When it comes to hormone replacement therapy (HRT), this is how the MTF transition timeline typically goes:
Step #1: Take androgen receptors that block male sex hormones and suppress testosterone production.
Step #2: After one to two months, start taking estrogen to suppress testosterone levels even further and induce feminine traits, like breast growth.
You’ll usually start with a low dose of estrogen in the form of pills, injections, a patch, or a cream. A low dose reduces the risk of complications during your transition, and can slowly be increased over time for more dramatic results.
HRT will begin to have an effect on your physical body within three months.
Still, this timeline isn’t true for everyone.
It’s simply a guide and some changes may take more or less time depending on factors such as:
- Your dose of HRT
- The method of administration
- What types of medication you used
Ultimately, your MTF transition is unique to you. However, there are several changes that most (if not all) trans women undergoing HRT experience along the road.
1 – Estrogen Stimulates Emotional Changes
Did you know: the more estrogen your body has, the more ‘moody’ and emotional you can be?
Any hormonal change can affect your emotions, and this is exactly what estrogen does.
The physical changes induced by HRT, such as body fat redistribution, can take up to three years or more to fully express themselves. Mental and emotional shifts, however, are more immediate—it’s common to experience a change in emotional sensitivity within one month of starting HRT.
While these changes can be subtle or intense, depending on how sensitive you are to estrogen, most trans women experience some level of emotional change, such as:
- Feeling more empathetic
- Feeling more tender
- An increase in emotional response
You may also feel a sense of emotional balance and general calmness as you progress through your transition.
If you’re used to being in control of your emotions, these changes might come as a surprise. It’s possible that taking estrogen will allow you, for the first time, to experience emotions that were always there, but remained buried.
Note: Some hormone blockers are known to cause an increased risk of depression. Always consult your doctor before starting any hormone blockers.
2 – Hormone Blockers Will Decrease Your Libido
Feminizing HRT has two components: hormone blockers, and the hormones themselves.
Hormone blockers (such as anti-androgens) prevent the production of testosterone in your body. Androgens are the hormones that contribute to growth and reproduction in both men and women.
Usually, biological males have higher levels of androgens (like testosterone and androstenedione) than females. Females, by contrast, have higher levels of estrogen, which also regulates the development of their sex characteristics.
Anti-androgens (including medications like Spironolactone, Bicaludemide, Finasteride, and Dutasteride) block the effects of androgens (testosterone in this case) by binding to proteins in your body called androgen receptors. As a result, you’ll experience changes like:
- Thinner body hair
- Decreased libido
- Shrinkage of the testicles
- Decreased muscle mass
- Reduction in the number of erections you experience
Moving onto feminizing hormones, estradiol is commonly used. It’s a synthetic version of the estrogen that’s naturally produced in the ovaries. This hormone will affect your body by:
- Softening your skin
- Developing your breast tissue
- Redistributing your body fat
- Causing mood swings
Your doctor may also prescribe progesterone to help increase your breast growth.
Progesterone is a balancing hormone in estradiol, and its function is to ensure your estrogen levels remain optimal so you can transition faster. The balance between these two hormones can also help keep your libido elevated as you transition.
You can choose to take both hormone blockers and hormones, or you can choose the hormone-only approach, depending on the outcome you desire.
Approach #1: A combination of both anti-androgens and feminizing hormones will result in a slower onset of visible changes, usually within one month. One of the first signs of positive progress you’ll note is decreased libido and thinner body hair.
Approach #2: It’s possible for estrogen-only HRT to lower your levels of testosterone without the help of hormone blockers. The only downside to this approach is that you’ll have to wait three to six months before experiencing any major changes, like breast growth, in your body.
Still, the estrogen-only approach is the best for you if you want naturally larger breasts without experiencing testicular atrophy (shrinkage in the testes) or decreased libido.
