Starting Hormone Therapy
Hormone Therapy, or HRT for short, involves taking oral, injectable or topical hormone formulations to align one’s physical traits with their gender identity. Trans women are prescribed an estrogen regimen while trans men are prescribed testosterone. In most cases, HRT should be continued indefinitely. While HRT has been proven as a safe and effective treatment for gender dysphoria, it’s important to note that it causes some permanent changes to your body and you will want to become fully informed before committing to HRT.
HRT is usually prescribed and managed by an Endocrinologist, though there are also many general practitioners now who are experienced with trans health and can provide this care. Multidisciplinary transgender health clinics are also available in some urban centers. Either way, your HRT should be monitored by a medical professional.hormones_FTM
Many transgender individuals seek out non-surgical treatments to improve their gender presentation or prepare for surgery. For example, many trans women have more than 300 hours of laser hair removal and/or electrolysis to remove a beard or body hair. Similarly, trans men who undergo Phalloplasty surgery also have extensive hair removal done on the area where the donor graft will be taken from. (Most surgeons require trans women to have hair removed from the genital area in preparation for Gender Reassignment Surgery, but Dr. Rumer’s Vaginoplasty technique does not require hair removal—and there is no regrowth!)
Voice/Speech Therapy is sometimes sought out by trans women who wish to feminize their voices, because feminizing hormones do not change vocal pitch. Conversely, it is precisely because female to male HRT does change vocal pitch that many trans men also seek voice therapy, to adjust to the changes in the larynx caused by Testosterone. You can find Speech Language Pathologists who have experience working with transgender people, consult many online videos with trans vocal tips, or take part in the occasional vocal training courses offered at trans health clinics.
Not all transgender people choose to have surgeries, but for those who do it’s a life changing—and often life saving—experience.
Body Contouring aka Body Sculpting, is also becoming popular for both trans men and women.
While undergoing surgery can ultimately provide great relief for those experiencing gender dysphoria, the emotional toll and amount of support required to get through the experience can be high. Surround yourself with supportive people during this time, and develop a plan for preparing yourself both physically and mentally for surgery. Many trans folks don’t have people in their lives who can understand the need to have transgender surgery, but in-person and online support groups can help fill this role.