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WARNING:Dangers of self-medicating

  • Table 2. Drugs and Drug Classes Reported to Affect Erectile Function*



    Estrogen-containing medications


    Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists



    Cristine Jennifer Shye** Beware the toes you tread on today, they might be attached to the arse your forced to kiss tomorow. Contenplating involvement with a man? Make sure you can cook realy well or face having sex on a regular basis. Men are like paving slabs, lay them properly, they will stay put and you can walk over them for ever.
      January 10, 2014 9:28 PM GMT
  • Hi sara that is a very strong story, to follow your advice i will start with estrogen only and avoid the anti androgen at least untill i run out of the first estrogen box, i have read that spiro causes a high increase in levels of potassium and that it can also cause allergy in some people, i think that it works slightly differently in each person, therefore each person should try the different types of pills and methods in order to find one that would have the least side effects

      January 10, 2014 2:24 PM GMT
  • On reading all the posts, I would like to say I'm self medding but started on low dose of estrofem to begin with in fact started on 1mg then slowly increased to 2mg which I'm on now last year I started on Spiro again low dose 25 mg then slowly increased to 100mg which I took for 6 mths then slowly reduced it bit by bit until came of entirely, it as had the desired effect my breasts have developed as well has my hips and waist. my advice if your goning to medicated do it very gently monitoring your body that way if there are any effects you can reduce it back again. I still take 2mg of Estrofem which I,m informed is maintanance level which I got from a Post Op friend of mine.

    Christy Bradford
    This post was edited by Christy Bradford at December 5, 2012 9:25 AM GMT
      December 5, 2012 9:23 AM GMT
  • Hi all. As Cristine has pointed out this thread , I thought I would bring it back to life as it has been over a year since Lucy's post. Sara's story is real life! Self medicating is not a game.

     Most of the trans women I have met are doing it and however much I tell them it is dangerous they all seem to think it won't happen to them. Well it doe's happen.

     I have never taken a hormone that has not been prescribed to me. I have regular blood tests and one day this happened.


     I was attending my appointment at Charing Cross , my specialist had my blood results in his hands and suddenly said "My god" I just said what? he replied your serum Oestradiol is over 1200 pmo! That at the time was french to me so I just said so what? He replied it is over double what it should be . Me being me said so doe's that mean I will turn into Dolly Parton? He said no it means you are going straight to get your liver and kidney functions tested. I did and they were fine and my dose was droped from 8mg of Climaval to 4mg per day along with 5mg of Finasteride.

     Next blood test about a month later it had droped to 700pmo with 600 being the ideal range. It continued to drop down to 400 so my dose could then be worked out "but" even to this day my levels do go over 600pmo but as my GP doe's not understand it I now control it and she is happy with me doing that but I do have blood tests every 8 weeks to work it out from . My testosterone on my last blood test showed no trace found! So I missed my 12 weekly Decapeptyl injection. My Doctor asked why I had not had it so I told her "I am more woman than you" She just laughed and said again well you seem to know what you are doing so go ahead untill the next blood test.


     It realy is a balance act where I am concerned "but again" If I never had the blood results I would have no way of knowing my levels to self adjust. Self adjusting "is not" self meding! It is me controling my hormone levels with the information I get from the blood tests.

     At the time my Oestradiol was over 1200 I was getting realy bad cramp in my legs , I never did mention it to the doctor and never linked it to my hormone levels I just thought it was my age. When my levels droped the cramp went away . It could have been the start of DVT , I will never know , all I do know is I am ok but without the blood tests I could be dead. Just don't risk it!.


     I know to some of you it seems to be the most important thing but in reality the most important thing is "just being yourself" and alive not in a wooden box. You all take care. Julia xx.

    This post was edited by Former Member at November 23, 2012 9:12 PM GMT
      November 23, 2012 9:00 PM GMT
  • Moderator

    Hi again Samantha, there have been a few replies to your post on the home page about this. All of them combined I imagine would make anyone in your position feel that there is no option but to self-medicate! All these therapists, counsellors, nurse practitioners, sexual health units… talk of mental health, gender therapists at $250 per session… it must seem like a minefield out there. It’s different in the States, but the process here is really quite simple if you want to transition, get hormones, and receive professional help along the way. Assuming you want to transition fully: see your GP, tell him you’re gender dysphoric, he should refer you to a local psychiatrist or similar, this is just to ensure you have no mental health problems that may be “clouding the issue”. One of them will then refer you to a gender clinic who will guide you from then on. I was allowed to choose which gender clinic I went to, I chose Charing Cross. They will initially do blood tests, see you at regular intervals and before long prescribe you hormones. After 2 years they will refer you for surgery – SRS, tracheal shave, even voice surgery if you want it. After all that’s done you won’t ever need to go back, and your GP will look after your prescription and do annual blood tests as is normal with long-term use of HRT. I’ve been there, done all that, it’s pretty easy. Seeing my GP that day was the best thing I ever did – the beginning of the whole process.

