Body Image

What’s chest binding?

Chest binding is when a person flattens or otherwise restricts their breasts/ breast tissue in order to appear to have a flatter chest. Chest binding is most commonly practiced among transgender men and people who were born with a female body but who want to present as more masculine or androgynous to the outside world.

There are safe and unsafe ways to bind. You shouldn’t use duct tape or ACE bandages, and you shouldn’t bind for more than 10 hours a day or while sleeping. There are several kinds of binders (an undergarment made especially for binding) and some types of sports bras that are safer and more comfortable options.

More information on chest binding, binders, and physical (and mental!) health can be found here.

I’m planning to take pills but I’m male. Some of my guy friends take pills and they gained weight. Because I want to gained weight and to get fat. Is it possible?

We can’t tell from your question what kind of pills you’re thinking about taking, but we can say this: you should never take any prescription medication that a medical provider didn’t prescribe to you directly.

It seems like you might be talking about birth control pills, even though you’re male. Birth control pills are prescription medicines that DO have certain risks, so if a doctor didn’t prescribe them to you directly, you should not take them. Weight gain can sometimes be a side effect of birth control, but it’s usually a pretty small amount of weight if it happens at all.

If you’re concerned about your weight or body size, you should talk to a health care provider. There are safe and effective ways to put on weight, and your doctor will be able to help you figure that out.

Will hormonal birth control pills make me a woman? I really want to be a woman.

The short answer is no– no matter what your sex or gender is. The hormones in birth control pills are not strong enough to change your physical characteristics, feminize your body, or help you medically transition. Hormonal medications do have some risks, and it’s very important that you only take hormones under the supervision of a medical provider.

If you’re a person who was assigned female at birth (you were born with a vagina, uterus) and you’re asking because you want to speed up puberty and grow up faster, hormonal birth control pills don’t offer a high enough dose to speed or significantly impact development. If you’re concerned about your development, it’s a good idea to see a medical provider to discuss your concerns.

If you’re a person who was assigned male at birth (you were born with a penis, testicles) and you’re asking because you want to medically transition your gender, birth control pills don’t have a high enough dose of hormones to help with transition. If you are interested in hormonal therapy for gender transition, it’s very important to do this with the guidance of a medical professional. You would need a medication to suppress your body’s natural hormones, a therapeutic dose of hormones (higher than birth control), and regular blood tests to make sure you’re healthy and safe.

If you’re an intersex person and you’re asking because you want hormones for feminization or medical transition, the dose of hormones in birth control pills is not strong enough to feminize or aid transition. If you are interested in talking about hormonal therapy, it’s very important to do so under the guidance of a medical professional.

I’m taking estrogen gel caps for about one and a half month to get breast can I take progesterone too?

We can’t give medical advice online.

Any time you’re taking medication, especially hormones, it’s important to have the guidance of a medical professional. They can help you figure out the right dosing, monitor your body’s hormone levels to make sure you’re getting the right amount through medication, and can help manage any side effects or reactions your body might have to the meds.

If you’re 18 or older, you can get hormonal therapy at Lewiston Family Planning. You can also check out Maine TransNet for more information and resources.

What are steps to grow penis about average length?

There’s really nothing a person can do to grow or increase penis size.

The penis will continue to grow throughout puberty, which can start as early at 10 -12 and end as late as 16 – 18 years of age.

This is a weird question but, what have you done to make it so that emo’s and goth’s are happy because i’m goth and i’m never happy

We’re sorry that you’re never happy. That’s an awful feeling.

Although mental health is important to us, we’re experts in sexual and reproductive health–not mental health–and don’t work in this area.

If you’re struggling and need someone to talk to, check out this list of hotlines; hopefully one will be right for you: www.maineteenhealth.org/resources/links/hotlines/

NAMI is another good source for information and resources on mental health.

i am a male / female, i dress as female everyday and i would like to start to use tampons when it get close to the end of the month as i feel like a female all the time so i would like to wear a tampons i am wondering if there is any risk of using them?

