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What is Low-Dose HRT?

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For trans folks seeking to transition medically, low-dose gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT, also known as HRT) refers to the use of hormone prescriptions, such as estrogen or testosterone, in smaller amounts than what is typically prescribed—sometimes half or even less than average.

Up until recently, the healthcare system has upheld a very Western view of binary gender: you transition to be completely opposite your assigned sex—from feminine to masculine (FTM) or masculine to feminine (MTF). 

Low-dose HRT is a means to help trans folks of all identities, but especially those who reject the gender binary altogether, to achieve their most authentic self by achieving subtle, more gradual physical changes that are in line with their gender identity. 

The specific hormones and dosages used will depend on the individual and their gender identity, as well as their medical history and other factors. 


  1. Safety and health considerations: Low-dose HRT is often considered to be safer than higher doses, as it minimizes the risk of potential side effects such as blood clots, stroke, and certain types of cancers. For folks who may be managing certain serious or chronic health conditions, your healthcare team may recommend this route.

  2. Cost: Lower doses of hormones may be more affordable than higher doses, making HRT more accessible to some individuals.

  3. Personal preference: Some individuals may prefer to make a gradual transition, or may have other personal reasons for choosing a low-dose HRT regimen. Physical changes will come more slowly and less noticeably, allowing folks to ease into changes. For non-binary folks who may be seeking subtle changes, or may wish to achieve certain physical changes and then discontinue HRT, this is often a desirable option.

Is it right for me?

Ultimately, the decision to pursue low-dose HRT as part of a gender transition should be made in consultation with a healthcare provider who has expertise in trans health and hormone therapy. They can guide you on the potential risks and benefits of HRT as a whole, and help you choose the best option for you.