Q: What is Hormone Replacement Therapy?
A: Sometimes written as HRT, Hormone Replacement Therapy is when a Doctor prescribes a synthetic hormonal regiment to a patient that wishes to medically transition. Injecting a regular dose of Testosterone will cause characteristics of the typical cismale to occur, much like a second puberty.
Changes include facial and body hair development, deepening of the voice, a shift in muscles mass and body fat, and an overall masculinization of the body.
Q: What can I expect from a Hormonal Transition?
A: Like we said above, Hormonal Transition is much like a Second Puberty. A lot of us have experienced side effects of increased appetite and sex drive, a change in our physical bodies, and a change not often talked about- A mental one.
The first few months you’re going to notice the changes to your sexual organs. An enlargement of the clitorus and the sensations of erections.
On average, any menstruations still occurring will stop around 1 month to 6 months from your first few shots.
Over the year your body hair will begin to thicken and grow in a way typical with your genes. Your voice will begin to crack and deepen, much like a 14-16 year old cismale within the 1-3 year zone.
Facial hair may start sooner, but a full beard may take anywhere from 4-6 years.
Q: Can I stop taking Testosterone once I’ve started?
A: When it comes down to it, you can do whatever you want, it’s your transition. If you’re planning to use it to achieve these changes, but want to lower your dose or go off of it all together at a later date, this is something you should discuss with your Primary Care Provider. There are surgical steps that may prohibit you from stopping HRT, so a transition goal is important to think about.
Q: Is HRT safe?
Many of the changes HRT brings are irreversible, so in that sense, no- HRT is not safe to start lightly so make sure this is for you.
Testosterone is known to cause some of the same health problems that cismales have with it, including a need to monitor our cholesterol and hearts. Regular bloodwork with your doctor helps to monitor and keep all of that on track.
Asking about the risks involved with you specifically is a good thing to bring up with your doctor. Here’s a PRINT VERSION of some questions for your Doctor.
Q: What are the methods of delivery currently available?
A: SubQ – A shorter needle for an injection into your Subcutaneous Layer (Your fat cells). Often given in your buttocks or stomach. Typically given weekly or biweekly.
Inter-muscular – A longer needle meant to inject the Testosterone into the deep muscle tissue of your thigh or buttocks. Typically given weekly or biweekly.
Gel – A topical alcohol-based gel that is applied to clean skin daily.
Pellet – An insertable pellet of Testosterone that time releases over the next three months. inserted typically under the skin around your hips.
Deodorant – A topical application of Testosterone in the form of a bar of deodorant that is applied daily.
Q: What is the average dosage?
A: Anywhere from .25cc to .5cc per week is the average prescription level for HRT. Doctors will work with you to create the changes desired while monitoring your levels and keeping you safe.
Consider throughout your transition whether you are feeling low or unusual during the second week if you’re prescribed dosage is biweekly. This can be adjusted by moving to a weekly shot to avoid the low dips. Make sure you’re always talking to your PCP about any negative changes you’re experiencing.
Q: What’s a CC?
A: A CC is a cubic centimeter, often used to talk about dosages.
Q: Is HRT covered by insurance?
A: Some of the methods that HRT is prescribed in are generally available to those in progressive states with laws protecting and affirming medical transitions. Most forms of Obama-Care or State Insurance will cover HRT in injectable or gel forms.
Q: How do I ask my Doctor about starting HRT?
A: It can be intimidating to come out to a medical healthcare provider. Coming to the appointment prepared with this research, questions for them, and a firm request to explore how HRT can be included in your medical handlings is key.
In many states, Informed Consent is the method Doctors use for starting a patient on HRT. They’re going to tell you the risks, the rewards, and what the treatment is going to look like. After that you consent to the treatment on forms and can begin hormonal transitioning.
Q: What if my Doctor doesn’t know how to prescribe and monitor my medical transition?
A: It’s not uncommon for doctors outside of major cities to not know how to proceed with a Trans patient. You may even be your facilities first transition. There is a number of resources available for PCPs that you can be proactive about knowing and handing off to them – WPATH being the major site to pass on.
If it feels like your facility could use some education on the treatment of Trans patients and their knowledge base – Also pass on our Community Education Partners Information (The Acronym Project)
Q: What are the policies involved with HRT and Sports?
A: Policies for Trans inclusion in athletics vary greatly depending on the state, sport, league, organization, level of play and other factors.