Author Topic: My low dose HRT experience (was 9 month low dose HRT)  (Read 71049 times)

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Offline luna nyan

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My low dose HRT experience (was 9 month low dose HRT)
« on: November 21, 2012, 08:05:19 am »
I thought I'd update and share my 9 month experience on low dose HRT.
Due to miscellaneous reasons (career, marriage, sort of gender neutral identity with bias towards female), I don't forsee myself transitioning anytime in the near future, or ever.  For me, the cost to benefit of transition just isn't there for me at this time - if it weren't for my GID, most people would say I'm on a pretty good wicket.
This year, I decided to start low dose HRT for a few reasons:
1.  Possible improvement in emotional stability
2.  Reduce the level of gender dysphoria
3.  Prevent further recession of the hairline
4.  Prevent further development of male pattern body hair.  (I found as I was getting older, I was getting more body hair!!! :( )

Currently I'm on a combination of progynova/spironolactone, dosage is approximately half that of what one may possibly take to stimulate changes desired for transition.

What I've found happened to me are the following:
1.  Emotionally I feel more connected with myself and others around me.  Some people in my family have said I've become moody.  Libido has dropped significantly, and I have to same I'm pretty happy about that.  For those who really need to know, things still work downstairs, but production is way down.
2.  Gender dysphoria is more or less controlled.  I do not feel the desire to take things further at this point in time.
3.  Hairline has stabilised, and some small amounts of scalp hair at the corners have regrown.
4.  Body hair has started to thin slightly.
5.  Skin is no longer oily meaning far fewer breakouts.  My endo says that I look about 10 years younger than my actual age, but I think he says that to flatter everyone on HRT. ^^;

Even being on low dose E, there have been some feminising effects.
Breast growth has been minimal, they're AAA size, but still get sore as anything when they get hit, and movement is felt when I'm running.  Nipple diameter has increasted to about 4mm.  If I were to classify them on the Tanner scale, probably a 1 to early 2.
Some loss of upper body strength, but it's nothing that I can't compensate for by being smart about how I do things.  There has been some shrinkage in the deltoid and tricep muscles.  Fortunately for me the skin has followed, and they don't look like tuck shop lady's arms at this point. :P
Body fat has migrated downwards towards the thigh/buttock region.
My body weight continues to yo-yo, with a varience of about 6kg (13lbs) depending on diet and what I happen to be doing at the time.  I am not looking forward to eating too much over this coming holiday season.

Unwanted side effects:
1.  Hypotension - my blood pressure has varied from being perfect to being under.  Under = near fainting fits when I try to exert myself.  I've had bad salt cravings over the last few months.
2.  Thirstiness - hydration has become much more important, and if I'm dehydrated, I can develop cramps fairly easily.

Overall, I'm fairly happy with where I'm at emotionally right now regarding my GID.  I'm hoping that my changes will continue to be minimal at my current dosage, but I suspect I will probably need them reduced at some point.  At this point I would be happy to make the suggestion for those who are unsure about transitioning to consider low dose as a diagnostic aid or possibly symptomatic relief for GID.  I'm not saying that this is for everyone, but it's keeping me sane at this time.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2013, 09:15:27 pm by luna nyan »
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Offline ashley_thomas

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9 month low dose HRT
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2012, 09:43:29 am »
Thanks so much for the update, super helpful for us slow boaters!

Offline Alina_M

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Re: 9 month low dose HRT
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2012, 06:29:35 am »
Sounds like an option for me (to start...)

Offline lavistaa

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Re: 9 month low dose HRT
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2013, 09:47:15 am »
Thanks for this- if you'd consider doing updates that would be much appreciated.  Am currently doing the same only behind you a bit and no spiro.  Haven't seen basically any physical changes but feel much better.

Offline judithlynn

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Re: 9 month low dose HRT
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2013, 07:56:03 pm »
Hi Luna Nyan;

I too am on a low dose of Progynova only. No T blockers as when I had my Baseline Meds done my T was at very low levels. I have now been on E for  nearly 2 months. I must admit I feel much calmer, libido has dropped a bit, but I havent actually had any morning rises for nearly 20 years since my last transitioning episode.

