Hello everyone. It has been a long time since I posted on here. Frankly, while reading the posts here gave me information on possible treatments, reassured me that I wasn’t alone, etc, they also continued to cast doubt on whether I would ever recover, and I wanted to put that prospect out of mind as best I could.
I had my vasectomy on 26 Aug 2019 at a military hospital by a general surgeon. I was put under for the surgery so I don’t remember any of it, but when I woke up I wasn’t in much pain. I remember thinking how small the incisions were. There were 3 other men in there that day for vasectomies. The guy after me was writhing in pain when they brought him out. It was a closed vasectomy and was electro-cauterized and no clamps were used.
I was 30, had 3 kids already after 10 years of marriage, and was confident that even if I got divorced, I would never want more. My wife had had a very dangerous third pregnancy, so there was a risk involved in future pregnancy. I knew we were on the rocks before I went through with the surgery, but had no idea how imminent our separation was. We decided in Sept 2019 that we would get divorced.
The first week after my surgery I felt okay: I was sore, but it wasn’t too bad. I tried masturbating after 3 days and it hurt a lot. I kept doing it almost daily after. It hurt, but I still had the urge to do it, even though I didn’t get the usual feeling of relief. I still felt full and congested. Maybe that had something to do with my PVSP, maybe not; I don’t know. About a week after my surgery we were in the path of a hurricane and I had to board up the windows. I noticed I was in quite a bit more pain after that. I was very sore. This was also around the time that I was ending my 10 day prescription of oxy, so who knows if that had anything to do with the delayed unset of pain. Pain during ejaculation was the worst. I would wake up sore and it would get worse throughout the day. I went to Dr. Google for answers about a week after my surgery and discovered the horror of PVPS (why hadn’t anyone told me about that). I started to notice a lot of pain in my pelvic floor; like I was sitting on a ball. I don’t know if that was due to me constantly clenching in pain or inflammation or what. Orgasms not only hurt, but felt weird. Not only did they not feel good, but it was like there was less of a build up; it was like I’d just hit that point. Semen volume seemed less than normal and consistency was more watery than usual.
After the hurricane, about two weeks after my vasectomy, I went back to the office that had done my surgery, and they put me on 800 mg of ibuprofen 3 times a day, so 2400 mg a day total. That helped. My pelvic floor pain subsided, but I was still in a lot of pain and ejaculation still hurt a lot. It felt like someone was crushing my balls. It was around that time I discovered this site. I saw a urologist, who told me that they could do a “revision surgery” if I wanted, to basically convert to an open vasectomy. They didn’t note the presence of any sperm granuloma but did notice that I was inflamed. While I can’t know for sure, and while at the time I thought I was having congestion related pain, if I had to guess now, I would say it was probably a nerve entrapment issue. They told me they would recommend waiting to see if it got better on its own, which I did. They told me to continue the ibuprofen and return in a month. After a month not much had changed. They told me to wait another month. Around September I started taking papaya seed powder. I didn’t notice any changes. I was also taking turmeric. Thankfully I worked a desk job, but just walking around or sitting all day really put me in a lot of pain by the end of the day.
Now I was at the end of October 2019. I was still in quite a bit of pain. As had been the case up until that time, it got worse throughout the day and with ejaculation. I went back in and the urologist said I could either keep waiting it out, have the revision to open vasectomy, a reversal, or epididymectomy. Because I am active duty military, I didn’t have forever to wait. I had a year to get treatment and recover. I had my kids to support and getting forced out of the military, especially if I was unable to work due to pain, wasn’t an option. I read on here that conversation to open vasectomies usually didn’t help and would reduce the chances of the success of a reversal. It seemed to me that I could try for a reversal, and always try cord denervation or epidiymectomy later if I had to, but once I started cutting more parts of me off, I couldn’t turn back.
In October I tried to stop taking ibuprofen, but the pain got a lot worse within a few days so I started taking them again, still 2400mg a day. I never had any gastro issues, but my BP was 160/90 and I was worried I was going to drop dead of a heart attack. I’m sure the pain, stress, and lack of exercise wasn’t helping. I sold all my guns to avoid doing anything drastic, which I had considered and came close to more than once.
I decided I wanted a reversal, but that urologist was only doing one about every 6 months, which was a nonstarter for me. I spoke to a Dr. Daniels in Bluffton SC, who had been doing reversals for over 30 years, but it would have been out of pocket and if I didn’t recover, the military might not have covered follow on treatments.
Since I was separated from my wife since September 2019, I had met a girl in December 2019. I told her about the PVPS after we had been talking for about a week and she was very empathetic. Toward the end of December we had sex for the first time. She was amazing, but I had a hard time keeping it up. That was so humiliating. Not only was she the first woman I had been with after 10 years of marriage, but I was also suffering from the PVPS. I think this was probably largely psychological more than anything, but the PVSP surely didn’t help, and it always took a lot more effort to keep an erection since my vasectomy, whether due to pain, stress, whatever. She insisted that it wasn’t a big deal and still clearly had a great time, but I was still humiliated and resolved that I was rolling the dice with the reversal. She was a huge source of compassion for me when I needed it most, and was so empathetic and understanding, but I was humiliated that I was struggling as much as I was.
I was approved by TRICARE for a reversal at MUSC the first week of January and was scheduled to have the surgery on 15 Jan 2020 with a Dr. Rodgers. He wasn’t nearly as experienced as Dr. Daniels, but said that he did reversals weekly and had good results. He had done a spermatic cord nerve block in December as a diagnostic. It caused EVERTHING to go numb. There wasn’t much pain, but I didn’t want to risk that becoming my new reality, so I still opted to go with the reversal. Maybe hoping to get back to normal rather than being numb without pain was greedy of me, but so be it. Again, my reasoning was that I could always try other treatments later if needed, but that was the best time to try a reversal first.
