Most doctors who assist men with gender transitions require their patients first undergo mental health evaluations, according to WebMD. Male patients then undergo hormone therapy to reduce male and thus enhance female secondary sexual characteristics, and may also choose gender reassignment surgery.
A therapist who treats a man wishing to change genders first confirms the patient has gender dysphoria, a condition that causes stress based on the feeling he should be the opposite sex, states WebMD. The therapist also determines whether the patient understands the gender reassignment process and has enough support or internal strength to manage the process. A man wishing to transition to a woman then undergoes hormone therapy to decrease his muscle mass; redistribute body fat; increase breast tissue; slow the growth of body and facial hair; and lower his level of testosterone.
People should undergo at least 12 months of hormone therapy before making the decision to have genital reassignment surgery, and during that time should live full-time as their chosen gender, explains WebMD. While many men complete their gender transition with hormone treatments, some choose to undergo genital reassignment surgery to change their penises into vaginas and may have their gonads removed. If hormone therapy does not produce the desired breast size, some men transitioning to women also choose to receive breast implants.