I have noticed a very slight fat distribution, but my skin is defintely feeling softer.

On my breasts well I was already a Tanner Stage 4 from my previous 2 years on HRT (Estrogen & Progestrone), but on size I am only a standard A Cup. I have though noticed that my nipples have regained their erectness and they are starting to be more noticeable when I jog or run say for catching a tram.

I have had to start wearing baggy shirts again.


I se my endo in 3 weeks and I am expecting him to increase my dose. But we will wait and see.

Unlike some I dont feel now that I have to rush into things as I am focussing on getting my Upper Lip cleared with IPL.
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Offline NotThereYet

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Re: 9 month low dose HRT
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2013, 11:44:58 am »
Thanks for the update! :-)

Offline luna nyan

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Re: My low dose HRT experience (was 9 month low dose HRT)
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2013, 09:44:03 pm »
I've renamed this thread so that I can just post updates here rather than start a new thread everytime.

It's close enough to a year that I thought it'd be worth an update.  My regimen has continued to be a half dosage of Progynova & Spiro.

GID is still gone or could be considered under control.  I would say that I am in the middle so to speak and indifferent about my gender.  I could very easily see myself transitioning but for my circumstances, but I'm definitely not feeling desperate to do so.

Moods - I'm definitely still feeling more connected to my emotions, but not completely plugged in.   I can talk about sad events happening to people around me and can feel the tears building but stop them before anything really starts.  However, that's still a big change from my previous clinical detachment.  I'm still a sucker for emotional movies thought. =)

Physical changes:
1.  Weight gain - urgh.  2.2lbs (1kg) heavier.  It's definitely gone to the hips/thighs - a shopping trip or more exercise is on the list of things to do.
2.  Breasts - more glandular tissue has developed.  If I look at my chest area from certain angles, the "snoopy boob" look is starting to happen.  Not much change has happened in the nipple/areole region.  There's been sufficient growth that I have preference for darker, relatively loose clothing.
3.  Some changes in body hair - it is marginally finer and slower to grow.
4.  Hair/skin hasn't changed since last time, there has been no further advancement of scalp hair.
5.  Facial changes are noticable for those who are observant - one friend who hasn't seen me for a while has said my face looks "thinner".

The nitty gritty stuff:
1.  Blood pressure has stabilised back into normal ranges.
2.  E&T levels have been consistent and haven't changed in 3 months.  T levels are just below normal male range.
3.  All the other stuff (potassium, prolactin, etc etc) are within safe ranges.
4.  Hydration is critical - if I don't drink enough water, I will cramp very easily.

Something dangerous I've noticed:
It would be way too easy to just simply fiddle my dosages to a typical full transition regimen and say "hell with the consequences" - having seen my bloodwork on my current dosages for the last 9 months I know that a normal dosage regimen is likely to be safe (if I asked my endo he would agree).  To date, I haven't done so as I'm pretty happy where I'm at.  If anyone is going to go low dose, be aware that you have to be very disciplined with your approach or you could find yourself going down a path you didn't envisage.

My endo and I have agreed to fiddle with the dosages.  For the next few months, we're halving the spiro, and keeping the E dosage the same as rapid changes are not desired in my case.
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Offline TerriT

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Re: My low dose HRT experience (was 9 month low dose HRT)
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2013, 10:39:38 pm »
Thanks for sharing the info. Can I ask how old you are?

Offline judithlynn

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Re: My low dose HRT experience (was 9 month low dose HRT)
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2013, 11:33:15 pm »
Hi Luna Nyan;
As another person on a low dose here are my changes. I am just over my 3.5 months since starting HRT again. My GP started me on a low dose of Progynova per day no Spiro as my T levels were very low at under 8.0. My GP just increased my dose by half after my T levels dropped to 5.8, but with a target of under 2.0. He hopes with my increased regime I will get better results:

After 3 months here is my progress:
Moods: I My GID has dissipated largely as I feel  very relaxed about things. In fact I have become quite gentle in my actions. Some friends who only know my male self have noticed that I seem very relaxed these days and not so agressive (although I am a pretty calm person normally). I just watched an sad episode of Taggart (UK TV Show) and burst into tears at the end when Inspector Jardine got killled off. I also nearlu burst into tears at the office last week. For some reasaon (but not consciously by me) people have said I look more graceful when moving .

