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The Male to Female Transition: What to Expect

Medically reviewed by Martha Juco, MD · Aesthetics

Written by Angeli Del Rosario · Updated Jul 25, 2022

    The Male to Female Transition: What to Expect

    No matter their age, a person may begin to realize that they are transgender. Through this realization of gender identity, sometimes, comes transitioning. But what does transitioning mean exactly? Let’s take a closer look at the process of transitioning, specifically male to female transition.

    What Does Transitioning Mean?

    Transitioning is the process of changing or altering gender presentation or sex characteristics in order to become the gender you truly identify with internally. The term covers many processes — from receiving medical treatments for a male to female transition to changing your name, or even just having others address you in your preferred pronoun. 

    Transitioning can be considered an umbrella term for different concepts that pertain to transitioning. The transition can either be an ongoing process or something that occurs in a short time period.

    How Transgender People Affirm Their Gender

    There are two main ways to transition, both of which confirm the preferred gender.

    The first is social transitioning.

    This is essentially a non-medical method of  male to female transition or vice versa. It involves changing how others relate to you, your outward appearance, your name, as well as legally changing gender. The following instances are examples of social transitioning:

    • Coming out as transgender to loved ones
    • Using and asking people to refer to you with pronouns that match your gender identity
    • Changing your name
    • Dressing up in a way that matches your gender identity; at times this involves using prosthetics to alter body shape such as hip pads

    The second method is medical transitioning. This form of transition involves hormonal or surgical treatment.

    What Happens During a Medical Male to Female Transition?

    Depending on the gender you transitioned to, with a medical transition, you will feel fluctuations in your body that involve physical, emotional, and sexual changes. Aside from hormonal therapy, psychiatric evaluation, treatment, and support are part and parcel of undergoing medical transitioning.

    Male to Female Transition: What to Expect in Hormone Therapy

    Depending on the treatment used, a transitioning person will go through varied physical changes.

    In male to female transition, the face gets less hairy and sweating is not as frequent. Arms and muscles will have more skin on them as opposed to the hips and chest area.

    Specific surgery is also done to remove or augment body parts. Some well-known medical transitions are:

    • Breast augmentation – also known as breast implants
    • Laser hair removal
    • Tracheal shave – allows the Adam’s apple to appear smaller

    Alteration and creation of reproductive organs is also possible with medical transitioning.

    • Orchiectomy – Removal of  the testes from the body
    • Vaginoplasty –  Also known as penile inversion, using inverted skin from the male reproductive system will be done to create a vagina. 

    Male to Female Transition: The Changes Made by Estrogen Hormone Therapy

    During male to female transition, you may choose to undergo hormone therapy. Typically, you will be given medication to block the action of the male hormone testosterone and then estrogen hormone therapy to reduce the production of testosterone and induce feminine secondary sex characteristics. Some changes to expect include:

    • Skin becomes thinner and secretes less oil.
    • Skin then becomes more susceptible to pain and drastic temperature conditions.
    • Breast tissue starts to develop slowly.
    • Both body and facial hair will become less frequent or thick.
    • Mood swings may become more prevalent.
    • Male reproductive organs begin to shrink and decrease in size over time.

    Does Every Transgender Have to Transition?

    Not every transgender person chooses to transition medically. Some find satisfaction with social transitioning alone while others decide to undergo surgery. Others may take hormones and decide against surgical transition and there are those who may opt for one or a few of the specific surgeries.

    Different factors come into play when deciding whether or not to undergo a medical transition.  One would be that an individual simply does not wish to go through all available procedures. Another would be the financial cost required to support this choice. Male to female transition surgery can be expensive.

    Whether or not a transgender person goes through surgery, what truly matters is that everyone’s gender identity, and how they choose to transition to it, should be respected. 

    Key Takeaway

    Transitioning is the process of how a transgender person can change to the gender they identify with internally. The two types of transitioning, social and medical, can both be used by transgenders to affirm their identity.

    Social transitioning involves acceptance by others as being a part of the gender one identifies as. Medical transitioning, on the other hand, involves surgeries and hormonal treatments to change physically. 

    Though not every transgender person goes through medical transitioning, their gender identity deserves the same level of respect as everyone else.

    Learn more about Sexual Wellness here.


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Martha Juco, MD


    Written by Angeli Del Rosario · Updated Jul 25, 2022

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