Learning About Hysterectomy for Gender Affirmation

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Female reproductive organs (fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, cervix, and vagina) in pelvis, highlighting uterus and cervix to be removed in hysterectomy.

What is it?

A hysterectomy for gender affirmation is surgery to remove your uterus. It can help your body match your gender identity. The cervix is often removed too. Sometimes the ovaries and fallopian tubes are removed at the same time.

How is this surgery done?

There are many ways to do the surgery. The type you have may depend on:

  • Your past health.
  • Other surgeries you've had.
  • The size and position of your uterus.
  • Your overall health.

Talk with your doctor about which type is right for you.

Abdominal surgery

This is done through a cut that the doctor makes in the lower belly. The cut is called an incision. The doctor takes out the uterus through this cut.

Vaginal surgery

This is done through the vagina. The doctor makes a small cut in the vagina. The uterus is removed through this cut.

Laparoscopic surgery

The doctor puts a lighted tube (laparoscope) through small cuts in the belly. The doctor can see your organs with the scope. The doctor inserts tools to cut the tissue that holds your uterus in place. Then the uterus is removed. It may be removed through small cuts in the belly or through the vagina.

What can you expect after surgery?

You may spend a few days in the hospital after surgery. Recovery can take 4 to 6 weeks. It depends on which type of surgery you have and your overall health. You won't be able to do any heavy lifting. And you will have to take it easy for a few weeks. It's common to feel more tired than usual.

After the surgery, you won't have periods. And you won't be able to get pregnant. If there's a chance that you'll want to have biological children in the future, talk to your doctor about your options.

If your ovaries are removed, your doctor may talk to you about taking hormones or changing your prescribed hormones after surgery. Removing your ovaries reduces the amount of estrogen your body makes. This increases your risk for bone loss. It can also cause symptoms, such as hot flashes. Hormone therapy can help.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.