Physical changes
Weight: Unfortunately my weight loss regime has hit a bit of a brick wall gaining 2kgs. It has all gone onto my bottom and hips. Could be that I have been a bit slack on my exercise regime. This starts in earnest next week
Breasts: I was already a small B Ciup from before. Not much change to the Nipple or Aurolae, but some gain on the side of the breast tissue. I seem to be gaining volume at the side. Mind you they are defintly moving when I dont wear a bra, although  about 1 hour after I take my daily dose my nipples seem particularly semsitive
Body Hair: A very slight thinning on the legs, and hair on the back is growing much slower. Hair on the small of my back and on the cheelks of my bottom has largely dissapeared
Hair: I am growiing hair on my bald patch after 20 years . Its quite dramatic
Skin: Very soft and I am having to really moistiourise at a lot. My underarms seem to get very dry. Mind you these days I get them waxed.
Facial changes: very slight. Some have said my cheeks look fuller. I cannot see it though. Hair is defintkly weaker on the face as the IPL is working really well and I am only having to shave  once a week.

The Medical stuff
1. Same as you, drinking lots of water is critical. If I dont I get cramp in my legs and sometimes in my arms. Too much Caffe Latte has the same effect. Tea though seems fine.
But My blood pressure has gone haywire.  It was OK for the first 2 months but in Feb  went up dramatucally. I am now taking some blood pressure tablets to try to get it down. It seems to be working, but my exercise regime is working too. On the BP I jst bought the Apple IPad iHealth App and portable BP CCuff. Its great
2. Libido has almost gone
3. Nothing works below which is great and its getting smaller too and much easier to tuck.
4. on my T Level we are aiming for under 2.0 by April. My Doctor reckons when that is reached, feminzation should be a bit more dramatic

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JudithLynn
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Offline luna nyan

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Re: My low dose HRT experience (was 9 month low dose HRT)
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2013, 11:52:51 pm »
I haven't posted in a while, so here's an update.

My E dosage has remained constant for the last 6 months.

Month 12-15 tweaked spiro dose to half.
The glandular tissue in my moobs atrophied somewhat.  Libido went up, and stuff downstairs went too active for my liking.
15 month blood tests came back and funnily enough, E and T levels were the same in spite of the lowered spiro dose.  As some say, effects of spiro do not always directly correlate to T levels.  All other parameters were well within safe limits.  T levels have been pretty much constant at 8.something.

I talked with my endo and he gave me discretion regarding my dosages - basically a min/max dose range for my meds so long as I step up and down my doses correctly.  (basically anything from 1/4 to full dose).  15 months of HRT have established its safety in my case so there's wriggle room so to speak.

So for further self analysis, I went on dosages appropriate for transition for two months.  Mental outlook didn't change, I didn't suddenly feel the need to transition so higher dosages are not beneficial for me considering my aims, so I'm back on my original dosage.

Referring back to my previous posts, not much has changed in 6 months, perhaps some further migration of body fat downwards, further thinning of body hair, and very subtle facial changes.  Mentally, I'm in a happy place as far as GID is concerned and don't see myself taking things further.

My next endo appointment is in 6 months, but I'm pretty certain I'm in a steady state situation.
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Offline Gina_Z

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Re: My low dose HRT experience (was 9 month low dose HRT)
« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2013, 07:48:25 pm »
HRT affects everyone differently. I read at PubMed or Medline that some people become insensitive to estrogen when the dose is too high for them. In other words, low doses actually affect some people more than higher doses.

