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Just started HRT, a little worried about pace of change


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Hi.  I was so happy to be starting HRT on 16-Sep-2022 (52yo) that I cried on the drive to the clinic.  I'm now a little worried that changes are happening too quickly.  Most of the research I read said physical changes start between 3-6 months, my body started changing about 3 weeks after starting HRT with nipple tenderness/pain.    I'm now about 2.5 months in and have breasts bordering on A-cup already - my end goal was to have no bigger than A-cup breasts.  I never read any article that describe how much discomfort was associated with breast/nipple development.  I've had difficulty sleeping and wake up with back pain every morning - twisting my back to be comfortable, maybe.  I've made the mistake of starting to run, without a bra, a few times.  But the worst part is that I am always aware of the extra weight on my chest and that I seem to knock or irritate my breasts/nipples all the time, sometimes just with the clothes I wear.  Have other people experienced changes happening way ahead of "schedule" or am I a freak?

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  • Admin

For me, all of that was 13 years ago, but the experience is "written in stone" in my memories.  We use the acronym YMMV for Your Mileage May Vary as far as the onset and completion of our new body features.  You are not alone, I experienced all of what you are talking about on MY schedule which was different, but it was a boulder rolling down the highway that would not stop, although I am now familiar with my body today and hormone effects are NOT NEW to me.  Welcome to the Forums, prior posts here cover the bases and little surprises the Admin/Moderators in regard to the questions you are asking.

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2 hours ago, Trans22 said:

Have other people experienced changes happening way ahead of "schedule" or am I a freak?


I'll echo what @VickySGV said -- each person's schedule varies.  For me, who will be at the 3-year HRT mark in a week, it's been beneficial to be more chill about the changes.  I definitely used to dwell on every small detail; now I've learned to take a more long-range view.  I'm not the only HRT person here who has remarked that HRT changes do not proceed at a constant pace -- breast buds can appear, then take a rest and disappear for a few months.  Right now my nipples are especially sensitive, but earlier this year they were less so.  Like many cis women, the breasts may not be perfectly symmetrical.  All this while I remained on the same dosage level (I'm on estradiol patches).


2 hours ago, Trans22 said:

my end goal was to have no bigger than A-cup breasts. 


Keep in mind that in most cases, a baggy shirt will succeed in hiding the existence of A-cup boobs, should you feel the need to do so.  Another option is to work with your HRT doctor to consider reducing your dosage.  This will lengthen the time over which changes occur, but they will continue, just at a different pace.  However, for me it has always been important to maintain HRT levels high enough to maintain the mental advantages that HRT brings.  Were I to stop it entirely, those benefits would disappear -- and likely with it a return of the depression and dysphoria that HRT has, thankfully, banished.


With best wishes,



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HI, @Trans22.  Nice to meet you.


My experience was like yours.  My breasts started growing within two or three weeks of starting HRT.  By three months, it was getting awkward to try to hide them.  That was mostly what I had expected, and I planned my coming-out accordingly.  Most of my development occurred in the first six months.


Yes, you quickly learn to wear a bra when exercising, even with A-cup breasts!  And to avoid door frames!

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Thank you all for your replies.   For me, the best benefit of HRT is in relation to mental health (so far).

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4 hours ago, Trans22 said:

For me, the best benefit of HRT is in relation to mental health (so far).

Hi @Trans22! This was almost an immediate benefit for me…even before any actual noticeable physical changes had yet occurred.


I had similar results to you in regard to HRT. Exactly 3 months after starting HRT, I took my last family portrait presenting male on Christmas 2018. I wasn’t out to anyone but my wife at the time. I was wearing a lightweight cotton shirt with no undershirt for the portrait. When my daughter posted it up on FB the next day, I was horrified how it looked like I had boobs. No one mentioned it but thats when I knew my 2 year ‘coming out’ timeline was going to be much much shorter than I had hoped. Eventually I ended up coming out to family 3 short months later and to the world at large a few months after that. It can sneak up on you so be prepared.


Good luck,

Susan R🌷

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Everyone's made good points here and there isn't much to add. There are two important points; no three to keep in mind.

1. Everyone responds differently.

2. Your estrogen levels and hence progress WILL fluctuate.

3. Ensure you are on the correct dosage and combination of medications as this affects how your body responds. In my case, it took about 18 months to (finally) get the dosage and medications right. AND, keep #1 in mind throughout.




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Thank you @Susan R and @Marcie Jensen.   I am in no way self-conscious about my changes and am very proud of my new body (I hated and ignored my old self).  I am a more public person now than I ever was and wear clothing that shows off my beautiful body.  I've lost count of the number of times people have said words like "you look taller" - what they are noticing is that I'm standing tall now (confidence).  The human mind is capable of things that the medical profession cannot explain and I think my female mind never allowed me to have a typically masculine body or voice.  I've measured almost all aspects of my body and most show up as typical for a woman or small woman.  I have had no problem with my personal transition to living as a woman - my gender psychologist told me that she had never had anyone turn up to their first appointment with so mature a female look.  My partner has suggested that people look at me and see a woman and I think she's right - I haven't noticed anyone staring or looking at me in disapproving way.  I've lost count of the number of affirming comments I've received, and am especially proud when cisgender women express being envious of my body.
I have no idea how to tell whether I'm getting the correct dosage of HRT medciations, but I feel more comfortable inside my body with each passing day.

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1 hour ago, Trans22 said:

I have no idea how to tell whether I'm getting the correct dosage of HRT medciations, but I feel more comfortable inside my body with each passing day.

Actually, I think that that is the best measure of all.

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1 hour ago, Trans22 said:

I have no idea how to tell whether I'm getting the correct dosage of HRT medciations, but I feel more comfortable inside my body with each passing day.

While I agree with @KathyLauren, you should be 

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Well. that was weird. I was trying to say, @Trans22, you should be getting regular blood tests so that your prescribing medical professional can track your estrogen levels. Usually this takes place on a quarterly basis. My PCP and Endocrinologist have both told me that the "normal" estrogen range for cis women is between 55-200 while on HRT and that your testosterone level should drop to under 50 over time if you are on the correct dosage of HRT meds. I will grant you that I suspect my endocrinologist may in fact be a vampire who secretly loves to draw blood, but you should probably discuss this with your medical professional.

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My first quarterly test will occur on 20-Dec.  For now though, I'm praying that my fairy-tale new life will continue.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I had a little budding happen pretty quickly then not a lot changes for a little while, but as pretty much every one has said the mind change was pretty immediate. I think the consensus is that even if that was the only effect it is totally worth it just by itself.

I'm smiling at the things we all did with our developing bodies. Brushing ourselves wrong all of a sudden is like stubbing a toe. Backpacks require a new approach as does activity without a bra. Bumpy roads with no bra is also no fun. I probably get myself the most with guitars.

As far as size it not an exact science but a lot of girls say your heredity will hint at size. So if your mother and sisters are large then you may develop that way and vice versa. But nothing set in stone.

Remember it's your individuality that makes you beautiful! Also hrt is like boiling water, the closer you watch the slower it goes. 🙂


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