It has been 6 years since my transgender son started menstruating. In January 2015, he was allowed to start with the puberty inhibitors, so his last menstrual period must have been in that period. Because he menstruated early and went on the inhibitors late, he menstruated for almost 3 years. And although I knew he hated that time, it wasn’t long ago that it became apparent how awful. To make sure he would never menstruate again, he had his ovaries and uterus removed. Or as we say here at home: the chicken coop is out! Below I will tell you about the procedure and recovery.
Before I start talking about the procedure itself, one more thing. When he went to the gynecologist in our regional hospital for this procedure, I took into account that he would be referred to the Gender Team at the Vumc in Amsterdam. Because yes, he does have that ‘transgender’ label on his head. Fortunately, things turned out differently and he was ‘just’ operated on in the regional hospital and I am very happy with that. Not only because it is nice and close, but also because it is a step in normalizing care for transgender people.
On to surgery day. Early and sober we arrived at the hospital where after blood tests and a general examination the waiting began. Always a stomachache moment.
The procedure itself takes about 1.5 hours and is performed laparoscopically. That means he has four small cuts in his abdomen. One in the navel, one below and the other two on the sides. Through those cuts, the instruments have been inserted that prepared everything separately. The ovaries and uterus are then removed through the vagina. Before that, his legs had to be in stirrups, but that was done after he slept. Which was very nice, because he was afraid that he would have to do it while conscious. It did result in some blood loss after the operation, but that was not much and within 2 days completely gone.
He was actually allowed to go home the day of the procedure, but he decided to stay overnight because of pain in his bladder. He suffered a lot from that bladder and eventually received antibiotics for a bladder infection. He also suffered a lot from the air that was introduced into his body before the operation. In addition to burping and farting a lot, he also experienced pain when breathing. He was checked for this, but there was nothing wrong with it. This is solved with some extra pain relief.
In the end, he completely tapered off the pain medication within a week. He feels good in himself, but he still notices when he puts a little too much strain on his body. All in all, the surgery went well for him and he is glad he had it done.