When conducting research on the correlation between SRS, sexual reassignment surgery, and post-op urinary problems, there are only a handful of reputable sources and research papers that provide information. When analyzing the discussions of urinary problems of transgender individuals on community forums, such as Reddit, we can clearly see a correlation between surgery and post urinary habits with the lack of information and research available. The question is how are so many male to female (MTF) and female to male (FTM) transgender individuals dealing with this issue with little to no guidance from healthcare professionals? This blog will analyze the different forms of surgery available, the overall complications, and how urinary issues can evolve post-surgery so information can be provided for those dealing with the issue.
Urinary incontinence seems to be a common issue for both MTF and FTM transgender individuals’ post-surgery, but studies show that MTF individuals have a higher chance of developing urinary incontinence after receiving a vaginoplasty surgery. Vaginoplasty surgery is the bottom surgery for MTF transgender individuals which involves forming a vagina from the male organ, causing the urethra to be shortened. Overactive bladder, stress incontinence, and urethral stricture are all issues that can be faced post-surgery for these individuals specifically. This surgery can also result in bladder complications, and post voiding leakage. Many of the articles researched vaguely describe this as a side effect of the surgery but is then dismissed as a temporary complication. It may not happen consistently to every transgender individual post-surgery, but the subject needs to be discussed more openly to provide relief for those who do end up suffering from urological complications.
There are a few different surgical options for bottom surgery when looking at FTM transition, but the most common is metoidioplasty, which typically sees the urethra lengthened amongst other things. Complications from this surgery can result in bladder infections, urethral stricture, and urethral fistula, which is a hole in the urethra that can cause urine leakage. It is estimated that roughly 79% of female to male transgender individuals reported some form of incontinence, whether that be stress, urge, or mixed. This shows that the correlation between bladder problems, metoidioplasty, and other forms of FTM surgery, are common enough for them to seek alternative ways to manage this issue. Incontinence pads, adult diapers, period pads, and leak-proof underwear are all options discussed back and forth over community forums, which can lead to further gender dysphoria. Most of these products are developed for women, especially when looking at underwear based solutions, so as a FTM individual resorting to these solutions can be a hard pill to swallow.
When looking at this from a psychological standpoint, it can be extremely disheartening to finally be in the body you feel that you were meant to be in only to then develop urinary incontinence. At a time when someone should be feeling amazing about themselves, they start to turn on their own bodies, causing further distress of their mental health and gender dysphoria. Bladder leakage and post-voiding dribble can cause the individual to be embarrassed and to feel like they’ll never be able to live life again without worry. This can also lead to regret post-surgery even though it finally alleviated many of the issues felt pre-surgery. To counteract this, healthcare professionals like endocrinologists (hormone experts), urologists, SRS/GRS surgeons, and transition specialists must educate patients on these potential complications. Any invasive surgery such as the ones mentioned above can cause bladder complications, which can lead to urinary incontinence. This means it is time we stop ignoring this common issue and start talking about proper management for transgender individuals.
If you or someone you know has received SRS and is now dealing with incontinence symptoms, ActivKare is here to help! We offer products designed for men and women that are discreet, eco-friendly, and reusable, making them a potential controller of symptoms for MTF and FTM transgender individuals. Don’t rely on pads and diapers that further fuel the stigma, visit our website and check out our range of products which could be the first step to finding relief again post-surgery. www.activkare.com