Gender Change (SRA)
“God created men and women in his own likeness and image”. However, there are certain aspects which we feel do not belong to us, or we should have been moulded in a different way. Gender correction or Sex re-assignment surgery is one of the options to go about it. This is a surgical procedure by which a persons physical appearance and function of their existing sexual characteristics are altered to the gender they more identify with.
The array of medically indicated surgeries differs between trans women (male to female) and trans men (female to male). For trans women, genital reconstruction usually involves the surgical construction of a vagina, by means of penile inversion or the sigmoid colon neovagina technique; or, more recently, non-penile inversion techniques that provide greater resemblance to the genitals of cisgender women. For trans men, genital reconstruction may involve construction of a penis through either phalloplasty or metoidioplasty. For both trans women and trans men, genital surgery may also involve other medically necessary ancillary procedures, such as orchiectomy, penectomy, mastectomy or vaginectomy.
Patients of sex reassignment surgery may experience changes in their physical health and quality of life, the side effects of sex steroid treatment. Hence, transgender people should be well informed of these risks before choosing to undergo SRS. Several studies tried to measure the quality of life and self-perceive physical health using different scales. Overall, transsexual people have rated their self-perceived quality of life as ‘normal’ or ‘quite good’, however, their overall score was still lower than the control group. Another study showed a similar level of quality of life in transsexual individuals and the control group. Nonetheless, a study with long-term data suggested that albeit quality of life of patients 15 years after sex reassignment surgery is similar to controls, their scores in the domains of physical and personal limitations were significantly lower. On the other hand, a research has found that quality of life of transsexual patients could be enhanced by other variables
MALE TO FEMALE SURGERY CARE:
- After 3 days in the hospital for the surgery, for the recovery time, the patient has to stay in the area for 10 to 12 days.
- The patient can perform light work in 4 to 6 weeks. Strenuous work and exercise can begin by 6 to 8 weeks.
- Dilation (stretching the vagina walls periodically) should be done as per the surgeon's after care instructions, with a frequency of twice a week till 13 weeks.
- A good dilator that is large and comfortably fits inside the vagina should be used.
- The vagina should be douched (cleaned in a particular way) as per surgeon’s instructions.
FEMALE TO MALE SURGERY CARE:
- After 2 days in the hospital, the patient will have to stay in the area for about 5 to 6 days.
- Small work can be resumed in 2 weeks. More strenuous exercise can only be started after 4 to 6 weeks.
- A compression binder might have to be worn during the recovery stages for 6 weeks.
- There will be less than moderate pain after surgery for a few weeks depending on how the surgery was done.
PYSCHOLOGICAL & SOCIAL CONSQUENCES
After sex reassignment surgery, transsexuals (people who underwent cross-sex hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery) tend to be less gender dysphoric. They also normally function well both socially and psychologically. Anxiety, depression and hostility levels were lower after sex reassignment surgery. They also tend to score well for self-perceived mental health, which is independent from sexual satisfaction. Many studies have been carried out to investigate satisfaction levels of patients after sex reassignment surgery. In these studies, most of the patients have reported being very happy with the results and very few of the patients have expressed regret for undergoing sex reassignment surgery. Although studies have suggested that the positive consequences of sex reassignment surgery outweigh the negative consequences. It has been suggested that most studies investigating the outcomes of sex reassignment surgery are flawed as they have only included a small percentage of sex reassignment surgery patients in their studies.
Many patients perceive the outcome of the surgery as not only medically but also psychologically important. Social support can help them to relate to their minority identity, ascertain their trans identity and reduce minority stress. Therefore, it is suggested that psychological support is crucial for patients after sex reassignment surgery, which helps them feel accepted and have confidence in the outcome of the surgery; also, psychological support will become increasingly important for patients with lengthier sex reassignment surgery process.
Sex change is not a short term procedure. While the surgery lasts only a few hours, the duration for a complete sex change, in both psychological and physical terms, can take upto a few years. Gender is a prime identity of any individual, it defines his/her preferences, lifestyle, habits, and so on. Hence, the decision to undergo the surgery should be taken with much consideration.
- A patient who undergoes a sex reassignment procedure is able to enjoy her sexual life in the future as s/he does not have to deal with the mental stress of being in the wrong body.
- Finding the right doctor and getting the desired treatment can lead to psychological happiness for the patient.
- After the gender reassignment surgery, the patients are usually found to be less gender dysphoric. There have less anxiety levels, depression levels etc than before.
- The patient who has undergone the surgery from male to female or vice versa, will be unable to reproduce.
- The patient will not only have to face physical changes but also psychological changes which may be hard to deal with. With the help of counselling and post-operative care provided by the hospitals the patient are able to recover better and faster.
- Postoperative complications can include hematoma. Small hematoma can be cured through puncture and the larger one needs the patient to undergo surgical treatment.