    The question is, how far do you want to go? If you just want to experiment with hormones, maybe just grow a little breast tissue, that is an entirely different matter. Self-prescribing with those sort of intentions IS a minefield, and you really have to know what you’re letting yourself in for.

    There are girls here of all “persuasions”, talk to us, we can help you work out for yourself where you want to go if you aren’t already absolutely certain.

    Do not take hormones lightly; embarking on that road without professional help, advice and testing is a very dangerous route, both mentally and physically.



    <p><span style="font-family: 'book antiqua', palatino; font-size: medium; color: #000080;">"Stop aspiring to be other people and start being you."</span></p> <p>Gok Wan</p>
    This post was edited by Lucy Diamond at September 13, 2011 9:59 PM BST
      September 13, 2011 9:54 PM BST
  • Moderator

    Until you have a very good idea of what you should be taking and the various risks involved you should not be self-medicating, even then many people will tell you not to do it.

    Where do you want to go with this? To live full-time as a woman? To have SRS? Do you know what's in store for you once you start hormones, of all the physical implications etc?

    Why do you want to take hormones?


    <p><span style="font-family: 'book antiqua', palatino; font-size: medium; color: #000080;">"Stop aspiring to be other people and start being you."</span></p> <p>Gok Wan</p>
      September 13, 2011 1:12 PM BST

    I am going to self medicate hormones this year, at this moment in time I don’t have the information I need of the products to buy, but I will source them out. Can anyone help me, I am aware of the dangers; hopefully with your help I can keep the percentage of risk to a minimum. I’ve been waiting so long to decide what I want; waiting much longer is going to be torture. Please someone, help me.

      September 13, 2011 10:59 AM BST
  • To reitterrate.
    Girls, there is not a "magic pill" that will make you become female overnight.
    If there was I'd be giving it away to the rest of my sisters.
    My point.
    Don't shove anything in your gob without knowing what it is please!

    I know that last sentence could be taken as innuendo but it's heartfelt.
      November 6, 2010 11:51 AM GMT
  • It's interesting that Janis has replied to a thread started almost six years ago, back in November 2004. What a different place TW was then and indeed, what a different place the world was.

    However, this thread is just as valid today as it was then. Let me just remind anyone who is thinking about self-medicating that hormones are not innocent litlte things which can be taken safely by everyone. They are extremely powerful drugs which we believe (in an ideal world) should only be taken under the supervision of a medical professional who is both qualified and who has much experience in this area.

    This is not a game so please don't take chances with your life. Do it properly and you will be glad you did. The benfits of taking the time to persuade the establishment that this is what you want and need, will pay off.

    We realise that there are some people for whom, proper medical attention is not possible and who must self-administer. To them we would say , try your best to get help before your start your hormone regimen. Don't do this alone if your can help it.

    We would also remind you that the advice given on this site by your fellow members, does not not necessarily reflect the views of The Gender Society. It is the view of the individual member who gives the advice and it's given in good faith. Any action you decide to take having read these forums is at your own risk and we cannot be held responsible if things don't work out the way you hoped. Like I said, don't do this alone. Talk to your doctor first. Don't take chances and stay safe.

    Hugs, Katie x

    <p>Success is the ability to go from one failure to the next without any loss of enthusiasm!</p>
      November 6, 2010 10:21 AM GMT
  • Wow what a story! I also start hormones on my own but long after I had already had a heart attack! I cannot believe how stupid I was, but I figure since I was under a doctors care and getting blood tests I would be ok even though they were not prescribed. I finally came to my senses and stopped after about six months.

    I had my heart attack while I had my four small children with me. I drove to the hospital and went into full cardiac arrest ten minutes after arriving. It to is a long story, but I also started with a feeling of doom and denial about what was happening. I did have all the classic near death experiences. Took away my fear of dying. Glad we both lived to tell about it!

