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The Effects of Medroxyprogesterone on Transgender Men

Medroxyprogesterone, also known as MPR or Cy resed, is a type of hormone called a progestin. It’s often used to treat a variety of conditions such as endometriosis and fibrocystic breast disease. It’s also sometimes prescribed to transgender men who are transitioning from female to male. Medroxyprogesterone has been researched in some detail, although it’s not commonly used outside of the medical field. Let’s take a closer look at how this drug can affect someone who identifies as transgender and what its side effects are.

What Medroxyprogesterone Is and Does

Medroxyprogesterone is a type of hormone called a progestin. It’s often used to treat a variety of conditions such as endometriosis and fibrocystic breast disease. It’s also sometimes prescribed to transgender men who are transitioning from female to male. Medroxyprogesterone has been researched in some detail, although it’s not commonly used outside of the medical field. Medroxyprogesterone is used to treat irregular menstrual cycles, heavy menstrual bleeding, and benign (non-cancerous) breast lumps. It may also be used to treat other conditions as determined by your doctor. Medroxyprogesterone is a progestin-only (female hormone) oral contraceptive that helps prevent pregnancy. It is often prescribed as a progestin-only contraceptive before or after surgery, or in combination with estrogens.

How Medroxyprogesterone Affects Trans Men

As with all drugs, the effects of medroxyprogesterone on transgender men differ from person to person. The drug’s purpose is to reduce the effects of the body’s natural hormone production. When transgender men take it, it has two main effects: It reduces sex drive and it causes the body to produce less testosterone. First, it reduces sex drive, which can be helpful if someone is uncomfortable with their sexual thoughts. It also causes the body to produce less testosterone. This is important because testosterone affects many parts of the body, including the growth of facial hair, the size of the Adam’s apple, and the rate at which a person’s voice becomes deeper. These effects can sometimes be reversed, but sometimes they cannot, so it’s important to discuss this with your doctor.

Side Effects of Medroxyprogesterone for Transgender Men

As with any drug, there are side effects to consider when taking medroxyprogesterone.

These side effects vary from person to person, but common side effects include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Mood changes
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Lighter menstrual flow
  • Breast tenderness
  • Changes in libido
  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Joint pain
  • Hair loss
  • Dry skin
  • Weight gain
  • Reduced bone strength
  • Depression
  • Reduced fertility
  • Decreased testicle size
  • Reduced muscle mass
  • Reduced energy

As you can see, there are a lot of potential side effects. The good news is that many of these side effects are reversible, and they’re less likely to happen as time goes on. Additionally, many of these side effects can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes.

Pros of Medroxyprogesterone for Transgender Men

Whether you take medroxyprogesterone depends on you and your doctor. If you take the drug, you can expect some positive effects.

  • Reduces sex drive: Medroxyprogesterone is used to treat sex drive in people who experience mental distress from an over-active libido. This can be especially useful for transgender men who are not sexually attracted to other people.
  • Reduces testosterone: Medroxyprogesterone reduces testosterone, which is the hormone that causes most of the physical changes people associate with being transgender.
  • Used as part of transition: Medroxyprogesterone is used as part of hormone therapy for many people who are transitioning from male to female, as well as transgender men who are transitioning from female to male.
  • Avoids Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT): Many transgender men choose to avoid taking synthetic testosterone and instead take medroxyprogesterone.
  • Improves mood: Although it takes some time, the hormone can reduce feelings of anxiety, irritability, and depression.

Cons of Medroxyprogesterone for Transgender Men

  • Menstrual irregularity: Although the drug is often prescribed to transgender men it can also cause menstrual irregularities.
  • Hot flashes: Hot flashes can be uncomfortable and can disrupt sleep. They may also lead to mood disorders.
  • Changes in sexual desire: Reduced libido is a common side effect of taking the drug, although it doesn’t impact everyone the same way.
  • Weight gain: Some people experience significant weight gain from taking the drug.
  • Reduced bone strength: The drug may reduce bone strength. This is especially a concern for people taking synthetic progestins (like medroxyprogesterone) for many years.
  • Depression: Some people experience depression while taking the drug. The risk of depression is highest in the first few months of treatment.

Final Words: Should You Take Medroxyprogesterone?

If you’re taking medroxyprogesterone, you should be aware of the side effects and be prepared to manage them. It may take some time for the full effects of the drug to be felt, so don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t have the desired effect right away. When you first start taking the drug, follow the instructions of your doctor carefully. It’s important to take the right dosage and to take it at the right times. Don’t forget that you can also talk with your doctor about ways to manage the side effects of the drug.

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