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Lots of excruciating pain


Dana Michelle

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I can't stand the intense pain of electrolysis. Even with lidocaine cream, the pain is still intense. I asked my doctor if there is something more powerful and she said that is the best there is. She said the dermatologist she spoke to thought I was probably not using it correctly, and that I should use a thick layer of lidocaine, put plastic wrap over it, and apply it 2 hours before my appointment. I already use a thick layer and plastic wrap and I apply it 1 1/2 hours before. I'll try 2 hours next time, but I wouldn't think the extra 30 minutes would make a huge difference.

 

It seems like I must have an unusual resistence to lidocaine if the dermatologist thinks I am using it incorrectly. I have red hair, and I've heard that redheads are more resistant to (topical) anesthetics. Does anyone have a guess as to why the lidocaine isn't working well for me?

 

I also recently spoke to another electrologist that I will see temporarily and she was surprised that have 3 appointments per week of 1 1/2 hours length. From what I've read online, it usually takes between 100 and 400 hours to complete electrolysis (and in extereme cases, as much as 700 hours). I've completed 79 hours of electrolysis, and if it will take a total of 400 hours, it will take another 1 1/2 years to complete. How much electrolysis should someone have a week if they have had no laser? Laser works poorly on red hair, so I have not used it.

 

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I am a coward having hidden from the whole process.  Your post makes my starting even a bit more dubious.  The time, money and pain involved is demanding.  Perhaps i'll start at some point but not soon.  I guess avoidance is my way of pain control.

 

Hugs,

 

Charlize

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Its the pain we have to endure im afraid. I do sympathise with you. I does String like Hornets ramming there backsides into your face after they have just had a Weapons grade Vindaloo.

 

I can offer any advise in making any better other than take a couple of pain killers about an hour before your session

 

What i use to do is just have one appoinment a month.  Just hour sessions. yes its inconvieant but at least you are getting somewhere. Maybe your trying to do to much to quickly. Not giving the area time to heal.

 

Welcome to the joys of womanhood. Which do not happen overnight. Slow down a bit. Thats my advise anyway for what its worth.

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Just now, Maid In Bedlam said:

I can offer any advise in making any better other than take a couple of pain killers about an hour before your session

 

What i use to do is just have one appoinment a month.  Just hour sessions. yes its inconvieant but at least you are getting somewhere. Maybe your trying to do to much to quickly. Not giving the area time to heal.

 

Welcome to the joys of womanhood. Which do not happen overnight. Slow down a bit. Thats my advise anyway for what its worth.

I take a pain medication that my doctor prescribed. If it takes 400 hours to complete, then at one hour per month, it will take 33 years. I will be 70 in 33 years.

 

Even at the rate I'm going, it is likely to take 1 1/2 years to completion. I also have complex issues with disability and health insurance. In short, I will be under a lot of stress and misery as long as I have not finished electrolysis. I can't slow down. I need to go faster--much faster.

 

I'm thinking about getting a home electrolysis kit and doing it myself so that I can do a few minutes at a time several times a day instead of 1 1/2 hours at a time. I know that doing it myself risks skin damage, but I think that is a risk I'll have to take.

 

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Save your money on the home electrolysis kit, it is not going to help  enough over the costs and accuracy.  The machines are not strong enough for beard hair and without training by a licensed electrologist on how to insert the electrode you stand a good chance of hurting yourself. 

 

My suggestion is to contact your Dentist, or any Dentist and get Lidocaine / Novocaine injections before the Electrolysis session.   That will affect the deeper nerves, not just the surface ones.  You can also find Electrology providers that specialize in doing it that way, and while pricey they offer sessions up to 8 hours long. 

 

For Heaven's sake though, don't be afraid of reaching 70, I was there a year ago and life is good.

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2 hours ago, Dana Michelle said:

3 appointments per week of 1 1/2 hours length.

Is that 4.5 hrs total per week?   Thats quite a bit.  Give your face time to heal!  

 

I do 2 hours per week.  After a while, when your face is fairly well cleared you will have to wait for the regrowth phase since as you know electrolysis doesn't kill the follicle all at once.  The new hair will certainly be less course and will be less painful to remove IMO.   I've got just over 200 hours and I'm almost done.  The upper lip area was tough for me.  The neck area is a little unnerving, but thats because the skin is thinner and different than facial skin.  All my best to you.

