It has been almost ten months since I started on a hormone treatment plan and there have been many changes about myself that are very evident. I researched the subject thoroughly prior to starting on them but even then, there have been surprises.
My treatment consisted of applying 2mg doses of Sandrena gel daily. This is an alcohol based gel with the Estradiol hormone contained in it. The plan was that this would get my blood oestrogen to the correct levels and bring my testosterone to a castrate level, critical for determining appropriateness for future surgery.
It was a strange feeling, putting on that first dose. It signified that start of something very new and I was very much in anticipation of what was going to happen to me. Perhaps it would be useful to note what has happened so far.
Breast size and shape
Of course, this is perhaps the most known and often desirable effect of taking some form of hormone. When I talked to the doctor about this, he was clear in that there were absolutely no guarantees of what size I would end up with but as a rough guess, aim a size below my mother. Without disclosing too much information about someone else, I can say this sounded like it was going to be massively hopeful.
Within a few days of starting hormones, my nipples were incredibly sore. Many years of running have led me to have to occasional dose of joggers nipple, but this was on a different level entirely. I had been warned about this but was surprised at how many months this lasted, probably three or four. Within a few weeks, I experienced the first growth and the breast tissue and after three months, I had something in the order of a full B cup.
Around December, my blood oestrogen became lower and predictably the growth stopped. A change of dose increased this and the growth restarted. Suddenly all my B cup bras were useless and I was popping out of them all the time. A sudden investment in some C cups with a small amount of padding remedied this, for a time.
Around about the eight month stage, suddenly it was growing season again! I am now at the stage of moving to a D cup but with absolutely no padding. I have been told to expect another ten to twelve months more of growth plus some additional time when I have genital reassignment surgery (GRS).
Changes to my body hair has been very slow initially. I have epliated for nearly four years now so it was always going to be difficult to notice any changes and it only in the last couple of months that I have noticed much less of it on my weekly removal sessions. It has changed in thickness, there are many less black ones these days.
My facial hair has slowed quite considerably. This has been a very useful effect and it means I can go much lighter on the makeup. A downside is that I need more time to grow it for electrolysis, as much as four days for upper lip hair.
Head hair is now much thicker and my thinning top is now less evident. Although it is very rare, I feel I have had some regrowth from thinner areas.
Softening of the skin is a much reported effect, and this is actually a very pleasant change. It looks and feels fantastic and is a tangible sign that I am less masculine. I find it is also less greasy but will have to watch for more dryness, something I am noticing on my face.
Body fat distribution
I am not quite so aware of massive changes in this department. My partner, Mandy, says my hips are getting bigger but it is not so easy for me to see. Again, this is often a very slow change and may take some time yet.
Facial shape change
This has been by far the most surprising effect of all. I am often staggered to see just how much my face has changed in the time I have been taking hormones. I feel I look so much more feminine and Mandy often says I need no makeup now, but I am not quite ready for too many bare faced strolls down the high street!
This is obviously the more expected change but was something that came and went initially. When I started last year, my blood oestrogen levels were extremely high, three times what they should have been. I described my mood at the time as being along the lines of meltdown! We had to reduce my dose and things calmed down but this led to a low blood oestrogen and I could sense it was at a low level. This made me feel very low but not the crying sort of low. An increase saw this level off and I started to find some significant changes in my emotions and feelings. I am now much more prone to crying, something I found impossible as a man.
Recently, perhaps two weeks ago, I have also noticed a change in how I feel about my journey. I have always felt very determined and that transitioning was 100% the right choice. Now however, I have found this feeling to have become even stronger and that I am extremely happy as the woman I have become.
This has led me to consider my upcoming GRS in great detail. GRS was always somewhere there in the distant future and would happen when it happened. Now it is perhaps five to six months away and it can't happen soon enough. I now view this final step as essential to continue with my life. I really feel that the changes the hormones have had, have led to this change of thoughts. I have heard more than one transwoman say they weren't bothered with GRS, only to hear later down the line that they were actively pursuing it. I can honestly say that the same has happened with me.