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HRT seems more appealing to me lately


EasyE

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I can't believe I am even writing this but I am wondering if HRT is the next step in my journey (MTF?). I fear some of the medical side effects I have read about (I am 52, with some thyroid issues, high blood pressure). Maybe a doctor wouldn't even recommend it. But I am intrigued by the idea of having a more feminine appearance (even if slight), a lower libido, less body hair, being more emotional (I am already pretty much a "feelings" person) and even having small breasts (I am OK with an A or B cup if it gets to that - I do wear bras sometimes even now). 

 

Is it possible to give HRT a trial run for say 3-6 months and see how I feel/how my body reacts? Or is it best to make the decision and be all in? What a strange trip that has been...

 

I have talked about some of these things with my therapist. I still think I need to talk to another therapist who specializes in gender topics. My current therapist is pretty good and has been really supportive of everything so far but this topic is not her specialty... Thanks for listening... blessings to all...

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You might get some other opinions, but I don't think you should consider a trial run. To begin with, many of the results are irreversible, so you will be stuck with those changes. Second, even if you just want to see how it "feels," I don't think you'll see such a difference from a short trial run. The changes are very, very gradual, so you won't notice much change at all each day. Most importantly, you should look at HRT as a long-term and permanent decision. Make sure you are certain before starting on this step. That said, if you decide that HRT is for you, and you are certain that you want to start along that path, you should go for it. I wish you success whatever you decide. Good luck!!

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1 minute ago, Kasumi63 said:

You might get some other opinions, but I don't think you should consider a trial run. To begin with, many of the results are irreversible, so you will be stuck with those changes. Second, even if you just want to see how it "feels," I don't think you'll see such a difference from a short trial run. The changes are very, very gradual, so you won't notice much change at all each day. Most importantly, you should look at HRT as a long-term and permanent decision. Make sure you are certain before starting on this step. That said, if you decide that HRT is for you, and you are certain that you want to start along that path, you should go for it. I wish you success whatever you decide. Good luck!!

Good advice! Thank you!! Much success to you too!

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I found the irreversible changes happened so slowly that you'd be fine with a few months' trial. And it only took days for me to feel mental improvement, which I didn't think was possible, thought there would have to be those 'irreversible' changes first. Not everyone gets that mental shift, or so quickly, but a few months in your body might tell you if it's the right decision. 

 

And the ratio of people who transition and then regret not starting sooner to people who regret transitioning at all is probably 100-1 or higher. 

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EasyE, medical transition is to relieve dysphoria, so if your life is being significantly affected by dysphoria, maybe HRT is right for you. But it isn't something you should try to see if you like it. It is a tool to fix a problem. As the others have said, HRT works slowly, but it is different for everyone. People have been on low dose hormones for 6 months and have had permanent changes like breast growth, loss of libido, and fertility.

 

You could lose ability to produce testosterone (which is sort of the point!), and then have to remain on some type of hormone supplement for life to stay healthy. (again, this is different for everybody). I hate that I am now reliant on medications which have, at times, been in short supply.

 

I didn't want to start medical transition as I knew it would cost me my life partner, but I was so badly affected by dysphoria, my doctor pushed me to try it. It cured my illness within a few days, and my doctor told me I needed to stay on them to survive. My ex agreed I should choose life, and from there I couldn't stop fully transitioning. I miss her.

 

Yes, you can try, but there can be serious and lifelong consequences. Make sure it is worth it!

 

Hugs,

 

Allie

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Thanks all for the good advice and genuine feedback... 

 

Has anyone else had a therapist tell them that you keep them on their toes or that your story perplexes/confounds them? That is me. I am a bundle of contradictions and shifting sand as I try to figure myself out and what I want/need/am allowed to want/need. There are so many variables in this equation: my wife, my kids, my extended family, my Catholic faith, society's expectations and my own inner conscience and moral compass. 

 

All I know is that I am enamored with the feminine and I always have been. I am supremely attracted to women (their bodies, their "ways", their mystery) and have no attraction to men at all (in fact I have an aversion to some forms of masculinity). Yet there is a part of me that also wants to "put on" the feminine for myself and somehow connect with it in a deep way (hence my strong desires to wear women's clothing and feelings of angst when that goal gets blocked/threatened). 

 

If given a choice, and knowing that everyone (including God) would be cool with it, I would choose the female plumbing over male plumbing in a heartbeat. Even as a kid, during long swim practices, my mind would wander and wonder what it would be like to wear a girls bathing suit and not have the bulge down below. I wear women's underwear exclusively now and still wonder that. But do I truly have dysphoria? Do I want to go all the way and transition completely to being female and casting aside all things male? Not sure. Which I guess is why I am pondering if HRT is a happier middle ground? 

