Hormone replacement therapy is mainly prescribed to women who enter their menopause or who suffer the lack of female hormones after hysterectomy. However, estrogen and progesterone are also used in gender reassignment when a male changes gender to female. Hormone replacement therapy has a number of effects in such case, and we will deal with them in this article.
Why is hormone replacement therapy used in gender reassignment?
Hormone replacement therapy is a big step in the process of gender reassignment. It is also one of the first steps towards the goal of looking as the gender you identify with.
Basically, hormone replacement therapy for hypothyroidism helps the body balance your identity with your endocrine system. For males who change into females, this means that they are about to adapt their endocrine system from male to female. This includes taking anti-androgens, which are testosterone-blocking agents. They are combined with simultaneous use of female hormones – estrogen and progesterone. Such hormone replacement therapy is usually taken before the surgeries, and it serves to start the process of your body’s transformation.
Changes in appearance
When you begin hormone replacement therapy, you will experience a number of changes on your body. They are not very noticeable in the first year, some of them require even more time, but they are certain to happen. First of all, HRT affects the breast growth. It takes around two years for the breast tissue to develop, and it can reach the size around B cup. Body and facial hair decrease due to the lack of testosterone. From some parts of the body it can disappear completely. In other areas such as armpits and genital area, the hair remains but in reduced amounts. Thanks to female hormones, the skin also becomes softer and tenderer.
Fat and muscle mass start changing as well. The distribution of fat switches from stomach to thighs, hips and buttocks. Muscle mass decreases, especially in the upper body part which is characteristic for men.
It is important to point out that the voice cannot change due to the HRT. However, you can raise the pitch of voice through vocal training and adjust the tone and the manner of speaking successfully.
Changes in sexual functions and desire
The hormone replacement therapy changes the appearance and function of male genitals and prostate gland. The size of testicles decreases and even the penis can get smaller in size. Erections become less common (even though they can still occur). The production of sperm is also reduced, and after a while it can disappear completely. The prostate gland reduces in size as well, due to its decreasing function. After a long time of using HRT, infertility is also very likely to appear.
Due to hormone therapy, sex drive can be decreased, but it does not disappear. It is also good to know that the changes in genital size and ejaculation amount do not affect the possibility to orgasm. The changes are inevitable, and as a matter of fact they are one of the goals of the HRT. However, they still allow you to have sex life and you can achieve high quality of it.