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If you’re considering hormone replacement therapy, or just starting them for the first time, it’s important to know what effects to expect and when to expect them. Bear in mind that everyone is different, and that not everyone will have the same journey. These timescales are rough estimates to give you a sense of how transition might progress.

 

Predicted Timescales for the Physical Effects of Hormones for Trans Men

Masculinising hormones induce physical changes that are more in line with a patient’s gender identity. Transmasculine patients can expect the following physical changes:

  • deepened voice
  • clitoral enlargement (variable)
  • growth in facial and body hair
  • cessation of menses
  • atrophy of breast tissue
  • increased libido
  • decreased percentage of body fat compared to muscle mass

While the degree with which an individual taking masculinising hormone therapy will experience changes varies from person to person, the following table provides an indication of the timescales involved:

Effect Expected Onset Expected Maximum Effect
Skin oiliness/acne 1-6 months 1-2 years
Facial/body hair growth 3-6 months 3-5 years
Scalp hair loss >12 months variable
Increased muscle mass/strength 6-12 months 2-5 years
Body fat redistribution 3-6 months 2-5 years
Cessation of menses 2-6 months n/a
Clitoral enlargement 3-6 months 1-2 years
Vaginal atrophy 3-6 months 1-2 years
Deepened voice 3-12 months 1-2 years

 

The degree and rate of physical effects depends in part on the dose, route of administration, and medications used, which are selected in accordance with a patient’s specific medical goals (e.g., changes in gender role expression, plans for sex reassignment) and medical risk profile.

There is no current evidence that response to hormone therapy – with the possible exception of voice deepening in transmasculine individuals – can be reliably predicted based on age, body habitus, ethnicity, or family appearance. All other factors being equal, there is no evidence to suggest that any medically approved type or method of administering hormones is more effective than any other in producing the desired physical changes.

Source: WPATH Standards of Care Version 7

 

 

Predicted Timescales for the Physical Effects of Hormones for Trans Women

Feminising HRT induces physical changes that are more in line with a patient’s gender identity. Transfeminine patients can expect the following physical changes:

  • breast growth (variable)
  • decreased libido and erections
  • decreased testicular size
  • increased percentage of body fact compared to muscle mass

While the degree with which an individual taking feminising hormone therapy will experience changes varies from person to person, the following table provides an indication of the timescales involved.

Effects Expected Onset Expected Maximum Effect
Body fat redistribution 3-6 months 2-5 years
Decreased muscle/mass strength 3-6 months 1-2 years
Softening of skin/decreased oiliness 3-6 months unknown
Decreased libido 1-3 months 1-2 years
Decreased spontaneous erections 1-3 months 3-6 months
Male sexual dysfunction variable variable
Breast growth 3-6 months 2-3 years
Decreased testicular volume 3-6 months 2-3 years
Decreased sperm production variable variable
Thinning and slowed growth of body and facial hair 6-12 months >3 years
Male pattern baldness No regrowth, loss stops 1-3 months 1-2 years

 

The degree and rate of physical effects depends in part on the dose, route of administration, and medications used, which are selected in accordance with a patient’s specific medical goals (e.g., changes in gender role expression, plans for sex reassignment) and medical risk profile.

There is no current evidence that response to hormone therapy – with the possible exception of voice deepening intrans masculine individuals – can be reliably predicted based on age, body habitus, ethnicity, or family appearance. All other factors being equal, there is no evidence to suggest that any medically approved type or method of administering hormones is more effective than any other in producing the desired physical changes.

Source: WPATH Standards of Care Version 7

 

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