While it sounds like your gender identity is female, it’s not completely clear to us from your message what kind of body parts you have.

If you have biologically “female” body parts (a vagina, a uterus), it’s safe and normal to use tampons during your period.

If you have biologically “male” body parts (a penis, testicles), it would not be safe to use tampons. Tampons are made to be inserted into the vagina during menstruation, and are not meant to be inserted into the anus or other body parts. Because of the sensitive tissue inside the anus and the fact that it does not self-lubricate, tampons could cause irritation, tearing, or other damage to your body.

It’s important for people of all genders and with all kinds of body parts to find safe ways to express their gender identities.

One of my breasts is bigger than the other, is that normal?

Yes, it’s very common for one side of the body to be different than the other. Some people have one foot or one eye that’s slightly bigger than the other, and the same can be true for breasts.

scince my breasts started growing i’ve been getting really bad stretch marks there , i’m only 14 and i was wondering how this happens and how i could stop it?

Stretch marks are normal and common on any area of the body where growth happens quickly; they happen when your skin “stretches” to make room for the growing body part. Stretch marks can (and often do) appear other areas too, such as the hips, thighs, or on the stomach during pregnancy.

There’s no way to get stop stretch marks or get rid of them completely, but some people find that they appear less dramatic if you use lotion every day (to keep the skin moisturized), especially if it contains Vitamin E or Cocoa Butter. Tanning can make stretchmarks show up more dramatically.

Stretch marks are not dangerous or unhealthy. Some people don’t like the way they look, and other people appreciate them as just another feature of their bodies.

Can a man with hyper-androgen take birth control pill to reduce acne, sebum in face and body hair?

Some types of birth control pills can help reduce acne in (cis) women and girls. Birth control really doesn’t have any effect on body hair.

“Male” hormones (like androgen and testosterone) would likely cancel out any effect of that the “female” hormones (estrogen and/or progesterone) in birth control would have in a man, so this wouldn’t be a good way to reduce acne.

Hormonal medications do come with risks, and because birth control pills aren’t meant for (cis) male bodies, there are much safer and more effective options to control acne. Talk with your medical provider to find an option that could work for you.

There aren’t really medications to control body hair, but there are other ways to change the amount of hair you have (such as shaving, waxing, plucking, or more permanent methods like electrolysis).

(We put male/ female hormones in quotation marks, because people of all genders have some amount of all of these hormones in their bodies.) 

how long can a male be on female birth control before his breasts grow and how long before his prostate is in danger?

Generally if a male starts on estrogen, including that in regular birth control pills, he should start to see breast development in 3 to 6 months.  These hormones do not put his prostate in danger.

The estrogen in birth control pills is ethinyl estradiol and that is not considered the best kind of estrogen for a male who wants to transition to a female to be on.  There seem to be more risks and potential complications with that kind of estrogen rather than the usual estradiol that we use.

We would suggest that any male who wants to transition to a female make an appointment with a provider who is skilled and comfortable providing hormones and guidance to help them transition as safely as possible.  We provide that service to people 18 years and older at our Lewiston and Waterville family planning clinics.  In addition to estrogens, we also prescribe testosterone blockers that help make for a smoother faster transition than using just estrogens. Click here for more information.

why do guys want to become girls and girls want to become guys?

As a society, we attach certain expectations, roles, and rules to a person’s biological sex; these culturally-created expectations are called “gender.” Some people feel that their gender and their biological sex/ physical bodies match up;  we refer to these people as cisgender. For others, these things don’t match, and they may transition to a gender different than the one they were assigned at birth. We call these people transgender (or gender non-conforming).

Everyone has a gender identity (the way we feel inside) and we all express our gender to the world in certain ways– including wearing certain clothes, having a particular hairstyle, or going by a name that matches our gender. Some trans people choose clothes, names, and other ways of expressing their gender that are different than what society expects. Some trans people change their bodies by using hormones or having surgery to better match their gender presentation (the way the world sees them) to their gender identity (the way they feel inside).

