Deciding to start hormone therapy can be both scary and exciting. There are lots of myths around taking Testosterone. We hope we can break down some of these misconceptions! NOTE: We are not trained medical professionals but have compiled this information based on confirmed research and personal experience.
1. I will become the hulk.
No you will not turn green. Or be huge over night. Often when people discuss HRT they use reference to taking testosterone like body builders and/or taking unregulated amounts. They forget to factor in the endless hours in the gym lifting heavy heavy weights. Its not to say you wont be able to build more muscle with some hard work, but it will not be an instant and automatic change.
2. I will gain loads of weight automatically.
Often weight gain is commonly talked about whilst taking testosterone. In fact, though you will likely gain weight, the makeup of this weight will be dependent on diet, genetic and dietary factors. With the right routine it may be that its easier for you to gain lean muscle.
3. I will become a dominating, laddish, macho man.
Taking testosterone will not change your personality! A surprising amount of people who are taking testosterone worry that their behaviours, thoughts and character will too change. Testosterone may cause physical changes but you are still the lovely amazing person you were at the start. It will have no effect on the kind of person you are. In fact, it may cause physical changes that can help maximise your amazingness; many transgender men report an increased energy level, decreased need for sleep, and increased alertness after testosterone therapy.
4. I will lose my sh** all the time.
Small studies have shown that Testosterone HRT can mean increases in anger. However this is not widely researched and is also dependent on your emotional wellbeing, mental stability, personality and other lifestyle factors.
5. I will lose all my hair.
It is said that once you begin hormone therapy, you are about as likely as your cis counterparts to go bald. Testosterone-related hair loss will be dependent on genetic factors. For some trans men, their hair can actually feel thicker. It is common to experience a masculinisation of the hairline - when your hairline recedes a little further at the temples.
6. I will turn gay.
Gender and sexuality are two completely separate things. If your sexuality does change at all, this will not be a direct effect of taking the testosterone.
7. I will be ‘macho’ over night.
Changes take place over time. They will not be instant, though some can start sooner than you think like changes in perspiration and body odour. It can take 3-6 months to see other larger and more noticeable physical changes. For maximum physical changes it can take up to 5 years. You are taking one shot at a time and it is in your control each dose you take.
8. If I stop taking T I’ll grow chest tissue back.
For trans men who have had top surgery, if they choose to stop taking testosterone it can be a worry that chest tissue will start to grow back. This is not true. Surgical removal of chest tissue is permanent.
9. I will automatically be infertile.
Some people believe that if you take testosterone you can’t get pregnant, but this is not true. Testosterone is not a form of birth control. Many trans men stop taking hormones and their normal cycle resumes. It is important to note, after years of taking testosterone it can lead to difficulties becoming pregnant but this is definitely a change that happens over a long period of time.
10. I can take it all back.
Some things are reversible, but many are not, for example clitoral growth, facial hair growth, voice changes and male-pattern baldness are not reversible.There are however a number of changes that can be reversed if a person stops taking testosterone. These include changes in sexual behaviour, increased muscle mass, increased sweat and body odour changes, prominence of veins and acne.