I wouldn’t usually put a trigger warning on my blog, but this blog in particular could be triggering as it mentions a procedure in a private area and those with gender dysphoria may find it hard to read. Having said that I am writing this to raise awareness of this particular procedure and its process and why it maybe done during transition from female to male.
This goes back to July, where I was sent a letter from the Gender clinic and my GP got the same letter to arrange a ultrasound scan of my uterus. Which is standard procedure once you are 2 years on testosterone. My GP organised the ultrasound scan for me, which was at my local hospital.
I’ve had ultrasound scans before so I knew what the expect. I had to drink loads of water before my appointment, I got called into my appointment and they put gel on my stomach and tried to scan me but as it was in the morning, I needed to drink more. So I went back into the waiting room and drank MORE water until I felt like I needed to pee and then they called me in and tried again, more cold gel on my belly and she pushed the scanner thing into my stomach, to take a look at my uterus. Which was really uncomfortable, especially when you really need to pee! She cleaned off my belly and there was a toilet in the room, so I went for a pee straight away! and man what a relief!
While I was waiting for the results, I tried to google why a trans guy on testosterone would need a ultrasound scan but I couldn’t find anything. Which is why I am writing this blog, to help educate others with my experience.
It didn’t take too long to get the results but the letter said that the lining of my uterus was too thick and it shouldn’t be. That really was all the information that was in the letter. They booked me an appointment with the gynaecologist and I went to that appointment on Friday.
Turns out I was extremely unprepared for this appointment and wasn’t fully aware of what they were going to do. That was partly my fault for not reading the information letter properly, but also I was probably just trying to block it out, not think about it as I have little connection to that part of my body. Although I was kinda good I wasn’t aware of what was going to happen at this appointment, as I didn’t have time to get anxious.
It was an early morning appointment, I only got up an hour before my appointment, so I washed my face and put some clothes on and ate a chocolate bar for breakfast lol and walked up to the hospital.
When I got there the Doc was already at reception and asked if I was there, even though I wasn’t late. As soon as they saw me they said ah this must be him and they made sure my details were up to date and the Doc took me into the room.
He had a male student nurse in the room with him, which I didn’t mind. My local hospital is a teaching hospital, so there’s always students knocking around. We briefly discussed my transition, how long I’ve been on testosterone for, how long I’ve been on the contraceptive pill for etc. He did say to me I could be fitted with the coil instead, which I fused as I’ve had friends who have had issues with bleeding and their mental health whilst having the coil and I don’t have any bleeding on the pill so I do not want to change that as periods are something I do not want! and cannot cope with.
He explained that all the hormones I’m on should have thinned the lining of my uterus, so they needed to do a hysteroscopy to take a sample of the lining to test and make sure everything is as it should be.
Now I cannot fault the Doctor or the nurses, they were amazing! They all gendered me correctly and just couldn’t have been nicer.
TRIGGER WARNING – Description of the procedure.
The Doc took me into another room, where two nurses were getting everything ready. I had to take off my shoes, jeans and boxers and loosely wrapped a sheet around me. The nurse helped me get up onto the bed and get comfy, had my legs up in those stirrups with the sheet covering my modesty while they set everything up.
The Doctor stared by inserting a speculum into me, which I’ve had done before for a smear test, so that wasn’t too bad. The Doctor talked me through what he was doing as he was doing it.
He then put a camera inside me, which I could see on the screen next to me, which was kinda cool. But it was extremely painful, he had a good look around my uterus and took pictures. He said it was painful due to the testosterone having made my uterus tight and constricted. They kept saying they could stop, but I didn’t want them too as I didn’t want to have to come back again. The camera process felt like forever! but they were all talking to me, asking me questions, trying to keep me relaxed.
I don’t quite know what he did to take a sample of the lining but it felt really pinchy and like really bad cramps. The whole thing was extremely painful and I’m pretty good with pain but this was almost unbearable.
The Doctor left the room so I could sort myself out, the nurses were clearing things away. One nurse gave me some paracetamol and a drink of water and the other nurse was talking to me about the Joker film and the new Harley Quinn film, which was cool.
I stayed sitting down for about 10 mins because my stomach hurt so much. I went behind the curtains to clean myself up and the nurse gave me this super thick sanitary pad to wear, as she said I would have some bleeding after. Wearing a pad and boxers don’t really go but wasn’t overly uncomfortable. She told me to take a few home with my just in case.
I went back into see the Doctor and said I wasn’t talking to him lol! and he laughed and apologised for it hurting so much. He didn’t really explain the negative possibilities of what the problem could be, he just said that it’s more then likely nothing and he’ll book me an appointment for 12 months. Which still leaves me in the dark as to what potentially the problem could be and as I’ve said there’s no information surrounding this particular situation relating the trans men.
I walked home, as I had light jeans on and I felt self conscious so I didn’t want to sit on the bus and potentially bleed through my jeans. Plus my stomach was hurting so much, I just wanted to get home.
When I got in I fully reclined the sofa, grabbed a pillow, put on my black joggy bottoms and pj top. Grabbed some snacks and a drink and curled up on the sofa with my blanket and Netflix.
I couldn’t move for a while without it hurting, I was curled in ball for hours. I fell asleep for a bit. Eventually the pain eased enough I could stretch out a bit, but I stayed relaxing on the sofa for most of the day.
Not only was I dealing with the physical effects of the procedure, but the mental side effects of having something done in a area of my body that almost feels like something completely separate, its hard to explain what I mean. But the whole experience wiped me out for the day.
Luckily I only bled for a few hours and by the evening it had stopped completely. But my stomach felt really tender all day and still feels a bit tender now a few days on.
I’m not sure how long it takes for the results to come through, but I will keep you all posted with the results.
I wish I had been a little more prepared before this procedure, as I would have done things a little differently.
Here are some tips for having this procedure, I would take a trusted friend, partner, member of family with you and have them in the room if you feel comfortable with that. Have someone drive you home and look after you for the rest of the day. Even though I couldn’t do much after, it would have been nice to have someone with me for that emotional support, even if it just was hanging out and relaxing. Make sure you have in snacks and easy to make foods, hotwater bottle, pain relief. Luckily I already had some snacks and pain relief in.
I hope this has been helpful to those who are going through the same stage in their transition.
If this has triggered you, please reach out of help, don’t suffer alone.
Please feel free to share this blog, to raise awareness within the trans community. I know these things aren’t an easy subject but its something we need to talk about, so we know we aren’t alone.