The biological sex someone is born with really doesn’t tell us much about what gender identity they’ll have. One way of thinking about it is that it’s not that “guys want to become girls and girls want to become guys,” but that people want to be able to determine their own gender and not have it decided for them based on their body parts.

does it make your penis smaller if you take the birth control pill?

If someone with a penis takes the birth control pill just once or twice, probably nothing much will happen because of the relatively small dose of hormones. But if that person were to take hormonal birth control pills over an extended period of time, the estrogen in the pills can have an effect on their hormone levels and body.

Some effects of estrogen in a biologically “male body” can be shrinkage of the testicles and/or additional weight gain around the hips and breasts. It’s unlikely that penis size would be effected, though it could become more difficult to get an erection.

Hormonal medications come with health risks, so a person (of any gender) who wants to take a hormonal medication for any reason (to transition, as birth control, etc.) MUST consult with a medical provider. If you have questions about transitioning or effective birth control, click here to find a family planning clinic near you.

Why do people make fun of me because I’m emo?

It seems that there are people who would make fun of anyone for anything– especially if a person stands out as being different or expresses their individuality.

Making fun of someone is bullying and it is not okay. A lot of times, this kind of bullying comes from the bully’s own insecurities or lack of understanding about differences between people. Whatever the reason, if you ever feel unsafe or harassed because of bullying or “teasing,” you should talk to an adult you trust.

We hope you’ll keep being yourself.

I am a male. If I used birth control pills i will get woman breasts? How long would it be before I see results?

If a person wants to take a hormonal medication–to transition, for birth control, or for any other reason–they MUST see a medical provider to make sure that they are taking the right medications in the right dose, because hormones can have serious risks and side effects.

Over time, there’s a chance that taking a very low dose of estrogen, as found in birth control, could lead to some weight gain around the hips and breasts, but while your body is still producing androgen and testosterone (“male” hormones) naturally, the small amount of estrogen found in these pills probably wouldn’t result in any changes at all. Most people who take hormones in order to transition also have to take medications to block the hormones (testosterone) that their bodies are already making, otherwise additional hormones (like estrogen) won’t have much of an effect. Again, it is very important to talk with a medical provider before taking any medications, because taking the wrong kind of hormone(s) in the wrong amount could lead to serious risks without any of the benefits.

If you think are a transgender teen, we recommend that you connect with a good support person/network. Do you have a trusted adult you can talk with about your gender identity? If not, is there a local LGBTQ youth group in your area? A really good place to start is Maine TransNet, which offers information on local support groups and other resources; they can even connect you with a counselor who you can talk with.

Hormonal medications can be complicated and definitely come with risks. The best thing to do is to talk with a health care provider– for those 18 and over, Lewiston Family Planning does offer hormonal transition therapy.

if I a man take female hormone pills will I develop breasts like a female?

Over time, there’s a chance that taking a very low dose of estrogen, as found in birth control, could lead to some weight gain around the hips and chest, but while your body is still producing androgen and testosterone (“male” hormones) naturally, the amount of estrogen found in these pills may not result in any changes at all.

It is very important to talk with a medical provider about why you want to take any medication, because taking the wrong kind of hormone(s) in the wrong amount could lead to serious risks without any of the intended benefits.

A person taking any hormonal medication for ANY reason MUST see a medical provider to make sure that they are taking the right medications in the right dose, because hormones can have serious risks and side effects. The best thing to do is to talk with a health care provider– a provider at Maine Family Planning could help answer your questions. Our Lewiston clinic specializes in hormonal therapy for transgender patients.

I’m 14 and I haven’t hit puberty yet because I’m really small and I don’t eat a lot. If I don’t eat enough and i don’t go through puberty will i die?

A person who doesn’t get enough food or doesn’t get proper nutrients may go through puberty later than other people their age who eat a healthy, balanced diet. For example, teens with anorexia often lose so much weight that their bodies can’t develop properly. Girls’ bodies especially require a certain amount of fat before they can go through puberty or get their periods.

There are other reasons why puberty may be delayed, including hormone imbalances, medical conditions, or simply genetics.