 

Jani   

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I got lucky and have darker auburn hair.  Laser was able to clear out the majority.   It's really just that painful.  Beauty and pain are old friends.

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1 hour ago, VickySGV said:

My suggestion is to contact your Dentist, or any Dentist and get Lidocaine / Novocaine injections before the Electrolysis session.   That will affect the deeper nerves, not just the surface ones.

 

For Heaven's sake though, don't be afraid of reaching 70, I was there a year ago and life is good.

I'm not afraid of reaching 70. I don't want to wait until I'm 70 to live as female. I started the transition process 2 1/2 years ago (hormones 1 1/2 years ago) which I already think is a lot of time to wait. I would be highly dysphoric about presenting as a bearded woman so I need to wait until I finish electrolysis.

 

My electrologist said that I can't use injections because that can cause skin damage. I could try asking again and telling her that I would be willing to take my chances with skin damage. I don't know if my electrologist would have legal or ethical issues with the risk.

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25 minutes ago, Jani said:

Is that 4.5 hrs total per week?   Thats quite a bit.  Give your face time to heal!  

 

I do 2 hours per week.  After a while, when your face is fairly well cleared you will have to wait for the regrowth phase since as you know electrolysis doesn't kill the follicle all at once.  The new hair will certainly be less course and will be less painful to remove IMO.   I've got just over 200 hours and I'm almost done.  The upper lip area was tough for me.  The neck area is a little unnerving, but thats because the skin is thinner and different than facial skin.  All my best to you.

 

Jani   

Yes, that is 4.5 hours per week. The number of hours it takes varies from person to person and I don't have a way to know how long it will take. Even if I can finish in 200 hours it will still take another 8 months. 8 more months is tolerable enough, but more is way too long. I've already been doing electrolysis for a year (I haven't always done 4.5 hours per week which is why I'm only up to 79 hours).


I might finish in 200 hours, but it might also take 400 hours. I am in general very, very hairy. I have seen a lot of progress on my cheeks but very little on my chin (where my follicle density is very high). Andrea James compiled her timeline where it took 350 hours to completion. https://www.transgendermap.com/medical/transgender-hair-removal/electrolysis/chart-of-my-electrolysis-progress/


My therapist agrees that because of how hairy I am, it will take longer than average to complete electrolysis. If it takes me 350 hours like Andrea James, it will take another 16 months to completion.


I know that once most of my hair is gone, I will not be able to have electrolysis as often, but I'm very, very far from that point.

 

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Just now, Julielynn said:

I got lucky and have darker auburn hair.  Laser was able to clear out the majority.   It's really just that painful.  Beauty and pain are old friends.

The dermatologist said my facial hair is too light for laser to work well enough.

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There's something else I forgot to ask. How much lidocaine should the electrologist wipe off at a time? She usually wipes off 1/4 at a time, every 20-25 minutes in the 90 minute session. At the very beginning of the session, my skin is almost completely numb for the first minute or two. Sometimes I feel no pain at all for the first 2 or 3 zaps. The pain increases very quickly. Even though I am numb right after the first round of lidocaine is wiped off, I am not numb after the second round of lidocaine. I initially put only half the lidocaine on part of my face, and then the other half on another part 45 minutes later, which means that at the third round of lidocaine wiping, it has been on my face the same amount of time as the first, but it is far from numb after the third wiping.


Even though gets more painful throughout the session (and each wipe is more painful), the pain is still less right after wiping than it was a few minutes earlier or later. It also feels like once my electrologist wipes off a new round of lidocaine, she still zaps parts of my face that were covered by previous rounds of lidocaine, instead of exclusively the part of my face covered the most recent wipe.


Should I ask my electrologist to wipe a smaller part at a time? Maybe 1/9 every 10 minutes.

 

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1 minute ago, Dana Michelle said:

 

My electrologist said that I can't use injections because that can cause skin damage.

 

A Dentist will inject it from inside your mouth and that is some of the most resilient tissue we have.  You have had dental work with no skin problems have you?  She may be right if it is injected outside the mouth and into the skin directly but as I said, there are services that use anesthetic injected inside the mouth with no problems.   Clear that up with your doctor or Dentist though.

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I haven't been to the dentist in over 20 years and I never dental work beyond teeth cleaning and X-rays.

 

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Just now, Dana Michelle said:

I haven't been to the dentist in over 20 years and I never dental work beyond teeth cleaning and X-rays.

