Over The Counter Testosterone Blockers
for Transgender Women
Transgender women are individuals who were male at birth, however, they have a feminine or female gender identity. Moreover, even though not all transgender women have a desire to undergo a surgical or medical gender transition, there are many who do.
Cross-sex hormone therapy is often the first step in any gender transition, and it involves the use of testosterone blockers with estrogen or estradiol.
Men and women have a number of different physical differences, this phenomenon is referred to as sexual dimorphism. Several of these physical differences related to sex are because of a variation in hormones.
The developmental changes take place depending on whether the estrogen or testosterone is dominant in the body.
In case a woman is cisgender, the body is dominated with estrogen from puberty and onwards.
If the presence of estrogen is more than the presence of testosterone, it makes the skin softer, with subtle changes including growth in breasts. However, if a woman is cisgender, the predominant hormone is testosterone; it causes a change in hair growth patterns, facial hair growth, and male pattern baldness.
Furthermore, it causes the adams apple to enlarge, widens the shoulders and thickens the vocal cords causing the voice to drop.
A person’s sex drive is also increased if the levels of testosterone are high. The differences because of the levels of hormones in transgender individuals are managed with cross-sex hormone therapy.
Transgender individuals often deal with discomfort and dysphoria because of their gender identity, hormone therapy helps them attain a body that more closely matches their gender identity; cross-sex hormone therapy is one of the ways they can reach their goals.
This is one of the reasons why the transition is easier for transgender men than it is for transgender women.
There are a number of drugs available in the market which can block testosterone, these drugs can be divided into two main categories.
Drugs that block the action of testosterone in the body and those which prevent its production. However, even though testosterone blockers can have certain side effects, most of them are safe to use.
Spironolactone is one of the most commonly used blockers, it causes excessive urination, moreover, other side effects when you first start taking it. The side effects include feeling lightheaded and dizzy.
Therefore, it is essential to drink plenty of water when taking this medication since it can be dangerous for people with kidney problems.
Spironolactone also interacts with some blood pressure medications; therefore, it is essential to share your full medical history and medications you are taking with your doctor.
Another rare, however, potentially harmful side effect of spironolactone includes an increase in the production of potassium. While on this medication, it is important to get your levels of potassium checked periodically, as it can cause your heart to stop.
Finasteride and dutasteride
Finasteride and dutasteride prevent the production of dihydrotestosterone. Dihydrotestosterone is a form of testosterone which acts on the prostate, hair, and skin. Testosterone blockers finasteride and dutasteride are weaker than spironolactone, however, they have fewer side effects.
For this reason, the medication is prescribed to individuals who cannot tolerate spironolactone. However, the added benefits of taking either of these medications including spironolactone are quite unclear.
The different benefits include enhanced energy, redistribution of body fat, an improvement in mood and better development of breasts.
Women might experience either some or all of the benefits of progesterone; it can either be applied as a cream or taken as a pill.
What are the risks associated with testosterone blockers?
The risks associated with the use of testosterone blockers are quite minimal. The risk of cancers in transgender women lacks evidence, whereas, there is a minimal chance of strokes and blood clots.
It is further believed that the risks of prostate cancer go down with the use of testosterone, however, this too lacks substantial evidence.
On the other hand, the risks of breast cancer may increase but the risk of developing cancer will still be less than that of a non-transgender female.
It is recommended that you begin with breast cancer screening if you have been on hormone therapy for at least 2 or 3 years. However, there may be other risks associated with hormonal therapy, especially for those who have used estrogen for many years, but the amount of research is insufficient.
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The hormone testosterone is responsible for male characteristics, such as body hair, muscular build, a deeper voice pattern, and other typical male characteristics. In addition to this, with the advent of transformation labs, it has now become more convenient to suppress the hormones responsible for the undesirable effects of testosterone.
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