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Things You Should Know About Progestins in MtF Hormone Therapy

Progestins are a type of hormone, called progestogens. Progestins help balance out estrogen when you’re on MtF hormone therapy. Progestins also have other helpful effects in the body, and they are necessary to take when undergoing hormone replacement therapy (HRT) as a transgender man. These benefits come with some risks, however. Here are some things you should know about progestins in MtF HRT.

What is a progestin?

A progestin is a type of progesterone. Progesterone is a hormone that is naturally produced by the ovaries in women and by the testes in men. Progestins are synthetic hormones that have similar properties as progesterone, but with different effects and risks. Progestins are used in hormone therapy for various purposes and in different types of hormone therapy regimens. In MtF hormone therapy, progestins are used to help balance out estrogen and to bring certain health markers closer to normal. They also have health benefits in their own right, and they are necessary in certain types of hormone therapy regimens.

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How do progestins work in MtF hormone therapy?

When you take estrogen, you increase the amount of estrogen in your body. The increase in estrogen levels can cause side effects, such as breast growth, water retention, and fat gain, among others. Progestins counteract some of these unwanted effects by binding to estrogen receptors in your body, blocking them from being activated by estrogen. This is also why progestins are necessary when taking estrogen as part of a hormone therapy regimen. Progestins have different effects from person to person, and these effects can vary from person to person even during the same time period. Some people experience stronger effects on different progestins, and some experience stronger effects at different times of the day. There are also different progestins, and they are often used in different hormone therapy regimens.

Benefits of taking a progestin with estrogen

  • Helps Reduce Estrogen Side Effects. Progestins counteract the effects of estrogen, so they can help to reduce the side effects of taking a high amount of estrogen.
  • Helps Balance Out Hormone Levels. Progestins are also necessary to help balance out hormone levels in the body. Without taking a progestin along with estrogen, your hormone levels could be unbalanced.
  • Helps Prevent Breast and Liver Enlargement. Taking progestins also helps prevent breast growth and liver enlargement, which are possible risks of taking too much estrogen.
  • Helps Treat Endometrial Hyperplasia. Endometrial hyperplasia is when the lining of the uterus grows too much and becomes abnormal. Progestins can help treat this condition if it occurs.

Risks of taking a progestin with estrogen

  • Worse Menstrual Bleeding .One of the main risks of taking a progestin while on estrogen is worse menstrual bleeding, which is why many trans men stop taking progestins during their period.
  • More Side Effects. Another potential side effect is that progestins can cause more side effects, including headaches, mood changes, and fat gain.
  • Higher Risk of Blood Clots. There is also a higher risk of blood clots with progestins. Blood clots are a serious risk, but they are rare.
  • Possible Effects on Fertility. Taking progestins also has the potential to affect fertility, though there are ways to prevent this.

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Types of Progestins and Their Uses in MtF HRT

  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate (MPA). MPA is usually used for birth control but can also be used in hormone therapy.
  • Norethindrone. Norethindrone can be used alone or in combination with other progestins.
  • Norgestrel. Norgestrel is often used in combination with ethinyl estradiol.
  • Gestodene. Gestodene is used commonly in Europe but not in the United States.

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Conclusion

The main function of progestins in MtF hormone therapy is to counteract the effects of estrogen and to help balance out hormone levels. They also help prevent breast and liver enlargement, and they are sometimes used to treat endometrial hyperplasia. Taking progestins with estrogen can cause more side effects and increase the risk of blood clots, but this risk can be reduced by taking proper precautions. There are different progestins with different uses, and they can vary in their effects and side effects. Progestins are a type of hormone, called progestogens. Progestins help balance out estrogen when you’re on MtF hormone therapy. Progestins also have other helpful effects in the body, and they are necessary to take when undergoing hormone replacement therapy (HRT) as a transgender man. These benefits come with some risks, however.

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