 

:dunno:Shrug!!  :dunno:  You are the one complaining of the pain!  I was just offering a suggestion to help it and you do not want to take it.  It is your pain then.  Best to say thank you and just not take suggestions here than to argue about them, they could help others though. 

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I wasn't arguing. You said "You have had dental work with no skin problems have you?" and I simply answered your question.

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I am sorry for sounding crusty up there and very happy that you have excellent teeth I do not have a single whole tooth in my mouth and lidocaine is an old friend.  I misunderstood you there, but I hope we are fine now. 

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Just now, VickySGV said:

I am sorry for sounding crusty up there and very happy that you have excellent teeth I do not have a single whole tooth in my mouth and lidocaine is an old friend.  I misunderstood you there, but I hope we are fine now. 

Yes, we are fine. Thanks for the suggestion about lidocaine injections inside the mouth. My doctor recently prescribed 5% lidocaine (I was previously using 2.5%) but if that doesn't work I'll ask my doctor about injections.

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Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I didn't mean to sound like I was rejecting peoples' suggestions. The reason I explained why some suggestions would not work for me (like have less electrolysis and finish more slowly) is so that people would have the information needed make a suggestion that would work.


I have Asperger's so it is hard to know how I might come across to others and can seem rude without meaning to. I wanted to clarify this because it has prevented me from getting along on other transgender forums.

 

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  • 2 months later...

I just thought I'd post an update. I e-mailed one dentist near my electrologist and called another. I got no response to the e-mail. The receptionist for the one I called said that of the two dentists there, she spoke to one who said they don't give injections for electrolysis. The other dentist wasn't there so she couldn't ask, but said that if she was going to give me injections I would probably have to be established as a patient. The dentist was booked for two months so I decided not to make an appointment.


I have reduced my calorie consumption to try to lose weight and it seems like it has made electrolysis less painful. My upper lip is still very painful, but the rest of my face is it's mild enough that I can do without injections. I might try to call a few more dentists, but I might also try to manage by just having my upper lip done for a small portion of a session, and then have less painful areas treated the rest of the session.


I'm up to having finished 123 hours of electrolysis. My facial hair has thinned enough that I expect to finish within the anecdotal average of 200 hours.

 

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56 minutes ago, Dana Michelle said:

I have reduced my calorie consumption to try to lose weight and it seems like it has made electrolysis less painful. My upper lip is still very painful, but the rest of my face is it's mild enough that I can do without injections. I might try to call a few more dentists, but I might also try to manage by just having my upper lip done for a small portion of a session, and then have less painful areas treated the rest of the session.

 

That's really interesting. I wonder if it's an inflammation thing. I've personally dropped my calorie intake to about 13-1500 calories a day (modified for exercise) and my back is still an inflamed mess. However, I've got spots on my left arm and upper leg where being poked with sharp objects doesn't register as sharp if that makes any sense. I feel the poke, but it feels like being poked with something dull instead of something sharp. The human body is weird.

 

My tattoo artist used a topical. There's probably a perfectly good reason you can't use one for electrolysis. I'd expect the upper lip to be painful though, there's a gazillion nerve endings up there.

 

In any case, congratulations on being more than halfway there! I'm sure you'll be pleased with the results!

 

Hugs!

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2 hours ago, Dana Michelle said:

I'm up to having finished 123 hours of electrolysis. My facial hair has thinned enough that I expect to finish within the anecdotal average of 200 hours.

Yikes. 200 hours for just the face.  That’s not fun to think about.  
I hope to start this soon.  If I can get my insurance to pay for it.  

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I paid out a small fortune for electrolsis for bi-monthly hour long sessions for 5 or 6 years and finally tired of it and quit. My face is a lot clearer than it would be if I hadn't done it at all, it would be impossible to grow a beard by this time if I wanted to. I often wonder why some men even want to look like a walrus with facial hair. All the genetic females I've cozied up to say they appreciate a smoothe face.

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6 hours ago, Dana Michelle said:

I have reduced my calorie consumption to try to lose weight and it seems like it has made electrolysis less painful.

You might try taking an Acetaminophen tablet a half hour or so prior to your appointment and also forego coffee as the caffeine exacerbates the pain.  Both of these strategies has helped me.  Unfortunately I don't believe anything makes the upper lip area any easier.

 

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