Hormones at 54 - what they did and didn't do in 3 years

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Hormones at 54 - what they did and didn't do in 3 years

Postby Steffi » Fri Jul 08, 2011 3:54 am

Getting my testosterone eliminated and my body running instead on estrogen has been quite an experience!
I did this at age 54 and the changes have been a lot less profound than they would have been earlier in life. Some effects have been very distinct and easily quantifiable, others far more subtle and some unexpected, though all were positive.
In earlier years, when I was sat sunk in depression and trying to see some hope, some way that my body might one day be feminized, it was clear to me that apart from fairly slender fingers every single other thing was very much against me. As I said to my psychiatrist early in my first assessment interview "I know very well that this is insanity because I don't have a single feminine bone in my entire body."
Amongst the many depressing details of my unsuitability were veins. I had thick and very prominent veins all down the underside and the topside of my forearms and I also had them in my lower legs. Two thick veins curled around my calves across my shinbone like black snakes.
By the time I'd been on HRT for a year ALL those veins were gone, almost invisible. That was a totally unexpected result and had I even that small ray of hope decades ago and understood how much effect HRT would have on my face then I might even have been a lot more tempted to transition.
My arms have lost their chunkiness and all those ugly veins and are now quite feminine except that my forearms just below the elbow are still a bit thick. They're not at all bad though, reasonably feminine for my overall size and I have seen a lot worse on born females. I don't have bingo-wings either!
My legs too have not only lost those ropey big veins, but have also become in some visible way more feminine. I'm slightly bow-legged, a disinct curve in my shins which used to be readily apparent. Now it is not nearly so noticeable and I have fairly shapely legs which I don't at all mind showing off and which have drawn compliments several times. They're not ideal and not traffic-stoppers, but I've seen far worse legs on a great many born women, even some younger girls.
My shoulders too, which have always been very broad have definitely narrowed down quite noticeably due to muscle loss etc. As a male/TV I used to often struggle to fit into an 18 blouse because of my shoulders - now it is rare for me not to fit into a size 16 and if it is too small, the problem is around the bust, hardly ever the shoulders.
My neck is a little thinner too.

Within 5 weeks of starting HRT (at full dose) my sore little nipples were stuck out on breast-buds the size of half a golf-ball. By a year later, they were just about an A-cup and sadly have grown no further since.
Dr Seal recently pronounced them Tanner Stage 5, so therefore finished! :cry:

Skin is smoother and more velvety - of course, this is comparitive to my age, I inevitably have a few wrinkles, thread veins and a bit of sagging. But the large pores have closed up and are much smaller, the texture is a lot softer and the skin-tone is a bit more luminescent.

Within a very short time of starting HRT, the odour of my sweat completely changed. The slightly acrid male smell went and was replaced by a clean sweet odour that is very distinctly female.
I also sweat a lot less. Only men sweat - ladies perspire ;)
I always had greasy skin and hair - that is long a thing of the past and so are significant spots and blackheads, not only on my face but also on my back. Yes my skin is aged, it is not the skin of a blooming young girl - but I am frequently amazed by how much better my facial skin is than that of women my age or a few years younger. I can only guess how nice it might have been if I had transitioned earlier and hadn't spent 45 years smoking cigarettes.

My face has changed in little ways that are difficult to pinpoint but undeniably there. Four things that I can definitely say are these:-
My lips are more feminine - the upper one in particular has slightly fattened up and there is most definitely about 3mm more vermillion showing. I now HAVE a top lip and it is slightly bow-shaped, rather than the barely visible thin straight line it was.
My nose is slightly thinner, both across the mid section and I think across the nostrils too.
My cheeks are fuller - though not in that chubby-cheeked way that a fat-guy's face would be but in a more rounded female way which is difficult to define.
The laugh lines at each side of my mouth/nostrils are diminished. They are still clearly there but shallower and less pronounced, a lot less sharp-edged and defined than they used to be.
I'm sure that there are other subtler facial changes, but they are difficult to pick out and quantify.

Body Fat - my middle-aged-male belly has only slightly decreased in size, despite attention to my diet. I have to say though that many women my age have quite a stomach on them too, so it isn't just me or just guys who struggle with this area. To both my alarm and delight, I now have the female abdominal fat and my abdomen from belly-button down almost to pubic bone now has a layer of fat and curves outward in a very girly contour.
Bum fat has finally appeared - I now have a wad of fat on my hip-bones and extending across above my buttocks. It also serves to raise my perceived waist slightly, more in line with a natal female as their waists are about an inch and a half higher. This is NOT "spare tyres" or anything that I had when I put on a stone and a half whilst male. Then I did have two spare tyres around my waist itself. What I have now is definitely girl-fat and well below the waist. I am now weighing only 5 pounds over the 12 stone that was rigidly constant for the last 40 years (other than the one fat year and spare tyres immediately before transition and due to mental health medication)
There is also a slight layer of fat on the outside of my upper thighs, giving them a more female contour.
I'm no hourglass figure and never will be but I'm a LOT more female in shape down there than I was and the pantie-girdle with the bum and hip pads that I very much needed before to counter my wide shoulders and narrow hips was tossed in a drawer and abandoned 18 months ago.

