Genital electrolysis

Editor's note: This was written by Kim, and is a good overview. Please note that self-adminstered injectable anesthetics can kill you. This is for informational purposes only and does not endorse the procedure. Use of this information is AT YOUR OWN RISK.

DISCLAIMER:

Before I go into detail on how I achieved genital electrolysis with very little pain, I need to make a statement about it first.  If you choose to use my method to help you achieve the same results, please understand that you do so at YOUR OWN RISK.

You must accept full responsibility with respect to the contraindications of the anesthetic I used.  It is also up to you to do your homework to figure out exactly what your health risk is.  What worked for me without any complications may cause major health issues for you, up to and including death.   Please also be aware that the genital area can be very sensitive in certain places and it's very easy to screw things up and cause damage to the area.

Finally, if you are not willing to accept responsibility for your actions or if you feel compulsions to sue the person responsible for any wrong-doing in your life, then DO NOT attempt genital electrolysis using the method described below.

My quest for painless Genital Electrolysis

In May 2000, I knew that I was getting close to the time where I would need to start genital electrolysis in order to clear enough hair for my upcoming surgery in April 2001.  I decided to seek medical supervision since I had no idea what would work and what wouldn't.  Perhaps I could be prescribed a medication that would numb the area and administer it myself.   If not, perhaps I could schedule an appointment, have a doctor inject a numbing agent to the area and immediately after the injection, go to my electrolysis session while the area was still numb.  I had no clue.  It seemed like such a plan would be a scheduling nightmare for all parties involved too.  It didn't matter to me because I was willing to do whatever it took.  My only goal was to make sure I wouldn't suffer immense pain.  Getting electrolysis on the upper lip was already very painful and I imagined the pain of genital electrolysis was far worse in comparison.

I managed to schedule a couple of appointments where I met with a doctor and asked about the possibilities.  It seemed that every doctor I spoke to was completely clueless or unwilling to help me.  I was told that one way to do such a thing would be to use a nerve block which might be very dangerous.  Another possibility would be to inject a numbing agent to the area, but since I wasn't a doctor, I couldn't do that.  I asked why I had to be a doctor in order to inject myself considering people with diabetes self-inject themselves every morning.  Surely if someone with diabetes could be taught, I could be taught too.  My argument was ignored.  It seemed like nobody wanted to help me out or to even teach me how to self-inject.  Perhaps I was viewed as a lawsuit waiting to happen.

In any case, I was disappointed that nobody was willing to help.  By the end of May, time had run out to do this research.  It was time to go to San Francisco for facial surgery and I needed to focus on that.  I would have to wait until after I recovered before I could continue seeking help.

Sometimes help arrives when you least expect it

After facial surgery, I focused on healing and getting myself back to a normal life.  Nearly four weeks after facial surgery, I was able to resume electrolysis, but the sensation was quite different because of the numbness and swelling to my face.  We were still only focusing on brows, face, underarms and breasts.  We didn't even think about genital electrolysis until the end of August 2000.  It was at that time that I felt as though things were getting desperate.  I had no idea what I was going to do and it seemed like I would be forced to depend on EMLA to numb the area.  I was not looking forward to genital electrolysis at all and my electrologist started urging me to begin zapping the area before time ran out to get a proper clearing.    

On September 6, 2000, I had an appointment with my dentist to get two more teeth veneered to complete my smile which I absolutely love.   These last two teeth were simply 'icing on the cake' considering they were at the very corners of the mouth.  Still, I wanted it done because I wanted to have the teeth fill in a slight gap on the left side of my face whenever I smiled.  It wasn't much, but the veneer would take the place of the gap and fill out my smile just a little more.

