The effects of Hormone Replacement Therapy as they apply to the transgender community are still being collected and documented. However, there is enough information available for those looking to start to know the overall certainties that come with beginning the process. Regardless of that being the case, one truth will likely always be a constant: Your mileage will vary.
With that said, I’ll be sharing as much as I deem relevant for educational purposes about the effects of HRT as they apply to my physiology and psychology. For the sake of optimal reading, I’ve decided to separate them into multiple parts as well.
This post will cover the psychological changes that have occurred to help shift my mental and emotional capacities away from the distracting and frustrating testosterone-based alignment to the calming and focused estrogen-based alignment. As much of these changes require self-awareness, this will be a more detailed breakdown with some humor involved, caveats included. You can’t exactly medically treat yourself without experiencing some unwanted, but accepted side effects.
The effects of HRT are specific to my genes and are not representative of what may or may not happen to your body. Though not always possible in many cases due to the nature of healthcare & medical awareness, I highly recommend seeking medical and/or professional assistance before taking any dosage as blood pressure, hormone imbalance, & kidney issues are some potential threats that should be monitored. As stated prior, your mileage will vary.
Psychological Changes & Side Effects
- 1) No [Biological] Children: This is probably the most important fact that trans females cannot avoid and need to accept long before your first dosage. Suppression of testosterone ultimately means the destruction of the hormone that creates reproductive potency. Obviously, if you’ve already had a child, this doesn’t apply, but for me, I had always wanted to have a child with someone. I even paid a hefty cost to keep that possibility open. However, last year I had to give that up completely, which was another layer of emotions that I had to cope with. However, I still had no regrets as I already knew the cost.
- 2) Cry Moar: It’s true that men biologically cry far less than women do. However, in just a few months of HRT, the sensation you get just before you cry became a much more frequent thing for me. Events and conversations that probably wouldn’t have shaken me to tears before now brought on that sensation and, at times, uncontrollable tears. I welcome this change though, as I was always very aware of my inability to cry when I knew it was appropriate to express myself with tears.
- 3) Sex? What’s That?: This is a pretty fun one. I’ve never cared to be sexually active to begin with. Still, I was always at odds with my hormones telling me that I should be experiencing those pleasures and fantasies. About 1-2 years into HRT, I finally obtained the mental clarity of mind I needed and the noise stopped. This isn’t to say I don’t like sex, I just am no longer subjected to the constant need to desire it. My ability to focus on my life is much sharper and let’s me be in control of when I want to focus on sexual pleasures or not.
- 4) The Mating Dance: Men generally are the ones seen as the hunters for mates. Thing is, most men fail to realize that women are the true hunters. Just because a guy OR lady has good looks, money, and a nice smile doesn’t mean we will automatically have sex with them. (Though it does help~) After three years, I finally know what I want as a woman and place a high emphasis on a completely new emotional blueprint that I had to figure out through internalized trial and error simulations and various social situations.
5) Moody AF: Early in HRT, severe mood swings were a fairly common thing for me. I’d get upset or triggered about the smallest matter, not really knowing why. Three years in, it still happens, just not as much. Or maybe not it’s not as noticeable? I can control it a lot better and usually able to quickly parse through the emotions to get to the heart of why I’m bitching. Speaking of being moody, another fun swing happened too~
6) Open Sexuality: Prior to accepting being female, I was pretty convinced that I was predominately heterosexual with an inexplicable, fine taste for a specific kind of male. Being on HRT, living my truth, happier than I ever had been, caused a pretty dramatic shift in my sexuality and my perceptions of sex in general. Currently, I like humans. Not males. Not females. Humans. People. This is typically defined as “pansexual“.
Each of these physical, emotional, and mental changes have brought about more accurate perceptions of what I wish my reality had been long before now. As I said in my first entry, there are always caveats that come with change and they are specific to me while still being similar to others like me. Do I regret any of it? Not in the slightest. Every time I pick up my estrogen and spiro, I do so with a smile, knowing how fortunate I am to not have to go through the black market to have the treatment I need to be me. However, with Trump in office, the ability for poverty-stricken trans people to obtain affordable health care and legal medical treatment may be in jeopardy.
Do you know of anyone who has experienced similar changes? Maybe completely different ones? Be sure to leave your replies in the Comments so I can respond! Also, please be sure to “Like” this post if you enjoyed it and “Subscribe” for future posts.
You can also follow me along my journey towards transgender visibility and acceptance on my Instagram account, @itsamailife as well as my YouTube channel where I share my various experiences as a trans woman.