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Period Care Meets HRT: A Conversation Between August and Plume
Ruby Moon (she/her)
|
11.15.2021

It’s Trans Awareness Week and we’ve teamed up with Plume (@getplume) on this Ask August Article highlighting the importance of gender-affirming healthcare. Plume is an amazing, community-centered, company with a majority trans and queer-identifying staff that connects folks with life-saving Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).

Today (November 15th,2021), 50% of all subscription sales at August are being donated to the Plume HRT Access Fund. With the help of Point of Pride (@pointofprideorg), a trans-led nonprofit, and YouAreEssential, (@yaeorg) a Black trans-led organization, they are able to create access to free care for underserved trans individuals. The HRT Access Fund provides 12 months of free gender-affirming care, including the cost of medications, for trans folks seeking gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT).

Join us at 5 pm ET this Thursday (November 18th) on IG live with Alex Guerra (@alextheoutdoorsman) from team Plume and Beau Bradley (@beaubrads, @beaumygodpod) from the August Inner Cycle to talk all things HRT, periods, and more!

A HUGE shoutout to Dr. Lis and Dr. Lincoln of the August Medical Board for their co-writing of this piece, check out their individual Q&A's on our newly expanded #ASKAUGUST!

Names of the lovely models in this cover image: Aviva (@instinctathinc), Seyvn (@putaflakamala), Sammi, and Ley.

What is HRT?

HRT stands for hormone replacement therapy. Another term you might hear that means the exact same thing) is MHT, or menopausal hormone therapy. This is when hormones are used to treat symptoms of perimenopause and menopause.

Dr Jennifer Lincoln (she/her) MD, IBCLC August Medical Board

What are the basic types of hormone therapy?

Hormone therapy for transitioning comes in the form of pills, patches, implants, gels, or shots. These will either be estrogen to help with feminizing hormone therapy, or testosterone to help with masculinizing hormone therapy. This is different from puberty blocking medication, which is sometimes used prior to hormone therapy to stop the changes that puberty brings, which can then be followed by hormone therapy to assist with medical transitioning.

In this blog we'll be exploring how testosterone-based gender-affirming hormone therapy or GAHT, interacts with your period!

Dr Jennifer Lincoln (she/her) MD, IBCLC August Medical Board

Do you have a phantom period on HRT?

You may get a phantom period, aka withdrawal bleeding, if you periodically take progesterone. Remember: progesterone is used for people with a uterus taking estrogen HRT since it helps to decrease the risk of cancer of the uterus. You can take this continuously or cyclically (just like birth control pills!), and it’s in that cyclic use that you can get a withdrawal bleed. This is expected and not cause for concern.

Dr Jennifer Lincoln (she/her) MD, IBCLC August Medical Board

How does HRT affect your period?

If you are on HRT, by definition, your body experiences the same symptoms as losing a period, or menopause, as you will no longer be getting periods. In terms of bleeding, you can have the withdrawal bleeding described above. If using progesterone continuously, you may have some occasional spotting especially as you just start it. If it has been absent and starts up suddenly, let your provider know so they can make sure nothing concerning is going on.

Dr Jennifer Lincoln (she/her) MD, IBCLC August Medical Board

How do people going through HRT experience menopause?

Often people who are perimenopausal or already menopausal struggle with the typical symptoms like hot flashes or insomnia. The good news is HRT can help with these symptoms so when menopause time rolls around in life, someone on HRT has already gone through this proccess. BONUS: HRT helps with these symptoms and actually makes the menopausal transition easier!

Dr Jennifer Lincoln (she/her) MD, IBCLC August Medical Board

How is HRT used to treat menopause symptoms?

HRT consists of the hormone estrogen, or estrogen plus a form of progesterone if you have a uterus. These hormones can help treat symptoms of perimenopause and menopause which are caused by decreases in the naturally occurring levels of these hormones. Symptoms like vaginal dryness, frequent UTIs, hot flashes, and insomnia from hot flashes are all reasons HRT can be used

Dr Jennifer Lincoln (she/her) MD, IBCLC August Medical Board

What are the risks of hormone therapy?

Risks include deep vein thrombosis (or blood clots), hypertension, mood changes, liver inflammation, high cholesterol, weight gain, infertility, male-pattern baldness, acne, vaginal dryness, and clitoral discomfort. This sounds like A LOT - but honestly, most of these are rare, can be monitored by the person prescribing your hormones, and are often very tolerable especially compared to the feeling of not presenting as your true gender!

Dr Jennifer Lincoln (she/her) MD, IBCLC August Medical Board

How will different hormone therapies affect mental health?

Hormone therapies can level out the irritability and hot flashes of menopause and help some people cope with the changes in their body and mood. They can also help to regulate periods that are very irregular or heavy, which can lead to more predictable cycles. In this case, predictability can be very beneficial to mental health.Some people may have mood swings especially as they start out on hormone therapy, while others feel their mental health drastically improves as they are taking a step to transition to the body they have felt was always right for them. If you are having concerns, let your provider know so they can assist and get you the help you need for any concerns you have.

Dr Jennifer Lincoln (she/her) MD, IBCLC and Dr Lea Lis (she/her) MD August Medical Board

What does hormone therapy help with?

"Hormone therapy helps me affirm what I feel on the inside with how I look on the outside. It has helped me develop facial hair and broad shoulders. It helped me stand taller as I learned how to find my confidence."

  • Alex Guerra from Team Plume (he/him)

How to seek gender affirming care and get on HRT

If you are looking to get on HRT... you've come to the right place! Our friends at Plume offers gender affirming healthcare services to anybody between the ages of 18 and 65! All you need to do is fill out their intake form and you'll be well on your way to their digital video appointments with your assigned medical provider, who will review your goals and work with you to establish a treatment plan.

Out favorite thing about Plume, is that they stay with you through your journey by offering:

  • Letters for name or gender marker changes.
  • Medical letters of support for surgery.
  • Injection instruction and live injection support, as needed.
  • Access to your trans-led care team who can provide resources, guidance, and answer any questions in our app.

Click HERE to get started!

  • Alex Guerra from Team Plume (he/him)

Want to learn more about Plume?

plume logo horizontal light

"Plume is the Community. Our mission is community first, so serving a community of people which we're also part of is important to us. For those who don't know, Plume is a telehealth company with a predominantly queer and trans staff. Hormone Replacement Therapy is a life-saving therapy that we believe every trans person should have access to. In order to do that, we must know intimately and precisely how to serve our community and that is part of Plume's proficiency as a company. We have a lot more in store to continue to offer holistic care to our membership, we're so excited to keep sharing and building with y'all!

We know that any gender journey can feel painstakingly slow at times and this is definitely true when it comes to gender-affirming hormone therapy (HRT). Most especially considering the months, years, or even decades spent in your body not feeling at home or like it's your own. If you’re ever feeling impatient or frustrated, breathe into those feelings, and know that you’re never alone." - Team Plume"

Find them on Instagram, TikTok, Youtube, and Facebook @getplume, and @get_plume on Twitter!

Click HERE to donate directly to the HRT Access Fund!

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