Why should I be taking hormones? Dr Lorimer’s answer was, to prevent osteoporosis. Now, I have no wish to have a break as easily as I now have a bruise, but don’t think that is a huge risk. What Dr Lorimer said makes no sense to me, and is inconsistent with what he said before: I said I was lacking in energy, and he proposed testosterone. I said I would agree, if it would get me more motivated. His endocrinologist colleague proposed instead norethisterone, synthetic progesterone. It is indicated for heavy periods, not something I have suffered from.

Yet it could be that the only reason to take oestradiol indicated by studies sufficient to back licensing a preparation, is to avoid osteoporosis.

Oestrogen is so important to the culture. The name comes from Eastre, Germanic Goddess of Spring and fertility, from which we get the word Easter. The suffix is from the Greek for Begetter. Women have strong feelings about HRT, not all related to peer-reviewed double blind large-scale studies, and doctors’ recommendations for it seem to change by fashion as much as rational prognosis.

I could, I suppose, find out about the differences between oestradiol and oestrogen, norethisterone and progesterone; normal levels in pre- and post-menopausal women; and documented effects on such things as felt energy levels, emotional lability, and motivation. The problem is that I don’t believe finding these things out will give me any more control over those things.

I don’t know whether they affect the softness of my skin or levels of facial or body hair. I have grown breasts because I take hormones, but I don’t think they are growing now.

I like to think I would like a rational reason for taking, or ceasing to take, my pills. In cis women, they increase the risk of breast cancer and stroke. Yet I don’t look for one, perhaps because I do not believe it. It felt like I became hugely labile when I came off them suddenly, but I was stressed at the time and going back on did not seem to change things. I can’t be certain of anything.

So I keep taking the tablets. Perhaps they are a symbol of my femaleness, a link to womanhood. I feel my feminine character is more important. I like to think I don’t need a symbol.

Ostara, Johannes Gehrts

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