It’s been exactly 3 months since I started T. Since I wanted to start on a low dose, I opted for cream-based testosterone. It looks like regular hand cream, I dab a good spoonful on every morning on my thighs, and carefully wash my hands afterwards, making sure I don’t rub it on my girlfriend. It’s not an accurate equal dose every day, and I have no clue how this compares to a higher dose, gel, or injectable T. Here’s the full report.
The first noticeable change was that I got real buff, real fast. Usually I gain muscle easier than I lose fat, and I did start working out exactly at the same time I started T, but I bulked up exceptionally fast. In two weeks I gained three pounds of pure muscle and am basically ripped relative to the measly amount of exercise I am doing. Additionally, I started to look buffer, fuller, fill out my t-shirts more, as if my muscles were more dense and heavy. Let me say that anybody who has testosterone in their system is basically cheating (hehe!) and it has also become very clear why athletes risk their career to take steroids – testosterone has such a strong and obvious effect on musculature and strength.
There has also been slight muscle-fat redistribution. My thighs and hips have gotten slimmer, and my belly a little bigger (though this may be because of all the food). Very very sadly, all of this will go away once I stop taking T.
Oh. My. God. I AM SO HUNGRY ALL THE TIME! ALL. THE. TIME. And with it, the scale has gone up and up. Now I totally understand teenage boys, or just guys in general, when they scarf down platefuls and platefuls of food and are still left wanting. What I don’t quite get is how they don’t gain weight (I guess teenagers are still growing upwards).
The primary reason for taking testosterone is to lower my voice to a more androgynous or ambiguous pitch. So far, I can definitely feel a difference, and I think I can hear a difference. On the other hand, nobody has noticed, or at the very least nobody has said anything, even along the lines of “hey, do you have a cold?” While I was somewhat expecting that (or holding out for it) the changes have probably been too gradual for anyone to notice anything anyway.
I like to go back and forth between the first and last video, or play them at the same time, so you hear the difference in voice changes. My girlfriend suggests I do more in Spanish because my voice is apparently higher (maybe that’s why I avoided those). Anyway, I’m super embarrassed to be on video so don’t even bother watching them.
Everywhere. Yuck. This is the second change I noticed, to my great dismay. At first I started getting fuzzier, but around the first or second month I got enough dark hairs on my upper lip that I’ve had to shave every week. There is more and darker hair on my legs, thighs (where I had none), and happy trail (also had none there), as well as more light fuzz on my stomach and chin.
Yes, it has increased. And yes, it is precisely as I predicted when asked what happens when an asexual takes testoerone.
Let’s put it this way: I noticed things that I had no idea existed before. The surprising part is that I am not uncomfortable with this, at all.
The first month I got a regular period, if only somewhat lighter and about a week early. I think at this point I increased the amount of cream I was applying, so my period skipped the second month. The third month I had an extremely light period. So I do think that, should I increase the dose, menstruation would stop, and at this dose, it’s up in the air.
From the first two weeks on there has been more acne, mostly on the face, and some drier hair, though I don’t perceive my skin as more oily, which is another common effect. I wouldn’t report any significant or noticeable mood changes, emotional fluxes, or anything of the sort relating to testosterone.
On a related aside, I also have a chronic condition called hypothyroidism. My thyroid has been well regulated for over a year, but I suspect it is out of whack right now. This affects metabolism, menstruation, sleep cycles, mood, weight, energy, and just anything having to do with hormones. Which is everything. The current instability is most likely caused by T, but the side effects I’m seeing can be better attributed to the thyroid imbalance. The soonest doctor appointment I could get is next month, so I just have to hold out a little while longer to get this sorted out. Meanwhile I’m monitoring my body, being aware of the changes, and taking note of anything unusual.
Hair is the one aspect of testosterone that is bothering me the most. It’s the main reason I will stop when I do. I think my breaking point will be when I see darker hair on either my stomach, chest, or chin. And I’m getting pretty darn close. On the other hand, I already got the hair, it’s there to stay, so I might as well keep going. (It’s like when you break your diet, or you play instead of study – what’s the point of stopping now? Might as well stretch it as far as you can.)
