hormones + detransition after six years?
October 3, 2020 7:49 PM   Subscribe

What kinds of effects could I expect from going back on testosterone after 6 years on estrogen, as a former trans woman, current gender squiggly AMAB person?

(This question is scoped a little more narrowly around the influence of hormone switch itself rather than de/re transition on the whole, fyi!)

I'm considering going back on testosterone -- for me, as someone who had bottom surgery, I'll need to go on shots similar to a transmasc person taking hormones I'd imagine? I'm not sure if I'd have the same masulinizing experiences in the same way? Specifically:

I started estrogen when I was 25. Beforehand, I had a kind of soft/moderately androgynous presentation already. I couldn't grow much facial hair (although it had started increasing in my 20s a liiiitle), for example, but that's also true of my dad too. I had a thinnish-muscularish build, and probably my most masculine features were deep voice, wide shoulders, calves.

It's hard to single out exactly what changed from pre-25 to 25-31. If I had to distill and synthesize, I'd say the biggest impacts of estrogen have been stuff like:
> Softened skin, fat redistribution, face softening
> Changed body odor (pheremones?)
> Breast growth (I'm somewhere in the B to maybe C cup range?)
> Pretty strong-ish libido to virtually none
> Lower energy overall

I also had laser hair removal on both face (moderate) and in prep for bottom surgery -- I have some facial hair but very light colored right now.

I'm most curious what will happen to facial hair, breast shrinking with fat redistribution (if that's even a thing?), libido and energy, any un-softening changes that would be relevant to me (eg as a vagina-having person now). Any sense how this works after years of estrogen and as an AMAB person who's had surgery? There's not much (or, uh, any?) information online targeted to my exact demographic as far as I can tell, as I know I'm a minority of a minority, but anything you have to contribute from a variety of perspectives would be lovely. Thank you!!
posted by elephantsvanish to Health & Fitness (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I think you'll have similar results as an AMAB person who goes off estrogen- so that might be a source of resources and antedotes.
I know a handful of people IRL who have done this. Your smell and skin will definitely change. Energy and libido will also be affected by the rest of your mental health and your experiences will probably be different from the people I know who lost access to medical care/HRT.

I'm not a doctor and I'm definitely not your doctor and all of this is just speculation and reshared antedotes not medical advice.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 5:18 AM on October 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

Someone was blogging about (among other things) a similar trajectory under the name "Third Way Trans" a few years ago, though they eventually took the blog down because (IIRC) it was getting (mis)used as TERF propaganda. I remember the blogger's name and won't link it to their blog here but can share it privately if interested.
posted by needs more cowbell at 5:59 AM on October 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

I'm a trans man who has been on T (gel) for nearly a month now, but I've got trans guy friends who are further along and have been researching it for a while.

As you know, everyone is different when it comes to taking hormones, so timelines and even changes that some people get might not happen for you, or might happen more/less/faster/slower than is commonly reported.

I'm most curious what will happen to facial hair, breast shrinking with fat redistribution (if that's even a thing?), libido and energy, any un-softening changes that would be relevant to me (eg as a vagina-having person now)

Since you've had laser treatment and been on E for a while, I would say you're more likely to see only very slight changes to your facial hair for a while, maybe years. What you have now may just get darker and thicker.

T does change how your fat is distributed, but it's more like when you gain/lose weight it goes to the places it will go on cis men (stomach, butt) rather than cis women (breasts, hips, stomach, thighs, butt), rather than your current fat getting moved around. Your breasts might lose some fat and density -- for people on T for a long time (years), their breasts tend to just become flatter and softer. I doubt you will entirely lose your breasts, but they may just become flat.

Libido may change. Many (but not all) people on T see an increase in their libido during the first few years. Ditto energy levels. These are pretty common changes with any strong steroid.

For you, I would definitely keep an eye on vaginal changes. Being on T for a long time can cause vaginal atrophy and dryness in some AFAB people. As someone who is AMAB, you might need to keep a closer eye on what's going on down there than an AFAB person. In terms of good news though this is easily treated with topical oestrogen creams and suppositories. It might be something that's worth bringing up with your doctor when you talk about T so they can help you monitor things.

You might also get vocal changes as your larynx returns to how it was before you started E and your face/body might generally become less soft and revert as well. Odour is likely to change as well. These last two changes have been the most significant for me so far as someone early in transition.

I hope that's helpful! Feel free to ask any more questions here or via PM!
posted by fight or flight at 7:52 AM on October 4, 2020 [1 favorite]

A former partner of mine went through something very similar to what you are considering! They had an orchi and kept everything else in the same configuration, but otherwise had a very similar time on hormones and at similar ages to you.

They experienced:
Skin + Fat: a relatively quick (within a few weeks) change in skin texture/oilyness, more prone to acne for a while. They're really thin so idk about the fat redistribution but to my knowledge that kind of thing usually takes longer;
BO: similar to skin texture, a quick change to more odor;
Breasts: my partner never had much in this area but most of the trans guys I know who hadn't had top surgery had the experience of about the same technical cup size and amount of breast skin, but as fat distribution went on, their chests lost a lot of fullness/volume. It became easier to bind etc.
Libido/energy: somewhat of an increase in energy on T, and a DEFINITE increase in libido, very soon (the next day after) their first T shot. They talked to me about how it was jarring to suddenly be waking up with morning wood, which they hadn't experienced in years, but obviously your experience would be different.
Hair: my partner removed all of their facial hair through one of those home zapper things. They never had a ton to begin with, but it was quite dark. Over the course of their first year on T they had some small dark hairs grown in but they grew veeeerry slowly.

I think you would be less likely to have vaginal atrophy issues than a trans man, just because I would guess less of that area for you is dictated by hormones. It might be that skin changes effected your vaginal health, tho.

wrt hormone distribution methods, you may want to look into testopellet if you end up making a change to T long term. They're a subdermal implant that your doctor places every 3-6 months and they dissolve slowly, allowing your body to absorb T over that time. Pro: very low maintenance, you don't have to think about it except for doctor appointments. Con: you do have to go into your doctor's office to have them placed, it is a cut they make in you, and it can be difficult to find a doctor trained to do them just because they're a relatively new method of HRT. There's also a daily patch, similar to the gel that fight or flight mentioned, both of which tend to have a more gradual start than injections.

Feel free to memail me, I'm recovering from GRS right now so I have a lot of time on my hands. I am a lot of my friends have had on-again, off-again relationships with hormones so I have a fair amount of anecdotal knowledge I'd be happy to help with.
posted by Summers at 11:33 AM on October 5, 2020

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