 

Maybe I am just scared to embrace all of this because I know that to embrace it all would mean losing my wife and maybe my kids and other friends/family. Maybe I am in so much conflict because I am trying to have everything the way I want it and no matter how hard I try, it won't all fit together into a nice, peaceful tapestry...

 

Anyways, thanks for listening to my ramblings... have a great Thanksgiving week everyone. Thankful for each of you...

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59 minutes ago, EasyE said:

Which I guess is why I am pondering if HRT is a happier middle ground?

I think continuing to look at things as a journey and not a destination may help. With the quoted line it reads like you're going somewhere, some middle ground. Is it really a middle ground?

 

There is nothing that will prevent you from altering or stopping HRT treatment if you have a good doctor helping you. Maybe that's of some comfort? Some people opt for lower doses because they don't want changes to be as sudden, even though it takes months for your body's shape to start to change and years for the effects to taper off, but they want change to occur. What if your journey does include HRT and you go on it for a few months? You start to feel more you, you start seeing more of the person you are in the mirror, do you quit because "it was just a trial"? You'd set a date!

 

I'm not trying to push you in any direction, I don't know your history or your challenges. I'm in a similar boat, however; I have a wife, kids, job, family, friends who have known me as I have been for 44 years. The social impact is the hardest thing for me to reconcile against. What happens to all of those people, those relationships? I brought that up with my counselor who asked, if I could just disappear for a month (into a fantasy land) with no one around, so I could wear beautiful clothes and have a feminine body and no one would be the wiser would I? An easy yes, right? It was but it wasn't the words that my counselor was looking for when she asked the question, it was how I reacted to the question. She noted how I "lit up" when I said it. I definitely felt a euphoric sensation in my mind, but I didn't think about how it would be painted all over my face. If going down this path makes me that happy, one that evokes visible and mental joy, should I allow an imagined reaction by friends or family stop me?

 

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20 hours ago, EasyE said:

Is it possible to give HRT a trial run for say 3-6 months and see how I feel/how my body reacts? Or is it best to make the decision and be all in?

 

As others have said, results are highly variable.  Some people report feeling euphoria almost immediately upon starting HRT.  If that happens to you, then congratulations, you have just diagnosed dysphoria.  That doesn't happen to everyone, though, and not having that reaction does not mean that you didn't have dysphoria.  Other people might take a few months to notice the mental and emotional changes.

 

On the other hand, irreversible changes can happen quickly.  Many people report that almost all their breast growth happened in the first six months.  Your mileage may vary, of course. 

 

The point is that this makes it impossible to have a "trial run".  If you wait long enough to see if the dysphoria goes away, you may well have committed yourself to irreversible breast growth.  At that point, changing your mind becomes problematic.

 

It would be worthwhile to find a therapist who specializes in gender issues.  You are at the point where you need assistance from someone who is very familiar with the physical and emotional effects of HRT, and who can help you determine if your issues are pointing in that direction.

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52 is not too old - I was 68 when I started.  But my kids were adults, and I was separated from my wife at the time, so I had few responsibilities to consider. 

I do think starting medical transition - which HRT is - is a serious decision.  I'm not sure the idea of "trying it out" casually is the best idea.  Actually transitioning is different from crossdressing.

 

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5 hours ago, MaeBe said:

The social impact is the hardest thing for me to reconcile against. What happens to all of those people, those relationships? I brought that up with my counselor who asked, if I could just disappear for a month (into a fantasy land) with no one around, so I could wear beautiful clothes and have a feminine body and no one would be the wiser would I? An easy yes, right? It was but it wasn't the words that my counselor was looking for when she asked the question, it was how I reacted to the question. She noted how I "lit up" when I said it. I definitely felt a euphoric sensation in my mind, but I didn't think about how it would be painted all over my face. If going down this path makes me that happy, one that evokes visible and mental joy, should I allow an imagined reaction by friends or family stop me?

 

If I didn't have all these meaningful relationships, I would feel the same if offered that opportunity. But I do have these relationships (wife, daughters, parents, extended family) and life isn't all about me. It IS about me. But not ALL about me. It is a tough balancing act and sometimes I feel like I am about the fall off the tightrope. 

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20 hours ago, AllieJ said:

It cured my illness within a few days

As everyone has mentioned in response to your post, it is a serious choice with possible permanent changes if continued too long. But, similarly to Allie, HRT reduced my gender dysphoria within the week. I do credit at least some of the reduction in dysphoria on simply knowing that I had finally started on my gender transition—a journey I had wanted to start 33 years earlier but couldn’t financially afford it at the time.

