Hi guys. After reading posts, trying to figure out what is going on with my body, and hoping it would just go away, I’m now strongly considering going for the reversal in the near future. I’ll try to lay out my story in one long post, and then I’m curious to hear what you think. Is this a good decision based on your experience?
I got my vasectomy Nov 2016, about 11 months ago. During the procedure, he did the right side first and it was totally painless. He did the left side next and part way through I suddenly felt pain in the ball and up into my abdomen, had a vasovagal reaction (sweaty, nausea, faint, pale, etc.), and generally felt horrible. The doc didn’t even flinch when I had the reaction and nurses said that happens a lot, so I don’t really think anything went wrong per se during the procedure, but can’t be sure of course. I’m not sure if it was the ‘no scalpel’ technique or what, but he used the cauterizer quite a bit, so I’m guessing probably. It was through Kaiser so I assume would be the latest technique, I don’t know the details.
After the vasectomy I expected it to heal within a couple of weeks, but I was still in pain after 1 month, so I emailed my doctor. The pain has always been on both sides, worse on the left. The stitches healed and the pain was significantly less than initially after, but I still had pain in my testicles and belly, sometimes a dull ache, sometimes more painful. Sitting and physical activity make it worse. At this point I was still icing the area religiously and taking ibuprophen on a regular basis in an attempt to control whatever was going on down there. The doc said continue icing, take ibuprophen, should get better within a couple of months.
I started searching for info, and came across descriptions of PVPS, etc. etc. Somewhere after the first month I took very hot shallow baths (testicle deep) every night pretty much for about 3 weeks. This was a technique I read about to decrease sperm production. I thought it helped me at the time, but the pain didn’t go away completely. The type of pain I was experiencing was aching pain in the testicles, and radiating up into my abdomen on both sides, basically following the vas internally I guess. I would get stabbing pains in the sides of my lower abdomen and testicles sensitive to jostling. I wasn’t writing all of this down at the time, but that is my recollection and some of what I emailed my doctor. Overall I think the pain came down over the first 3 months after the procedure from maybe a 5/10 initially to maybe 3/10. I called my doctor around the 3 month mark and he said I probably still had some healing going on and it should resolve.
So I gave it some time and was able to stop taking ibuprophen, used a standing desk at work to lessen the ball trauma, but the healing I was hoping for was very slow. The pain did seem to come down to maybe a 2-3/10, but my balls were still sensitive to sitting and activity, and I wasn’t able to run or ride a bike really. Around the 6 month mark I went on vacation feeling like it was getting better slowly and hoping for the best.
While on vacation at first we were road tripping and not a lot of physical activity, and I was managing the pain with occasional ibuprophen and feeling relatively good. Later on I went running every day, and had been less strict about wearing 2 pairs of tight underwear all the time… The ball pain increased, and I started getting more of lower belly, kicked in the balls nausea, especially after running. This is when I got most alarmed, I let my guard down hoping I was getting better, but now I was having significant issues again, and the nausea seemed to be a new twist for me. At that point the pain was probably back up to 4-5/10 after exercise, and somewhat different in quality from some of the pain I felt early after surgery. When I realized this was still from PVPS I went back to the tight underwear and compression shorts combo, started taking alleve more regularly, and generally tried to let things heal themselves by limiting my activity and ball jostling in daily activity.
I paid my urologist a visit around 9 months after the procedure just to make sure I didn’t have a granuloma or some other explanation for what was going on. From our earlier phone conversation I had a good idea of what he was going to say about my persistent pain. He examined me and said my exam was perfectly normal, the vas had ‘healed beautifully’, for what that is worth. He really didn’t have any suggestions for anything I could do other than take ibuprophen before I exercise. He seemed to think it wasn’t that bad and I could just deal with it. Easy for him to say. I told him I had read some studies suggesting a reversal might help. He didn’t seem to have much experience with this, I think I am his first patient to have come back with pain like this. He just said reversal could be done, but he wouldn’t recommend it.
After that I went back to what I have been doing since the procedure, which is to give it time and see if I can convince myself it is healing slowly. I am now 11 months post-vasectomy; the pain in my balls has never gone away completely since the procedure. Here is what I am experiencing now:
My symptoms now seem to be related to my activity level. When I wake up and just stand up sometimes I don’t have any pain in the morning. Some days I do have some when I wake up, but it is typically mildest when I first wake up. Then as I go through my day, I can generally stand in one place without much pain. Sitting makes it worse, activity makes it worse, I think heat makes it worse too. If I don’t do too much and manage to stand all day, I can make it through with pain mostly at a 2/10 but it is still constantly there most days. If I have to sit for a long meeting, it makes it more uncomfortable. I get pain in my balls, around what I think is the top of the epi/ also maybe the vasectomy site itself. Then I get pain radiating up into my belly. Sometimes I can push in on my lower abdomen and feel dull pain as I push going up and down what I assume is the vas, up from my balls into my lower belly. Sometimes I feel nausea, sometimes it feels like constipation, and/or bloating. My balls feel like a water balloon sometimes between my legs when I walk around, I take a wide stance so I don’t jostle them. My balls are sensitive to being squeezed or manipulated, feels like from the top end of the epi near where it connects to the vas, but I can’t be sure exactly. Sometimes the epi on the left (worse side) looks large and bulging to me, can see it bulging from under the skin, but I can’t say for sure how it looked before – never looked that closely I guess. Sometimes I get a cramping pain in my belly when I ejaculate. Not every time, but if I do it twice in a day, for example.
After waiting for 11 months, my thinking is that whatever normal healing process is supposed to happen after vasectomy should have happened by now. I clearly have something else going on. I don’t think my urologist screwed up, I think for some reason I am sensitive to this. The pain isn’t debilitating, but it is getting in the way of how I want to live. I want to be able to go running, ride my bike, play competitive sports, etc. all of which I can’t really do in my current state. The pain is relatively constant 2-3/10, and having a seriously negative impact on my life and my family.
From reading posts on this forum I think my symptoms are consistent with congestive type pain and I have a good chance at improvement with a reversal. I have been looking for posts from guys with symptoms like mine that have found some relief, and I found a few who had luck with a reversal. I know it isn’t guaranteed, but I also feel like I have given it a lot of time and I don’t think the pain is going away by itself. I’m planning on trying to contact ICVR this week and see if I can consult with Dr. Marks, I hear he is one of the best. I live in the SF bay area, but I am willing to travel for the procedure to get the best available Dr. I don’t care if I become fertile again if it can get rid of this problem, there are other ways to prevent pregnancy, so I think reversal is my best option. I am of course nervous that another surgery could do more damage and I could end up worse than I am now, but at this point I think I am willing to take the risk.
OK, so now give me your opinions: should I go for the reversal?