Feminizing hormone therapy: A guide to the medications, body effects, and health risks you should know about – Business Insider India

Posted: November 11, 2020 at 3:55 pm

Feminizing hormone therapy is a common way for transfeminine or gender non-binary individuals to achieve traditionally female characteristics and feel more comfortable in their own bodies. Here's how it works, what you can expect from the procedure, and important health risks to know.

Feminizing hormone therapy can involve taking estrogen and anti-androgen hormones. An anti-androgen is any drug that blocks the production of male sex hormones, mainly testosterone.

"I usually talk to most of my patients that, in general, hormone therapy is not quick to act. It's a process and it does take a couple of years," Iyengar says.

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To develop the right individualized treatment plan, you should talk with your doctor about what you'd like to gain from feminizing hormone therapy and your preferred timetable, as you can adjust your dosage accordingly.

"Every person is unique based on their own health factors and their family history," says Amy Weimer, MD, a primary care physician with a clinical interest in transgender care at UCLA Health. "But at the very baseline, we typically check blood count and a liver and kidney panel, then may check tests for cholesterol or diabetes or occasionally hormone levels as well."

Blood clots are the best characterized risks for estrogen therapies, says Joshua Safer, MD, an endocrinologist at the Center for Transgender Medicine and Surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital. However, they're not common. A 2017 study found that blood clots form within roughly two of 1,000 people on feminizing hormone therapy.

In some cases, potassium could build up to higher than normal levels in a condition called hyperkalemia, though it is also rare. You should check in with your doctor if you experience the following symptoms of hyperkalemia:

Weimer also says there are a few medical cases where feminizing hormone therapy may be more harmful to your health, such as having signs of breast cancer, colorectal cancer, or any cancer sensitive to estrogen.

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Feminizing hormone therapy: A guide to the medications, body effects, and health risks you should know about - Business Insider India

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