Most transwomen are all too familiar with the trademark effects of taking estrogen – softer skin, fat redistribution, boobs, etc, etc. But there are loads of other effects that can kick in to a greater or lesser extent. I’ve been doing my research.
So you’re a transwoman and you’re about to start your HRT journey. Congratulations, girl! Get yourself ready for a bigger booty and a trimmer tum, and prepare to say goodbye to your body hair and possibly even your erections.
These are all common effects of HRT, and pretty much all transwomen will experience all of them, to one degree or another. Here’s a timeline of what’s what:
As well as these effects, you can add in the fact that you’ll likely feel a lot happier (handy for those of us with depression), your face will become more rounded and feminine, and you’ll become a lot more emotional – get the Kleenex ready.
These are all pretty well-known facts about starting estrogen and testosterone blockers. And, seeing as I’m about to start my own HRT next month, I thought I’d see if there was anything else that may be in store but doesn’t get talked about quite so much.
And the internet is full of anecdotal evidence from transwomen reporting other symptoms. Here’s my top ten, in no particular order.
- Orgasms: Men’s and women’s orgasms are completely different. A male orgasm is pretty much centred around the genitals and stomach area, whereas a female orgasm can affect the whole body, last far longer and be far stronger. I once read that they’re ten times stronger than male orgasms. So while HRT might cause shrinking and reduced erections, on the flipside of the coin is the fact that transwomen can get female orgasms. And you don’t need an erection or an ejaculation to have one either.
- Smell: I’ve read quite a lot of comments from transwomen who report a massively improved sense of smell. That’s really good from my point of view, because mine ain’t the greatest and never has been. Your body scent will also change as you start pumping out sweet female pheromones rather than the musky male ones. Be warned, though, apparently the smell of men really stands out to transwomen (and cis women) – not great on a hot summer’s day when they’re a bit sweaty. Especially if you’re not into guys.
- Sexuality: Which brings us nicely on to sexuality. In most cases, your sexuality ain’t gonna change. If you like smooching girls before HRT, you’ll still like smooching them afterwards. But I’ve read a few accounts of transwomen becoming attracted to men after starting HRT. Probably not enough that they’d go off girls, but it might flick a bisexual/pansexual switch in some people.
Eyelashes: This is a new one on me, but apparently HRT can make your eyelashes thicker, longer and more feminine. A nice little beauty bonus there for trans girls who care about how their eyes look.
- Extremities: It’s pretty well known already that taking estrogen causes huge reduction in muscle mass, making the body appear slimmer and more feminine. You’ll also lose a shed load of strength. What I didn’t realise until recently is that this can also cause your hands and feet to shrink – and I’ve even read accounts of people losing an inch or two in height.
- Taste: Some transwomen report that their sense of taste changes – they might go off foods that they’d always eaten before and start to like those that they’d previously avoided. Cravings can be common. It’s not just taste in food that can change either. I’ve read a few accounts of people’s taste in terms of music and TV changing.
- Chocolate: Most women love chocolate, but I’ve never really realised why – it’s just been a nice sweet treat to me up to now. But add a little estrogen to your system and chocolate becomes a drug, helping ease stress, combat fatigue and just make you feel awesome. Looking forward to that!
- Nails: One of the bad things about HRT is that it can make your fingernails more fragile, which sucks because mine snap all the time as it is, especially in the winter. Might be time to start using my little bottle of almond oil on them to keep them supple.
- Cold: Where I’m from, we have a word for people who feel the cold more than most: nesh. Despite the extra layers of fat, rumour has it that HRT can make transwomen feel the cold more than before. And when you look at how unbelievably thin most women’s jumpers are, that’s gonna be a pain in the arse. Time to order some thermals perhaps.
- Spots: Starting HRT is literally starting a second puberty (unless you transition in your teens). So you can expect all of the crap that you had to put up with the first time round, such as spots and mood swings. Deep joy. At least my voice won’t break this time – and I won’t start growing a shit beard.
There ya go! If you’ve had any other less common effects from your HRT, leave a comment in the box below.
Just finally, I’ve decided to take a short career break for a few weeks so that I can concentrate on myself (and do some work on my house) while I start HRT. As the time draws nearer, I am just getting more and more happy, and more and more excited. The feelings of apprehension are still there, but they’re far less prominent than they once were. I can’t wait to get started!