I wrote about how I was approaching my dosage shortly after I started testosterone, and after recently getting lab work, I wanted to update on how this approach has gone for me. Insert your usual caveat here re: this isn’t medical advice. This is just how things have gone for me.
You can read the original explanation of my thinking here, but in short, I started at a very low dose (25mg/week), stayed there for a month or so, then increased by 12.5 mg a week, staying at each given dose for 4-6 weeks, until I got to 75 mg/week. For context, my understanding is that a “typical” dose for a trans guy is 100mg/week, though in general the “goal” isn’t a specific amount to inject, but rather finding the right dose to keep blood levels of testosterone in the typical male range. For some folks, that can be maintained at a lower injected dose, and for some it may be higher. Some people also just want less testosterone in their system, or they want to go slower, so they stay at lower dose indefinitely or go off after a shorter time on hormones.
My understanding from asking around and my doctor’s description of a more typical path at my clinic, is that approaches on pacing dosing vary widely. I know guys who’ve started right out of the gate on 100 mg/week, and I know guys who went slower than me. Typical at my clinic would have been getting up to my current dose in about 6-8 weeks, as opposed to my version of about 4 months.
My current dose of 75 mg/week was the dose where my doctor wanted to check my blood levels, and I’ve been there for a bit over 2 months. As it turns out, my lab work indicates that dose puts me right in the typical male range, so I’ve now reached my target dose. I have some room to go up if I want, but for now, I’m set. When I found out, I felt a bit like I’d “arrived” — it felt good. I also thought back over the last 6-ish months, and realized this change has actually been extremely smooth. I’m just one guy, and I’m sure plenty of folks have started at higher doses and also had a smooth go of it, but knowing how sensitive I am to changes (of any sort), I feel good about taking the approach I did.
I feel great. I feel very much like myself. I’m still enjoying that I cry less (though I still cry — which isn’t surprising since I’m a total sap). I’m experiencing the expected physical changes, though some of them feel like they come at a frustratingly slow pace. I have to sometimes remind myself that even though I have been on testosterone for 6 months, in reality, my dose was very low for much of that time, so I can’t just compare to other guys on that same time frame. I do have more energy. Anger comes with different warning signs that I have had to learn (the friend I learned that lesson with was very gracious when I surprised both of us by blowing up over something very small with no warning — now that I know how that feels it hasn’t happened again — thanks E). Other than that one incident, I feel better able to handle myself, not less (and I’m absolutely certain Gail would tell me if I were being a jerk). I do have a bit more acne, but it’s extremely minor. The only real drawback I’ve had is some headaches, which are correlated with injection time so they seem to be directly hormone related. This have been fading gradually, so I’m hopeful they will go away, and if not, I’ll re-evaluate, or possibly go down on dose for a time.
So basically, this post is to say all is well. Going up slowly on dose has worked great. My body, my sanity, and my relationships have all come to this point intact, with no major upheaval, and I feel really good.