It's been about 15 months since I started T, so I've got about 14 months' worth of T in me so far. I stopped updating a couple months ago because I had nothing to report besides more hairs on my inner thighs, a little extra upper body muscle, and longer vellous hairs on my chin.
A week ago, I increased my dose from 12.5 mg daily to 20.25 mg daily. It became clear about six months ago that my dose was simply too low to shut down my ovaries , which I could deal with aside from the cyclic mood swings I developed on T that I never had before; I was otherwise very happy with the lower dose. Finally, with some encouragement from freakygems
, I decided that had gone on long enough and I was ready to try something different. My endo did not think switching to injections of an equivalent dose would make a difference and wanted me to simply double my original dose of one 1.25 g pump of AndroGel 1% by increasing to two pumps instead. I was hesitant because I was so satisfied with the rate of changes on the lower dose and wanted to increase by as little as possible, knowing it might not actually solve the problem but would reduce the risk of accelerating physical changes. I'd looked up that my insurance would cover AndroGel 1.62%, which also has metered doses of 1.25 g, so I could up my dose by 62% rather than 100%. I persuaded my doctor to give me the script -- she was resistant because the difference between 20.25 mg and 25 mg seemed really silly to her. When I went to fill it, I even got a call from the pharmacy with them suggesting I just get another box of AndroGel 1% with the directions adjusted to the doubled dose,
I waited a long time to actually fill the prescription. In the mean time, I did try doubling my previous dose as initially directed, but each time I suffered from headaches and went back to my old dose. When I tried the higher concentration gel, I didn't have any problems. After gathering some clues from the prescribing information, I concluded that the new formula may be absorbed more gradually than the old one, and I hypothesize that this caused the headaches, as opposed to there being some coincidental threshold between 20.25 mg and 25 mg that my body is magically sensitive to. However I have no way to know and am not a doctor or anything remotely close to one. In any case, the biggest difference I noticed with the new gel is that it dries faster than the lower concentration.
So, I've been using one 1.25 g pump of AndroGel 1.62% daily for a week now. For the record, this is still a low dose, less than half what my endo usually starts trans men on, which is what she calls "low dose" for those who request it.
I have to admit I can't really tell the difference. I think my voice is dropping again, but based on a week of recordings, it's totally inconclusive. I've been a little manic, both in mood/behavior and with regards to insomnia, but it's not as significant as when I was going from no T up to 12.5 mg. I've also been having a really hard time staying hydrated, and the weather has actually been less dry and hot, so I'm pretty sure that is the T. I cut out soda and beer to make it easier to stay hydrated, but I was only drinking about 6 ounces of one or the other on a given day, so it hasn't made much of a difference. The only other changes I've noticed is that my acne is worse on my shoulders and jaw line, but that could be cyclic anyway; I won't be able to draw a conclusion on whether this experiment was successful for another couple weeks. Another thing I've noticed is being even more calm/mellow/slow to anger than before, something I noticed when I first started T and was not expecting to change further.