I have a wonderful relationship with my dentist and I had been a patient of his at the very beginning of my transition.  Before he started the veneer work, he asked me how things were progressing for me since the facial surgery.  This was the second time I had visited since the surgery, and he noticed that the swelling was subsiding.  I mentioned that the soreness was slowly going away and that I was very happy with the result, however, my mind was more focused on finding a way to get genital electrolysis completed.  I told him how I had visited a couple of doctors and that nobody was willing to help me out.  I refused to believe that there wasn't anything that could be done.  Someone had the answer, it was just a matter of finding out who that someone was.

After this brief chat, he started working on shaving the two teeth down that were going to get veneered and then followed up by taking an impression of the area using plaster.  This impression would be sent to a lab where they would construct two veneers that would slide over the teeth which were shaved down.   The end result would make it look like all the upper teeth were perfectly aligned, even though they are far from that.  The bottom teeth would remain untouched because when you smile normally, you only see the top row of teeth and not the bottom.

When the work was completed, he completely stunned me by saying, "If you can get a written note from your Primary Care Physician that states that you are allowed to seek my assistance, I'll help you get what you need for your electrolysis."  WOW!  I couldn't believe it!  Finally, someone who was willing to help me out and it couldn't have come at a better time!  Again, I was amazed at how things managed to work out for me.  Another brick wall just turned into a doorway of opportunity!  I can't even begin to count the number of times this has happened during my transition.

I find myself on my own

My Primary Care Physician had no problems putting something in writing for me that would allow me to seek the guidance I needed from my dentist.  On September 18, 2000 after work, I met with my dentist so he could give me everything that I needed.... well sort of.

He gave me the following supplies which I describe in more detail further down:

  • a sealed metal container with 50 cartridges of a drug called Carbocaine 3% WITHOUT vasoconstrictor.
  • a box of Monoject dental needles containing 100 - 30 gauge needles each in a sterilized plastic container.
  • a stainless steel dental syringe

He showed me how to place the cartridge of Carbocaine in the dental syringe and then he showed me how to attach the needle to the syringe.  He explained that the needles were heat sealed in their plastic container and if I didn't hear a snapping sound when I twisted the plastic, the needle wasn't sterile and I should toss it immediately.  Once he set it all up, he took it apart and said, "Now it's your turn to put it together."

He watched as I repeated the same steps that I watched him make, being very careful when it came time to attach the needle to the syringe.   It was important to keep the plastic cover over the needle until after it was screwed on the syringe and it was important to cover the needle before taking it apart too.  He told me that he was trusting that I was someone who could handle this responsibility, which is the only reason why he was helping me in the first place.  He could sense that I had a good head on my shoulders compared to most of his patients.

After I put it together, he took the syringe and pulled out an orange and proceeded to show me how I might inject into the skin.  He asked me if I wanted to practice with the orange, but I didn't want to because an orange and your body are two completely different things.  I felt that the only true way to practice was to self-inject myself at home and then see how long the area stayed numb.  Even though I would be completely on my own when it came time to inject, I had a few questions for him to help give me a little more guidance.

Here are the questions I asked along with the answers I was given:

Q.    How much do I need to inject in order to sufficiently numb a particular area?
A.    He wasn't sure, but he told me to watch the plunger inside the cartridge and make sure that it traveled at least 3 millimeters before injecting someplace else.

Q.    How deep should I inject into the skin and at what angle?
A.    He told me that I should use a slight angle so I could have more control over the depth of the injection.  As far as depth went, again, he wasn't sure.  However, I knew that the goal was to only numb the area at the end of the hair follicles.  Therefore, I would have to guess at the depth where I thought the hair follicle ended.  I couldn't imagine it being any more than 3 to 4 millimeters deep so I decided to keep the injections fairly shallow until I understood how the area was numbing for me.

Q.    How far apart should the injections be?
A.    He recommended that I don't go any further than 1 centimeter apart, but I would be able to use the last injection to determine where to inject next.  By waiting a few moments before making the next injection, I could use the outside edge of the last injection to determine where to inject next.  If I didn't feel any pain for the next injection, I was doing fine.  If I felt pain, I went a little too far away or I didn't wait long enough before making the next injection.   This seemed like good advice, but it wasn't practical in reality, especially when you have an electrologist waiting for you to finish injecting.  Remember: Time is money.

