So your transition is underway and you are looking forward to the doctor finally prescribing you estrogen and some testosterone blockers so that you can get your show on the road. You have heard so many things about what the hormones might and might not do to your body. There are rumors, speculation and girls who will swear that "their bones are changing" or their "hands got smaller!". Both of which are impossible, simply a myth and all part of the gender dysphoria that we all are plagued with. Ultimately the best source of information about hormones effects on the body can be gained from your local endocrinologist. However there are so many that insist on believing in and spreading the following myths and disinformation that it makes transitioning confusing and frustrating for those who are just starting out. Let's take a look at some of those myths:
- Hormones change your bone structure. Contrary to popular belief, the hormone treatments do not change your bone structure. They cannot make you shorter, make you hands and feet smaller nor change the bone structure in your face. The only acception to this rule being if you start hormones treatments pre puberty then its likely that your bone structure will grow much like a normal woman's would. But after puberty you are out of luck.
- The more you take the faster you change. Some girls I have met have actually gone to the length of putting on ALL of their estrogen patches at once in order to change into a female body faster. This simply does not work. Similarly to the way a transman's body will change an overdose of testosterone into estrogen, your body will do the same. It will take any excess of estrogen and convert it to testosterone. Reversing the effect that you want to achieve.
- Taking hormones makes you more of a woman then a transwoman not on hormones. This is utter tripe! We are all transwomen and this type of behavior just reinforces the transgender hierarchy and serves no other purpose but to divide us and drive us to suicide in certain cases. Please do not fall into this particular mode of thinking.
- Estrogen will kill your sexual function. More often than not this is certainly not the case. Your sex drive may change over time but your actual sexual function should not be affected until such time as you chose(or not) to have Gender Reassignment Surgery.
- Estrogen will make your brain shrink. Yes it's true that women have smaller brains than men but that is just because they are smaller human beings. Most everything about them is smaller but estrogen treatments will not make your brain smaller and you are in no danger of your brain actually rattling around inside your skull.
- Estrogen will cure my dysphoria. I personally wish this one was true for all the transwomen out there that suffer like I do with gender dysphoria. However wonderful things estrogen therapy does for you, It will not cure your gender dysphoria.
- You will grow breasts like your Mom. Sadly another myth, the common thought on this particular question has always been that you can count on getting about half what your mom was endowed with due to you having less receptors on your breasts to receive the estrogen. It's a sad but true part of the male bodies physiology.
- Estrogen will make your hair grow back. Really sorry about this one ladies, but your hair will not grow back from hormone treatments. You will still need to use other methods of dealing with male pattern baldness.
- Estrogen will eliminate your facial hair. Estrogen will not eliminate your facial hair at all. After many years of being on hormones you can probably expect the hairs to get finer but that is about all the effect you are going to get. For some reason facial hair is different than body hair and thus will react differently. So don't count on your beard falling out because it is not going to happen.
These are just a few of the many myths surrounding the hormone called estrogen. Hormone replacement therapy will change your body over time in many ways, just not in these ones. Ultimately the effect hormones have on your body depends on your genetics, your health, how you treat your body and following your endocrinologists instructions to the letter. You will get the effects from the hormones to the level that your body can accommodate and no more. If you think the hormones are going to miraculously change your entire body then you are in for a sad disappointment. So please don't beat yourself up with this one and you will enjoy your transition that much more.