If you’re considering transitioning with the help of testosterone therapy, you should know what to expect as you pursue this feat. This article discusses the physical, emotional, and reproductive changes you may go through during your first year of transitioning.
People transition because they feel that they were born in the wrong body. It’s not easy to go through life without living your truth. It was especially hard for those born in the early ages, before solutions like testosterone replacement therapy and cosmetic surgeries were invented to alter one’s physical appearance to reflect their true selves.
Now, treatments are more abundant and accessible than ever. Choosing the right treatment is just a matter of research. Undergoing treatments to transition is a huge commitment that one has to prepare for not only financially, but mentally and emotionally as well.
When transitioning from female to male, the most common treatment people undergo is testosterone replacement.
Using Testosterone Replacement Therapy San Diego to Transition
Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is usually given to men to increase their low testosterone levels. These treatments are said to increase one’s energy, increase one’s strength, increase one’s muscle mass, improve one’s mood and confidence, and even improve one’s sleep quality.
For those transitioning, TRT is used mainly to suppress feminine characteristics and induce virilization – the development of masculine characteristics like excessive body hair and a deep voice.
The first and most important thing to do before pursuing these treatments is to set expectations. Most people expect and want their transition to happen in a snap. However, this cannot always be the case as the rate of your transition would depend on so many factors. Transitioning should be likened to going through a second puberty. If you remember your puberty experience, you’d know that it took years for you to see its full effects.
Setting expectations is a great way to avoid disappointments; it’ll allow you to enjoy the journey rather than focusing on the destination. Transitioning is, after all, a beautiful journey.
You’d think that your first three months on testosterone (T) wouldn’t do much for your body. However, the opposite is actually true. Your body will be most affected by the sudden surges of testosterone during this time because it simply is not used to these volumes yet.
The first physical changes you’re likely to experience will involve your skin. Your skin is expected to become oilier and even thicker. This is because testosterone increases your skin’s oil production. This may or may not cause you to experience acne so this will be a good time to change your skincare regimen to adapt to your changing skin.
Don’t expect your breasts to shrink significantly with testosterone treatment. Some breast pain and maybe a slight decrease in cup size is expected. But for most cases, chest reconstructive surgery is almost always needed. Cosmetic surgeons recommend waiting until your 6th month on T before having one.
Fat redistribution is one of the later physical changes to expect when on T. You will start to lose your fat around your hips and thighs and start gaining around your abdomen area. Your arms and legs will start appearing more muscular, too, as you start gaining muscle mass and strength. Pair this with regular weight lifting, and you’ll definitely help speed up the process!
One of the most sought after physical change for transmen is the increase in facial and body hair. On T, you can expect your body hair – chest, back, arm, and leg hair – to become darker and thicker. When it comes to facial hair, however, genetics is the biggest determinant. Some transmen are able to grow a full beard in their first year of T, others take years, and some aren’t able to at all. Other treatments like Minoxidil may help, though.
If you remember going through puberty, you’d remember how it was like a roller coaster of emotions. Experiencing periods and PMS was like being in a constant state of “ahhh!” – transitioning won’t be any different.
It would be best to prepare yourself to experience significant changes in your emotional state. Be prepared to experience the highest highs and the lowest lows. Most important of all, don’t forget to be kind to yourself.
You will be experiencing a whole new world of emotions. This will affect your feelings, your interests, your tastes in things, your hobbies, and even your relationships. You will handle things differently than how you did before.
It’s definitely hard to cope with emotional changes so don’t be afraid to seek professional health. Psychotherapy and counseling can help you get to know this new person you’re becoming without being too critical of yourself. Allow the therapist to guide you in discovering and exploring your emotions and feelings.
The male and female reproductive systems are very, very different. Transitioning and increasing your T levels will have significant changes on how your reproductive system functions.
As you progress through your first year on T, you will notice your periods changing in length and consistency. They will become lighter and last for shorter durations before they eventually stop coming.
Because of this, your chances of getting pregnant will significantly decrease. However, the risk of pregnancy will still be there. It is entirely possible for transgender men too become pregnant even while on T, so birth control is highly recommended for those who remain sexually active with a non-transgender man.
For those still intending to become pregnant, you should discontinue your testosterone therapy until you give birth. Testosterone treatments can not only make it harder for you to get pregnant, it can also have negative effects on the fetus.
Most of these changes will be subtle and gradual so they will be hard to notice and maybe even be disappointing at first. But, again, transitioning is a beautiful journey and every small change should be celebrated. So be kind to yourself and make sure to look back on who you were when you first started therapy to see how far you’ve come.