 

Susan R🌷

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@EasyE, you've already received some great guidance and the examples of others' experiences.  I hope you find that both helpful, but also cautionary.  Only YOU can decide if or when you want to start HRT.  Definitely include your Dr's and therapist's help (and a gender therapist if possible).

Also remember, HRT is not a solution for ALL of our human Life issues.  It is a solution for gender dysphoria ... and my experience is that it is incredibly beneficial to resolve that (whether or not you socially or physically transition with surgery). 

It took me 3 years under care of my therapist(s), another year discussing with my doctor, and finally determining my physical/mental/emotional well-being was more important than the potential (and sometimes real) limitations put on me by my spouse, children, friends, society ... etc.

All I can say - as it was for me - if/when it's time for you to start HRT ... you WILL know. 

 

Deep breaths ... one step at a time.

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2 hours ago, KayC said:

Also remember, HRT is not a solution for ALL of our human Life issues.

This also goes for transitioning in general.  All my problems didn't go away, and now there is a new set as well.  But I'm happier as me now.

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I started HRT to reduce dysphoria as a trial basis.  HRT helped reduce dysphoria for the most part yet in some ways it made it worse.  Currently, I am not on HRT.  I started and stopped a few times but was taking HRT for about 5 months.  

 

If you have any questions, you can message me.  

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Question: In case I reach this point, how exactly would one start the process of HRT? Just make an appointment with your provider and ask them about it? Do I need referrals?

 

I'm not crazy about my primary care doc. I think I'd rather broach the topic with someone who openly advertises that they are transgender friendly. For some reason I think I'd prefer a female to talk with as well. Thanks!

 

 

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@EasyE, I don't recall if you are a veteran in the VA.  If so talk to your PC and they can refer you.  

If not, NC is still an informed consent state.  You can make an appointment at a clinic that does HRT - like Planned Parenthood for instance.  There you can talk to someone a bit, and fill out and sign some paperwork.  Unless there is some reason not to, they will give you a prescription, and probably want some lab work to make sure things are okay.

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Just to note, Planned Parenthood is LGBTQ friendly.  There are a lot of transgender people who get their trans care there.  I stated with them, and everyone I encountered was very nice.  They do a lot of things besides abortions.

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5 hours ago, Ivy said:

Just to note, Planned Parenthood is LGBTQ friendly.  There are a lot of transgender people who get their trans care there.  I stated with them, and everyone I encountered was very nice.  They do a lot of things besides abortions.

Thanks Ivy: do you have any experience with Duke Health? I already see a few docs there for other reasons and they are top notch. They advertise that they offer "comprehensive transgender care" including HRT (no bottom surgery offerings however)... Thanks!

 

Easy

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12 hours ago, EasyE said:

do you have any experience with Duke Health?

No.   I have a daughter who lives in Durham, that I visit frequently and is an ally.  I started my HRT with her support, but at PP in Chapel Hill.  Now I get my care with the VA in Asheville.

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I just called Duke to set up an appointment. I need a referral from my general doc to establish care. For some reason, that makes me nervous as heck to ask him for the referral... 

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On 11/27/2023 at 3:37 PM, EasyE said:

I just called Duke to set up an appointment. I need a referral from my general doc to establish care. For some reason, that makes me nervous as heck to ask him for the referral... 

Need it be your usual doctor? Perhaps a call and request for "first available" may be better? I definitely feel the anxiety, though. I had a steady doctor for a long time and coming out to him makes me feel a little queasy, but it was a different time in my life long before I started putting two and two together. Now I've been seeing an evergreen list of doctors as the clinic I go to either seems to lose practitioners or they get promoted and can't see me anymore.

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28 minutes ago, MaeBe said:

Need it be your usual doctor? Perhaps a call and request for "first available" may be better? I definitely feel the anxiety, though. I had a steady doctor for a long time and coming out to him makes me feel a little queasy, but it was a different time in my life long before I started putting two and two together. Now I've been seeing an evergreen list of doctors as the clinic I go to either seems to lose practitioners or they get promoted and can't see me anymore.

I go in for some labwork tomorrow morning - good timing ... Hoping I can get the courage then to talk with someone about it and get the referral... 

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55 minutes ago, EasyE said:

I go in for some labwork tomorrow morning - good timing ... Hoping I can get the courage then to talk with someone about it and get the referral... 

You can do it!

 

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OK, so my doc is out for a few weeks. So I have an appointment lined up next Tuesday to talk with PA about the referral. One step at a time. Part of me wants to race ahead but I know this process should be slow and steady at every step to make sure. I feel pretty determined at this point. 

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