If you’re aging too quickly, suffering from an injury, or want to transition from male to female, take heed. Hormone replacement therapy for men might be the answer you’ve been looking for. So while the procedure is still controversial, most doctors say it’s safe as long as you do it responsibly. Here’s what you need to know.
What is hormone replacement therapy for men?
Male hormone replacement therapy, or HRT for men, is a structured medical process that lowers your testosterone levels. The process then replaces those male hormones with female hormones like estrogen. Men use it for many reasons, but most of the time it’s for symptom management or for gradual gender reassignment.
Meanwhile, treatments usually take between 3 to 12 months to complete. Some men see permanent changes to their bodies while others are only temporary. The effectiveness of this therapy ultimately depends on how long you use it and which drugs you choose to take. For the best results, HRT should be done with the help of a doctor.
How to tell if you need it
Truth be told, this stuff is not for everyone. Still, there are a few signs that say you might need it. So, always talk to a physician, but be on the lookout for unexplained symptoms like these:
- Bone Loss
- Weight Gain
- Hot Flashes
This therapy is designed to help you start feeling like yourself again. Keep in mind that you can still seek male HRT even if you don’t experience those symptoms or wish to change your gender. At the same time, don’t forget that a full gender transition can take up to five years to finish and may require the use of catheters.
FUN FACT: It took Caitlyn Jenner more than a decade to decide that she wanted to transition from male to female.
Are there any side effects?
A lot of people want to know if hormone replacement therapy for men is safe. It should be noted that testosterone reduction can raise a man’s risk of developing blood clots or having a stroke. But some experts say you can lessen that risk by donating blood every once in a while.
Men can experience a wide variety of different side effects, in fact. It all depends on body chemistry and how the body reacts to the drugs. In most cases, some guys reported the following things:
- Reduced muscle mass
- Boosted body fat
- Decreased libido
- Erectile dysfunction (ED)
- Loss of body hair
- Breast tissue growth
- Genitalia shrinkage
- Mood swings
- Urinary tract infections (UTI)
Rarely, men experience things like acne and sleep apnea from male hormone replacement therapy. However, it’s possible, so be sure to watch yourself closely. If you start to feel worse than you did before starting HRT, don’t stop immediately. Talk to your doctor about gradually reversing the process so you can stay safe.
Is hormone replacement therapy for men right for me?
Each man needs to think for himself on this one. As long as your health is good and your doctor gives the all-clear, then male HRT could be the right option for you. Keep in mind that some of the side effects are permanent, so plan ahead and consider the pros and cons.