CW: mentions of sex.
I have been on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for three months today. It has been one amazing ride so far, and I wanted to update all of you on the changes I have experienced so far. I also plan on periodically updating people as developments occur (perhaps every three months or so). Before I get started, I need to explain what HRT is and why I am on it.
HRT is a medical intervention that people (cis or trans) can be put on for a variety of medical purposes. In my case, I am on HRT to treat issues related to my gender dysphoria. My doctor has prescribed three kinds of medication as part of my HRT treatment: spironolactone, finasteride, and estradiol. The spiro and the finasteride are anti-androgens and estradiol is a kind of estrogen. The anti-androgens are used to prevent the cells of my body from responding to androgens like testosterone, while estradiol promotes the feminization of my body. There are several benefits to HRT.
I was on HRT for a mere five days when I started noticing improvements in my mood. Before, I was incredibly anxious/depressed all the time. On the fifth day, I noticed how much calmer and more peaceful I had become. After about 6 weeks, I realized that I was not taking my estrogen correctly. I was swallowing the pills instead of taking them sublingually. After correcting for that, my mood drastically improved after a few days. Then, my doctor doubled my estradiol dose from 2 mg to 4 mg per day and my mood improved, yet again. It’s as if testosterone was toxic to my brain and what it really needed was estrogen. I haven’t felt this good in…I have no idea if I have ever felt this good in my life. HRT has been miraculous for my mood and overall mental health.
Smoother and Softer Skin
Since starting, I have noticed a significant improvement in the softness and smoothness of my skin. It’s the kind of skin quality I have wanted for myself ever since I was a little girl. In addition to the improved skin quality, my body hair has gotten thinner and lighter. I now rarely, if ever, have to shave certain areas on my body, and my leg hair grows back more slowly.
A shift in Fat Distribution
I have already noticed a difference in my fat distribution. More fat is starting to go to my hips and certain areas of my face, thus making my facial features somewhat softer (thank goodness!) and more ‘feminine’.
Before HRT, I enjoyed sex, but not nearly to the same degree that I do now. The only part of my body that would get stimulated was my genitalia, but now my whole body comes alive, and I don’t have to have an orgasm in order to really be satisfied by the experience. A great deal of sex was a lot of work before with a short pay off at the end, but now the whole experience is a roller coaster of pleasure for my whole body.
A Richer Emotional Experience
I was emotionally numb when I wasn’t depressed, anxious, or angry before HRT. I didn’t really feel much outside of that range. But now my emotional experience is much richer and much more varied. Even though you could say I cry more and am quite a bit more emotional, it’s something that I have come to cherish after having experienced years of emotional deadness.
In summary, HRT has been an incredible experience for me so far. It has been so transformative, it’s like my mind has transcended the physical (I exaggerate of course, but it’s just so damn good). I look forward to the future changes that will come from it.