Delayed puberty won’t necessarily hurt you on its own, but the reasons behind why development is delayed CAN be very dangerous to your health. For example, if the reason that puberty is delayed is an underlying medical problem like kidney disease, thyroid problems, or an eating disorder, your health and life could be at risk.

If you are concerned about your body’s development, puberty, or your eating habits, you should see a health care provider. This is the only good way to know what’s going on with your body and the best thing you can do to take care of yourself.

Why are my nipples so big?

All bodies are different. Some people have bigger noses or hands or ears. That’s one of the wonderful things about human beings – we come in all shapes and sizes! If you’re really worried about this issue, talk with a parent or other trusted adult. If that’s not possible, you can also visit your nearest family planning clinic.

Hi, there. I’m a 17 year old male student but I really want to have my breasts enlarged.What should I do?

Many people wish their bodies were different in certain ways. No matter what gender you are, it’s normal to feel like there are things you’d like to change. While society has a lot of expectations about how men and women’s bodies should look, it’s your body and if you want to make some changes, that’s okay!

Because you are under the age of 18, your parents have to be involved in body modifications you might make, so you’ll need to have a conversation with them about any changes. Know that your body is still maturing and will continue to change in the coming years. You may find that by the time you reach full maturity, you’re actually pretty comfortable with your body just the way it is.

 

What is an average size penis in girth?

According to Wikipedia, in a study of penis size where measurements were taken in a laboratory setting, the average adult penis circumference when erect was 4.8 inches.

But it’s important to remember that when it comes to healthy sexuality, there are many more important factors than the size of your genitals.  Your brain is your most important body part when it comes to safer sex.

why do people think that if you’re not rich and have what they have then you’re not cool? Why do looks matters?? Is it theer self-esteem or just their hormonones? Why do they think it’s ok to tease them because they don’t have what they have?

A lot of this has to do with the media and popular culture telling us that physical attractiveness and having a lot of material possessions are important, will make us happier, and makes a person cooler and more interesting.  Because we’re surrounded with these messages all the time, sometimes not fitting into that “ideal” image really can have an effect on someone’s self-esteem.  One way to start to push against this is to recognize the messages you are getting from TV, movies, videos, music, magazines, and advertising– once you are better able to see what the media is trying to sell you, you’ll get better at deciding whether those things really matter, and whether they will really make your life better. 

 As for why people think it’s okay to tease other people– well, here at maineteenhealth.org, we’re experts in sexual health, so we don’t know the answer to that question.  What we DO know is that it’s never okay to bully, tease, or otherwise pick on other people. So if you see someone bullying others, it’s okay to speak up to that person or to an adult you trust to get involved.  No matter what celebrities, our friends, or the media say, it’s never okay to treat someone differently because of the way they look or the things they have or don’t have.

I’m a transvestite who wants to go on the female pill. I’ve heard they will help me grow boobs. Is this true?

If you think are a transgender teen you might want to start by connecting with a good support person/network. Do you have a trusted adult you can talk with about your gender identity? If not, is there a local LGBTQ youth group in your area? A really good place to start is Maine TransNet, which offers information on local support groups and other resources; they can even connect you with a counselor who you can talk with.

If a person wants to take a hormonal medication–to transition, for birth control, or for any other reason–they MUST see a medical provider to make sure that they are taking the right medications in the right dose, because hormones can have serious risks and side effects.

Over time, there’s a chance that taking a very low dose of estrogen, as found in birth control, could lead to some weight gain around the hips and breasts, but while your body is still producing androgen and testosterone (“male” hormones) naturally, the amount of estrogen found in these pills may not result in any changes at all. Most people who take hormones in order to transition also take medications to block the hormones (testosterone) that their bodies are already making. Again, it is very important to talk with a medical provider before taking any medications, because taking the wrong kind of hormone(s) in the wrong amount could lead to serious risks without any of the intended benefits.

Hormonal medications can be complicated and definitely come with risks. The best thing to do is to talk with a health care provider– a provider at Maine Family Planning or a counselor at Maine TransNet could help answer your questions.

