Changes On Testosterone, Answering the Unanswerable Question
A lot of guys have been asking about changes on testosterone, specifically what will happen to them and when. Unfortunately this information is largely unknown because it varies so much from person to person. There is no clear timeline of what to expect every month the way there is for babies (who, while there is a lot of variation, largely grow and change in the same way in the same general time frame). There is no “What to Expect when You’re Transitioning” guidebook, as much as we’d love to be able to write one. The best we can do is cluster the common changes on T into general time categories of “early in the first year”, “middle of the first year”, “end of the first year and beyond”. Even these are only averages, based upon our own personal experiences and youtube videos of others’ transitions. We are not doctors or experts, these are just observations for those of you who really want some kind of answer to “what will happen to me and when”, a largely unanswerable question.
Early in the First Year (0-4 months):
-Increased Appetite (sometimes)
-Increased Sex Drive (quite often/almost always)
-Genital Growth: This varies immensely from person to person but the clitoris usually ends up around 1-3 inches or so. If you want to see examples of this it’s easy to find pictures or videos of nude post-T transguys on xtube (a porn site) or the newly minted transqueersxxx tumblr.
-Vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and other symptoms similar to menopause: This is due to the decrease in estrogen production as your body switches over to being a largely testosterone-driven system, though these symptoms vary in severity and may not happen to everyone).
-Cession of menstrual periods (this can actually take anywhere from 2-6 months or beyond depending on your dose and body, ask your doctor!)
-Breaking or cracking of voice (again, depends, but usually begins around the 3rd or 4th month).
-Changes in body odor (difficult to describe, doesn’t mean you’ll stink but most guys notice that they smell a bit different).
-Increased muscle development. It becomes easier to build muscle.
-Increased sweat production and acne
Middle of First Year (5-10 months):
-Deepening of Voice: The voice generally begins to settle down in months 6-9 and continues to slowly deepen after that. Some transguys say their voices took up to 2 years to fill out and finish changing, but the major changes occur in the first year.
-Facial hair growth (may start before this, but generally only begins to become noticeable around this time)
-Increase in body hair (leg, stomach, chest, and arm hair, generally become thicker and longer but this depends on genetics, some guys never grow chest hair, for example). This may start earlier but, again, usually becomes noticeable around this time frame.
-Redistribution of fat may begin around this time (but it varies immensely from person to person), shoulders may broaden, and other body shape changes may occur. These usually take years to complete but may become noticeable around now depending on your level of exercise, body shape pre-T, genes, etc etc.
End of First Year and Beyond (11 months-5 years):
-Voice settles in
-Facial hair continues to grow
-Body shape continues to change
-Facial shape changes (generally the face becomes more angular and masculine)
-Possible hair loss (depending on genetics)
Notice that we didn’t mention anything about emotional changes, this is because all reports of those are anecdotal and no studies have been done on emotional changes on T. Some guys say they experience a dampening of emotions, difficulty crying, a shorter attention span, that they are easier to anger, that they are calmer, or a decrease in depression and anxiety. This could be due to many factors though, from how they feel about their transition to what they expect to feel like on T (the placebo effect is stronger than you think).
Hopefully that kind of gives you an idea of what happens and when, but obviously this may not apply to you. Plenty of guys report changes and timelines that are completely different than this and that’s normal. You might still have a high-pitched voice after a year, or you might a deeper voice than your dad after 4 months. However these are the averages that you begin to notice if you watch a large amount of youtube transition videos (which, we might add, we suggest you do if you are considering taking testosterone). For more information about testosterone and HRT for FtMs, check out Hudson’s FtM Guide.