I started testosterone treatment about 6 months ago. Here’s a little bit about how things have gone.
First of all, I was unsure whether testosterone was what I needed. I had realized (slowly) that my issues with my body stemmed from having breasts. I looked back on my life and remembered how embarrassed I was when I started growing them. I thought I was deformed, and even though I had been repeatedly told that growing them was normal, I still felt ashamed of them. I didn’t like people to see them. As a teenager, I grew accustomed to showing them (in locker rooms, in dorm rooms, etc.) because, in my own words, they were just “bags of fat.” I had come up with a way to be okay with them by disparaging them as mere useless appendages, something like my appendix.
But because I identify as genderqueer rather than “fully trans,” I was unsure whether my doctor would be willing to put me on hormones. I am lucky that she felt confident enough in my feelings that she was willing to try a low dose.
Here’s what I have noticed so far:
Mood: I am definitely much happier and calmer than I have been. My depression (while always around) has been easier to deal with and, when I do go through bad patches, aren’t as bad. There has been no “’roid rage” as some people erroneously claim. There was a short time where my temper was a little shorter than usual and where my drive was higher, but that has leveled out and hasn’t caused any major problems.
Hair: Hair everywhere. I’m sprouting it from strange places. I’ve always had a tiny bit of darker hair on my upper lip, but now the hairs are growing longer. They haven’t really gotten any more noticeable in number or different in texture, but I do now occasionally have to shave them down to keep them from getting too long. The hair on my upper legs (which I never bothered to shave before since it was so pale) has started to darken. My leg hair in general grows super fast and it’s getting harder to keep up with shaving (so I’m contemplating giving that up all together). I have been keeping a close eye on my scalp, since people on testosterone have a risk of male pattern baldness, if that is in their family history. It is not in mine, but I have noticed my scalp in that area is very tender. Of course, that might be due to the number of pony tails I wear (my hair is extremely long) and the fake hair I use for dancing. I’m limiting both until I see how things go.
Body: Not a whole lot of difference here yet, but starting to see changes more recently. I have noticed the muscles in my legs are a bit firmer, though not visibly different. I have always had wide shoulders and big deltoids, but now it does appear that my chest is getting bigger around (only because my dance bras are getting tighter). I have gained a little bit of weight (about 10 pounds) due to increased appetite. I’m assuming that I haven’t yet begin to burn that off due to increased metabolism, so I’ve been trying to moderate what I eat a little bit better (it doesn’t help that I pretty much have to eat every 2 hours). I have noticed that my “saddle bags” appear smaller and my belly bigger (fits the male pattern of fat placement).
So, in general, I haven’t seen a lot of changes yet, but I am also on a low dose. However, for my six month update, my blood levels were a teeny bit on the lower end, so my doctor has increased my dose just a little bit. I have already met with a surgeon, but they are recommending I wait until I have been on T for at least a year. I admit that is a little frustrating, but being able to see the small changes so far has made huge improvements in my mood. I think once I balance what I eat a bit better, hit the gym a little more, and get another couple of months in, I will start to see even more change. Unfortunately, patience is the key.