Hormone therapy plays a critical role in gender reassignment from male to female. A transsexual in the hormone therapy stage is in effect going through a second puberty, causing the body to change. For a man, the amount of estrogen during therapy is comparable to that of a woman during her menstrual cycle, while the amount of testosterone in the body is actually less than what is produced by a woman. The maximum amount of time hormone therapy lasts is approximately 4 to 5 years, but many transsexuals choose to have sexual reassignment surgery before this. Transsexuals who choose to remain non-operative must choose other options in order to continue their hormone therapy after this time period.
Get a diagnosis. This is required before beginning hormone therapy. After an initial evaluation, which is at least three months but possibly longer depending on the therapists' evaluation, the doctor will diagnose the individual as transsexual.
Have a physical. After diagnosis, the transsexual will be given a complete physical. Because hormone therapy causes dramatic changes in body chemistry, it is important to be in good health and have initial estrogen and testosterone levels recorded.
Begin hormone therapy slowly. Once an initial physical has been completed, hormone therapy may begin gradually. Dosage amounts will increase each month as long as there are no complications until the full hormone dosage is reached.
Take estrogen. Responsible for female secondary sex characteristics, this is the main component of hormone therapy for male to female transsexuals. Usually, 6 to 8 mg daily of estradiol or estradiol valerate or 5 mg daily of conjugated equine estrogens is recommended initially.
Add a testosterone blocking drug. Anti-androgens, such as spironolactone (100 to 300 mg daily), should be used in order to reduce the amount of testosterone that is produced by the body to normal female levels.
Follow up regularly with a doctor. After beginning hormone therapy and continuing throughout the program, regular check-ups with a doctor are recommended to ensure no serious complications arise during therapy.
Self-administration of hormones without medical supervision can be dangerous. Never start a hormone therapy program without first consulting a doctor.