The Reverend Dr. EarthAngel has put this together to answer many of your basic questions. What isn’t answered here you may find answered on the Hormone Discussion Board , or in other the articles on the girlJuice pages. If not, then please do feel free to ask additional questions.
That is difficult to say with any certainty. Each person is an individual, and each person’s body reacts differently to hormone therapies, both synthetic and herbal. How fast your body reacts depends upon things such as your medical history, your genetic makeup, your testosterone levels, your diet and exercise regimens, your specific goals, and many other factors. Age is also a big factor.
See the above answer. Very generally speaking, within the first couple of weeks most patients experience a calming of their emotions as the hormone levels rebalance. Most often noticed after that is a softening of the skin, enhanced sensitivities in the erogenous areas, shifting of body fats to more feminine areas such as hips and buttocks, tenderness in and under the nipple area, tingling sensations in the testicles and nipples all taking place within the first several months. After that most experience some breast growth in varying ways, lessening/softening/slowing of body hair growth, increased growth of head hair, continued shifting of body fats, loss of muscle mass if you were very muscular, a shift in thought processes, and other subtle but noticeable differences.
The body needs time to adjust to the new way of doing things that your hormone therapy is asking it to do. A young girl does not complete her changes into womanhood in a couple of months. It takes time, spread over several years. Since you will be starting from a body that has been genetically programmed for everything male, it should be expected to take at least as long, but most often longer. Always remember slower is best, as slow changes mean that the body is not shocked into something that can cause adverse effects, changes are more permanent, and your emotional stability will remain intact.
If you have ever spent time around those TG’s that are on incorrect hormone regimens, you will have noticed large mood swings, loss of thought patterns, personality swings, and other unpleasantries. We’ve all heard the PMS jokes, although for women suffering through it, it is no laughing matter. When a TG’s hormone regimen is not properly balanced, you get a rather noticeable case of permanent PMS, so to speak. Many TG’s have come to believe that this is a “necessary evil” of hormone therapy – it is not! If the regimen is totally balanced to your body, whether synthetic or herbal, you should not experience wild mood swings. If you do, your regimen needs adjusted. This sort of problem is one of the leading causes of suicides, alcoholism, drug addiction, etc. in the TG community. And it is totally avoidable with proper attention.
In many cases, the answer is yes. It is a matter of choosing a proper regimen that does not totally eliminate testosterone levels and does not interfere with normal functioning. Your penile function will be different than you are accustomed to, however. Most patients report that it takes longer to achieve an erection (after a period of time on such a regimen) but that it lasts longer and the orgasms achieved are different than they have experienced prior. It is a natural side effect of feminization that the testicles will atrophy (shrink), due to their decreased function. The rumors that it causes your penis to shrink equally are false. Some size at tumescence will be lost, but it is rarely more than a bit. So you won’t go from 6” to 2” just because you are taking feminizing hormones for a year or two.
In most cases, the answer is no, not after a period of time. Infertility is a side effect of feminization, regardless of the method. How fast it happens to you depends a great deal on how fertile you are now, and how your body reacts to hormone therapy. Generally speaking fertility begins to decline within the first several weeks. So if you have any doubts as to whether or not you wish to father children, then you should either delay beginning therapy, or have a sperm sample frozen at a reputable sperm bank. Fertility rarely returns after a length of time, so stopping therapy down the road to try to father children is not a good idea.
Part of the reason is that the information in my articles are meant as a very broad, generic example of beginning. One therapy does not fit all, obviously, so your body may need something that is not being addressed by a generic regimen, or it may need something increased and/or something reduced, or you may not be following a proper diet and exercise regimen with the therapy, or you may be ingesting drugs or alcohol that are interfering with the body’s ability to utilize your therapy, or any other number of reasons that can only be determined by a close examination of your medical history, weight, age, your body type, your current regimen, your diet, and other important factors.
