Navigating Testosterone Therapy and Periods

If you’re a Sex Education fan and you haven’t binged the latest season, just know there *kind of* a spoiler ahead. 

In the latest season, non-binary character Cal has started using Testosterone gel, which increases levels of the testosterone hormone in your body. You can apply this gel to your skin as directed, like moisturiser! A lot of people use this, from non-binary people, to trans masc and cis men alike. 

Cal Bowman (played by Dua Saleh) from Sex Education

Because Cal is using T(testosterone), they thought that their period would automatically stop, and are caught off guard after getting their period. While watching this, as non-binary person, I recognised their dysphoria right away. 

This got me thinking about some of the messages and discussions I’ve had with people who use AWWA, how some of our products have helped with dysphoria. And I realised - we don’t openly discuss using T and how this works alongside your periods. 

For individuals undergoing gender-affirming hormone therapy, the journey can be transformative. Testosterone therapy, in particular, often brings about significant physical and emotional changes, aligning one's body with their gender identity. 

However, it's important to understand that the impact of testosterone on menstruation varies from person to person.

Understanding Testosterone Therapy:

The Role of Testosterone: Testosterone is a sex hormone found in both males and females, but it's typically associated with male secondary sexual characteristics. In gender-affirming hormone therapy, individuals assigned female at birth (AFAB) take testosterone to induce masculinizing effects, such as:

  • Deepening of the voice
  • Increased facial and body hair growth
  • Muscle development
  • Fat redistribution
  • Changes in skin texture

The Impact of Testosterone on Menstruation:

Effects on Menstruation: While testosterone therapy typically leads to the cessation of menstruation for many individuals, it's important to recognize that the effects can vary. Some people may stop menstruating relatively quickly, while others might continue to experience menstrual cycles for several months or even longer.

Irregular Periods: During the early stages of testosterone therapy, it's common for individuals to experience irregular periods. This can involve changes in cycle length, flow, and symptoms. The irregularity typically diminishes as hormone levels stabilise.

Factors Influencing Menstruation: Several factors influence how and when menstruation is affected by testosterone therapy, including the individual's starting hormone levels, dosage, and genetics. It's crucial to be patient and consult with a knowledgeable healthcare provider who can monitor your progress and make necessary adjustments.

Getting Pregnant While on Testosterone:

Pregnancy Is Still Possible: An essential consideration for individuals taking testosterone is that it doesn't provide contraception. Even if you're on hormone therapy, it's still possible to get pregnant.

Birth Control and Family Planning: If you're sexually active and not planning to conceive, it's important to discuss birth control options with your healthcare provider. Barrier methods, hormonal contraceptives, and intrauterine devices (IUDs) are among the choices available.

Addressing Dysphoria and Emotional Impact:

Dealing with Dysphoria: For many individuals on their gender-affirming journey, the persistence of menstruation can be emotionally distressing and trigger gender dysphoria – a deep sense of discomfort related to one's gender identity.

Support and Safety: It's essential to seek support from healthcare professionals who specialise in transgender care and mental health. They can help you navigate the emotional challenges of experiencing periods while on testosterone therapy.

It’s also important to have trusted friends, family and a support network while going through changes. Please reach out to those who are safe and lean on them when you need to. You are not alone in this journey.

Understanding the relationship between testosterone therapy and menstruation is essential for individuals on their gender-affirming journey. 

Remember that the impact of testosterone can vary, and changes may take time. Seek guidance from knowledgeable healthcare providers who can tailor your hormone therapy to your specific needs and goals. 

From our own experience and conversations with people within the community, we have found that AWWA’s boxer brief can provide comfort and a sense of gender euphoria. Period underwear can be useful for irregular periods also. 

Your gender identity is valid, and you deserve comprehensive care and support throughout your journey.

Support services: 


Gender Minorities:

Rainbow Youth

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