Hey all, here is my story. Sorry for the length; I’m just throwing out every detail I can, hoping something will click with someone.
I had my vasectomy in late 2018. The only thing remarkable about it was that when the doctor snipped my left side I had a pinch of pain. He then asked if I were on any blood thinners (I presume the bleeding didn’t stop as fast as usual). It was the first snip he’d made; the right didn’t really have any pain. For a couple of months afterwards I was sorer than I had anticipated, especially on my left side, but eventually that went away. Sperm showed up on my first post-op test, but were gone with a second test a few weeks later.
The rest of 2019 was fine; a few times I had a little bit of soreness at the end of a long/vigorous day, but it wasn’t really enough to even warrant Advil.
Fast forward to February 2020. I had a wicked cough for a couple of weeks, towards the end of which I started getting an achy pain in my left testicle. I figured it was irritation from coughing so much, but after it persisted my urologist ordered an ultrasound. They diagnosed me with epididymitis and prescribed antibiotics, which did nothing.
I should describe the pain. It varies from very mild/non-existent to like an 8.5 out of 10. Pain is a dull-to-strong- ache, very rarely sharp or acute. At its worse, I can barely function. My testicle is sensitive to the touch. Sexual activity always makes it worse. If I have an orgasm I have increased pain, sometimes for as little as 8-12 hours, sometimes for several days. Just getting aroused will often cause aching afterwards. Other things that usually aggravate it: some physical activities (especially lifting), sitting in a hard chair, vigorous hiking/climbing. Stress seems to worsen it too. Things that help(at least in the moment): being in a hot bath, sometimes rest, often times going for a walk, and tighter underwear seems to be better than looser. Sitting with my hips opened wide (feet together) also helps sometimes. The pain sometimes extends up into the side of my hip. It feels like my testicle is swollen, sorta like there’s a pouch surrounding it that is inflamed.
My original urologist said to avoid lifting things and wait 6 months. I waited 5 before I couldn’t take the pain anymore and went to see him again. He tells me I’m the one-in-whatever number case that has permanent pain. He says my options are reversal, testicle removal, or a “block” that might help for a little bit. None of which would be handled by him, and he says he’s done all he can for me. He never once even physically examined me after my surgery.
He offers to set up a second opinion with his boss. 2nd urologist is at least nicer, but mid-exam says “well, it (a vasectomy) isn’t really my specialty”. I ask him about activities to avoid, etc. He says to “just live my life” and sets me up for consult with the pain clinic.
Frustrated, I seek a 3rd opinion, with a doctor at a different provider. He says the original ultrasound doesn’t show much. Says I’m a 1-in-400 case. Advises against a reversal and encourages me to see the pain clinic. Honestly, I got steamrolled in that appointment. He flew through a bunch of questions, rarely let me give complete answers, and just seemed to want to get me out as fast as possible.
The 4 weeks since the latest appointment have been rough, as depression has set in. I have also been seeing a different doctor for some weird numbness I’ve been having since December. He has prescribed Cymbalta, with the hope that it both helps with the depression as well as influences how my brain perceives the numbness (and maybe the testicular pain). I also have the appointment with the pain clinic next week, although I’m not entirely sure what kind of “block” they’d be doing. I am willing to try it at least.
Does anyone have any insight? I really feel like I need to see someone who specializes in this, as honestly just poking around this site a little bit has been more illuminating than seeing 3 urologists. Does anyone have a recommendation for someone in the Northeastern USA? The urologists have been focused on my vas, but maybe that isn’t the exact cause? Anything I should know before going to the pain clinic?
Thanks for reading; at the very least maybe it’s been cathartic to type this all out.