Offline judithlynn

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Re: My low dose HRT experience (was 9 month low dose HRT)
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2013, 03:09:20 am »
Hi Luna Ryan
Thanks for your update. I should give you mine.
It been nearly 10 months since I restarted on my HRT regime and I have been pretty constant, although occasionally I miss a days dosage (for various reasons) one of which I seem to be turning into quite a dithery female! I soon know though as if I miss more than a day my body gives me a reaction - like my right nipple hurts like hell and I get a headache. 1 hour though after I take my dosage (2 girly E pills) I am fine again. Its like getting a rush

I went to see my GP/endo back in May and he gave me the OK to increase my dosage to double my dose, but as I was about to take an 18 hour flight to Europe I decided to put the increase on hold until I arrived in Europe. In fact I then decided to stick with my original dosage as being away from him and my therapist at my European House whilst on paper looked 0k, I thought it might be better to wait till I was back in Australia. I then got back in late July early August and  am due to see my GP/Endo in late October. I know I have his OK to go to the increased dosage but as he indicated there is always a risk.  In fact I have decided though that with my regular E levels now being under 1.5, it might be better to get an implant pellet that's going to last me for 4-6 months (like my good friend Cindy).

Here is my update since March 2013: After 10 months here is my progress:

Moods: I feel  very relaxed about everything and some of my male friends  and colleagues have been nothing that I appear to be  very casual in things. I defintly don't feel that I need to be competitive at everything any longer and in fact whereas before if I was in a conversation and thought of something, I might interrupt to get a point over, I seem to rarely do that any longer. Also I have noticed consciously that when men are speaking around me or in conversations I seem to be feeling quite passive around them. I am not working at that it just sems to be happening.  My crying bouts seem to happen more often and I seem to burst into tears  more easily. I have also started to be more susceptible to male pheromones. Also some of the men that I work with seem to be treating me differently. My therapist reckons this is because with Estrogen being the dominant hormone in my body I will be giving a lot of female pheromones now  I have for many many years been jealous of how women looked, dressed  etc, but now I am really starting to notice men around me. Its difficult to tell though if my sexual attraction is changing, although my therapist said with the increased dosages of Estrogen in my overall body receptors I could start to completely re-wire so not to be afraid of it happening.

Some of the changes that had started in March are more noticeable in that I feel more gentle and graceful. This is being helped in my gradual  shape changes. See below.

One big thing is my GID seems to have gone. I am not in the least interested in Masturbation and my Libido sees to me to be at a record low.  Early morning rises have long gone and I am getting very tiny down there.


Physical changes
Weight: I haven't managed to shift the weight gain, up now by 3kgs. But It has all gone onto my bottom and hips. In fact my bottom is now noticeably rounder and my bottom/hips measurement has increased by 2".  I still don't seem to have the energy to get back onto my exercise regime and I find myself very tired by the end of the day. I am also feeling hungry a lot of the time.

Breasts: I am now a small C Cup with a lot of breast tissue at the side and especially in the mornings have a definite Pear shape to them with my nipples very pointed. My Areolae, are now quite large and very female in look and shape. I am these days wearing a bra all the time as I need to keep them from jiggling up and doewn with Shirts etc as they have become very obvious. So if I have to present as male its a tight sports bra.. Also although  about 1 hour after I take my daily dose my nipples seem particularly sensitive

Body Hair:  Hair has virtually disappeared in my lower legs and a very definitely thinning out on my upper legs. I had them waxed over 10 weeks ago and whereas normally the hairs would start being noticeable after 2-3 weeks, with some stubble, now its 8-10 weeks and then as they reappear they are very fine and almost not noticeable. Body hair on my tummy is thinning out but not by much . Hair on my back is also going and it needs another wax soon so I expect that will help it on its way. I have no hair now on my cheeks of my bottom, especially nice now as they are getting quite rounded. In fact I was wearing  male trousers last week - Ugh! and  when I went to do them up at the waist had a real struggle then split the seam on one thigh. I am definitely going to have to get some female slacks/jeans to wear with a women's shape bottoms in masculine mode!


Hair: I am growiing hair on my bald patch after 20 years . Its quite dramatic. Lots people are noticing, but unfortunately its a bit wispy
Skin: Very soft and I am having to really moistiourise at a lot.  In fact I moisturise morning and night now. My underarms seem to get very dry. Mind you these days I get them waxed. My legs, bottom thighs and arms are very silky soft. In fact I had a facial a couple of weeks ago and my beauty therapist was amazed by my complexion. I just wish I could get right of the facial hair more quickly.

Facial changes: A little more noticeable. Some have said my cheeks look fuller.

