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10 days post-op [Now 6 weeks]. Too early to worry?


#1

Week 7 Update:
Before reading the whole thread below, I figured I’d just throw a quick update here for any new member reading this thread.

Tomorrow will be 7 weeks from the date of my operation.
I’m happy to say that I think I am finally headed in the right direction. I’m still not fully there, but the terrifying, depressing, awful feeling that I’ll never get better is becoming a distant worry, and the pain/discomfort is slowly fading.

Up through Week 5, I had very little improvement. I felt no better than I did the day after surgery. By the middle of week 5, I was able to wear boxer briefs again. Up until that point, I was so sensitive that I couldn’t even wear anything supportive, which likely exasperated the problem.

For the past week, I’ve moved from “pain most of the time” to “discomfort about half the time.”

I’ll keep posting updates here as I (hopefully) progress.

Below is the original post that I made when I was in a LOT of pain and in a very dark place emotionally:


I apologize if this post is too typical of a first post, but I really need to vent some worries.

Short Version:

  • Had a vasectomy 10 days ago. Left side was painful during surgery, right side didn’t hurt.
  • Wound healed up fine.
  • Left testicle still hurts, right one doesn’t (feels almost fully recovered.)
  • I’m starting to worry about long-term pain since one side has mostly recovered but the other feels almost as bad as day 1.

Long Version:
I had a no-scalpel procedure, cauterized, not sure about clips (I don’t remember him mentioning them either way.) The small wound has healed up nicely, no problems there. Just a tiny spot of a scab that fell off yesterday leaving a healed “wound” underneath.

I’m 10 days post-op and I’m wondering if it’s too early to start worrying that I’m another victim of the statistics. I have four close friends who had it done and they all said it was simple, easy, relatively painless, one of the best decisions they’ve ever made, and full recovery only took a few days to a week. But I’m starting to fear that it was the worst decision for me.

From everything I’ve read it seems like a week or two of a dull “kicked in the groin last week” feeling is normal. I know it’s too early to fret over that. What has me concerned is that my right side feels pretty much normal now, but the left side feels just as bad as it did the first day. If this was the normal expected pain, wouldn’t both sides feel equally bad? (or good)

My whole experience with the left side has been different than the right, going all the way back to the actual surgery.

It seemed like the doctor didn’t give any time at all for the local anesthetic to kick in. He went straight to work on the left side within a minute of giving me the shot.

I’m certain that it wasn’t numb enough because the pain was excruciating. I was gritting my teeth, groaning, and breaking out into a cold sweat. It felt like he had my left testicle in a vise for two or three minutes. I thought I was going to vomit. He kept reassuring me that I’m doing fine and that some people feel more pain than others. If I had any idea that the surgery would be this painful, I never would have done it.

Once he finished the left side, he went to work on the right which was almost painless except for a few uncomfortable tugs here and there. This was the “easy” experience I had expected. I was chatting with him during that part and when he finished he said I did great in spite of the initial whimpering and groaning.

I followed the post-op instructions pretty closely. Ice packs, lots of rest, supportive underwear, no alcohol, etc. Surgery was on Friday. I did a little bit of shuffling around in the house on Saturday and Sunday, but nothing that would qualify as strenuous. I mostly just rested all weekend.

I returned to work on Monday. It’s an office job, so I figured that it didn’t matter if I was sitting around at work, or sitting around at home. I hadn’t considered the discomfort of wearing jeans (not tight, but not gym shorts either) and my 1-hour commute each way. I also didn’t ice it at work.

That night felt a bit worse, so I took the following day off work. The rest of last week was a bit of a blur because all I could think about was the dull pain. When I’d wake up in the morning, I felt like I had memory loss (like a hangover, but without the headache.) Memories of the previous day were always foggy. I was taking Tylenol 3 with codeine, plus Celebrex. Perhaps that had something to do with it. Or possibly my repressive memory function was in high gear.

Over this past weekend I continued resting. The pain in the right side has almost completely subsided, which only seems to magnify the pain on the left and causes me concern. It seems like a good portion of the stories I read on here involve one specific side. I get moments of blissful relief when the pain fades away, but invariably it returns and I’m right back where I started.

