The process of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for male-to-female (MTF) transgender individuals involves taking estrogen and often an anti-androgen. The effects of HRT can vary widely among individuals, and the timeline provided here is a general estimate. Individual results can be influenced by factors such as age, genetics, and the specific medications and dosages used.
Here’s a general timeline of what one might expect:
- 1-3 Months:
- Skin: May begin to soften and become less oily.
- Breast Development: Small buds might form behind the nipples. There may be tenderness in the chest area.
- Body Fat: Gradual redistribution may start, moving away from the waist and towards the hips.
- Muscles: Slow decrease in muscle mass might begin.
- Emotions: Many people report emotional changes, such as heightened sensitivity or mood fluctuations, similar to what cisgender women might experience during a menstrual cycle.
- 3-6 Months:
- Breasts: Continued breast growth.
- Skin: Further softening.
- Hair: Body and facial hair growth might begin to slow, and the hair itself might become finer. This does not usually reverse the presence or absence of facial and body hair but might make laser hair removal or electrolysis more effective.
- Sexual Effects: Spontaneous erections might decrease in frequency and intensity.
- 6 Months – 1 Year:
- Hair: The hairline might start to feminize, although any baldness that has already occurred won’t be reversed without surgical intervention or other treatments.
- Fat Distribution: Continued movement of fat to areas typical for cisgender women, such as the hips, thighs, and buttocks.
- Muscle Mass: Continued reduction, especially in upper body strength.
- Sexual Effects: A decrease in libido might occur. Testes might decrease in size.
- Voice: HRT does not impact voice pitch. Voice training or surgery is necessary for voice feminization.
- 1-3 Years:
- Breasts: Growth continues, usually reaching their final size around this point. However, the growth timeline can vary, and some individuals might see growth for up to five years.
- Body Contour: Final fat redistribution and muscle changes usually stabilize around this period.
It’s crucial to note that while many of the effects of HRT are reversible, some, like breast growth and infertility, can be permanent. Regular monitoring by a healthcare provider is essential to check hormone levels, ensure proper dosing, and watch for potential side effects. Always consult with a healthcare professional experienced in transgender health before starting or making any changes to HRT.