My 3-month prescription for T is at its last dollop; last week I called the pharmacy and the refill is on its way. So far, I’ve been pleased with the changes, for the most part. The desirable competing with the undesirable – it’s a close tie. But in a tug of war, eventually one side overtakes the other. I am taking it literally day by day, though I have a feeling it won’t be much longer.
Every morning I go through the same thought cycle of doubt, and every morning I re-make my decision to keep going, just one more day. There is still an ineffable pull to see what happens, to see this through. And as my girlfriend says: “not sure” means yes, “no” means no; I have yet to say no.
32 thoughts on “Testosterone: 3 Months”
So interesting to read about your T results! I went back and forth about taking it myself, but ultimately decided no, because the cons (more hair, more appetite, changed emotional state, genital growth) outweighed the pros (more muscle, and fast!). But I am glad you are having the mostly positive experience that you are.
It was a tough decision and it still is. Unfortunately most of the pros are lost once you stop T.
Very interesting! I did not know that testosterone came in a cream. I thought it was always injected. But you are certainly reporting dramatic results. It’s good you’re happy with those results, if perhaps less so with hair growth.
T comes in cream, gel, oral, patch, and injectable. And I guess there’s always more laser hair removal.
I definitely hear a change in your voice!
Also, I find it fascinating that you speak higher in Spanish than in English (though I couldn’t really tell from the videos), because I do too. My theory is that I was socialized since birth to speak in a higher, more “feminine” voice (in Spanish); since I learned English a bit later, I had more freedom to choose the vocal range I wanted. Or maybe the English-speaking women I imitated just spoke lower. It’s all speculation, though, because I don’t know much about linguistics.
It’s probably something similar to how Japanese women are expected to affect a childlike tone of voice through adulthood, so much so that it’s downright jarring to hear a Japanese woman who speaks with her natural voice. After experiencing that situation in person I now better understand some of the anime conventions for “tomboys” (who don’t look tomboyish at all but they SOUND it).
Glad to know I’m not optimistically imagining things.
I think it’s just the pitch and cadence of different languages – I think Mexican Spanish is higher than Argentinian Spanish for instance. I learned English when I was 3, but in general English sounds more higher pitched to me (when other people speak), so I don’t know.
If it’s anything like my natural male puberty, you won’t experience a gradual deepening of your voice so much as it’ll start to crack (think the Pimply-Faced Teen on The Simpsons) and then the rest happens ridiculously quickly.
Also, I’m sure you’ve heard our therapists’ voicemail message, compared to his current everyday voice. I have no idea when he last recorded his voicemail message but the difference is ridiculously striking.
Sorry to hear you’re having acne problems. Testosterone does that to me too. One of the nicer side effects of my HRT regimen is that my skin has cleared up immensely.
Acne isn’t too bad, but I do look more like a teenager. (Emphasis on more…)
FTMs sometimes get a distinctive “metallic” pitch in their voice (maybe due to adult / mature vocal cords vs a child’s), which may or may not go away, and I’m really scared of hitting that pitch and being stuck there. My voice is cracking sometimes when I speak, but very little – I think the low dose helps ease into it so the change has been very gradual.
From the videos I’ve seen, between month 3 and 6 is when the voice change is really noticeable, so I guess I’m holding out for that as long as I can.
My voice never cracked –it just deepened slowly– and I wondered if it was because I started out on a low dose of T gel (and then changed to a type of injections that releases T very gradually and evenly). If you’re lucky, then, maybe you won’t have to go through a cracking stage.
Best wishes… interesting to read the progression, so opposite my own.
Very interesting, thanks for sharing! I have the same experiences as an asexual who’s had both high and low T due to trans hormone therapies. Oh and take it from me, laser hair removal is very effective for nuking unwanted facial hair so you needn’t consider that a permanent side effect.
Thanks for the reassurance – I am definitely re-considering laser hair removal (it’s just expensive, and I hate going to the “spa”)
I was lucky that when I had laser it was still unproven to be completely permanent so it was a lot cheaper than it is nowadays.
Oh and I listened to your videos and you definitely had noticeable chest resonance in the last video that wasn’t there in the first. It’s subtle, but one of the things I noticed in my voice.
There’s a tool for measuring the pitch range of your voice, I blogged about it here http://practicalandrogyny.tumblr.com/post/5281062034/vocal-androgyny-speaking-voice-leotron-recently
Yes, chest resonance is what I’ve noticed.