Q.    How many cartridges can I inject before my body cannot metabolize the drug properly?
A.    It turns out that the body can handle up to 10 cartridges per session before it becomes dangerous. 

IMPORTANT:   I decided that my absolute limit would be half of that, just to be on the safe side.  I've also seen evidence on the web that indicates your body can safely metabolize only 3 cartridges for every 100 pounds you weigh.  Should you choose to use any more than this limit, you do so at your own risk.

Q.    Why is it important that this drug does not contain a vasoconstrictor?
A.    He explained that drugs with vasoconstrictors actually cause the blood vessels to constrict to the point where the blood supply might actually be cut off.   This helps keep the drug in place for long periods of time until the blood vessels begin to open up once more and remove the drug from the area, usually several hours later.   This is why some anesthetics take so long to wear off whenever you have work done at the dentist.  It's safe to use drugs with vasoconstrictors in the mouth because the area gets enough oxygen with what little blood flow there is.

HOWEVER, vasoconstrictors may NOT be safe to use in the genital area and definitely not in places like the end of your finger.  If you were to inject a drug with a vasoconstrictor into the tip of your finger, you risk cutting off the blood supply completely and the end of the finger would become oxygen starved to the point where part or all of the finger would die and need to be amputated.  It would take about 10 or 15 minutes for this to happen.

Since the genital area is a highly vascular area (it has lots of blood vessels in the area to supply oxygen) it is vital that you never, ever, ever inject a drug that contains a vasoconstrictor in that area.  For all you know, you'll cut off the blood flow to a critical area or even to the legs to the point where everything becomes oxygen starved and dies.  It would certainly suck if self-injection of certain drugs meant amputation of limbs.  My advice is plain and simple, stay far away from drugs with a vasoconstrictor!!!

When I was finished asking all my questions, I wrote him a check for $60 to cover the cost of the supplies and was very surprised that it was so cheap.  A tube of EMLA without insurance costs $40 and doesn't last nearly as long, supply wise, as the injectibles would.  I could go through 2 to 3 tubes of EMLA before I went through 50 cartridges of the Carbocaine.

Before leaving he asked me for two favors.  The first favor was to call him as soon as I had my first electrolysis session with the Carbocaine.  He wanted to make sure everything worked out for me since he was taking a wild guess that this would work.  He was hoping the drug would stay in the area long enough before the multitude of blood vessels had a chance to remove it completely.   The second favor was to keep this between the two of us.  He did not want to be bombarded by the transsexual community and he certainly did not want to get a reputation as someone who would prescribe drugs to just anybody.  He was helping me because he could trust me.  I completely understood this concern and I promised to never reveal him as my source, but I wanted to know if it was OK to pass along the supply list to be able to help others in my position.  That was perfectly acceptable to him.

How the injectibles worked out for me

The day before my first genital electrolysis session, I practiced injecting in the area at home.  I made sure I had something underneath me in case I started to bleed.  Since it was my first time injecting, I has no idea how much pressure to use to get the needle to pierce the skin.  I used very little pressure and then applied more until I broke through the skin, which is the most painful part of injecting.  Once the needle broke the skin, I guessed at the depth of the hair follicle and then began injecting slowly.  When I felt that I injected enough, I slowly pulled out the needle, which turned out to be an issue in itself.

Since the needle is so sharp, I was scraping the inside of the injection when I pulled it out too slow.  Once the needle was removed, I would begin to bleed a few drops of blood which made things a little messy.  I found out later that it was best to remove the needle at a fairly quick pace.  Never yank it out!  Pull it out gently, but keep a consistent speed that isn't too slow.

