Hysterectomy

October 2018, I underwent the second surgery of my transition; Total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of the uterus, cervix, fallopian tubes and ovaries). All was done laparoscopic, leaving minimal scarring.

Reasoning behind a hysterectomy for a trans man:

  • No more uncomfortabe PAP tests
  • No risk of cervical or uterine cancer
  • No more breakthrough bleeding
  • Maximize masculinization from Testosterone
  • Provide a feeling of wholeness and completeness
  • No more painful cramping; Testosterone causes atrophy of the uterus and vagina, which puts tension on surrounding muscles and ligaments which can cause painful cramping

The surgery took place at KGH (Kelowna General Hospital) by Dr. Tanya Collins. Fortunately, I was able to get the surgery in my hometown, so I could recover from home without travel. The surgery itself took about an hour and a half and I had to stay overnight. From my very first appointment to the actual day of surgery,  Dr. Collins was amazing all the way through. She made me feel comfortable in one of the most vulnerable and uncomfortable states a trans man could be in; someone examining your downstairs. Not once did she question my identity or what I was doing. I feel very blessed to have been placed with such an amazing doctor. I wasn’t nervous about the surgery until the moment I was walking into the operating room; bright lights, tools laid out, a bunch of strangers in masks prepping the room, then I saw the familiar face of Dr. Collins and my worries went away. She had a confident and calming energy to her that put my mind at ease. Next thing I knew I was out like a light.

The post-surgery recovery was as to be expected; confused, in pain, uneasy and tired. For the most part the nurses on call were all pleasant and helpful, only a couple had confusion on their faces while checking my charts, but no body said anything. Being a smaller town I can imagine they don’t get many men coming in for a hysterectomy. Honestly, I wasn’t sure how I would be treated at the hospital in Kelowna, but I can say that it was an overall positive experience (as good as it can be under the circumstances). In terms of pain level, it was constant and underlining the entire time. I had zero appetite the night and morning after. Having to pee frequently from the IV was a struggle to get up everytime and use the bathroom, but luckily I could get up on my own and go so no need for a catheter! One downside was I had to wear a feminine pad for any bleeding; haven’t had to wear one in years. That triggered a bit of dysphoria and made me very uncomfortable, but it was temporary. I had to wear one on and off for two weeks post-surgery.

Surgery recovery: I found it to be pretty painful. I had limited mobility. This pain was different than my top surgery. It was all internal, so I struggled to just get in and out of bed. The first two weeks consisted of small walks, drinking lots of fluids and getting a lot of rest. I was constantly tired and felt weak. During the recovery phase I was only allowed to lift up to 10lbs for 6 weeks, imagine how limiting that was! I had to wait the full 6 weeks, until I got cleared from Dr. Collins, to go back to the gym and my place of work. I started with light weightlifting, indoor cyle, and legs. I didn’t start working my core until the 8 week mark. The hardest part was remembering to take it easy weeks 4-6. I was feeling better, healing well, but knew I wasn’t 100%. I didn’t want to risk prolonging the recovery time because I pushed my limits.

Tips:

  • wear loose and comfortable clothing to the hospital, especially loose boxers and pants
  • take 6 weeks off of the gym; you may be feeling fine, but because it is all internal healing, you don’t want to risk ripping an inscision
  • don’t over exert yourself. Take it slow, one day at a time. Be patient with getting back to regular activity and work (if physical labour).
  • most importantly remember that this is temporary! 6 weeks off of your job or regular activities feels brutal at the time, but in the grand scheme of things it is just a small amount of time

 

Information from: https://www.hysto.net/reasons-transmen-get-hysterectomy.htm

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