There are two places where I may have screwed up:

  • First, I don’t think I iced it enough. I used those blue ice packs instead of frozen peas. I don’t think they worked so well because they don’t really conform to your anatomy like peas do. I also didn’t really ice much at all after the 2nd day.
  • The other place I may have screwed up is that I assumed I could walk around and go to work sooner than I should have.

When I feel/examine the area, the right side feels pretty normal with the exception of a small bump at the separation point. The left side has a bump too, but it’s larger and more sensitive to the touch. About the size of a pea, I’d guess… maybe a bit smaller. It doesn’t feel attached directly to the testicle… it’s about halfway between the testicle and the penis, presumably at the cauterized end of the vans. I guess it could be a sperm granuloma. It’s not large enough to worry me at this point, but it seems like it MAY be getting bigger (or it’s just my imagination running wild.)

Additionally (and this is where the worst pain is coming from) the underside of the left testicle feels like there is some sort of loose tube/vessel between the testicle and the scrotum. I’m not sure if it’s a blood vessel, the vans, a nerve, or something else, but when I touch it it’s very sensitive and somewhat painful (similar to the pain I felt during the surgery but not quite as strong.)

I feel like I’m starting to break down mentally. Before the surgery, I thought that after a week I’d be living my life as normal… doing things around the house, walking the dogs, going out to dinner with my wife. Instead, I just have to lie around like a lazy slob while she takes care of everything. I feel trapped in my house. My wife feels an incredible amount of guilt (to the point of crying), even though she didn’t pressure me into it and I reassure her that I do not blame her in any way. The same thoughts keep running through my head: “Will we ever be able to have sex again? Will I ever be able to walk normal again? Will I ever be able to ride my bike again?” We are relatively active, so I fear that I’ll fall into depression and that it will impact my marriage and my career. I’m 38 years old… I’m not ready to be a “sit at home all day” person. (“boo-hoo”, right? I know others have it far worse so I’m trying to keep perspective.)

Perhaps my expectations are just too high. The logical side of me knows that I just had surgery 10 days ago on one of the most pain-sensitive areas of the body. If you spend enough time looking up symptoms on the internet, you can convince yourself that you have stage 8 cancer and that you’re head will fall off in the next 2 hours. But on the emotional side, there are SOOOO many stories on here (and other places) that I wish I would have read before I made the decision. I went off the word of my friends who all said it was nothing… easier than a tooth extraction.

Sorry for my long, rambling post. Part of this is mental therapy for me… I need to vent my frustration and fears to people (strangers) who can be truly empathetic. I also think that the people on this site probably know more about the topic than most doctors since they have the most motivation to learn EVERYTHING there is to know about post-vasectomy pain.


#2

10 days really is very early still. I know that may not help to hear, because I remember thinking the same things you are. Make sure you are taking Ibuprofen, and don’t mess with the surgery site. you may be keeping it inflamed. It sounds like you have a granuloma. If the pain is just at the surgery site, once the granuloma goes down, the pain should subside as well.

Also, it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to ice it for a few more days when you are at home. I would bet that in time, you will be fine.


#3

Thanks. I know it’s still early so I’m trying to be patient. My biggest concern is the fact that the pain is only on one side, but I suppose it’s not too crazy to imagine only one side getting inflamed.

One thing you pointed out is probably a big culprit: “don’t mess with the surgery site.” I’m one of those people who constantly messes with wounds, so I’ll admit that I’ve been touching it far too much. It’s like I think it’s magically going to get better, so I need to keep checking it or something.

I will definitely heed your advice and keep my hands off of it. Thank you for setting me straight. I think that I really did a number on it in the shower this morning, trying to self-diagnose exactly what was wrong. Combine that with the fact that I forgot to take my Celebrex with dinner last night and I’m really paying the price right now.

I’ll definitely be icing it from here on out too. My wife picked up some frozen peas today. I’m trying to power through at work (1 more hour, then an hour to drive home) and I’ve never looked forward to peas so much in my life.


#4

Day 11…
I iced on /off for several hours last night. I was wrong about the pain being isolated to the left side since I’m starting to feel sore in the right side again as well.

This morning, I had a round of shooting pains in the left side. It happened right as my alarm was going off for work then continued for a few minutes. It was excruciating. It put me in tears.

