One of the most common questions that people have about sex reassignment surgery male to female has to do with the period after the surgery has ended. Our patients walk out of the hospital having undergone significant changes, not just physically but also emotionally and psychologically, and the steps that they take in the weeks after the operations is over have a strong impact on the long-term effectiveness of the procedures. Here are some of the most common instructions that doctors provide patients with after their surgery is over.
People who have undergone sex reassignment surgery male to female should avoid all strenuous activities during the first two weeks after they leave the hospital. This includes pulling, pushing, lifting, straining, bending and walking more than necessary. Patients can return to a regular diet, but they should avoid drinking alcohol to excess. They should continue abstaining from smoking for at least two more weeks, in order to ensure optimal healing of the incisions.
Pain after the surgery can vary widely from one patient to another. Some patients have a higher tolerance for pain than others, and so while the surgeon is likely to prescribe pain medications should the patient need them, many patients can resolve their discomfort with over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen and/or naproxen. Patients who do experience pain, though, should take medicine to alleviate it. The stress of untreated pain can influence the effectiveness of overall recovery.
The doctor’s staff will provide a list of “Medications to Avoid.” This will vary depending on the health of the patient, but each medicine is on that list for a reason, so it’s important to follow those instructions. If your surgery has included a catheter with a urine bag, you need to empty that bag at least three times a day, even if it is not full at that time. If it fills before eight hours have gone by, of course, you should go ahead and empty it.
After five days have gone by since your sex reassignment surgery male to female, you can take a shower. However, it is still important to avoid rubbing incisions. Instead, pat yourself dry gently with a clean towel. It’s also important to attend any scheduled follow-up visits. However, if any unusual problems such as swelling, fever, bleeding or intense pain show up in between those appointments, it’s still important to seek medical attention as soon as possible, as these can be signs of internal infection or other problems that need swift treatment.
If you have specific questions about your own post-operative recovery process, the best person to ask is a person on your medical team.