I have a small penis at 15 what should I do?

First of all, it’s important to remember that bodies and body parts come in all shapes and sizes. There’s no right or wrong way for a body to be, and there’s no size or shape that’s better or worse than another.

Second, your body is still growing at age 15. You’ve probably gone through a lot of changes already, and there will be more to come. The size of your penis (or nose, or feet, or hands) may still change as you continue to develop.

There’s nothing you can do to change the size or shape of your penis (or other body parts), but it’s worth pointing out that penis size doesn’t affect how satisfied people are in their relationships or with sexual activity throughout their lives.

When does a girl stop growing? My dad who is a doctor says females stop growing around 18-21 but my uncle who is also a doctor say females stop growing 2 years after their period. Help???

When it comes to growth and development, every person is different, and all of our different body parts are different, too.

In general, the changes associated with puberty (for girls)–like growing breasts, body hair, changes in sweat glands, and getting taller—tend to happen during a girl’s teen years, though changes can start as early as 8 and continue until their late teens or early 20s. Other parts of the body develop at a different rate, though—experts say that the brain isn’t fully developed until around age 25, and the hip and skull bones will continue to grow (very slowly) throughout your entire life.

Even when the development associated with puberty is over (usually in a woman’s teens or early twenties), our bodies really never stop changing. Most people notice differences in the size and shape of their bodies, as well as how their body feels and functions, throughout their lifetimes. These changes can be due to changes in hormone levels, physical activity, the kind of food a person eats, onset of a disability, pregnancy, or other factors. If you notice that your body continues to change even after age 21, that’s totally normal!

I’m 15 and haven’t had my period yet. I have ALL the symptoms of going through puberty but I’m just really scared that I’m not normal. I’m really active but don’t know if that has anything to do with it. Is there a way I can know when I start?

It sounds like your body is developing normally and your period might simply be the last big change you’ll go through during puberty. Most girls start their first period sometime between 10 and 15, but every person’s body has its own schedule, and some people will start their period earlier or later than those ages.

There’s no way to predict when your period will come, but the fact that you’re going through other developmental changes suggests that it’s on its way. If your period still hasn’t come by the time you’re 16, it would be a good idea to see a medical provider to figure out if there are any health reasons that you haven’t started your period. You can always make an appointment to see a healthcare provider at a Family Planning clinic, even while you’re still 15, to talk more about your body and your concerns.

I need a little help. I am eleven years of age, and I got my first period when I was ten. My breasts are not flat, and my nipples are getting darker and more sensitive all the time. I also have loads of discharge and pubic hair for years now. I am getting worried. I am afraid there is something wrong me. I feel I am too mature for the other kids my age around me. I recently confessed to my parents I depressed. Is this normal? Do you have any advice?

Although most girls will go through puberty between the ages of 8 and 15, every person is different. Some girls will start to notice changes earlier than others, and everyone’s body will change in different ways.

All of the physical changes you describe are totally normal and are signs of healthy and normal puberty– please don’t worry! It can feel scary and confusing when other kids your age are not going through the same things as you, but that’s just because they are developing at a different pace (they’ll start going through their own changes soon, as well!).

It’s normal to feel emotional during puberty. However, depression is more serious, and while it is something that many people go through, it shouldn’t be ignored or brushed off. You were right to talk to your parents about this, and hopefully they can help you find the support you need. If you need more help, you could talk to your guidance counselor, a health care provider (like a nurse or doctor), or another adult you trust. If you are in crisis and need to talk to someone, you can call the Maine Crisis Hotline at 1-888-568-1112.

Is my penis girth small average or big for my age? My girth is 4.7″, and my length is 7 1/2 “

Penises, like all body parts, come in all different shapes and sizes. You’re perfectly normal.

Is my penis too small?

Like all body parts, penises come in all shapes and sizes (and all parts of teens’ bodies are still growing, so things may change)– and all of those sizes are normal.

Penis size has no effect on how effective a person is at pleasing his partner or other physical actions (like peeing or masturbating).

 

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