The Medical stuff
1. Same as you, drinking lots of water is critical. If I dont I get cramp in my legs and sometimes in my arms. Too much Caffe Latte has the same effect. Tea though seems fine. My blood pressure seems back to normal, but I expect it will increase again when I up my dosage next week.  The the Apple IPad iHealth App and portable Blood Pressure Cuff is fantastic working with the Iphone 4. The App also logs and tracks the readings
2. Libido is non existent
3. Nothing works below which is great and its getting smaller too and much easier to tuck. But I HAVE to sit down now to pee. This is good thing, but I have to remind myself when presenting in male mode not to use the stalls.
4. My T Level is under 1.5 by April. My Doctor reckons when that as soon as I double my dosage, feminzation should be a bit more dramatic


Physical:

-My nipples are very female in shape and size and always extended. They are periodically incredibly sensitive , but a little Elocon ointment smeared over the nipple and around the Areolae at night can help if the pain and itching gets too much. For me this really helps tremendously and the pain subsides quite rapidly. My breasts have begun to take shape too. My Endo said they are reacting very positively to the HRT and she is not sure that I will need implants. if things continue as they are. Personally I have always wanted a full cleavage, but nicely rounded C or a small D would do me very nicely. My mother was DD.

-My muscle mass has decreased a lot it has a more slender appearance now.
 My arm strength has gone and I really struggle now to open tight bottles
-My skin is very soft, but can get dry very easily.


Mental: My emotions are much more evident now. I cry more easily. My sex drive has also decreased a fair bit too. Plus the best thing is that I feel so happy, a lot of the time, but I also go into a bit of a daze at times and am a lot more pensive.  I have also found that my reversing skills on the car have left me and when out and about especially at traffic lights I never miss a chance to check my lipstick or mascara in the mirror.

Movement:  Some female friends have noticed that I am becoming more graceful in my movements. I think it might be that my bodyweight positioning is changing with more rounded bottom and hips. For instance  wearing heels now my hips just seem to naturally sway. I am not consciously having to think about it. Also though if I am wearing my under-bust corset that sees to accentuate my movements
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Offline Gina_Z

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Re: My low dose HRT experience (was 9 month low dose HRT)
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2013, 11:39:48 am »
JudithLynn. Congratulations!! Your changes sound awesome. You also sound aware of the mental effects of HRT. When I was on HRT years ago, I noticed that sometimes I would accidentally speak in a more feminine way. My voice was not much higher, but I would suddenly vary my pitch a lot like girls. That happened without trying and I think my inner woman was just kind of breaking through. As an outward guy I would catch myself and go back to normal guy voice. It was surprising. Came out of the blue, like part of my brain already knew how to speak girlie. Has anything like that happened to you?  By the way, a co-worker would then mimic me, and that pointed out my suddenly girlie voice. Embarrassing. (but also amazing)

Offline Paige

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Re: My low dose HRT experience (was 9 month low dose HRT)
« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2013, 11:08:09 pm »
Thank you luna for posting this.  The low dose definitely seems like another possible option.

Offline luna nyan

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Re: My low dose HRT experience (was 9 month low dose HRT)
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2014, 05:05:31 am »
Time for an update.

It's now been 2 years since I started on low dose HRT - basically a half strength regimine of progynova and spiro.
Physical changes I've noted from my last post 6 months ago:
1.  I've gained 5kgs.  That's accumulated everywhere - gut, hips, buttocks.
2.  It's taken 2 years, but I have to say it's now far easier to gain weight and it now tends to stay on.
3.  Some upper body lean muscle loss has occurred.
4.  Definitely lower on energy and endurance.
5.  Skin translucency has definitely increased - subcutaneous veins are now quite visible.
6.  Things still work downstairs, it just takes longer and production is way down.
7.  Some minor breast growth, I'm somewhere between AA and A, but my chest barrel is wide enough that careful selection of clothing leaves it unnoticable.
8.  Body hair has thinned out.

Psychological:
1.  GID is gone -transition is not an overwhelming urge.
2.  I'm sort of indifferent to physical changes - I'm happy if they occur, but if they don't occur I'm not going to weep about it.
3.  Libido is way down.

