Masculinizing Hormone Therapy

Masculinizing hormone therapy includes medications that will increase testosterone levels in your body to cause masculinizing changes to occur. It is important to let your provider know if you take any other prescribed medications or over-the-counter supplements as these may interfere with masculinizing medications.

Testosterone

Testosterone can be given in many ways. The most common include: injections or topical gels and patches. It is important to let you provider know your entire medical history such as heart disease and cancers if any.

The primary risk related to testosterone therapy is elevation of red blood cell count. 

Other possible concerns sometimes related to testosterone therapy include: 

  • Change to cholesterol profile (for example, lower HDL cholesterol) 
  • Sleep apnea
  • Soreness at the injection site

Physical Changes

Below we have provided a list of common physical changes. Changes may be noticeable in 1 to 6 months and will continue throughout life. It is important to know that everyone is different. Things that will not change include height. 

In 1 to 6 months:

  • Balding (depending on your age and family pattern) 
  • Deeper voice 
  • Acne
  • Increased and coarser facial and body hair
  • Change in the distribution of your body fat
  • Enlargement of the clitoris  
  • Menstrual cycle stops
  • Increased muscle mass and strength

Fertility and Hormone Therapy

If you might want children in your future, talk to your provider about fertility options before starting hormone therapy. 

Even though your periods may stop when you take masculinizing hormone therapy, you should still use birth control if you engage in vaginal sex.

Follow Up Care

Your provider will recommend that you regularly come for follow up care after these hormones have started. Follow up visits may include physical examinations, measurement of hormone levels and sometime other testing depending on your age and medical problems. Other tests may include a bone density, mammogram, pelvic exam and/or pap smear, sexually transmitted infection (STI) screen and follow up of blood sugar and cholesterol.

Used with permission of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
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