The medical transition is a huge part of a transgender person's life
Many trans people choose to transition to elevate their gender dysphoria - which I have spoken about in a previous post.
I am only three months into my medical transition, but here is my experience.
Gender identity clinic
I go to a private clinic in Edinburgh called Your GP.
I am very grateful that I am able to afford and have access to a private clinic, because the waiting list to see a doctor is nothing compared to a typical NHS gender identity clinic. The practice works very effectively and communication is always great, which is very important to anyone when it comes to their health.
First appointment with a gender specialist
My first appointment was in October, this was the initial appointment where I spoke to a medical professional about why I feel I am transgender, what I’m looking for from the clinic, and an overall discussion about my transition. My doctor was happy to go ahead with my medical transition, provided they got a second opinion from a psychiatrist.
My second appointment was in December, where I spoke to a child psychiatrist (as I was still 18 at the time) and we spoke about my childhood, my current life and what I want to do in the future. It was really relaxed and there was nothing to be afraid of. The psychiatrist diagnosed me with gender dysphoria, which is what you need to be diagnosed with in order to start hormone replacement therapy.
Starting hormone replacement therapy
After that, I went back for the third time in February, and I finally started my hormone replacement therapy.
I really want to emphasise this, because a lot of transgender people make this mistake. Hormone replacement therapy is not just taking the hormones of the opposite sex, its also blocking the actions of those naturally produced in the body. If you don’t do this your body will be overloaded with hormones.
So, I was given a very expensive testosterone blocker, which can be injected either into the belly or into the butt. I chose the butt because the needle was smaller, and let's face it - I have a great butt. And I was also prescribed 2mg tablets of estradiol. However, due to the pandemic I didn't attend my clinic, therefore decided to opt for oral testosterone blockers for the upcoming 3 months.
Please always consult a specialist if you're considering starting hormone replacement therapy. You should never self-prescribe.
Physical changes on hormone replacement therapy
There are many physical changes that occur when you start hormone replacement therapy. These are just a handful which I have experienced.
The first think that I realised was how sensitive my nipples became. I always sleep on my front, and about a week into the treatment, my nipples started to gain sensitivity. They later started to grow and I saw breast development later on. My doctor told me that I was very quick to develop breast tissue in the space of 3 months - so don't be disheartened if you don't. This is down to genetics, so hopefully I'll have a nice set.
Another thing is my hair. Of course I wanted my body hair to get thinner - but not my hair on my head! It was literally coming out in handfuls! Thankfully I have pretty thick hair, so you can’t tell I lost too much hair, but it wasn’t pretty. I had to cut my hair shorter so I wouldn’t lose so much hair. Obviously I wasn't too happy to get a trim, but on the up-side, I won't have to worry about testosterone making me bald when I'm old.
My skin has become much softer, and my hands feel so soft right now. I would love to have someone to confirm that, but none of my boyfriends are available to give a statement. To be honest, I thought it was just my hands that really saw a difference - but according to some sources, my skin has become more delicate in other places too.
My skin has also cleared up; because I’m no longer producing androgens, my sebaceous glands are producing less sebum and therefore my acne has cleared up a little - but then I haven’t had to moisturise this much in my life! If you'd like to find out more about how hormones can affect your skin, click here.
Psychological changes on hormone replacement therapy
Most people think that all the changes that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) provides are strictly physical and noticeable - but that's far from the truth.
When you're on HRT, you experience hormones of your preferred sex. This means that you feel and think like your preferred sex even more than what you're used to.
I've always been a very emotional person, but now that oestrogen has entered my bloodstream I'm Karen on payday. My emotions are through the roof! It's mainly sad emotions, the type you feel when you watch a sad movie. Who knew the movie Shrek was such a roller-coaster of emotions?
In all honesty, I have been a little lazier too, although I don't think I can fully blame that on hormones. Lockdown lifestyle and dat.
I have been craving affection too, but once again - that may just be because of the current social climate. And I am definitely not speaking about anything sexual here, in fact - my testosterone levels have dropped so low, that even Joe Jonas isn't that hot.
Overall, I am extremely grateful to have started my hormone replacement therapy - and I'm looking forward to further changes.
The medical transition is extremely important in the trans community. Unfortunately, we are not fully in control of the laws surrounding medical transitioning, as a lot of what we have access to is governed by the law. The rights of trans youth may be changing, click here to find out more.