Hormones and your body

When you don’t have gonads (or have gonads that don’t make lots of hormones), your doctor will probably suggest taking hormones to help your body go through puberty and stay healthy throughout your life.

Taking the right kind for you

For more information on hormones and the changes they cause at puberty, check out the Puberty section.

Here are some questions to ask about the hormones offered:

What are potential effects of taking hormones? Are they permanent?

For instance:

  • weight loss/gain
  • mood and wellbeing
  • loss or increase of sex drive (also known as libido)
  • hot flashes (a.k.a. flushes)
  • bone health
  • breast/hip development (with E)
  • underarm/facial/ pubic hair growth (if responding to T)
  • voice changing (if responding to T)
  • clitoris or penis growth (if responding to T)

What can I do if I don’t like taking hormones or it makes me sick?

  • (An important question for you) Is it the hormone action you don’t like (any changes in your body—growing breasts? More hair?) Do you want to change hormones so your body develops in a different way?
  • Is it the formula (pills, patches, spray, creams) that makes you feel achy or sick? Remember: each body is different and may prefer one type of hormone or way of receiving hormones over another.

How long do I need to take them? What happens if I stop taking them for a while?

  • Chances are, you will need to take hormones at least until the typical age of menopause (50-60) or potentially even the rest of your life if you don’t have gonads that work. This is because hormones are needed for other things, like your bone strength. Your doctor may discuss this more and help you understand some of the issues that could come up if you stop taking them.
  • If you stop taking hormones or skip them, the effect on your body (bones, mind, and skin) and how quickly you notice (with things like hot flashes, mood….) will be different from anyone else.
  • Doctors haven’t studied DSD and hormones into old age, and because of that, no one can say definitively when to stop or exactly what will happen if you stop taking them. DSDs can alter the way the body produces and uses hormones. In fact, it could be that people with DSD need hormone replacement well into old age in a way that their body’s variation would typically produce. While we don’t know, we encourage you to find a doctor who will work with you on finding the optimal hormone therapy for your body and mind.

What if I’m not sure that the effects of T or E are right for my gender identity? Can hormones be postponed to when I am an older teen and when I know more about who I am as a person and who I want to be?

If this question sounds familiar, please talk to your doctor and share it. Also, check out the page on Hormones and Your Mind and also the Identity section .