If you have had or are considering female to male transgender surgery, there is a good chance that you are currently taking testosterone to assist in acquiring the desired physical changes of an ftm transition. Testosterone can be effective at shrinking breast size, lowering voice, redistributing body fat, and other desirable effects for the transition.
Testosterone must be taken as directed by your endocrinologist or family doctor.
While most trans men continue some level of testosterone hormone therapy for their entire lives, others will stop at some point. When deciding whether to resume testosterone hormone therapy after surgery, there are a few factors you should consider. First:
Will changes I’ve already undergone reverse themselves when I stop taking testosterone?
The answer to this question varies depending on the specific changes you are talking about. Some changes, like voice pitch and clitoral growth, are typically permanent. Others may reverse themselves partially. For example, facial hair that has already grown in may continue to grow, while new facial hair will not develop. Body fat may redistribute to more feminine patterns (but you won’t grow breasts again once you’ve had them removed), but the level to which it does so can vary. Consult with your doctor for advice on whether testosterone therapy is necessary to maintain the physical changes you desire.
Am I receiving mental health benefits from testosterone in addition to the physical effects?
Some trans men report positive effects of testosterone on their mood, demeanor, and overall mental health. They might report feeling more “balanced” or more like “themselves.” This itself is a good reason to continue taking a permanent maintenance dose of testosterone. Conversely, for some people, testosterone has negative mental health effects such as aggression, anger, anxiety, increased appetite leading to weight gain, or depression. For these people the negative mental health effects might outweigh the benefits of a maintenance dose. Again, consult with a doctor and mental health professional when making the decision to continue or cease testosterone therapy.
What about other effects on my health?
Hormone therapy does much more than present visible physical changes and affect mood. For example, trans men who have had their ovaries removed have no natural way of producing enough testosterone or estrogen to maintain healthy bone density, so it is important to continue hormone therapy for this reason. In any case, consult with a physician before making any changes to hormone therapy, including the cessation of the therapy.
For further information, you should contact your family doctor or endocrinologist.