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Prism Blog, Self Care for Trans Health

Transgender HRT: What are my options?

We ALL have the same hormones, just in different amounts and we USE different amounts of them too. Furthermore, we can change how our bodies use the hormones we already have. Every body makes progesterone from cholesterol, and that progesterone can turn into estrogen OR testosterone. The estrogen and testosterone in our bodies can also convert back and forth (estrogen to testosterone and vice versa). This is the reason you want to get your hormone dosages right: if you take too much, your body is just going to convert it into another hormone to maintain balance in your system. This could actually counter the desired effects of the hormone you are taking: too much estrogen in your system and your body will start converting it to testosterone, counteracting the changes you want to make.

Coming up with a plan for your body: There are many different options for transitioning, even when just using synthetic hormones. Most commonly, estrogen and spironolactone (a testosterone-blocker) are prescribed for trans women, and testosterone is prescribed for trans men. Testosterone is generally available in injectable or topical form, and estrogen is most commonly used in injectible form, though it is also available in pill form.
However, there are many other options as well. Progesterone helps to build tissue and can often be useful for developing breasts (used internally or externally with estrogen) or muscle tissue (used internally with testosterone). It can also help even out the emotions, preventing ups and downs that estrogen and testosterone can cause, as well as reducing side effects like bloating and water retention.
Aromatase is what turns testosterone into estrogen, so you can take extra aromatase instead of (or in addition to) taking estrogen. Likewise, you can take aromatase inhibitor to prevent that testosterone from turning into estrogen, instead of taking testosterone. There are many options for prescription hormones; it’s important to talk to your doctor about what will work best for your body.

All information in this blog is for educational uses only. Always consult your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, or changing or discontinuing your medications.

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