For male-to-female transgender women, “feminizing” your body is an important part of your transitional process. One of the biggest steps in this process is to undergo Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) where a qualified physician will prescribe synthetic hormones to you, in order to help your body transition. For various reasons though, A large number of transgender women choose not to undergo conventional HRT, at least not right away. Instead, many choose to seek alternative ways for hormonal replacement in order to “feminize” their bodies.
Prescribed hormones are not the only answer for a more feminine figure, at least not according to many transgender females, and herbal experts. Though prescribed hormones are the most effective and most trusted way, a large number of transgender women and herbal experts claim that being on a strict herbal regimen can show results as well.
Many herbs contain phytoestrogenic activity which mimic the actions of estrogen and antigens normally found in pubescent females. These phytoestrogenic herbs can also stimulate breast growth in biological males as well. In addition, many claim that the phytoestrogenic isoflavonoids contained within the herbs will eventually stimulate the body's endocrine system to produce its own human estradiol, if taken long enough on a regular basis.
Though there are over 300 plants with phytoestrogenic activity, certain herbs have proven more effective then others when it comes to breast growth and overall feminization. Herbs that are most commonly used and most proven are:
- Red Clover - Red clover contains high levels of Isoflavone compounds such as Genistein, which have estrogenic properties.
- Sage - Sage contains phytoestrogenic isoflavonoids, which have estrogenic properties.
- Black Cohosh/Snakeroot - Black cohosh, also known as snakeroot, is one of the best plant steroids known to have a direct hormonal effect within the human body. However, this herb can be toxic if taken in large doses. Many herbal specialists suggest not taking more than about 2000mg/day of the ground root. If you get nausea, you're taking to much and should cut back your dosage.
Other herbs that are most commonly used and most proven are fennel, fenugreek, saw palmetto, wild yam, gaba, evening primrose and hops.
In addition to taking these herbs orally, it has also been recommended by some herbal experts to massage liquid herbal extracts into the breasts in order to maximize breast enlargement as well. The breasts have the ability to absorb plant chemicals directly, helping to target herbs where they are most needed. The most common way to do this is to mix a dropper full of the desired herbal extract with a tablespoon of body lotion and massage it into the breasts twice daily.
While individual results have varied, many transgender women have claimed to increase their breast size by two or three inches through the use of herbs and massage. A large number have also claimed to have noticed changes within three weeks, though it can take several months to experience significant growth.
For better results, it is also recommended to monitor your diet along with the herbal regimen you are on. Many foods we eat have a tremendous effect on our hormonal levels. The following are some examples:
- Protein - Foods high in protein are said to build breast tissue.
- Fruits and vegetables - Fresh fruits and vegetables contain phytoestrogens, which can help balance hormones, and reduce testosterone which slows breast growth down. fruits and vegetables that contain high levels of phytoestrogen include: dried prunes, peaches, raspberries, strawberries, alfalfa sprouts, winter squash, green beans, collard greens, broccoli and cabbage.
- Soy - Soy is another high-phytoestrogen food. Some of the soy based foods you can work into your diet include: tofu, soy beans, soy milk, soy yogurt, soy powder, and soy burgers, Just to name a few.
- Flax seeds - Flax seeds also contain phytoestrogens, more so then any other food. Flax seeds must be ground-up in order to digest them and get the phytoestrogenic effect. Once ground-up, they can be sprinkled on cereal, yogurt, fruits, or salads.
Just as importantly, one should also avoid anti-feminizing foods as well. The following foods are know to increase testosterone, having a masculinizing effect:
- Simple carbs - Foods containing simple carbs, such as sugar and white bread, increase your insulin level. Increased insulin is related to testosterone production.
- High zinc foods - Zinc also boosts testosterone levels. If you are on a feminizing diet, you will want to avoid high-zinc foods such as oysters, beef, pork, turkey, chicken liver, and pumpkin seeds.
In addition, cutting out caffeine from your diet will also help aid you in growing breasts.
Before you slip on a pair of your favorite pumps and head down to the herbal store and supermarket, there are certain things that must be considered before deciding to start an herbal feminizing diet and regimen . Foods and herbs that contain phytoestrogens have to overcome the testosterone our male bodies manufacture. As opposed to a traditional female hormone regimen prescribed by an endocrinologist, herbs need to be taken in larger quantities, and for a longer period of time in order to get results.
Another issue is that pytoestrogens are easily broken down during digestion. Due to this, they supply less of the estrogen-mimicking compounds to the breast tissue.
In addition, transgender women must have patience and realistic expectations while on a herbal feminizing diet and regimen. After all, our bodies were created differently then genetic women. Our breasts consist of far less tissue to begin with, making it much harder for us to increase our breast size.
Most importantly, before starting any form of Hormonal Replacement Therapy, whether conventional or alternative, it is always strongly recommended that you seek the advice and guidance of a licensed physician first. Make sure you do your own research regarding your options. Your health and safety should always be a top priority.
* Tammy Reed is not a licensed physician, nutritionist, or expert in herbal therapy. Claims made in this article were gathered from various other sources. Prior to beginning any form of Hormonal Replacement Therapy, whether conventional or alternative, it is strongly recommended to seek the advice and guidance of a licensed physician.