A transgender woman needed to have one of her testicles removed because of her habit of ‘tucking’ – made famous through hit TV show Ru Paul’s Drag Race.
The unidentified 24-year-old, from the Philippines, had not yet undergone full gender reassignment surgery.
The avid cross-dresser pushed her testicles back into her stomach four times a week ever since becoming an adult, in an effort to hide her genitals.
Her habit often caused her pain but she shrugged it off.
But when pulling her testicles back down into her scrotum during her final attempt, one of them twisted around the cord it dangles from.
The grisly accident – known as testicular torsion – left the woman in unbearable pain and cut off the blood supply to her genitals.
Without urgent treatment to get blood flowing again the testicle can die and have to be removed.
Experts told MailOnline that while there is little research into the dangers of tucking, it does pose an obvious threat to testicles. They said any severe testicle pain lasting at least 20 minutes should be reported to a doctor immediately.
Tucking is a common practice in trans and drag communities, with the habit being featured in VH1’s Ru Paul’s Drag Race.
A transgender woman from the Philippines was forced to have a testicle removed after years of tucking caused her serious pain
Trinity ‘The Tuck’ Taylor, a contestant from the show’s ninth season, offers a guide on how to tuck on YouTube, which warns of the dangers of torsion towards the end.
The Filipino woman who suffered the injury was taking anti-androgen pills to reduce testosterone levels – she had not yet had full reassignment surgery.
She sought help from the Brokenshire Integrated Health Ministries in Davao City after the agonising injury.
Doctors were told she regularly tucked her testicles into her inguinal canals, which are passages in the abdomen that hold the sperm cords.
WHAT IS TESTICULAR TORSION?
Testicular torsion occurs when a testicle rotates, twisting the spermatic cord that brings blood to the scrotum.
The reduced blood flow causes sudden and often severe pain and swelling.
Testicular torsion is most common between ages 12 and 18, but it can occur at any age, even before birth.
Testicular torsion usually requires emergency surgery.
If treated quickly, the testicle can usually be saved.
But when blood flow has been cut off for too long, a testicle might become so badly damaged that it has to be removed.
Signs and symptoms of testicular torsion include:
- Sudden, severe pain in the scrotum — the loose bag of skin under your penis that contains the testicles
- Swelling of the scrotum
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- A testicle that’s positioned higher than normal or at an unusual angle
- Frequent urination
Young boys who have testicular torsion typically wake up due to scrotal pain in the middle of the night or early in the morning.
Source: Mayo Clinic
Her case — published in a medical journal — also revealed she would tuck her penis and empty scrotum back between her legs.
To return her testicles back to their normal position afterwards, she would tug them back out of her body by grabbing her scrotum and pulling.
Doctors examined her testicles to get to the bottom of her agonising pain.
Her scrotum was red and swollen and medics diagnosed her with testicular torsion.
Testicular torsion — which can occur at any time and even during sleep — affects around one in 4,000 males under the age of 25.
Doctors gave her an ultrasound to investigate the seriousness of her condition and work out what treatment she needed.
She initially requested to have both testicles removed. But just an hour after being informed the life-changing move would prevent her ever having children, she decided instead to just lose one.
Surgeons operated, finding the testicle had been damaged by the years of tucking, and removed it. There were no complications from the surgery.
Dr Clarence Debarbo, author of the case report published in Urology Case Reports, said the case highlighted an issue faced by transgender women who are reluctant to seek medical care for testicular pain caused by tucking.
He said: ‘The patient already experienced discomfort and pain for six years because of tucking, which is also the same with other transgenders.
‘But they are reluctant to seek medical care for testicular complaints and when they do, it may be already late to salvage the testis.
‘Although at younger age, trans women desire to hide their testicles or wish to have gender-affirming surgery, as they grow older many transgender individuals desire to have biological children, thus awareness of the problem should be disseminated for them not to resent in years to come.’
This is not the first time tucking has been linked to testicular torsion.
Doctors in Florida revealed in 2016 how a 28-year-old had to have a testicle removed after it twisted 360 degrees.
Dr Fardod O’Kelly, consultant urological surgeon at Dublin’s Beacon Hospital said the condition is a ‘surgical emergency with a countdown timer’.
He told MailOnline: ‘In general, there is very little evidence the practice of tucking increases the risk of testicular torsion.
‘The testis is much more at risk of trauma when tucked, as it is resting against the pubic bone as opposed to sitting comfortably in the scrotum.
‘Tucking is an individual’s choice, and like all personal decisions, one must weigh up the pros and cons.’