Once I decided that I was going to start transitioning, I had a ton of questions about hormones. Not just “the what” and “the why”, but “the how”. Of course, all my trans friends had an opinion, ranging from “girl, you need to do injections!” to “pills are the way to go”, and so on. That’s not even mentioning the wealth of information you can find online, from message boards to Reddit (hi Redditors!) Frankly, it was overwhelming.
Thankfully, my doctor broke it down for me in very simple terms. Before even doing that, he emphasized that they are all effective, it’s just a matter of the mechanism and its effects.
- Pills: One of the easier ways to get your hormones. However, there’s a trick to it. You have to let them dissolve in your mouth, either under your tongue or between your lip and lower gums. Swallowing it puts a lot of work on your liver.
- Patches: Medically speaking, the safest way to go. A sustained, steady dose that’s absorbed through the skin. The only caveat here is that you have to be careful not to let it fall or peel off, like in the shower or unintentionally by removing clothing.
- Injections: The popular option among transfolk, hormones are injected straight into your muscle tissue. Feels great the first few days, but tapers off as you get closer to your next dose.
- Gels: Worth mentioning as an option, but not very popular.
After giving it some thought, I decided to use patches to start out with. I’m not trying to rush the process any, and I want to be sure to minimize any negative side effects, health-wise. Hormones are very much like a loaded gun: they are to be respected and handled with care.
Maybe over time, I’ll switch to pills or injections to try them out. For now, though, I’m going with patches: safe, steady and easy.