HRT: Gradual changes and sudden discoveries

There is an odd oxymoron inherent in the changes brought by hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The changes are incredibly slow and occur over the span of 2-5 years. Changes occur every day, but they are incredibly minute. We don’t tend to notice changes like that. Instead, you wake up one morning and go, “where did those come from? When did this happen?”. Suddenly, you notice an entire months worth of gradual changes in a moment. This has been one of those sudden change weeks.

The newest change has been the effect of fat redistribution to my hips. This redistribution has probably been going on for a while, but I only noticed it when an old pair of pants no longer fit right. A quick measurement confirmed that my hips were now almost 2 inches larger than when I started HRT. My thighs have also gotten larger, which surprised me. I had not noticed any change to my thighs until I measured them. My expectations for changes to my figure were fairly minimal, considering the skeleton fuses in your early 20’s, but this amount of early change makes me hopeful.

The other big change this week was breast development. I am now firmly in the tanner 1 stage of breast development. This week was the first time that I could actually see development by looking in a mirror. Previously, I could only tell the something was happening by comparing pictures. Now the breast development is clearly visible and is occasionally noticeable with some of my smaller shirts (the shirt thing actually worries me, I am still not out to anyone).

On a more clinical note, my hormone levels are starting to look good. I am on the cusp of normal female ranges for both testosterone and estrogen at only 10 weeks in. Hopefully, by the time of my next labs, I will be firmly within those ranges. If I am not, I am slightly worried that my HRT provider will resist raising my estradiol prescription. They have expressed disagreement at previous appointments with my decision to pursue estrogen mono-therapy and have repeatedly recommended spirolactone. With luck, the conversation about raising dosage won’t be necessary, and I will be firmly in female ranges by my next appointment.

This week was the week where several gradual changes finally reached a noticeable level. These changes had likely been brewing for several weeks, probably from as soon as I started HRT. But it was only this week where I was surprised to see the changes. That is the odd oxymoron of HRT, the changes are slow and occur over months and years, but we experience them as sudden massive changes.

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