My feet have shrunk by almost one whole size.
I have lost 2 inches in height! (my age must also be taken into account though with these last two points)

Head hair - used to be very greasy, now isn't. I've always had a very M-shaped hairline, from being a child but I'm pleased to say that has improved slightly as well and a little more hair has definitely grown over the last three years. I still have an M-shaped hairline but it doesn't go back quite as deep as it used to.

Body Hair - this is a mixed bag:- I have never had much chest hair, probably about 25 hairs on my central chest and the same number around each nipple. The central chest hair grew slower and weaker, but persisted; the nipples seemed unchanged. I got my electrologist to zap them all anyway,so that fixed the lot quite quickly. (incidentally....getting electrolysis on your nipples/areolas is quite an interesting experience, one of those which balances on the border between pleasure and pain) :tongueoutx: :gigglersx: :p
Arm hair definitely became far finer, lighter and weaker. I never had very wiry man-hair on my arms, it was only mid-brown, medium-strength hairs but there were a lot of them! After epilating them off, they grew back very fine and pale and almost invisible - basically, they grew back as very female vellus hair. Annoyingly, fine hair also continues to grow on the hands and fingers, but I just epilate that off once a month or so and it's no big problem anyway.
Leg hair is much the same as arm hair, but was stronger and darker. That too became finer, paler and slower growing, but I epilate my legs regularly and take comfort from knowing that most other women are also embroiled in shaving, waxing and epilating in the never ending battle against leg-hair.

So..... I don't think that I've forgotten anything, that is the tale of what hormones did for me physically.

What did they do emotionally/psychologically?
I began by self-medding, because although I was in the program, CX seemed about to start stalling, dithering about whether HRT might destabilize me mentally in view of my breakdown the previous year. It never occured to me that I should perhaps ease into things at a lower dose, so I copied the regimen of a TS friend of the same age and approximate size and wolfed down a full dose. Next morning, I did the same again.
By mid afternoon, I was feeling a bit hot and a bit cranky. Over very little, I had a blazing row with my TS friend whose house I was staying at and stormed out with my suitcase :angryfire: - leaving her stood ladle in hand over the nice dinner she had lovingly cooked for both of us and was about to serve! Ooops! :oops:
After a few minutes I got a taxi to the train station and by the time it arrived there 20 minutes later, I was starting to feel pretty ill.
I was feeling very hot and clammy, dizzy and sick. I was staggering as I struggled down the stairs onto the platform and began to wonder if I might collapse and if I might shortly need medical help.
I made it home though, stepped out of my clothes and collapsed into bed, sickly, spinning and lost in a turmoil of thoughts until I eventually dozed off. I awoke quite late the next day and was feeling pretty strange and disconnected though most of the spinning and sickness had gone. I split my dose that day into two halves and spent the day in my dressing-gown sat staring into space and lost in my thoughts.
By the third day, I was getting back to normal and felt embarrassed enough to fone my friend and apologise. From there on, it was upwards all the way! Over the next couple of weeks a tremendous peace settled over me. I have never felt so serene, so contented and peaceful before or since and I strolled through life with a bright but placid optimism that lasted for a couple of months before very slowly ebbing away.
I had my next appointment at CX due by then, so wrote in advance to my psych telling him what I had done and explaining how wonderful - and stable and happy - I had felt, then went and told my GP and got a blood test done so that I could take the results to CX with me.
My estrogen was a whisker below the target window and my testosterone down to female levels and CX took over and prescribed.

The next nine months or so were an interesting ride. I've had mood-swings all my life and in some phases the old sensitivity that I'd had in my early years used to well up anyway and I'd tear up whilst watching a movie or at something on the news because I felt it so much. Now, on estrogen, that was out of control! Films, books, stories in magazines ..... if it was sad, it touched me and made me tear up. Sometimes I'd lose control of myself and start crying just telling someone a sad story or bit of gossip! I wasn't sad, I wasn't emotionally hurting to any real degree - it just happened. I also sometimes found myself crying because I was so happy! That mysterious thing that cis-women do that leaves men confused and helpless, that happened .... happens .... to me! I won't try and explain it 'cos you still won't get it, you'll only understand when it one day happens to you. :D
So for a while my emotions were almost out of control. Whatever it is that blocks a male of from dealing with all that or really from ever having all that depth of feeling in the first place was abruptly absent and I was suddenly beseiged by powerful emotions that I had no control over. It wasn't explosive, like when a male temper flares up and you suddenly go bang, it was more like the bath overflow being blocked up. You know that the bath is filling up a bit and that's nothing new ..... but you soon become aware that it is just continuing to fill and that any moment now it's going to start overflowing over the rim - and there is nothing you can do about it. It's very weird but also very beautiful.
That overpowering intensity slowly faded out over the months and became more manageable, but the core of it is still there lurking just below the surface and I am a different person now than I used to be because of it - and I would not go back, ever!
I went to CX-GIC today for a follow-up appointment with my psych. I am long post-op now and he said that as there was now little further they could actually do for me, it was probably time to discuss discharging me altogether. I see the sense of it and I agree with him ..... but I really like my psych and when he said that and I started to say that I agreed with him, it happened again - I teared-up! I'm a girl now, and when things touch me I feel it and sometimes just can't control it. I have one last short appointment with him in 6 months time, because there are still a couple of loose ends, then that will be it.
These days, my appreciation of colour is greatly enhanced. In my past life, it used to drive me nuts going shopping with my ex for decorating supplies. She would agonise over subtle differences of shades of paint and it meant nothing to me. I would finish up getting snappy and saying "OK .... so you want the woodwork green. Fine with me, grab some green and lets go...." I suspect that now I actually do see more colours but whether I do now physically perceive them or not, one thing that is absolutely certain is that now I appreciate them more, now I do understand why she used to stand dithering and trying one colour against another. Working in the charity-shop, I am regularly struck by the beauty of the shade of a skirt or blouse when a woman brings it to the counter to pay.
There are several other little things in general life that aren't as readily striking as the thing with colour....in fact I think it would be true to say that most things are subtley different, as if estrogen has a little enhancing effect right across the board - basically I have come to the conclusion that women are slightly more ALIVE than men, for all mens energetic racing about.

