What are Feminizing Hormones?
Feminizing hormones, also known as transfeminine hormones are a type of hormone therapy that aims to make a person’s body more feminine. These may be either applied externally or taken by mouth.
These hormones are a type of prescription medication that is used to change the body’s appearance and development in order for it to be less masculine. They do this by changing how the carrier’s genitals, breasts, and other female sex organs develop after puberty.
Feminizing hormones can be prescribed as part of medical transition treatment for transgender people. Other people who may need these medications include those with disorders of sex development (or DSD) such as congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH).
Feminizing Hormones vs. Androgen Blockers
Hormones are a chemical substance that determines the characteristics of an individual. They are secreted by specific glands and are responsible for sex determination, development, and function. There are two categories of hormones: androgens and estrogens. Androgens increase the masculinity of an individual while estrogens decrease it.
Hormones have a significant impact on the person’s physical appearance. For example, if you take feminizing hormones like estrogen or progesterone, your hips might widen and breasts might grow in size as they produce female sex characteristics such as curvaceous hips or increased breast size respectively. The opposite can be said for taking masculizing hormones like testosterone or spironolactone.
Androgen blockers reduce the production of the male sex hormone testosterone in the body by binding to its receptors. This action, which takes place almost immediately, results in a variety of positive side effects for men who are genetically predisposed to increased testosterone levels such as acne and hair growth.
Different types of HRT include:
Estrogen: Estrogen replaces hormones that are lost during menopause in females or andropause in males. It can be delivered by patch, pill, implant, or injection.
Estrogen plus progestin: This type of hormone replacement therapy uses estrogen as well as a synthetic form of progesterone called progestin to replace the natural hormone. Women who take this type of HRT may experience side effects such as acne and breast tenderness.
Feminizing Hormones and Transgender Men’s Health
Transgender men are a group of people who identify as male but may have been born with female anatomy. They often experience many health disparities as a result of their gender identity and the stigma surrounding it.
Feminizing hormones, also known as estrogen, are commonly used to help transgender men develop secondary sex characteristics that typically characterize cisgender women. These health disparities can be avoided by making sure that transgender men get the care and support they need in order to live healthy lives.
How to Take HRT Safely and Effectively
It can be difficult to know how to take HRT safely and effectively. However, it’s important for people who want to reduce their risk of cancer to do so. In this article, we will cover some tips on how you can take HRT safely and effectively.
- Talk with your doctor before taking any hormones.
- Start taking hormones at the lowest dose your doctor recommends and slowly increase it until you find a dose that feels right for you.
- Take hormones in the morning, with or without food, whichever feels best for you.
- Take time off from taking hormones every three months to let your body recover and avoid side effects such as weight gain or mood swings.
HRT is a type of hormone replacement therapy that works to make your body more like it would be if you were born with the sex that matches your gender identity.
There are many ways to take HRT, but some people find it easier than others. Some people cut their pills in half so they go down easier, while others prefer to dissolve their pills in water or juice and just drink the mixture.
Some people have specific routines for taking HRT, like taking their medicine at certain times of day, or when they wake up in the morning. Others take it at random times throughout the day.
It is important to talk with your doctor about any changes in your body and concerns that you might have. Complications of feminizing hormone therapy might include:
- A blood clot is when blood becomes stuck (stops flowing). This can happen in a vein that is deep inside your body (deep vein thrombosis) or for example, if you have had cancer and the tumour has broken off, it can form a clot in your lung (pulmonary embolism).
- Elevated levels of triglycerides
- High potassium levels (hyperkalemia)
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Weight gain
- Men who are cisgender have less of a risk for breast cancer than men who are transgender and whose gender identity does not match their assigned sex.
- Cardiovascular disease
Due to the risk of infertility, you’ll need to make decisions about future children before starting hormone therapy. Avoid long-term use as it might lead to permanent infertility. This is especially important if you’re considering having a child soon.
Even if you stop taking your hormones, your testes may not recover enough to allow for conception without the help of reproductive technology.
If you want to have biological children in the future, it may be a good idea for you to talk to your doctor about preserving sperm before beginning feminizing hormone therapy.”
The side effects of Feminizing Hormones Therapy can be varied and include:
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
- Hair growth
- Acne breakouts
- Changes to the voice
Your provider will recommend that you regularly come in for follow up care during and after these hormones have started. At visits, they may include physical examinations, measuring hormone levels, and some (optional) other testing depending on your age.
The following screening tests may be included as part of your health assessment: a bone density exam, mammography, prostate exam, sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing and follow-ups on blood sugar and cholesterol levels if you are over age 50. Your doctor will evaluate your risks in order to tailor a thorough treatment plan.
Please call Superior Compounding Pharmacy in Plymouth Michigan to speak with one of our licensed pharmacists today at 734-404-6065. We can help answer any medication questions that you may have.