I didn’t know what to expect from my first month of HRT. Most medical and scientific documents that I read said not expect to see any effects of the first one to two months. My doctor even told me that I would not see any changes for the first two months. Yet anecdotally, many trans women report seeing changes in under a month. One month in, I can firmly say that my own experience is much more in line with the latter.
None. Based on the stories from other trans women that I have read, I expected HRT to cause mood swings and to make me more emotional. Yet despite these reports, I am not aware of any mental or emotional changes. I am uncertain if this is because there has not been any or simply because I am unaware of changes that did occur. It is hard to determine if I have experienced psychological changes by looking back. I am not an unbiased observer, I don’t know if I could even detect such a change.
While the lack of psychological effects left me disappointed, I was surprised by how quickly I began to see physical effects. Within one week of starting estrogen, I was already seeing changes. One week after starting estrogen, I began to see changes to my appetite and my thirst. I was constantly dehydrated even though I was always drinking water. I was drinking around 15-20 glasses of water a day, and still felt thirsty. Unfortunately, all that water just ran right though me. During this same period, my appetite skyrocketed. I would eat huge meal and be starving only 2 hours later. I was getting hungry every 2-4 hours. After the first two weeks, both my appetite and thirst went down, but they are still higher than they were prior to starting HRT.
Another effect that started about the second week was changes to my sleep patterns. I found myself unable to fall asleep and started to experience vivid nightmares, something that never happened previously. I used to be a pretty good sleeper, but since starting HRT I have had consistent trouble falling asleep. On top of that, when I did manage the get to sleep, I would be woken up by nightmares. For two weeks straight, I was awoken every night by nightmares, sometimes several times a night. And this is from someone who has never had an issue with nightmares before, especially one’s that woke me up. While sleep changes or nightmares are not listed as a possible effect of HRT anywhere that I can find, I don’t know what else to assign them too.
The most surprising effect for me was breast tenderness and growth. Around the third week of HRT, I accidentally elbowed myself in the chest. Normally, this would not be an issue as it is a common occurrence, but this was incredibly uncomfortable. It felt like someone hit my funny bone, but in my chest and it lasted for a while. Since then, they have only gotten more sensitive and tender. You don’t realize how often you catch things with your chest until you start HRT. I have caught the edge of my counter almost a dozen times. Along with this tenderness and sensitivity has come some breast growth. It is not a lot, but comparing pictures from the day I started and now; there is definitely dimension that was previously non-existent.