Sanitary support needed

Another of those things they don’t exactly warn you about (but which is a pretty obvious consequence of grs, if you think about it) is that post-op you are going to be wearing pads for some time to come.

Initially, because there is likely to be bleed and “seepage” from the wounds and sutures. Later, because of the dilation and douching.

If you haven’t worked it out yet, here it is: three times a day i dilate – and each dilation is followed, for now, by a douche which includes a dilute iodine solution. Dilation involves a fair dollop of KY every time. So by the time i get out of my post-dilatory bath, i’m squishing a rather icky mix of iodine, water and KY.

Now rewind. The hospital advice on wound care is “keep it dry”. So, out of bath, pat dry all my nooks and crannies. Dry off using tissue if need be. Basically, wet wound does not heal as fast or as well.

Then down to the sofa where the most domfortable position and the position that most closely aligns with hospital guidelines is a most inelegant wide-legged pose, with one leg up in the air and on the back of the sofa. (Yes: I DO cover with a blanket. I still have SOME modesty!).

And here’s the prob, what i am doing now tends to be… out of bath, put on knickers and daytime pad…down to the sofa…and after half an hour or so, off with knickers and allow the air to circulate. At night, its night time pad and knickers.

When i remove the pad, there is still a little leakage, but not too bad and, as its not blood, i hope it will wash.

The iodine won’t be needed forever – but i will still be using it for a while yet – and even then, i’ll be dilating and douching every day for months to come, so still leaking water and KY.

So, over to the experts. Any hints, tips or anything else about a) the best balance between covered and with pads and uncovered and leaking and b) recommendations as to best/most comfortable pads for now. Hint: the base of my pelvic bone and areas around are still pretty sore, so mega-pads tend to be uncomfortable… a bit like being sat on a bollard!




7 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Dru Marland said,

    I was advised not to use too much Betadine (which is presumably similar to the iodine you mention) as you need to be encouraging friendly bacteria, rather than create an entirely sterile environment. I also found that aerosol saline solution was a good way of flushing the area when out and about….

  2. 2

    katrina2 said,

    Jane, I had a nhs op. No iodine was mentioned, just to us tepid water nothing else, body has it’s own defences especialy now. Lube, you will find it more benifical, if you use ky on the small on the larger, sylk, a kiwi base extract, that mimics the natural moisture of a vagina, around £7 for a 40g bottle, you don’t need to use a lot so there is hardly any mess, which inturn means Ditch the day time pads, (except if going out) they are more of a hindrence to healing, knickerless as much as possible.

    • 3

      janefae said,

      omg…so much different advice. I will go with the guidance i’ve been given, but temper it with the experience of my trans sisters – as yourself. The full guidance seems to be: initially use KY or aquagel for lubricant, and shift to sylk thereafter…

      Also, douche with an iodine based compound initially, but shift to tepid water later.

      I suspect the main difference between what i’ve been told and what you’ve been is that my lot are being ultra-risk averse. Similar with other stuff. I’m not advocating that people just ignore medical advice, but…the hormone pause does seem excessive…and the smoking advice is maybe not excessive, but possibly too harsh for those who do need it as stress-avoidant.

      Overall, i am very very glad that i made sure i was fit and healthy before going in for the op. The big probs were mostly things no-one mentions beforehand. The immobility and consequent back pain were things not mentioned and came close to driving me up the wall. I suspect…though can’t be sure…that excess weight is a serious contra-indication for grs and, if you are serious about surgery, you really should prepare by getting your cholesterol, blood pressure and weight within reasonable bounds beforehand.

      Unreasonable? I’d say almost that its a bonus, because given the intensity with which i needed the op, i think that is an excellent motivator for lifestyle change. All very well the psychs focussing on real life experience: would it be unfair to suggest, also, that if someone is serious about grs, they need to get their BMI down to a reasonable figure?


  3. 4

    janestheone said,

    how about ladies’ incontinence pants (Tena)? Have you tried those? II am told you don’t feel them when they are on, and they are brilliant at diverting moisture away.

  4. 5

    Sarah Lake said,

    If they still make them, I found Tesco’s economy towels by far the most comfortable. Like a small soft bolster. These look like the ones here:

  5. 6

    Like Sarah, I found the Tesco economy towels perfect for the job. I also used salt in my baths, as I was told that this was a good natural way of helping prevent infection.

    Sloggi cotton knickers were great for keeping pads in place in between dilation – firm, supportive and above all: comfortable. I must admit that I didn’t go commando an awful lot (mostly due to leakage of lube and iodine) over the first month or so, and it didn’t cause any adverse effects.

  6. 7

    Jane, you might find that ‘bed pads’ (flat squares to sit or lie on, rather than wear) are helpful here. Otherwise, I second the recommendation for Tena – they’ll send you some free samples if you fill in the relevant form on their website.

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