I called to take the day off work. I can’t afford to keep missing work though.

I can manage the soreness, but I’m going to lose my mind if I’m constantly worried about being stricken with shooting pains at random times.


#5

its too early…


#6

Just keep doing what you’re doing. Your still super early. Follow-up with your uro if you haven’t yet.

It’s pretty normal to have some severe anxiety about all of this. I have a feeling that there is some sort of hormonal change that takes place after vasectomy that causes mood changes. However, only a theory that I base off the fact that women with tubal ligation syndrome often undergo severe hormonal changes so why wouldn’t men in the same manner. Seek help from your friends and family. Know that a lot of us have been there. It does get better for most people so try and stay positive. Good luck


#7

Thanks for the encouraging words.

The shooting pains seem to originate from the lower back side of the testicle. Is this an indication of back pressure in the lower vans? It’s also completely random… I can be lying perfectly still, with or without ice, and it strikes.

Prior to surgery, I ejaculated almost daily, so I’m wondering if I have a high rate of sperm production and my body hasn’t figured out how to absorb it yet.

I was able to maturbate on days 6, 7, and 8 when I was starting to feel better and assumed I was nearly recovered. There was no trouble or pain at all, everything worked as expected. I was careful because of residual soreness but didn’t feel like I aggrivated anything. I didn’t do it on day 9, then day 10 things seemed to worsen and I created this thread.

If I were to ejaculate again is it likely to help or hurt the recovery and symptoms? Does the rate of sperm production fluctuate with how frequently you ejaculate?


#8

Called the urologist and explained my shooting pains this morning. He had me go see him. He said that everything appears okay (no infection, granulomas, epididymus ok, etc.). The lumps I was feeling is just the tied off vans ends.

He gave me a shot of lidocane to “break the pain cycle.” He said that he encounters this about once per month and the shot typically takes care of it, and that my odds of chronic pain are no worse than before.

I hope he’s being honest and not just feeding me a line to get me out of his hair.

Here’s to hoping…


#9

Impressive that he was willing to get you some lido to help it calm down. I have a hard time believing it’s congestion pain considering the timeline and outcome. He very likely nicked something or got a little over aggressive. Chances are, in time, things will get progressively better and go away. Walking shouldn’t change anything. A lack of icing isn’t that big of a deal either. Just be patient. 10 days is absolutely nothing.


#10

Update at the two-week point:

Left testicle is still very sensitive. Any touch or brush makes me wince. That said, the past couple of days have given me some relief. I only hurt when it’s touched or bumped instead of constant pain. Shooting pains have stopped as well. I know that everyone talks about wearing supportive underwear. I actually think that mine may have been making matters worse. I don’t know if they were too tight or what (I’ve always worn boxers, so I don’t know how they’re supposed to fit.) I spent the last two days wearing gym shorts with nothing underneath… just free-balling… and it feels so much better as long as I’m careful to not let them bounce off my legs when I walk.

I’ll update again in another week, good or bad.


#11

I’m a couple days in but almost same experience during operation and post op! But am concerned as much as you ! I do not feel good about my recovery n am expecting a long n painfull recovery ! I no it’s not the most positive but I’m speaking truthfully


#12

I’m 9 days in and in pretty good amount of pain. 1200mg of ibuprofen isn’t even touching it. Just left the ER doc said it all looked fine and gave me a shot of tramadol, which also did not touch the pain. Please tell me you have found relief I’m terrified I made the wrong choice based on everyone I know saying how easy and painless it was. Also my pain is in my lower abdominal area, tenderness in testicles, achy feeling near anus and occasion pulling or pinching in testicles.


#13

It sort of comes and goes, but hasn’t fully gone away. When I created this thread, my background pain was at about a 4/10 with occasional shooting pains in the 8 or 9 range. Now, my background is probably more of a 2 or 3, with the occasional 7 when I sit wrong or walk too fast. The majority of my pain is in the left testicle/epididymis which is still tender and sore.

Days 16 and 17 (this past Saturday and Sunday) I started feeling quite a bit better and was hopeful that I was finally in the home stretch. The left side was still very sensitive, so any touching or bumping would cause me to wince, but it wasn’t constant pain.

