Many trans men, and other trans people, choose to go on a prescription of artificial testosterone. Human bodies, including those of cis people, naturally contain both some estrogen and some testosterone — these are the sex hormones traditionally classified as "female" and "male," respectively. Most women have a larger amount of estrogen in their systems, and it's the other way around for men.
By introducing more testosterone to his body, a hormone-taking trans man will shift his chemical balance towards the levels that are more common in men, and away from the levels that are more common in women.
The effects of testosterone prescribed for trans people can include:
- A thickening of the vocal cords, causing a deeper voice
- Toughening and thickening of the skin, veins growing more
- Skin becomes more oily as well, which can cause acne
- Redistribution of fat
- Loss of fat
- Gain of muscle mass
- Changes in sex drive, usually an increase in interest
- Elongation of the clitoris
- Menstruation and ovulation cease
- Body hair (including that on the stomach, back) becomes thicker, denser,
and sometimes darker
- Facial hair may begin to grow
- Hairline's shape changes
- Baldness may begin
- Body odors change
- Eventual sterility, for the most part
The changes produced by T (the short form, of course, of testosterone) are often very dramatic, though the results vary by individual. Some people who take testosterone never do grow much facial hair; sometimes it takes a long while for the voice to change, and so on.
There are several ways to introduce T into the body:
- Through injections of oil-with-testosterone-in-it. The most common method.
- Through creams and gels that contain some testosterone, and are absorbed through the skin.
- Through patches that are worn on the back, thighs, upper arms or belly. Similar to the gels, this method of delivery lets T be absorbed through skin.
- Orally, with pills. This is quite a bit more uncommon. The pills can be either swallowed (the way we usually think of "taking pills") or held against the under the tongue/against the gums until they dissolve. The latter methods are called sublingual and buccal testosterone delivery, respectively.
- Through testosterone pellets implanted beneath the skin.