      November 4, 2010 11:17 PM GMT
  • Karen, I have never been checked or diagnosed for ADD, but I feel I do have it. Realize when I was a kid nothing like that technically existed and now I am just use to it so life goes on. I can't sit down and read a novel or anything. I turn the page and I can remember very little about the previous page. I don't like watching long TV shows or movies. Most of my learning has been through interactive means, seeing and doing. I know a little about a lot of things because one thing i'm good at is researching information that I will be applying. Basically I need to be doing something, sitting drives me up the wall. Whether that is actually ADD I don't know, again it is just something I have learned to live with. Maybe it is just the water in Georgia, thing is I wasn't born here.
      August 27, 2008 4:45 PM BST
  • Do you really have ADD? I am from Georgia as well by the way and I was diagnosed with ADD six years ago. My online experience has yielded information that quite a few people with ADD seem to have gender issues. A fact I find interesting. If this is true then the answer to the condition lies within the genetic makeup of the brain itself. Perhaps in the Pineal gland as females have a smaller one than males yet transgender people have been found post-mortem to have a pineal gland that is smaller than that of a typical male. I was just curious to know if you actually have been diagnosed with ADD. Karen
    I need all the help I can get.
      August 27, 2008 5:25 AM BST
  • fom what i've researched, the use of the patches greatly reduces the risks. the downside is, the patches are expensive
      June 16, 2008 4:18 PM BST
  • Hello Sara

    I did self medicate for a couple of years 2000 - 2002 prior to seeing a gender shrink, and you are right to sound the warnings they are very dangerous and people often underestimate the risks.

    Spirolactone is dangerous if you do not observe the body's electrolyte levels and drink lots of fluids to lower your potassium levels. Avoid bananas as they are potassium rich.

    if you take spiro it's wise to gradually increase your hormone levels at 50mg increments over a period of say 3 months until you are at the correct dosage (ideally that prescribed by your doctor or physche). Going straight to 200mg will cause you problems.

    I was sorry to read of your health problems Sara , you have highlighted the fact that hormones are dangerous & should be treated with great care and understanding.

    If you do feel the need to self medicate for god's sake research research research and know what you are doing it may help to minimise the risks to your health. And as soon as you are able to ,get your blood work done and also try to get under a physicians care as soon as you can.


      May 2, 2008 7:48 PM BST
  • Jesse,
    We are talking stopping testosterone production completely, then replaceing it with estrogen. DHEA is sold to men and women. Shouldn't they tell the men who buy DHEA that it is going to help them grow breasts, have thinner smoother skin that will bruise easier, loose muscle mass, loose libido, loose some body hair, add fat to butt, thighs and face. Somehow I just don't see your miracle product accomplishing that.

    The benefits of DHEA you describe sound fine, but I only see it as helping your biological hormone system. That is our problem, we don't want the testosterone benefited, we want it eliminated. I just don't see an over the counter product accomplishing our goals.

      March 21, 2008 6:58 PM GMT
  • Regarding blood pressure: mine stayed quite low during the first 3.5 years I was self medding but then due to stress of not getting to gender clinic and getting harrassment from local yobs it crept up from a (theoretically) good 125/65 to 155/85 with pulse of 64. After the month off for blood test and then getting back on the self med dose it was tested and down at 125/65 with pulse of 64 so for me the self medding seems OK.
    I have never smoked, drink very little, try to eat mostly fruit and veg with zero junk/fried food and alternate liquids all day between tea, coffee, lemon tea and watered down lemonade - can't stand all that gas.

    Would a coffee only drinker be more at risk of high blood pressure and trouble from Spiro/hormones than someone who had more variety in liquids?
      March 21, 2008 2:51 PM GMT
  • I've been self medding for about 4.5 years now. Juts before Xmas I decided that as the hormones didn't seem to be doing much apart from making the body hair disappear that I ought to have a blood test to establish the basic levels of natural hormones. So I took absolutely nothing for a full month and had the blood test. When the result came back the GP couldn't interpret them except to say that I have the estro levels of a normal woman and the testo level of a postmenopausal woman. But as to what that really meant about future hormone regime he couldn't say. So I asked about getting an endocrinologists report. I made an appointment with endo but two days later he cancelled saying I would have to wait until I got to Gender Clinic which might be a year or two away. So nothing I can do but go back on self medding with doses of 4mgEstrofem/100mg Sprio/5mgDuphaston and cross my fingers.
    Do ordinary patients get treated the way TS do?
      March 21, 2008 2:40 PM GMT
  • My two pen'th. (Or cents, if you prefer lol)

    I was prescribed etc., all by the book.

    Meds were taken orally. All went fine for a couple of years, then my BP started to soar. They did a 24hr continuouscheck on me, and it was in the region of 220/140, the latter being critical, and could well have killed me.
    So, more two pills to bring it down, and a switch to patches. I am now on patches and an anti-t implant.
    Plus I'm on now BP pills for life.

    So, even under supervision, these things creep up on you, and can kill!

    I will add, though I virtually don't drink, I did and do smoke, and am overweight, neither of which helped the situation, but...

    Take the 'mones, they can also save your life in another way, but I don't recommend DIY, and do get regular checks whatever.

    I was lucky...
    Sue. X Psychiatrists are like the eunuch in the harem. They know what transvestism is, they can describe it, they can demonstrate it, but they cant actually explain it!
      March 20, 2008 11:04 PM GMT
  • That is my signature line. I think if you read my profile it will give you a little better idea what that is all about.

