As many people start Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) treatment, it’s important to remind oneself of the main reasons for going through with it. This is important as it will help you determine how you would approach the treatment. You could choose the path of getting the maximum degree of medically correct feminizing effects, or you would prefer a much lower dose and keep increasing it as the days go by.
Many others might prefer a not-so-effectual impact on their bodies and would rather go for low dosages, even for the long term. Knowing your goals and communicating them effectively with your healthcare provider would go a long way in achieving them. This would also affect the way one’s care plan is designed.
Of course, many people are keen to see and experience the hormonal changes that will surely take place during and after the treatment; it’s one to anticipate and see. However, the extent of the changes and the rate at which they occur depend on several factors. Some important factors are age (at the time you begin the treatment) and genetics.
Treatments in Hormone Replacement Therapy
Hormone replacement therapy typically includes a combination of three different forms of medicines, and they are:
- Testosterone blockers
This article highlights testosterone blockers only.
Also known as anti-androgens, testosterone blockers are one of three important kinds of medicines used in hormone replacement therapy in San Ramon. Androgens are hormones that induce masculine features in humans. There are many medicines that are recommended for minimizing the effects of testosterone, and they are listed below.
Spironolactone is the most common anti-androgen used in feminizing hormone therapy. It works in two ways; by blocking the production and action of testosterone. However, it has some side effects, such as incessant urination and a feeling of dizziness or lightheadedness, although this usually happens when used the first time. Hence, it is important one stays well hydrated when using this medicine.
Also, body potassium levels should be monitored when using this medication, although it needs to be said that elevated levels of potassium when using spironolactone is a rare occurrence and usually discovered in people who suffer from blood pressure issues and kidney disease. People who do not have a history of high potassium levels are advised not to reduce their potassium intake when using spironolactone.
Spironolactone is a widely used drug, even with its side effects, as it can be managed. If it is not tolerable for you, you should stop it; all the side effects are not permanent. For people who continue to use it, your healthcare provider should consistently monitor your testosterone levels for safety and to ensure you meet your goals as safely as possible. The most common dosage for spironolactone is twice a day and is usually in pill form.
A suitable alternative for spironolactone is a family of medications named gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogs. An example is leuprolide (brand name Lupron). These medications work in a much different way. They start their process at the pituitary gland, where they block the signals generated by the gland and sent to the testicles to initiate the production of testosterone.
While these medications can be very effective, they are usually very expensive, such that many health insurances do not cover them. As with all testosterone blockers, there must be constant monitoring of testosterone levels, and for Lupron, there will be additional tests to ensure the medication is adequately dosed. These medications are usually injected by licensed healthcare providers such as nurses, and a less common way is to use a nasal spray.
Another medication is bicalutamide, an anti-androgen preferred mainly by non-binary and transgender people. It is also used as a medication for prostate cancer. It works by blocking the activities of testosterone in cells while leaving its production uninterrupted. This ensures that testosterone levels stay as high as possible and defeats the point of blood testosterone tests for tracking and monitoring treatment, making it difficult to monitor dosage.
Because bicalutamide is known to increase the risk of liver injury, GnRH analogs and spironolactone are safer and more effective. There is less demand and less introduction of the medication in feminizing hormone regimen.
Other medications are dutasteride and finasteride.
Testosterone is an important hormone in both the male and female bodies, and to help with one’s goals for hormone replacement therapy in San Ramon, it is a target. Informing your medical provider about progress, how you feel, the risks, and other options will go a long way in getting the best results. Aim to choose the best medication for your body and your goals.