It is important for you to strongly consider that this page is for informational purposes only, not medical advice. Dr. Mosser does not prescribe hormones. Going on hormones or changing your hormone dose or regimen has the potential to cause harm, and should only be done after a conversation with a medical doctor who specializes in endocrinology. Please seek guidance from a medical provider before you go on hormones or consider an adjustment to your hormone regimen.
“Microdosing” refers to taking a lower dose of hormones for hormone replacement therapy (HRT), in this case, testosterone. Testosterone is a masculinizing hormone that is taken by trans men, transmasculine, non-binary, and gender-expansive people. There are many reasons why people choose to microdose and a few different ways to administer testosterone in smaller doses.
It’s important to note that microdosing testosterone isn’t exclusive to non-binary folks but is under this portion of the website as it’s mostly a topic of discussion amongst the non-binary community. Learn more about how to access testosterone here.
As a method of hormone replacement therapy, testosterone impacts someone’s secondary sex characteristics. In this context, secondary sex characteristics are the changes to the body during adolescent puberty that can be altered during hormone replacement therapy, or HRT. To learn more about what secondary sex characteristics are and/or what changes to expect while taking testosterone for hormone replacement therapy, visit UCSF’s guide to masculinizing hormone therapy.
While taking “standard” doses of testosterone (see information on dosage below), the changes to secondary sex traits can happen quickly and will eventually reach a maximal effect. On lower doses of testosterone, the physical changes are more subtle and happen gradually. Microdosing can be an ideal way to administer testosterone for masculine non-binary and gender expansive people who might want to achieve more subtle or gradual changes to their bodies without a drastic adjustment.
Generally speaking, doctors usually recommend that people start their HRT journey on smaller doses (and scale up slowly, if desired) in order to mitigate any potential harmful impacts of testosterone.
It should be noted that for some trans people who take testosterone, menstruation may continue, while for others, menstruation may end. If periods are a cause of gender dysphoria or discomfort, this is something to consider when exploring what dosage will be ideal for you. Other considerations for choosing the right dose include reproductive health, fertility goals, surgery goals, and medical history. Speaking honestly with your provider in regards to what your goals are can help guide the discussion on dosing.
There are many ways to administer testosterone into the body, and almost all of them have options for microdosing. The following information comes from UCSF Transgender Care:
Injecting: A “normal” dose of injectable testosterone is somewhere between 50 and 100mg every week. An injectable microdose would be around 20mg per week. Injections are either intramuscular or subcutaneous.
Gel: Testosterone gels come in multiple concentration levels, so make sure you understand how much to use and how often to use it based on your prescription. Generally speaking, for gels with 1% concentration, a “typical” dose is somewhere between 50 and 100mg per day, and a microdose is in the 12.5 to 25mg per day range. For gels with 1.62% concentration, a “normal” dose is between 40.5 and 67.5mg per day, and a low dose is around 20.25mg per day.
Cream: Similar to gels, a “typical” dose of testosterone cream is somewhere between 50 and 100mg per day, and a microdose is around 10mg per day.
Patch: Testosterone patches come in 2mg or 4mg options. “Normal” doses fall somewhere in the 4 to 8mg per day range, and a low dose is around 1 to 2mg per day.
There is a lot of misinformation about what one can expect when starting testosterone. To learn more about myths related to testosterone use, head to the bottom of our testosterone page.
Below are some personal accounts of people who have chosen to microdose testosterone. Folks explain the benefits and side effects of microdosing testosterone, and how they talked to their medical provider about microdosing.
Talking to your doctor about microdosing does not have to be a scary thing. The World Provider Association for Transgender Health’s standards of care recommends microdosing for non-binary people, and many providers are already knowledgeable about the benefits of low doses of testosterone.