I tried to set that tool up and got sidetracked – will definitely try again as I’m pretty curious.
Thank you SO MUCH for this post!
It is really clear written, and I find it really helpful since I am considering to go on a low dose of testosterone myself too.
I listened to your first day video and the 3 months video and I could clearly hear more chest resonance in the 3 months video. 😀
Gah, that is SO awesome! I’m super excited for you, and I noticed that your voice changed by the last video! So everyone else who hasn’t said anything about it just isn’t listening hard enough. =]
As someone who’s agender, hair is definitely the biggest con when taking T. I’ve been on a full dose for 7 months (today!) – almost every single change has been great and I have not had any of the overall more negative side effects except for vaginal dryness. I definitely need to stay on T for life to ease my really strong body dysphoria. Sadly, I am getting mad hairy now all over the front side of my body, and while I am sort of amused watching it grow in, I do not want it for life. Once I reach a point further in the future where it’s no longer growing in as much, I am getting electrolysis to rid myself of it. I guess it’s an extra few thousand bucks that most DFAB trans people wouldn’t be spending, but I need it because this hair will be causing me dysphoria in the future too. :C
Hair is causing me more and more dysphoria. Electrolysis is expensive (and I’ve heard painful) – I’ve only done laser hair removal which is less powerful/permanent, in theory, but not too sure on the difference yet. I am most likely doing it again once I stop T.
Laser hair removal is completely permanent, it was certified as such over a decade ago. I had all my testosterone facial hair growth lasered off in 1999-2000 and I’ve had none grow back since. I suppose it’s possible that there are different types of laser some of which aren’t as good, but the type I had was completely effective.
This post (and your videos) has got me thinking about testerone a lot. Can’t wait to read your next post about it and see how things are going! Hope you don’t mind, but I gave your blog a shout-out and put a link to it on my latest YT video and in my latest post, “trans or not trans/intrigued by testosterone”. The YT link is at the bottom of the post.
Thanks for shout-out! You should check out the other posts on testosterone to read more on my thought process on that, as it’s been evolving for over a year.
What a great breakdown!
My T naturally fluctuates between 3x high-normal for male to below low-normal (I could go find the exact amounts, but I’m too lazy right now, so you just get the excited scribbly notes my doctor made with a big red pen version). My estrogen is normal female and I have a period when my T is low or when I’m on Spiro to knock it out. TMI, but there you go. Anyway, I have a couple of friends who have had hysterectomies, and their gynos put them on T following so that their menfolk would not suffer from their loss of sex drive. Both said this, and it happened with my mom, too, so I’m thinking that this is a common practice, maybe? We talk about the effects we notice when “on” T, and they mirror yours, of course, but I would like to add another facet to this, and please let me know what you think. Focus was increased while the ability to keep more than a couple thought streams going disappeared. When I first had the ability to control T production, and was living with little to none over the course of a week or so, my mind cleared, and i could think like I remembered thinking when I was little, before the puberties set in. My friends mentioned that they “walked into a fog or tunnel” and had a dificult time doing more than one thing at a time, but they could do it for hours.
As you know from dealing with hyperthyroidism, hormones have such a huge effect on not just our bodily functions, but also our moods and general state of mind. I wonder how much is “us” and how much is our chemical soup when we make decisions, form opinions, or just ponder. And does it matter?
Indeed hormones can have a big effect on mood and thought patterns. So far my sleep has been disturbed, with lots of insomnia, but this I attribute to the thyroid. I have also been less patient (even less than before!) and a bit quicker to anger than usual, sometimes a little more energetic. Probably there’s been other changes, but again, it’s hard to know with the thyroid – ie more hormone fluctuations – having such a big effect on all of this as well.
As for thought patterns, I haven’t noticed anything substantial. Of course, I been feeling stuffy and drowsy because of the major seasonal allergies that hit me (for the first time ever).
Looks like we started at about the same time! I think I\’m just being a baby simply for the fact that I want more stuff to start happening now! I\’m the opposite though when it comes to hair growth – some places it annoys me (like my stomach), but man, I am so looking forward to some killer sideburns!
I now have two very large and prominent hairs on my sideburns. Hate them with a passion!