Transness.org

Exploring Gender Identity

Hormone Balance

on December 6, 2010

The following is an excerpt from Sex and Sexuality the new eBook from Unity in Gender Diversity.  There are a few comments in addition at the end of this blog. 

“A hormone (from Greek ὁρμή – “impetus”) is a chemical released by a cell in one part of the body, that sends out messages that affect cells in other parts of the organism. Only a small amount of hormone is required to alter cell metabolism. It is essentially a chemical messenger that transports a signal from one cell to another.” (Wikipedia, 2010).  The message is imperative for the proper function of the target cells.  The area of the body this book is concerned with is the sexual functions and since this is not a medical journal the descriptions are targeted to the layman.  The purpose of this chapter is to demonstrate the power and the importance hormones play in our lives.  Nowhere is this more evident than in the transsexual. 

“In order to function, the body needs healthy endocrine glands that work correctly, a properly functioning blood supply to move hormones through the body to their target points, receptor sites on the target cells for the hormones to do their work, and a feedback system for controlling how and when hormones are produced and used. Any disruption in that system can cause problems that may require medical intervention.” (FtMGuide.org, 2010). 

“Hormones have the following effects on the body:

  • stimulation or inhibition of growth
  • mood swings
  • induction or suppression of apoptosis (programmed cell death)
  • activation or inhibition of the immune system
  • regulation of metabolism
  • preparation of the body for mating, fighting, fleeing, and other activity
  • preparation of the body for a new phase of life, such as puberty, parenting, and menopause
  • control of the reproductive cycle
  • hunger cravings

A hormone may also regulate the production and release of other hormones” (Wikipedia, 2010). 

“The hormones commonly considered to be “sex hormones” in the body are testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone. Testosterone is often referred to as a “male” hormone, and estrogen and progesterone are often referred to as “female” hormones. However, it is interesting to note that no exclusively “male” or “female” hormones have been identified. All hormones characterized to date are present in all people regardless of sex, as are the receptor mechanisms that respond to those hormones.

In fact, the physical observation of the sexes we call “male” and “female” in nature is the result of differences in the amounts of individual hormones in the body and differences in their patterns of secretion (first in utero and then again during puberty) rather than their presence or absence. In other words, testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone are produced by men and women, but in differing amounts and in different patterns.” FtMGuide.org (2010) 

The existence of transsexualism demonstrates the difference between male and female is degree and this also is why males can change to females and vice versa.  It is simply a matter of communication with the cells of the body which is done with the use of hormones.  Please remember though that it is the individual’s gender identity and brain makeup that determines whether the hormones should be balanced for male or female. 

The quote above mentions receptor mechanisms and when the brain is female, it has mostly estrogen receptors and therefore needs estrogen to function properly.  The male brain is the opposite.  If as in transsexuals a female brain develops in a male body, these mechanisms cannot function properly, thus brain function is reduced.  From this author’s perspective, the areas affected are mostly in the emotional department but also other areas, such as ability to think clearly and comprehend at a deep level.  Language skills are much improved since supplying the proper hormones. 

If a male brain takes estrogen the receptors do not match up and the result is wild emotional outbursts and erratic behavior.  This not being my area of expertise, I will say from others I have spoken to that the female to male transsexual would experience similar difficulties before CHT. 

It is sort of like putting diesel fuel in a gasoline engine!  The human body is a remarkable structure and it adapts to many situations, however when the proper hormones are present they function like messengers and open pathways to proper function depending on brain structure, not sexual organs. 

The lesson learned here is that male and female really are fairly superficial aspects of our being and that every human has both, otherwise there would be no way for a male to take female hormones and take on the characteristics of female (or vice versa).  The proper balance for gender identity and brain makeup is what is most important. 

🙂 Sequoia Elisabeth

Unity in Gender Diversity

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One response to “Hormone Balance

  1. Sharon KathyJo says:

    Fascinating information! I think I’m going to distill it into something appropriate for some of my family members in an attempt to try to educate them.

    Hugs!
    Sharon

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