Unfortunately, yesterday I felt a little more soreness, and today I’m feeling even worse with minor shooting pains making a return after a week and a half of being gone. I’d say that today is a 4 or 5, occasionally hitting 7.

I’m still hoping that these are just minor setbacks in the overall healing process.

I think that the hard truth is that lengthier recoveries (weeks, or even months) are far more common than we are led to believe by the doctors. They tell us “3 days and you’ll be good as new” knowing full-well that there’s a good chance that it will take MUCH longer than that. While this “white lie” may help to calm our nerves before surgery, it also causes unnecessary panic in people like you and me who are taking longer to heal.

I’m trying to remain as calm and collected about it as I can right now. Panicking won’t do me any good anyway.

All of that said, I am by no means an expert, nor am I qualified to give medical advice. If you’re unsure, at least call the doctor.


#14

My issue is I accepted a new job that is more labor intensive and I’m currently sitting waiting to have my DOT physical done, not excited at all. Not only that I will only have two weeks in tradition then I start my new job which involves lifting and climbing. I have a desk job now and I had to take the night off last night the pain was so great. I feel a little better today but not getting my hopes up for one second. Doctor who did it can’t see me until tomorrow at the earliest.


#15

I’m lucky enough to have a desk job. I can’t imagine how bad it would be to have to deal with this in a physical job. I can easily see how long-term PVPS could damage or destroy a career. It’s debilitating. And since they make you sign that waiver before the surgery, it seems there’s no legal recourse for lost wages or a ruined career.

Hopefully you can bear it long enough to do your job without experiencing pain for too long and eventually fully heal.


#16

3-week update:

I’m still experiencing soreness in the left side and really haven’t improved much. It’s all on the left side… the right side is fine.

My mental state rises and falls with the pain. Some days, I feel hopeful, and some days (like today) I’m just frustrated and angry.

I’m unable to wear supportive underwear because they seem to just make matters worse. When the testicles are “supported” they just smash against each other and against my legs, making it painful to even walk. If I wear boxers (or even nothing at all under gym shorts) I get some relief. I just have to be careful when I walk or move around to keep them from bouncing off my legs.

I just ordered papaya seed powder since that seems to be the closest thing to a magic bullet for this. I have high hopes for that.

I have one more week worth of Celebrex (which I’m not really convinced is doing anything anyway.) When that gets low, I’ll have to call and renew the prescription, I guess.

We have company visiting from Thailand in 2 weeks and I’m worried that I’ll still be in this state… having to just lie around all day, catering to my sore testicle.


#17

Have you tried a jockstrap? I had a pair of really tight underwear that also caused more discomfort yet the jockstrap made me extremely comfortable - as weird as that sounds.


#18

Not yet. I assumed that they would be the same as athletic underwear.

I just ordered a 3-pack on Amazon. Thanks for the suggestion.


#19

I’m now on day 11. I feel somewhat of an improvement but like I said the pain seems to come on later in the day. My days starts around 3 pm as I work 3rd shift. I feel great when I wake up then have occasional mild discomfort that seems to peak before bedtime. The abdominal and pelvic pain seems to have gotten better by about 60% I would say I no longer feel like I’m sitting on a tennis ball And I get less of a polling feeling when I suck in my belly. I spoke with a second doctor today who was able to mentally make me feel better by letting me know that 2 weeks was still early in the healing and that I had a better chance of hitting the lottery than having perminent pain. I’m beginning to wonder if I caused myself a slower recovery time by getting out too early and driving around on day 3.


#20

His statistics regarding the lottery seem a bit off. Even in the “official literature” they say 1-2% will experience it. That’s only 1 in 50. This is one of the statistics that I completely ignored before the surgery, and which terrify me now. If someone told you they were going to line up 50 people and give 49 of them the ability to have worry-free sex for the rest of their lives, but one of them was going to have vice grips permanently attached to his scrotum, there’s no way in HELL I would get in that line, much less pay $600 for the privilege.

All of that said, I think that I may have hurt my recovery in the same way. I didn’t listen to my body, instead I listened to the calendar. Surgery was on Friday, so according to everything I heard I should be good to go to work on Monday, right? So I did it. And it hurt (50-minute drive each way.)

But I’ve felt some improvement for the past couple of days. Hopefully this trend continues. Only time will tell.