The surgery was supposed to take a few hours, but it ended up lasting four. I have no idea why. When I woke up I was sore and swollen, and noticed pain going up the sides of my groin/hips, maybe due to my vas being pulled, maybe just nerves, who knows. I’ve read on here that some people’s boys hang weird or higher after reversal, but mine never did, so I’m guessing they had a lot of vas to work with. The Dr said that everything went as good as could be expected. I was swollen and bruised for a few days, but that improved over the next two weeks. He told me to wait two weeks before ejaculating. At the two week mark I tried it out solo, and while I was still sore, the sensation of pressure was gone and rather than a ball crushing feeling, it was just a local soreness. The pleasure was still masked by the pain and stress at this point quite a bit. I noticed almost right away that I was getting more erections than I had been after my vasectomy. I don’t know if this was due to physiological changes after the reversal or a different mindset, reduction in stress, or what. I also noticed that orgasms came like before, rather than the strange lack of a buildup way I had experienced after my vasectomy. It still felt like I wasn’t shooting as far as before. Volume and consistency also seemed a little off still, so I’m not sure what that was about, but that got closer to normal with time. Maybe that has something to do with inflammation, the prostate, or nerve/muscle coordination and healing? I don’t know, but again, it has continued to improve with time. Again, if I had to guess now, I think I may have had entrapped nerves that were being triggered when my vas/epi would contract, or be compressed my inflammation, rather than too much fluid buildup in general; although, surely letting the pressure out helped.
Around 3 weeks after my surgery I had sex with my girlfriend for the first time since my reversal. This time I had no trouble keeping it up, and while we took it easy, it went off without a hitch. I was rather happy about that to say the least. We’d do it with her on top to avoid too much movement of the old yarbles. Around 4 or 5 weeks after my reversal I got a bit too enthusiastic and tried it with me on top a bit too rough and noticed a bit of pain, so I tried to take it easier after that for a while longer. I’d say by the end of April I was able to do it how ever I wanted with little to no extra discomfort.
In general, I was always a bit sore, but it wasn’t like before. The pressure was gone, and it was just a local soreness, and was manageable. Around September 2019, I’d say my worst pain was about a 9 during ejaculation. I’d usually wake up at about a 2 and be at a 5-7 after a long day. Now, around April 2020, I was probably waking up at a 1 and maybe at a 3-5 by the end of the day. Sometimes I’d be more sore than others; I was always a little more sore after ejaculation, but again, it wasn’t unbearable.
I study biology, so I have a microscope and would check for the presence of sperm from time to time in Feb-Mar 2020. Sometimes there would be a lot, and sometimes almost none. There always seemed to be more in the second of two closely timed samples. Maybe the first was opening things up for the second? I don’t know. I haven’t checked since. I’d like the option of having a baby some day, but my primary reason for the reversal was always to reduce the pain. Maybe I should check it again sometime soon just to see.
I was still taking 2400 mg of ibuprofen a day, as well as turmeric and serrapeptase. I started walking by March 2020. I started jogging in April 2020. I hurt my back in March 2020, I have a long history of pulling my lower back (thanks 8 years USMC infantry…), and the pain was shooting down my right left. I noticed that my back pain seemed to make my PVPS a bit worse. I started to feel better from that by May and was back to jogging. I started push ups and lifting weights in June.
I weaned off the ibuprofen by the end of June. In November, I was 214 lbs and my BP was 160/90. By July 2020, I was down to 180 lbs, my BP was normal, and I was probably in the best shape of my life. I was still sore, but overall I was okay and I could live like that.
In general, my soreness didn’t improve in a linear way. I would be at a certain average pain level for a few weeks or months, then over a week or so I would notice that I was feeling quite a bit better than usual, then I’d have a week or so of a setback, then back to better. Generally, I’ve progressed over the last year and am at a point now where, while I notice a bit of discomfort a few times a day, it is like a 1 or 2 at worst, and most of the time I don’t even think about it anymore.
Ejaculation still feels a little different than I remember it. Sometimes I still get a little twinge of pain, but it’s not bad. It’s not quite as good as I remember it, but it’s way better than the time before my reversal, and I can certainly live like this, but I’ve only been getting better with time. Volume and consistency seem to be closer to normal, as does the feeling and force of ejaculation. Sexually, I don’t feel held back at all. Once in a while I’ll notice a little pain if I am going 100%, but it really doesn’t stop me at all.
I think between my PVPS and divorce, I had a very traumatic experience that lead to some serious insecurities and anxiety that I’ve had to grapple with. I can’t exactly be open with the military Drs about how I’ve felt at times, so I’ve had to work on it. Meditation helps at times. My girlfriend and I are still together; it’s been over a year now. Don’t shame me for being too sappy, but she’s an angle, and has been so compassionate through all of this. I have no doubt that I’ll be marrying her someday soon. I’d like to propose later this spring. I haven’t checked my microscope lately, mostly because I feel good and don’t want to psych myself out, but I’d like to give the finger to this whole ordeal and have a baby with her as the final explanation point in this story.
I realize that I got luckily than a lot of people, and my bullheadedness could have ended up a lot differently. Who knows, maybe if I wouldn’t have gone with the reversal, I could have gotten better in time. Maybe not. All I know is that I want to make sure others know that, for whatever reason, the reversal did work for me. Above all else, if you’re reading this and you or someone you know is considering a vasectomy, DON’T!