      March 19, 2008 12:15 AM GMT
  • ADD, now your talking my language, lol
      March 18, 2008 11:05 PM GMT
  • Jesse,
    You seem to like to use the word naysayers a lot. Just because others don't happen to agree with you on something doesn't make them naysayers. I think I clearly stated that I wasn't arguing whether natural cures had a place, just that proven medicines, as in this case estrogen, cost less than your natural remedy. I hope factual information like that does not make me a naysayer.

    I also listed info directly off your source's website regarding seeing a qualified heath care provider and it is similar to the warning label on DHEA purchased at a store.

    So please don't take any of this personally, for that matter, I hope you are right and outlive the rest of us.

      March 18, 2008 10:05 PM GMT
  • 734

    Lucy, hun, lol, yes. You re-wrote my sentence to reiterate what I said!

    '...I remain utterly convinced that there is NO viable alternative to hormones… (is that what you meant to say, Rae?) ...'

    Rae: '...I do remain utterly unconvinced that there is a viable alternative to hormones for those requiring them...'

    My 'do' was an unnecessary underlining of my thought process. You then changed my negative 'unconvinced' to the positive 'convinced'. But to bring it back inline, you added the negative 'NO'. In my book the two sentences mean the same. I think I just like being clumsy!

    But I did have to think about it!

    Much love

    Rae xx
      March 18, 2008 8:40 PM GMT
  • 734

    Jesse: '...I don't know why I get replies to my posts when folks don't read the suggested materials...'
    hunni, thats just the nature of debate and particularly forum based debate. There is a plethora of people on this board who are well versed in all matters medical and nutritional. Yours is another voice. And there are those who are not. You'll also notice the first thing I declared was my medical incompetancey. My intellect lies in other areas - I'm educated to degree level. Even so, in other threads, I've stated that I find all the medical stuff pretty hard going. So its highly unlikely that I'll read the suggested material just yet. Thats a factor that you should'nt take personally nor allow to force you to give up without presenting the readers with a fuller debate. No-one's saying your intentions are'nt good!

    Marsha, clearly, is well read on this topic and is simply presenting 'the case against'. And if its any consolation I won't be visiting the link she supplied [I'm still on dial-up, dammit!] nor read any volume she may advocate, just yet.

    So its over to you to bring your rebuttal...

    Much love

    Rae xx
      March 18, 2008 8:30 PM GMT
  • Jesse,
    Without arguing whether or not natural medicine works or has a place in our lives I would like to point out that so often the big hype for natural cures is that the doctors and pharmaceutical companies don't want you to know about this stuff because of the money involved.

    I went to Hyla Cass's website and found her own Health Store, here is the link: She seems to sell cures for just about everything.

    Ok, first, the doctor issue. On the bottom of every page on her website is this posting:

    The content provided by this site is for informational purposes only and has
    not been approved by the U.S. FDA. This site is not intended to provide
    personal medical advice, which should be obtained from a medical professional.

    So let's rule out saving any money by not seeing a doctor. Hyla Cass seems to believe you should see one, natural or regular.

    Secondly, the pharmaceutical companies making money. To start with Hyla Cass doesn't seem to mind selling her own products which I assume is for a profit. But back to our issue of hormones, you are probably not aware that bio-identical hormones only cost $4-12 per month with a prescription in the U.S. at most drugstores. So where is the savings and what is the health benefit of non FDA approved meds? In places like the UK with national health care the prescriptions are covered. I will not endorse or encourage in anyway but hormones can be purchased online for reasonable prices as well. So again I ask what is the benefit of using a product such as DHEA when you can have proven meds dirt cheap?


      March 18, 2008 1:07 PM GMT
  • Jesse, DHEA came out years ago and still has not solved the worlds problems. I'm not sure if you are skipping past the bad stuff and only reading the "possible" good stuff about DHEA.

    This should tell you right off that DHEA would not be for the Transgendered MTF's anyways:

    It's not known whether DHEA is actually a hormone, or just a precursor ("raw material") for the hormones testosterone and estrogen. If it's a precursor, then taking supplements could be dangerous -- since estrogen and testosterone can both speed the development of cancers. Indeed, MacEwen says, the only side effect seen in his dog study was an increase in aggressiveness, as the dogs "tended to take on male characteristics toward other dogs." And that's a sign that DHEA is being converted into testosterone. Reference: University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists Ilene Kurzman and Gregory MacEwen

    Please notice the statement about taking on male characteristics. Sorry, been there, done that, last thing I want is a drug to bring that horror back.


      March 18, 2008 2:25 AM GMT