Waiting times for gender-affirming medications in the UK are out of control. Many trans people are filling the gap by self-medicating, this includes the testosterone injection for AFAB people.
Self-medication (or ‘self-medding’) includes the purchase of prescription medications without a prescription and the use of unapproved substances for medical purposes.
Testosterone Injection AFAB
While it can be a dangerous practice which is not advised, it is easy to understand why some trans people turn to self-medication. Without access to proper gender-affirming care, people feel hopeless – and turn to alternative routes to kick start their transition.
Transmasculine people are especially at risk because testosterone – the hormone used in masculinising therapies – often comes in an injectable preparation like Sustanon.
Injecting at home is extremely risky.
Healthcare professionals are trained in how to safely administer AFAB testosterone injections, but without this training it can be easy to injure yourself or others.
Untrained self-injection is dangerous.
It can cause:
- Nerve damage
- Bruising and other Skin Irritations
- Needle Breakages may cause a plethora of issues, especially if it affects the tissue, veins, or even the organs.
Furthermore, there is no guarantee that the medication will be delivered properly, and untrained self-injection may actually lead to a decrease in it’s effectiveness.
Needles must be disposed of properly, especially for the testosterone injection (AFAB).
How to Dispose of Needles Safely:
- Put the needles in a sharps disposal container immediately after use.
- Remove used sharps disposal containers according to your community and society’s rules, laws, and guidelines. This can be in a:
- Dropbox or community collection centre.
- Hazardous waste collection sites.
- Residential Special Waste Collection
- Mailback Programs.
The medical term for needles and other dangerous objects that require special disposal is ‘sharps’. Because needles come into contact with blood, they are also considered hazardous medical waste.
Without proper sharps disposal used needles could cause an injury or infection, not just to you but to your family or to a member of the public.
HRT and Needle Safety
If you’re just beginning your journey, it’s absolutely imperative that you get the right support for your hormones.
Sometimes, this might include proper training for when you have to self-inject. As mentioned above, self-injection can be a dangerous, and tedious process – but it doesn’t have to be.
With the right training, disposing of needles correctly, and the right support – you’ll soon become confident, trained, and experienced at self-injection.
As mentioned below, we do have our own training, alternatively, you can contact your local GP if they’re supportive, or find a private clinic that’s more than happy to help you.
It can be very risky, as mentioned in the potential risks, the process can have really terrible side effects, if not completed with the proper training, care, and attention such a procedure deserves.
Additionally, proper needle disposal is imperative. This helps keep you, your community, and those that you love safe from loose needles, and the hazards that may cause.
Safely Self-Injecting Testosterone, Hormone Blockers, or Estrogen
Before you self-inject, it’s important to have the correct items prepared, so that you don’t cause injury to yourself and others, we’ve created this handy checklist below to ensure absolute safety.
Do I have the following items to safely inject my testosterone, estrogen, or hormone blockers?
Injections and Fear
You may have a fear of needles, which is one of the most common fears out there.
We’ve helped our patients and clients overcome their fear of needles, through various procedures – we can also discuss other methods of getting your hormones into your system.
For example with the likes testosterone therapy, there is a range of additional intake methods available to you, this includes:
- Oral Medications
- Transdermal Patches
- Topical creams
Whatever your preferred method, you can discuss with us what works for you, and discover which method you’re the most comfortable with, and which one helps you feel aligned with your gender identity. GenderGP will help you achieve balance in this situation.
Whilst we’ve predominantly focused on testosterone, the same is absolutely true for both hormone blockers, and estrogen injections – there are a variety of methods that are safer, more patient-friendly, and more safety-focused so that you can get your medication in the most prudent and secure way.
Trans Men and Transmasculine People Self-Medicating HRT
Transmasculine people who cannot access a prescription for testosterone sometimes try to self-medicate using body-building supplements or testosterone bought from the internet without a prescription.
Not only is this dangerous, but it may also be illegal.
Testosterone is a controlled substance in many countries and purchasing it without a prescription could be a crime.
Furthermore, drugs and medications acquired without a prescription have no safety regulations. Prescribed testosterone is bio-identical, meaning that it is the same as the testosterone produced naturally by the human body. Testosterone Injections (AFAB) people need safe administration.
There is no guarantee that bodybuilding supplements or grey market medications will be safe for consumption, or that they will be in the correct preparation or dosage. Injecting an improperly prepared substance can result in serious health issues.
The same goes for using someone else’s medication. Just because it has been safely prescribed for one person, that doesn’t mean it will be safe for you. Testosterone Injection (AFAB) dosage can vary from person to person.
No two hormone profiles are the same, and every gender journey is different. Good gender-affirming care tailors hormone therapy to each patient on an individual basis, to ensure that they get the best and safest results.
This doesn’t mean that young transmasculine people have to stay stuck in limbo. GenderGP not only provides an accessible pathway to private prescription, but we can also teach you to self-inject safely and provide access to regulated needles and sharps disposal kits.
Whatever you need to continue your transition with confidence in your testosterone injection (AFAB), our service can help.