27-year-old Rachel Champ was refused a hysterectomy in case her sexuality “changes”. (Instagram/ Rachel Champ)
A queer woman has described how a doctor denied her a hysterectomy in case her “sexual orientation changes”, prompting a flood of responses revealing shocking misogyny and homophobia in healthcare.
Rachel Champ, 27, from Ireland, took to Twitter to share her experience, writing: “Can’t believe that today a gynaecologist told me that a hysterectomy wouldn’t be considered as an option for my debilitating period pain on the off chance that I divorce my wife, my sexual orientation changes, I meet a man and decide I want children.”
She explained that she had suffered from severe period pain since she was just 10 years old, adding: “I’ve had two surgeries (one with ovarian drilling), tried three different contraceptive pills, the Mirena coil, and have tried every combination of painkillers. Nothing has helped.”
It’s worth adding that I’m 27 and I’ve had severe pain since I first got my period when I was 10. I’ve had two surgeries (1 with ovarian drilling), tried three different contraceptive pills, the mirena coil, and have tried every combination of painkillers. Nothing has helped.
— rachel (@RachChamp_) November 2, 2021
Champ explained to Buzzfeed that after being repeatedly dismissed by doctors, after 15 years of pain she was given her first cervical screening two years ago.
She said: “The female doctor who performed it… told me that it wasn’t normal to be in so much pain every month that I couldn’t walk, missed work/ college/ events, and had to take so many painkillers just to function.”
Finally, she was referred to a gynaecologist, who found cysts on her ovaries and signs of endometriosis.
Although she better understood the cause of her pain, she could find nothing to help, and decided to ask about the possibility of a hysterectomy, or removal of her uterus.
According to the NHS, hysterectomies are considered for heavy menstrual bleeding and endometriosis when other treatments have not worked, and a person does not want to have children.
Champ asked her doctor about the procedure, as although she and her wife want to have children, they had already chosen to grow their family via adoption.
The doctor, however, told her that her judgement was “clouded by pain”, and said: “I don’t want you to have regrets if circumstances change for you.
“Maybe you leave your partner, your sexual orientation changes, and you meet someone and he wants children.”
“i know what you want, but let’s take a minute think about what this hypothetical man in your future might want 😊😊” pic.twitter.com/RMnLQBAZFP
— releasethehounds__ (@VJam0ney) November 2, 2021
Nah but telling a woman you won’t perform a medical procedure she specifically asked for not for safety reasons but because you think a man might want to use her body later to have a child is actually wild when you sit back and think about it.
— Make Oxtail Cheap Again (@simsimmaaz) November 3, 2021
At the time of writing, Rachel Champ’s tweet has received almost 5,000 replies, and has been shared more than 40,000 times.
Many of the comments were from queer folk sharing their own nightmarish healthcare stories.
One person responded: “I had precocious puberty (started at six) and was so confused why my periods were so painful while I was a literal tiny child developing [endometriosis].
“Now my mom has uterine cancer and even though I carry the gene, they still won’t remove [my uterus] in case I stop being gay.”
“I’m on accutane and you’re required to use two forms of contraception,” another said. I told my doctor I was gay and she said, ‘We’ll just say you’re abstinent.’”
One queer person shared an extremely similar story to Champ’s, but with a positive ending.
The wrote: “I begged my GP for a hysterectomy nearly three years ago because of debilitating heavy and painful periods, and the fact that another pregnancy would likely kill me… HE SAID NO!”
Finally, the Twitter user added, they have found a surgeon that is “saving my mental, physical and gynaecological health”.
“He and my GP chose to see me as an individual,” they added. “I am 35 in two weeks. I am queer, married and have three children. He has saved me. You need to find the right person to fight your side.”