- an excellent resource to show your doctor. Their materials are downloadable in PDF, and cover numerous topics of concern to trans people and their care providers. Another great site to show your doctor.
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Testosterone Levels Test Results are in (read it and despair Heretics)
Information and FAQ about testosterone therapy and transition for FTM transsexuals and transgender people.