Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) is one of many paths for transgender persons. It has been at the center of insurance coverage debates, medicaid coverage and is a heated discussion within the "passing" (see link for more info) argument that has enveloped the transgender community itself (briefly - that in order to be accepted in mainstream society you need to look like a cisgender person of the gender you identify with). These are my opinions - using myself as the example. I am not a licensed medical professional. My perspective is also of a transgirl with those goals.
For me, HRT is a vital aspect of my life. Receiving constant feeds of estrogen overrides the lie of the testosterone (which is also blocked medically through androgen blockers) which biologically instructs me to have certain urges/actions/thoughts/feelings that may be associated typically with someone who is assigned male at birth (and/or cisgender male).
My body responded immediately to it upon starting the process 05/13/18 and I have continued to love how I feel each and everyday I continue with it (HRT).
HRT is also not an instant cure, and result vary based on your genetics. For example, I was told that my breast cup size would be usually 1 or 2 cup sizes below my biological mother's. She, being a D cup, and at 20 months on hormones, I'm a full B and still growing.
So, the main questions....
Do your breasts hurt? Yes, they are tender very often even now almost two years into being on hormones.
What happened to your sex drive? It died completely. This is reflective of my T (testosterone) levels being rock bottom. That result can vary based on your dosage/physician. I also wanted this because my T levels being so high prior to transition (avg assigned male at birth/cisgender male T level is 200-250, mine was 400).
Do you get a period? This is a HOTLY disputed discussion within and outside of the transgender community. Yes. I do. Obviously I don't menstruate since I don't have ovaries -- however, every 28 days like clockwork, I experience moodiness, cramps, bloating, even more breast tenderness and am prone to break down into tears even easier.
How do I get on HRT? I started in 2018. WPATH standards change from time to time. For me, it required a consultation and diagnosis of gender dysphoria and a psychic evaluation (Iowa Requirements). If you are in the state of Iowa I recommend the Iowa River Landing Facility - their main physicians have contributed to the ACLU's case for gender confirmation surgery suit in medicaid coverage and are superb.
When did your breasts really start growing? At 9 months, continuing until about 13 months. Then there was a lul in growth until month 15-16ish which they...kinda went BAM - here we are. At 20 months they're starting to fill in more and expand out.
Facial hair/softness, etc.? I still have to shave my face daily even at 20 months HRT. The stories are true at least for me. Hair growth can only be exceptionally stunted by laser hair removal or electrolysis. So until I win the lottery - it continues. Although I will say various areas of my body have completely stopped and some have regrowth that takes weeks to show anything noticeable. Skin softness began developing around 6 months and sporadically continued throughout.
A note: If you are wanting to be more femme in appearance, knowledge of doing makeup, hair and the like is essential (if it wasn't obvious). Hit me up on facebook and I can chat if you want.
No HRT (Prior to Transition/Hormones)
1-3 months on HRT
4-6 months on HRT
7-9 months on HRT
9-12 months on HRT