Well, you could, but then you would be doing yourself and your body an injustice. With all the commercial products and associated hype out there today, it is easy to get confused and easy to fall into the convenience trap. Commercial products have their place, however, I do not personally advocate their use for something as complex as feminization of the male body. There are too many body systems that need to be protected and supported during feminization to maintain health for one little pill to be able to do it all. If that were the case, then an estrogen pill would not have so many adverse side effects attached to it. With a commercial herbal product, one formula is used. That means if your specific body needs something increased, you can’t. If your body needs something taken out, you can’t. If you have a reaction to a specific herb you can’t take just that herb out of the formula. If you have a specific medical concern, that product isn’t going to address it – for example, people with high blood pressure, regardless of prescriptions used to keep it stable, should not use certain herbs over the long term. If one of those is in that commercial product, you can’t take it out and replace it with something else. Penile function is not considered, liver health is not considered, they just want you to buy the product on the hopes that it will work for you. I have yet to have a patient tell me that they were totally satisfied with any results achieved through using a commercially prepared product. And Ladies, please stay away from those commercial formulations made just for women – try as you might, you’ll never have a uterus or ovaries, and the herbs in those formulations can have some unpleasant side effects for men!
Overall health and safety is my primary concern, feminization is second, and these should be your priorities as well. My regimens, tailored to your specific body, are designed to support all the vital systems of the body during feminization. Your numbers, types, and dosages are chosen, will slowly increase, then level off, then be adjusted for the body’s needs as it dictates, then reduced slowly to maintain achievements. Hormonal therapy doesn’t just affect your sexual organs, so attention must be paid to the entire body for good safe results. Herbs are chosen for their affects not only on feminization but also on each other, as some herbs need a boost for maximum effect, some need a counterbalance, etc.
Yes, but in a different manner than if you are using them as the sole therapy. I have many patients on synthetic regimens that utilize herbal support regimens to avoid the unpleasant and sometimes dangerous side effects of long term use of synthetics. A support regimen would have to be devised according to your prescription and your medical history.
The liver is the ONLY organ in your body that processes hormones, both existing and ingested, for the body’s use. If liver function is impaired in any manner, this ability is limited, sometimes severely so. Impairment can come from abuse of alcohol and/or drugs, liver diseases and ailments, improper diet, and other reasons. Keeping the liver healthy and happy is an important part of any feminization regimen, whether herbal or synthetic. Keeping it healthy is done through proper diet as well as regular cleansing and supporting.
Diet is important for the nutritional support the body needs to affect the changes you are asking it to make. New tissues need to be developed, some processes are being altered, and so the body needs fuel to do that with. Without proper nutrition, the body is starved of the building blocks it needs, and will draw from other parts of the body to try to achieve what you are asking. In my experiences thus far, the TG’s with the very best results were on a healthy diet that supported the body’s needs, and abstained from alcohol, drugs, caffeine, and smoking. Those surgical patients with the best results had been partying on a very healthy diet for some time prior.
Then you need to consider carefully that most mainstream medicine has no belief nor support of herbal therapies. Most US gender clinics will not accept you if you do not follow their synthetic regimens. Most US surgeons will not accept you as well. You will need to talk to these potential health providers to determine if utilizing an herbal feminization regimen is going to cost you what you seek most. In many cases, you can use herbal therapies to a point, utilize their recommended therapy in the interim, and after SRS you can return to herbal hormone replacement. There is now of course the option of totally natural therapy right up to SRS if you choose to use the surgeon that I work with. The options are many and varied, and you need to explore them all if this is the course you have chosen for your personal journey.
It has been my experience that standardized products are not nearly as effective as the whole herb product. I have personally experienced this, and large numbers of my patients have as well. When science starts mucking about with plant constituents, they completely ignore the fact that there are things in each plant that they may not/usually don't know about yet - constituents that provide a total balance to the plant and to its healing abilities. When one particular constituent is isolated and that is the only thing used of the plant, it is getting dangerously close to the pharmaceuticals that are out there today. This isolation does not take into account how the total plant works in the body - all they are looking for is the one item that does just this or that, just like a prescription drug. That one constituent may have two or three or more that it works with in the plant to negate side effects, make it more powerful, make it work differently, etc. Every day research discovers something new in herbs once thought to be completely known, lessening my confidence that they knew what they were doing in the first place. From practical daily use, I can tell when someone is using a standardized product, as the body is slower to respond, sometimes to the point of ignoring what is being ingested. I can tell you from personal experience that standardized products are just like if I am drinking water. Nothing happens, and I suffer. When I go back to whole herbs, my levels balance out again within a day or two. I have done some work with clinic patients with various illnesses and with TG patients on hormone regimens along these lines - most who were having no results (provided they weren't doing things like drinking/drugs/etc. or had other issues!) noticed an almost immediate difference when they switched to a whole herb product. That's the sort of thing that speaks to me - real results.