Post Vasectomy Pain Forum

Subreddit for collecting PVPS stories

All,

I’ve been making frequent posts to www.reddit.com/r/postvasectomypain for several months now. Partly to motivate my own search for stories. Partly to provide a place where skeptics or people who who just want to know what PVPS is really like can go and get intimately acquainted with the phenomenon.

I’m posting links to stories from several places in social media, including this website. When the stories are long, I provide excerpts to hit the highlights.

You might want to check it out. You may find it is a helpful resource. Because it’s organized by person, not by topic, it provides an alternative perspective from sites like this one. The aggregation of stories from different sites, including many stories by men who apparently know very little about PVPS, might help surprise readers and persuade them that the problem is real, more common than they realized, and being downplayed by doctors.

I have enough of a backlog to continue posting for a long time, and other people are free to post there as well, so check back for new stories.

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I’ve added a new feature to the subreddit that you might find interesting:

https://www.reddit.com/r/postvasectomypain/wiki/timeline

This wiki page is a timeline of lots of links to PVPS stories. There are 246 stories in the timeline so far. They span 50 years from 1969 to 2019. I plan to add more.

The stories are indexed by the date of vasectomy. I think it paints a relentlessly upsetting picture that can do a lot to overcome skepticism about the reality of what we are experiencing. Anyone who watches the whole grim parade go by should have a good understanding of what risks they are signing up for by getting a vasectomy.

The stories are gathered from 30 different websites, but most frequent contributors are as follows:

If you see your story on the timeline but I put the wrong date, feel free to message me with a correction.

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Update on the timeline:

Total story count up to 300 now.

I have added a “Codes” column, and populated it for every story in the timeline.

There are also codes statistics, which currently stand as follows:

Code Meaning Count Percent
LTP Long term pain 222 74%
LL Lower Libido 49 16%
EDY Erectile Dysfunction 33 11%
DC Disappointing climax 93 31%
PSX Pain during sex 70 23%
SGR Got a reversal 58 19%
SGE Got an epididymectomy 9 3%
SGO Got an orchiectomy 4 1%
SGD Got a denervation 6 2%
PAR Partner’s perspective 20 7%
OTR Other 11 4%
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Timeline now has a chart of story count over time, which I’ll include here as well:

image

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I noticed an interesting correlation between the story statistics and a journal article from 2008.

Here are the latest story statistics:

Code Meaning Count Percent
LTP Long term pain 269 73%
LL Lower Libido 57 16%
EDY Erectile Dysfunction 39 11%
DC Disappointing climax/sensitivity 107 29%
PSX Pain during/after sex 81 22%
SGR Got a reversal 68 19%
SGE Got an epididymectomy 14 4%
SGO Got an orchiectomy 7 2%
SGD Got a denervation 8 2%
PAR Partner’s perspective 28 8%
OTR Other / Unknown 21 6%

Here is the data from the journal article:

Symptoms%20of%20PVPS

(Link to article)

Looks to me like the random sampling of social media stories about PVPS is generating a pattern similar to the one published int he 2008 study.

Judge for yourself:

Compare%20Study%20and%20Stories

If this means anything, it seems likely that social media is under-representing the frequency of “Pain with Intercourse”.

Also worth noting… urologists will still vigorously deny that vasectomy has anything whatsoever to do with lower libido or erectile dysfunction. A commonly heard theme is that people who fear this are fundamentally confused about anatomy, and should be reassured that there is no physical way possible that cutting the vas deferens could have this effect. All it is is a conduit for sperm.

If they are pressed on this point, they will sometimes acknowledge that men may experience lower libido or ED after vasectomy, but they will immediately follow this up with the point that men without a vasectomy may have these conditions – or that if the vasectomy is to blame the pathogenesis must be psychological. These men with soft willies must either have some strong cultural baggage equating the ability to father children with their status as males in the society. Alternatively, perhaps they resent their wives for being pressured into the surgery.

