Everything I Learned from Researching MTF Transgender Hormones

Hormone therapy can be a crucial step in gender transition. However, there are many important factors to consider before starting. 

In this guide, I’ll share everything I learned from researching MTF Transgender Hormones.  I'll provide an in-depth look at how male-to-female (MTF) hormone therapy works, methods of administration, health impacts, and helpful resources to learn more.


Overview of Feminizing Effects

The primary goal of MTF hormone therapy is developing female secondary sex characteristics. This includes:

  • Breast growth
  • Fat redistribution to hips, thighs, and face for a more feminine shape
  • Softening of skin
  • Decreased muscle mass and strength
  • Slowing and potential halting of scalp hair loss
  • Decreased sperm production and ejaculate fluid
  • Emotional changes like crying more easily

The timeframe for changes varies by individual. Most effects take 3-6 months to begin and maximum feminization can take 2-5 years.


Suppressing Testosterone is Key

For feminizing effects to occur, testosterone levels must first be lowered to female ranges. This is done through anti-androgens or testosterone blockers.

Common testosterone blockers include spironolactone and GnRH agonists. Spironolactone prevents testosterone uptake and has a diuretic effect. GnRH stops testosterone production at the source in the testes.

Lower testosterone alone is insufficient to cause feminization. Estrogen must also be introduced through pills, patches, gels or injections.


Administration Methods and Considerations

There are pros and cons to different estrogen administration methods:

  • Oral pills must be swallowed daily. They carry higher blood clot risks.
  • Sublingual/buccal administration places pills under the tongue or in the cheek. Avoid swallowing to bypass liver conversion.
  • Patches can be convenient but may irritate the skin.
  • Gels provide flexibility but can transfer to others via skin contact.
  • Injections (intramuscular or subcutaneous) last 5-7 days. Steady hormone levels but needles involved.

Pay attention to E1 vs. E2 balance. Oral pills can skew towards weaker E1. Injections provide more potent E2.

Work with your doctor to find the right delivery method for your needs and sensitivities. Many start with pills and then switch.


Health Impacts and Monitoring

While MTF hormones enable many to live as their authentic selves, they come with potential side effects:

  • Blood clots - oral estrogen raises risk significantly.
  • Liver strain - oral estrogen is processed through the liver.
  • Kidney problems - kidney stones and strain may be more likely.
  • Reduced fertility - sperm production declines and testicles may shrink.

Have regular blood work to monitor hormone levels and watch for red flags. Share concerns and changes with your doctor promptly.


Helpful Online Resources

We hope this guide supports you in exploring MTF transition options safely, armed with knowledge. Hormone therapy can be life-changing but deserves careful consideration of benefits and risks.