I have never cared about babies. Never felt that desire to have a hand in the manufacture of any or felt any appreciation for them that wasn't strictly practical - were they going to run out in the road in front of me, throw up on my coat, pee on my lap or break anything I valued? :baby:
Now I'm a mess! :? I see infants playing in the street and the cuteness of some of them touches me. Mothers or grannies bring a toddler in the shop and they fascinate me. I get pleasure out of just watching them discovering the world and the expressions on their faces as they try and make sense of something new to them. Recent mothers bring in tiny babies and I often go all gooey and yes, sometimes when I'm in a certain mood I do have a gentle deep sadness that I myself cannot bear one.

The sole negative that I have found is the bad effect on fingernails, but that can be easily remedied

It's been an amazing journey and I'm so glad that I made it. Despite all the difficulties that I now have as an easily-read transwoman, coupled with all the ongoing baggage from a life of maladjustment, some loneliness and the regret that I transitioned so late that I have made this change only to slide downhill into being an old crone, in my soul I am happy.
I have felt disconnected and alien for my whole life and regardless of how many other people liked me, I never liked myself.
Now at last, I do.

- That's what hormones did for me. :-)
Last edited by Steffi on Sat Jul 09, 2011 6:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
Contact me privately via "steffi AT transgenderzone DOT com" Click to see Who I am

To those who understand, I extend my hand
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Re: Hormones at 54 - what they did and didn't do in 3 years

Postby Jane_D_C » Fri Jul 08, 2011 6:45 am

Very interesting, not least because you & I are of a similar age.

My own body has changed in a very similar way to yours. I am now 10½ months into hormones, and am pre-op, so I’m a little behind you on the curve.

The differences between you & me are:

I am hairier, except on the scalp where I am balder, and have had similar but less impressive hair changes, except that there has been no discernible scalp re-growth.

My breasts are size B but my nipples are not yet Stage 5 – I would not expect them to be this early in the process.

I had less emotional turmoil from the hormones, although I am unquestionably calmer, and not just because I transitioned, although that also calmed me down. There’s a hormone effect too.

I am a lot less randy than formerly, and this does not worry me.

Otherwise the same comments about general feminisation apply. I pass a lot better without even trying, although of course I try very hard to make sure I pass.


Proud to be feminine

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Re: Hormones at 54 - what they did and didn't do in 3 years

Postby Pink Bunny » Sat Jul 09, 2011 10:13 pm

Ooo WoW Steffi & Beautifully Written Too. [yesss]

I've been on Hormones 14 months now & I've noticed some of those changes that You've Mentioned.

My Skin & Hair is a Lot Softer, & what body hair I have is a lot Fairer.

My body has a Distinct Female Body Shape & My Butt is getting more Rounded.

I also have very little Facial Hair, & where my Head Hair had Receded it's now Slowly Growing Back.

My Breast's, well they have More than Out Grown My Expectations, & they are still Growing. :o

As for Crying, Well I just Gush at any little thing. Like tonite I was watching John Barrowman on his new Show Tonite the Nite, & had Tears Running down My Cheeks.

& I Just Babies, always have. :baby:

Like You, I Know that I won't Pass that Well, & wished that I could've done this when I was a Teenager.

But You know what, I'm not going to dwell on what Might Have Been. :shrugs:

I'm just Loving the Here & Now. [yesss]

Bless You Steffi. :-)

Byeee Robyn Suzanne. :wavey:

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Re: Hormones at 54 - what they did and didn't do in 3 years

Postby WeWantWaffles » Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:33 am

Incredibly helpful experience, thanks for linking me to this. It may as well be bumped again with this post in case others missed it.
- Sarah
And at the end of it all, I just want them to say; "Oh, that Sarah. She was a pretty awesome chick."

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