The area that I injected stayed numb for about 45 minutes based on a crude pinch test.  I would pinch the skin with my fingernails every once in a while and once I started feeling the pinch, I knew the anesthetic was wearing off.  I decided that the 45 minutes it took to wear off was plenty of time to work an area.  If necessary, I would simply insert another cartridge and inject in the area that we wanted to clear.  The practice session at home was a little messy, but it was very successful.  On September 21, 2000, the next day, I had my first genital electrolysis session.  I would have a little more than six months to clear the area before I was off to see Dr. Schrang for SRS.

The best part about injectible drugs is the speed at which it numbs the area.  I could inject at the very beginning of the session and by the time I finished injecting, the area where I began would be completely numb.  Of course, I was the only person that could perform the injections since my electrologist didn't have insurance to cover such a thing.  If anything went wrong, it would be my responsibility and not hers.  Fortunately, she agreed to help decide where to make each injection.  It was a collaborative effort.  I would ask where we should go next and then I would inject in the spot that she picked, provided I agreed with her assessment.  Together we learned how to use injectibles as a tool to aid in the process of genital electrolysis.

At first, she was skeptical that the Carbocaine would actually work since it would tend to pool under the skin and not spread out.  We found out that this wasn't a concern because she didn't realize that she was actually helping the drug to spread under the skin.  In order to zap a hair, she sometimes had to move the skin around to get the hair follicle to open up so she could insert the needle.  By moving the skin around, she was actually forcing the drug to spread out evenly under the skin.  This meant that I could inject a little further apart from the last injection without worrying about missing a spot.

Our session lasted 1 hour, 45 minutes and I had used a little more of the drug per injection to keep the area numb longer than the 45 minutes I experienced at home.  I was able to inject roughly 8 or 9 places before I would use up the cartridge.  One cartridge could cover a significant area and the most I ever used in a single session was a little less than three.  Well below my absolute limit of 5 cartridges.

Carbocaine worked like a charm to the surprise of both of us!  When we first started, I braced myself for some extreme pain only to feel NOTHING.  I would just lay there chatting away with her, not even flinching and she was able to zap the area pretty quick.  She was also able to really crank up the heat in order to do as much damage to the hair follicle as possible without burning my skin.   She told me she did genital electrolysis before, but she certainly never had a session go so smoothly and so quickly.  Usually the client would squirm in pain after each zap, but I remained motionless.

Of course, it wasn't always completely painless.  First, there is the pain of making the injections.  In some places, it didn't hurt much at all, while other places would sting like crazy until the anesthetic was being injected.  Second, if she zapped outside the area, I'd really feel it!  Usually, I was able to warn her when she started heading out of an area because I would start feeling a little pain.  When I felt it get a little warm I would say, "OK, you are starting to head out the area because I'm beginning to feel it".  I could easily tolerate the pain when she was just getting to the edges of the injection, but if she went out too far it would hurt like hell.  Usually I would let her go out to a point that I could tolerate and then tell her not to go any further.  By providing this feedback, I was able to make sure I didn't experience any pain that I couldn't handle and she was able to judge how far she could zap from a point of injection.  Each of us learned a lot from this experience.

What you need in order to achieve the same results

If you are considering genital electrolysis and like the idea of using an injectible anesthetic to completely numb the area here is what you need to do:

  1. Know your supplies

Before you can seek assistance, you need to know what to ask for.  Here are three items that you will need:

  • A stainless steel dental syringe which looks like the following:
This looks exactly like the syringe I have.   There is a 'harpoon' like point that pushes against the plunger in the cartridge containing the anesthetic.  DO NOT jam the harpoon into the plunger because it's not necessary to do so.  Just push gently and the plunger will move easily, provided the needle is attached.

Cost of syringe: Approx $20 - $25

  • A box of 100 needles.  I have a box of Monoject Ultra Sharp 400 plastic hub, 30 gauge needles which is shown as follows (needle is shown encased in heat sealed plastic sheath on the left side):
NOTE:  You do not have to get this exact brand provided the brand you do use can be attached to the syringe.  It is also recommended that you use a 30 gauge needle to make it easier for the needle to break the skin.

