#DrewsViews: Here’s the T — Different Types of Testosterone Available
by Andrew Adams
Testosterone is the hormone that controls masculine characteristics. It makes the hair on my neck and face grow, it makes my voice deeper, it makes my muscles stronger, and it makes my more oil appear on my skin. Most people have heard of transmasculine people going on testosterone, but did you know that there are tons of different forms of testosterone on the market? Here are the most common types of testosterone that are available to transgender people today.
- Content warning: needles* This is the most common and most well known type of testosterone. Using a needle and syringe, an oil based testosterone substance is injected into the muscle of a person’s thigh, arm, or butt. These shots are typically weekly, since the amount per shot is typically fairly low, but some doctors choose to prescribe a much bigger amount per shot, but one shot every two months instead of every week.
- Content warning: needles* This is another very common type of testosterone. It’s very similar to the intramuscular injections, but is uses much smaller needles and it’s done in the stomach or hip. Instead of the muscle, the testosterone oil goes into the fat, where it is absorbed more quickly, leading to the doses being lower than that of intramuscular usually.
- If needles aren’t your thing, and you still want to go on testosterone, don’t worry! There are plenty of non-injection alternatives to masculine hormones. One of the most common forms of non-injection testosterone is called patches. These are basically stickers with little pouches of testosterone gel in them that gets absorbed by the skin over a period of a day. The patches need to be changed daily, and one is required per day. They are typically placed on the thighs, stomach, arm, or back. Insurance companies are less likely to cover this compared to the injectable type of testosterone, and this option tends to be rather expensive, so it isn’t as popular.
- This is the most common form of non-injection testosterone. Once per day, the contents of one pre-measured packet of testosterone gel is applied to the arms, thighs, stomach, or back. The main drawback of this type of testosterone is that it can rub off on the clothes someone wears, on the people they are close to, or anything they touch with anything that had the gel on it. This can lead to problems if someone close to you gets too much of the gel on them, because it can cause their testosterone levels to go up. That might be what you want the gel to do for you, but it can cause a lot of problems for children, pets, or people with prior hormonal problems.
Testosterone sinus spray
- This one isn’t common, but I’ve heard of some people trying it. I’ve also heard that you really need to get a lot up into your nose for it to work, and that it needs to be done several times per day. For that reason, I won’t be trying this one.
The options for masculinizing hormone therapy are more varied than they’ve ever been before. Innovations making taking my vitamin T easier are constantly happening, leading the trans medical care scene into the future. I hope this is helpful for anyone considering going on testosterone!
About the Author:
Andrew Adams is a transgender college freshman at the University of Central Florida who is committed to LGBTQ advocacy at the local and national levels. Nationally, Andrew serves as a youth ambassador and advocacy volunteer for The Trevor Project, a youth social media ambassador for the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and a Volunteer and Intern Coordinator for Point of Pride. On the legislative side, Andrew lobbies for the Equality Act by visiting with his Congressional representatives and their staff.
Additionally, Andrew has spent years fighting to change his school district’s bathroom policy to be trans-inclusive, and the fight is still ongoing. Andrew is an International Baccalaureate student and a volunteer at the Mayo Clinic, and he hopes to go to medical school and become an adolescent psychiatrist specializing in transgender health. For fun, he practices Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, creates sculpture art and plays the piano.