Nitty gritty medical stuff:
1.  Hormone levels have been steady for 6 months running.
2.  Liver functions are fine.

At my last endo appointment two weeks ago, I told him I was sick of sucking on progynova like they were cough lozenges, so we've switched to the lowest dose pellet available.  We're expecting an increase my E levels and possible further feminisation.  Next recall will be in 3 months.  As expected, I have a small keloid formed over the pellet insertion site.
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Offline Hikari

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Re: My low dose HRT experience (was 9 month low dose HRT)
« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2014, 08:16:20 am »
I too am on a very low dose, as low or lower than most of the "starting doses" that endos start someone on and move them up with. Low enough where I am spending my time cutting up single pills of Estrofem into halves.

The thing is, even before I added a very small dose of spiro (Which I am intending to replace since even at small doses it makes my BP too low) I had much stronger changes in the last 4 months. My A cup bra, now has trouble fitting due to cup size even, which was unexpected by me at such low doses.

This makes me wonder, how old are you? Is my much faster progress due to age perhaps, or am I just super sensitive to E? I wanted a very small dose because I wanted to have about a year before changes became obvious but, at times I am already struggling to keep changes hidden; I DO want to totally transition, I am just trying to save enough money so that when I do go full time, if employers freak out and fire me, I have a nice cushion to ride on and I can still afford some surgical procedures.This makes me a bit torn, as I love the physical changes, but I do worry a bit about the ramifications of moving my plans forward without proper savings.
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Offline Melissa_fox

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Re: My low dose HRT experience (was 9 month low dose HRT)
« Reply #16 on: March 21, 2014, 09:04:02 am »
I'm 3.5 months in on low dose E and finesteraide.

Hair getting much thicker and growing way faster.

Small amount of breast growth and nipples sore all the time.

I definitely feel more grounded and happy.

Face is definitely getting softer looking.  Skin definitely softer and the pores have gotten smaller.

I'm noticing that my sense of smell and taste changing as well.

Private parts definitely smaller which doesn't make me happy.  Also not working like it did. Not happy about that either.

My avatar pics is pre HRT so will have to take a few in another 3 months to compare.

Offline luna nyan

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Re: My low dose HRT experience (was 9 month low dose HRT)
« Reply #17 on: March 21, 2014, 09:23:22 am »
This makes me wonder, how old are you? Is my much faster progress due to age perhaps, or am I just super sensitive to E?

I can't say much regarding your E sensitivity.  I've said on a few occasions that low dose is a bit of a calculated gamble.  You could get minimal change, and the GID goes away, or you end up blossoming way more than you expect.

 I'm getting close to the wrong side of 40, and fit females on my mothers side are pretty much washboards in the chest department so I don't think I'm likely to develop much even on full HRT.  My T levels are sitting on the lowest part of average male range and that seems sufficient to allow me a higher dose of E than I would think would be advisable for someone with my treatment aims.
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Offline Hikari

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Re: My low dose HRT experience (was 9 month low dose HRT)
« Reply #18 on: March 21, 2014, 09:31:02 am »
I can't say much regarding your E sensitivity.  I've said on a few occasions that low dose is a bit of a calculated gamble.  You could get minimal change, and the GID goes away, or you end up blossoming way more than you expect.

 I'm getting close to the wrong side of 40, and fit females on my mothers side are pretty much washboards in the chest department so I don't think I'm likely to develop much even on full HRT.  My T levels are sitting on the lowest part of average male range and that seems sufficient to allow me a higher dose of E than I would think would be advisable for someone with my treatment aims.

Ah, I see, perhaps my age is a factor then, since I am still in my 20s (for a little while at least :P ). And my mother was a 36DD as well so I suppose genetics may play a factor. What is interesting is that as I get more changes, I want more changes, so I guess this is a good thing.
Thanks for your reply, it is harder to find people on here on low doses for more than a month or two.
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Offline JamesG

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Re: My low dose HRT experience (was 9 month low dose HRT)
« Reply #19 on: March 21, 2014, 09:54:41 am »
Thanks for maintaining this thread.  Its nice to see the experiences of other running out in front as a "sanity check".  My own are very similar, the differences more a testimate to the variability of people's reaction to even low dose HRT.