19 February 2011

This Doesn't Change: Conflicting Advice

It almost goes without saying that a gender "transition" involves changes as great in number and degree as most people are likely to ever experience.  Still, there are some things that don't change.  Sometimes, thankfully, they are the things we hope not to change.  As an example, some people who were in my life before my "transition" are still in it. 

On the other hand, there are some things that don't change from the day a trans person first talks about his or her identity with someone through the days, months and years following surgery.  Here is an example:  We continue to find conflicting and even contradictory advice and mandates about the care we have to give ourselves.

Marci and Nurse Phyllis recommend that we dilate three times a day for the first three months after our surgeries, twice a day during the following three months, and once a day after that.  According to them, receptive intercourse can substitute for one dilation.  

I would tend to trust what they say, simply because they have more experience with transgender patients than almost any other health-care professionals.  And my gynecologist hasn't advised me to do any differently.  However, I've seen a few sources--purportedly written by post-op trans women and/or their health care providers--that say once a week should be sufficient.  I saw a couple of articles that recommended even less frequent dilation, or that say each trans woman will find out what frequency is right for her.

Does other medical advice vary so widely?