Perhaps for political reasons, Gender Dysphoria has been grouped together with sexual preference under the label of Transgender. However, most professionals recognize this DSMV designation found in 0.005% to 0.014% of the population as being of a different nature from that of same-sex or bisexual desire. The research has been exploring how best to care for persons who experience this with one of the possible solutions being a sex change surgery. In 2004 the Guardian studied this and found that:
“There is no conclusive evidence that sex change operations improve the lives of transsexuals, with many people remaining severely distressed and even suicidal after the operation, according to a medical review conducted exclusively for Guardian Weekend tomorrow. The review of more than 100 international medical studies of post-operative transsexuals by the University of Birmingham’s aggressive research intelligence facility (Arif) found no robust scientific evidence that gender reassignment surgery is clinically effective.
The Guardian asked Arif to conduct the review after speaking to several people who regret changing gender or believe that the medical care they received failed to prepare them for their new lives. They explain why they are unhappy with their sex change and how they cope with the consequences in the Weekend magazine tomorrow (July 31).
Chris Hyde, the director of Arif, said: “There is a huge uncertainty over whether changing someone’s sex is a good or a bad thing. While no doubt great care is taken to ensure that appropriate patients undergo gender reassignment, there’s still a large number of people who have the surgery but remain traumatised – often to the point of committing suicide.”
In a 2017 article in NEWSWEEK a surgeon who performs these sex-alignment surgeries has found the presence of regret among those who chose to change their bodies. The article begins:
“Gender-confirmation surgeries—the name given to procedures that change the physical appearance and function of sexual characteristics—increased by 20 percent from 2015 to 2016 in the U.S., with more than 3,000 such operations performed last year. Rates are also increasing worldwide. Now, at least one surgeon is reporting a trend of regret.
Urologist Miroslav Djordjevic, who specializes in gender reassignment surgery, has seen an increase in “reversal” surgeries among transgender women who want their male genitalia back. In the past five years, Djordjevic performed seven reversals in his clinic in Belgrade, Serbia. The urologist explains to The Telegraph that those who want the reversal display high levels of depression, and in some instances, suicidal thoughts. Other researchers also report hearing about such regrets.”
In a 2011 study done in Sweden, the findings were consistent with the experience of the clinicians when in this cohort study they found:
“Results: The overall mortality for sex-reassigned persons was higher during follow-up (aHR 2.8; 95% CI 1.8–4.3) than for controls of the same birth sex, particularly death from suicide (aHR 19.1; 95% CI 5.8–62.9). Sex-reassigned persons also had an increased risk for suicide attempts (aHR 4.9; 95% CI 2.9–8.5) and psychiatric inpatient care (aHR 2.8; 95% CI 2.0–3.9). Comparisons with controls matched on reassigned sex yielded similar results. Female-to-males, but not male-to-females, had a higher risk for criminal convictions than their respective birth sex controls.
Persons with transsexualism, after sex reassignment, have considerably higher risks for mortality, suicidal behaviour, and psychiatric morbidity than the general population. Our findings suggest that sex reassignment, although alleviating gender dysphoria, may not suffice as treatment for transsexualism, and should inspire improved psychiatric and somatic care after sex reassignment for this patient group.”atment for transsexualism, and should inspire improved psychiatric and somatic care after sex reassignment for this patient group.”
Although extremely rare as noted here: “Contrary to public perception, the number of genital operations transforming the male genitalia and reconstructing it into that of a female, or transforming the female genitalia and reconstructing it into that of a male, is miniscule. NBC News reported that only 15 of the more than 3,200 procedures in 2016, or about 0.5 percent, were genital operations, all of which were performed on men seeking to transition. No genital operations were performed on women seeking to transition.”
The small number makes research difficult to ascertain the effectiveness of this operation, but there is clear indication that more research is needed. As one woman agreed that her surgery may not be the answer we need to provide more researched answers to these individuals who struggle.