Hormone therapy is an important part of transitioning from one gender to another. Hormones are different chemicals produced by a system of body glands. The hormones are released and absorbed directly into the bloodstream, triggering chances that define male or female characteristics.
For example, male hormones will trigger changes in the male body. The male hormone testosterone will activate the sexual and physical changes a male body goes through during puberty. These changes include having a deep voice, producing sperm in the testes or increased mass. In women, the female hormone estrogen triggers the development of breasts, egg production in the reproductive system and menstruation. Men and women produce testosterone and estrogen.
Why Trans People need Hormone Therapy
Transgender individuals experience mismatched gender identity and their assigned gender. For instance, a woman may feel trapped in her own body because she identifies as a male. Transgender is comprised of an umbrella of sexual orientations that include genderqueer, pangender and identifies themselves as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, asexual, etc.
Most transgender people feel that to truly reflect their inner sexual orientation, they have to make physical changes. Otherwise, they do not feel like their “authentic selves.” For instance, a cross-dressing trans man will only feel complete after he transitions into a woman physically. That includes having feminine features and a feminine body.
Hormone therapy is meant to make transgender people feel more comfortable with themselves, physically, emotionally and psychologically. A certified doctor will administer certain hormones to help transgender individuals ease themselves into transitioning from one gender to the other. However, although physical changes will occur during therapy, the hormones will not alter the skeletal system in adult transgender individuals.
The Effects of Hormone Therapy to Trans People
Trans women are injected with estrogen to alter body fat distribution, reduce penis and testicle size and develop breasts. The prostate in men will diminish in size. The skin will also take on a smoother, finer texture in males undergoing hormone therapy.
The hormones will inhibit muscle growth, facial hair growth and achieve a higher pitch. Facial hair can be reduced but not totally eliminated unless the individual transitioned into a female at a very young age. To eliminate body and facial hair completely, your doctor will recommend permanent hair removal treatments such as electrolysis or laser treatments. Hormone therapy may delay male balding but not completely reverse it. Body fat distribution will change too. The hips will start growing wider while the upper body will reduce in size.
For transgender men, hormone therapy will promote facial and body hair growth, increased libido, deeper voice and muscle gains. The clitoris will increase in size and period will stop. Physical characteristics of a male, such as pattern baldness, may also develop. As for fat distribution, the upper body will expand while the lower body will reduce in girth. The breast will start flattening out but not completely. Some transgender men will have their breasts surgically removed to flatten the chest.
Female transitioning into male will also experience changes in skin texture. Smooth, delicate female skin will start thickening. In most cases, thicker hair will replace finer hair. Some transgender men are able to grow a full beard or develop chest hair.
Some transgender individuals will stop at hormone therapy to trigger body changes. But there are others who will move forward to sex re-assignment surgeries to make a complete transition.