 

Cost of needles: Approx $10

  • A 50 cartridge can of Carbocaine 3% which looks like the following (cartridge is shown too):
IMPORTANT:
Notice how it says WITHOUT VASOCONSTRICTOR on the can!

Be sure to store the container in a cool, dry place.

 

Cost of Carbocaine: Approx $20

  1. Find a doctor that is willing to help you out and be sure to tell them exactly what you are looking for.  In my case, it was my dentist who helped me out, but he required that my Primary Care Physician write something up which stated that I could seek assistance from my dentist regarding this matter.  He may have trusted me, but he is certainly no fool either.
  1. Be confident with your request and make sure you don't give the impression that you don't know what you are doing.  Even though you may not know how to self-inject, be sure that you have done your homework with respect to the dangers involved.  Tell your doctor (without lying) that you have looked into the matter and as far as you can tell, everything should be fine.  Ask their opinion and see what they have to say.  With any luck, they will agree with your assessment of the situation and help you get the supplies you need.
  1. Accept responsibility for your own actions!   I can't emphasize this enough!  You will be learning how to self-inject by yourself.  Nobody is going to teach you how to do it because of the risks involved.   Make sure you tell your doctor that you accept full responsibility too. 

Final Tips and Comments

Provided you don't insert the needle too deep and try to avoid any veins or blood vessels during insertion, you should be fine.  By avoiding blood vessels whenever you can you ensure not only that you bleed less after removing the needle, but you also ensure that the anesthetic stays in the area longer.  The blood supply is slowly trying to remove the anesthetic the moment you inject it, so the longer that takes the better.

Please understand why it is important not to inject too deep.  First of all, the hair follicles are not that deep and that is ultimately what you want to numb.  Secondly, there is a contraindication regarding muscular injections using Carbocaine 3%.  If you accidentally inject the anesthetic into a muscle, you could kill the muscular tissue as a result.

If you don't have a difficult time breaking the heat seal for the needle which makes a snapping sound when broken, immediately toss the needle, sheath and all, in your electrologists sharps container.  DO NOT ever remove a needle from the plastic sheath or even hold a needle that is not in its sheath.  These needles are very sharp and can easily pierce the skin if you are careless.

After a genital electrolysis session, it is very important to help the skin heal as quickly as possible.  I used a very liberal amount of Desitin cream (NOT ointment) to the area before going to bed.  Usually, I would only do this the evening of our session unless the area was still painful by the next evening.  By the following morning, the area looked much better and it wasn't nearly as sore.  Of course, this is what worked for me and this approach may not work for you at all, especially if you already have a proven technique that does work for you.   Also keep in mind that it takes about two weeks for the skin to completely heal and I found that the scrotum took longer to heal than any other area.

Here are some links to get more information about Carbocaine and its possible side effects.  I strongly encourage you to read everything regarding this anesthetic, perhaps even printing out a copy to take to your doctor just to be sure there are no health risks.  This will also prove to your doctor that you've done your homework.

http://www.rxlist.com/cgi/generic2/mepivacaine.htm (Brand Description)
http://www.rxlist.com/cgi/generic2/mepivacaine_ids.htm (Indications and Dosage)
http://www.rxlist.com/cgi/generic2/mepivacaine_ad.htm (Sdie Effects/Drug Interactions)
http://www.rxlist.com/cgi/generic2/mepivacaine_wcp.htm (Warnings and Precautions)

This is the message board of The American Society of Dentist Anesthesiologists

Search for 'Carbocaine' to understand what an allergic reaction to this drug can do to you.

http://www.asdahq.org/wwwboard/index.html

I wish you all the very best of luck!

Editor's note: Please note that self-adminstered injectable anesthetics can kill you. This is for informational purposes only and does not endorse the procedure. Use of this information is AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Other genital electrolysis pages at this site

I have also compiled a page of consumer tips and experiences which you should read before starting.