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Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

What is Hormone Replacement Therapy? 

In order to understand what hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is, it's helpful to have a general understanding of the function of hormones. A hormone is a chemical messenger that is produced in a person's body that has the job of telling cells in other parts of the body how to function. They tell things when to grow, impact sex drive, hunger, thirst, fat burning and storage, reproduction, and more. The type of hormones most relevant in regards to trans* information are sex hormones as they are responsible for developing sex characteristics. Humans have sex organs that develop before they are born (genitals, ovaries/testicles, etc.), and secondary sex characteristics that typically develop at puberty (facial hair, breast growth, voice changes, etc.). Everyone has levels of all different kinds of these hormones, but generally males have higher levels of testosterone and females have higher levels of estrogen. HRT is the process of taking various kinds of hormonal medications to change the levels of sex hormones in the body. It is safest and best practice if these medications are prescribed and monitored by a physician.

A trans* person does not have to take hormones in order to be trans*. As in any community, there is a wide range of diversity among those who identify as trans*, and there is not one right way to express oneself. There are a variety of reasons why an individual may choose not to utilize HRT or may not have access to HRT. 

Outcomes of HRT

Adjusting the levels of sex hormones such as estrogen, androgen, and testosterone will result in various outcomes that are impacted by a number of factors such as genetics and personal health. Some of the changes are impermanent (reversible) if an individual decides to stop HRT, and some changes are permanent (irreversible). There can also be complications and undesired outcomes of HRT, and it is best if all medications are prescribed by a physician who is involved in an individual's care.  

Local Prescribing Physicians

Please contact IYG for information if you are looking to speak to a local physician to prescribe hormones. 

If you are a provider and would like to be added to IYG's list of referrals, please contact IYG

Informational Resources

Hudson's Guide: FTM Testosterone Therapy and General Health

TransgenderCare.com's Transgender Forms of Feminizing Hormone Therapy

American Medical Association: Transgender Health