What you Should Know About Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

If you are a trans woman beginning transition, hormone replacement therapy may have posed a myriad of questions in your mind. There are many things that you must know about it before you dive into it.

Firstly, HRT undoubtedly affects the brain and your emotions. The fact is that this could be positive or negative.

Especially for trans men, the experience can be quite irritable as testosterone fills up their body. For trans women, the experience may be the exact opposite.

You may find yourself calmer, more aware of the environment, and more soft on the inside. In addition, you may feel extremely in touch with your emotions as well.

Thus, regardless of which hormone you put yourself on, be prepared for a reconfiguration of your brain and neurochemistry.

More importantly, you will notice several bodily changes, including changes in your hair, breasts, skin and so on. Testosterone even leads to the growth of facial hair.  


Next, transitioning can be extremely confusing and disorienting. Your body is finally changing to align with what you feel like inside.

However, you do need to put in the mental and emotional work to alter your cognition and acknowledge your gender identity to the fullest to make sense of all the changes.

It can get messy and chaotic, to say the least. You need to redefine who you are inside and bid adieu to who you have been for most of your life.

It is almost like starting from scratch, although you can retain parts of yourself that you love if they do not add to gender ambiguity and confusion. You can also retain qualities and attributes that further validate your gender identity.   


Male hormones and female hormones have different effects on the body which you must be prepared to tackle. For instance, testosterone can increase your sexual drive as well as general focus in life.

On the other hand, estrogen can enhance your awareness and help you make sense of what is going on outside and inside. You may find yourself to be more sensitive and in touch with your emotions on the latter.

Therefore, you will witness a shift in your perception of reality. This can be extremely intense the first few months and quite overwhelming. It’s also extremely rewarding.   


Another thing worth remembering about HRT is that it is a continuous process. In other words, you will constantly witness changes in yourself even after a couple of years, even if they are sometimes subtle.

Things are going to keep changing internally and externally, so each day you are  closer to how you feel on the inside than you were before. There is still uncertainty as to when HRT completes its job.

Some say it takes about eight years, while others may state that it is a lifelong process.   


Finally, it may help to remember that HRT is not a commitment. You do not have to stick to it once you start it. You can always change your mind.

For some people, there may be permanent changes, but if you are on hormones for a short period of time, the changes tend to be quite reversible.

In essence, if you do change your mind, you can stop taking your hormones. We hope this article has answered some of your HRT-based questions. Good luck!!

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