Approach #3: Alternatively, you can start with hormones and introduce anti-androgens only once necessary. You’ll know you need anti-androgens if your testosterone levels increase beyond female norms. After puberty, males produce 20 times more testosterone than females:
- Normal testosterone levels in a male: 10 to 35 nanomoles per liter of blood
- Normal testosterone levels in a female: 0.5 to 2.4 nanomoles per liter of blood
The approach you choose will depend on your specific transitioning goals and your medical risk profile. Always consult with your doctor to see what method of HRT is safest for you.
In the following table, you’ll see the changes you can expect to see if you choose to take both anti-androgens and estrogen:
|Expected Effects||Onset||Expected Maximum Time|
|Decreased libido||1–3 months||1–2 years|
|Thinner body and facial hair||6-12 months||More than 3 years|
|Softer and less oily skin||3-6 months||Varied|
|Emotional changes||1-3 months||Varied|
|Breast growth||3-6 months||2–5 years|
|Body fat redistribution||3-6 months||2–5 years|
3 – Estrogen Will Stimulate Breast Growth
Your breasts will begin to develop within three to six months of starting HRT.
Keep in mind that breast development varies depending on factors such as your age and genetics. You should expect your boobs to be smaller than your closest female relatives by up to a cup size.
If your mom, sister, or female cousins have C-cup breasts, you’ll likely have B-cup breasts. The size of your breasts will also be determined by:
- The anatomy of your shoulders
- The width of your rib cage
Wider shoulders and a wider rib cage may ‘stretch’ the breasts and make them appear smaller. How do you fix this?
- Wear clothes with thick shoulder straps, V-neck, and scoop neck designs to draw attention away from your shoulders.
- Wear breast forms to make your boobs appear larger and balance out your shoulders.
- Take the attention below by wearing dresses, trousers, and skirts with a little extra width and flare.
- Dress the upper part of your body in darker colors and vertical patterns to give your shoulders a slimming effect.
Most trans women believe that breast implants are the only fix for small breasts, but that’s not true. Apart from being risky and expensive, it also takes time to recover after MTF transition procedures.
HRT with both estrogen and progesterone is a safer choice for developing bigger and rounder breasts. You can also use natural breast enhancement supplements, like Bust Bunny Breast Enhancement supplements, to make your breasts grow larger without any health risks.
“… my breast size seems to be increasing along with the size of the nipple. I’m a trans woman (MTF) so it’s quite positive for me.”
With HRT alone, you’ll have to wait at least three months before seeing any notable changes in your breasts. Our Bust Bunny Breast Enhancement capsules can increase your breast size in one month.
“I am a trans woman and started taking this and after 3 weeks I am already seeing growth.”
However, keep in mind that our supplement contains phytoestrogens which function like estrogen in your body.
Since too much estrogen can cause a hormonal imbalance and stunt the development of your breasts, remember to consult your doctor before complementing HRT with breast supplements.
Expert Tip: When transitioning, your breasts can keep growing larger for two or three years before reaching their maximum size.
4 – More Body Fat Compared to Muscle Mass
Taking estrogen will do more than increase the size of your breasts. Within three to six months, this hormone will also shift where your body fat settles. Some of your belly fat might move into your upper thighs and hips instead.
You’ll also lose your lean muscle mass.
These changes are related to a shift in insulin sensitivity and increased prolactin. To explain, increased levels of estrogen in your body lead to decreased insulin sensitivity. Since insulin supports muscle growth, decreased sensitivity means less lean muscle mass and more body fat.
Additionally, increased levels of prolactin slow down your metabolism, causing your body to store more fat. As the fat beneath your skin becomes thicker, your eyes, face, legs, hips, thighs, and breasts begin taking on a more feminine appearance.
Expert Tip: Over time, hormone therapy will affect your muscles, bones, and even the smell of your sweat. After one year on HRT, you may also find that some of your grip strength is gone.
Speed Up Your MTF Transition
MTF transition is a highly personal journey that may be different for everyone.
Still, when it comes to HRT, there are several signs that suggest you’re moving in the right direction. Changes in your sex drive, body fat redistribution, breast growth, and emotional well-being will begin within weeks of starting HRT and will last for years.
With the approval of your doctor, you can complement your HRT with Bust Bunny Breast Enhancement supplements for even better results on your breast growth.
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