It appears that a little more than 1/4 of men with PVPS experience lower libido and/or erectile dysfunction. I wonder what percentage of men who have an uncomplicated vasectomy experience these problems? What is the reasoning presented to argue that this should be thought of as a psychological problem?

We have lots of reports from men here who say that reversal improved their sexual dysfunction issues. Is this typical of psychological problems? Do urologists intend to argue that the men have benefited from a $10,000 placebo?

In my opinion, more study is warranted before smugly pronouncing a verdict that attempts to invalidate this concern and the experiences of the men who end up suffering this outcome.

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I added a couple of columns to the Timeline page called “Months” and “Resolved?”

https://www.reddit.com/r/postvasectomypain/wiki/timeline

The “Resolved” column says “Yes” if the symptoms went away. “No” means the symptoms were still present at the time of the last report. “Partial” means that some of the symptoms went away, and some did not.

If the symptoms resolved or had partial resolution, the “Months” column shows how long after the vasectomy the symptoms resolved. If the symptoms did not resolve, the “Months” column shows how long the symptoms had persisted at the time of the last social media post.

I have only coded 174 stories this way, which is less than half, but here is a graph of the results so far:

Here is another analysis that I found interesting.

As I have added more and more stories to the subreddit, I’ve updated the statistics to show the counts of various types of complaints. After a while, I noticed that the “Disappointing Climax” percentage seemed really stable at around 30% of the stories. I was curious to see this visually, so I took all of the stories – currently 525 – and put them in chronological order, and then plotted the number of stories that mention “Disappointing Climax” and the number of stories that do not mention “Disappointing Climax.”

Here is the result:

DC vs NonDC

That shows a very, very consistent ratio as new stories are added to the set of data.

To get another look at that ratio, let’s take the stories in chronological order, bucket them in groups of 40 stories, and plot the percent that reported DC:

DC 40 buckets

There is a bit of a trend visible here – going up from 25% at the beginning to 30% at the end. Trend to my eye looks small relative to the variance, so probably isn’t too significant.

One more chart. This shows how many stories that do not mention disappointing climax show up between consecutive stories which DO mention disappointing climax:

DC Interval

Again, this plot looks very consistent from the left side (early stories) to the right side (later stories.)


These stories span 50 years from 1969 to 2019, with the bulk describing vasectomies conducted from 2006 to 2019. I don’t know how important this high degree of consistency over many years is, but it does serve to increase my confidence that I am finding a “real” signal here. For example, this pattern argues against a hypothesis that more and more men are complaining that they have a disappointing orgasm because they have read complaints that other men authored. Another feature I am not seeing is the presence of any weird zones that would suggest the activity of some spammer spreading false, abnormal stories, or the same story repeatedly under different identities.

Mind you, these are just the stories that mention disappointing climax. It seems likely that this will systematically under-count the fraction of PVPS stories that have disappointing climax. But we have some evidence here that about 25%-30% of guys with long term vasectomy complications will complain about their disappointing climax.

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Hi Ethan, this is fascinating and very valuable work you are doing! Just had a quick look at the reddit page, I don’t see my story there - Vasectomy November 2018, reversal Feb 2019, still in pain / on meds. I did notice a disappointing climax during the time that my vas was not patent. That has continued to a lesser extent after reversal, although I think that is primarily due to the Cymbalta that I am on.

Thanks!

I have your story on my spreadsheet, but have not posted it to the subreddit yet. I have several hundred stories in my queue and usually I pick one at random every day and post it to the subreddit and add it to the timeline. Some of them sit for a while because they take a long time to abridge into a 1-2 page summary. I try to do one per day because that seems like that will keep people coming back. I don’t think I could do a quicker pace than that. Some of them sit for a while because it seems to early to know where the story is going. I avoid posting stories until the vasectomy is at least 1 year in the past.

If you have a reddit account, you’re welcome to post your story to the subreddit, and I’ll add it to the timeline. If not, at some point in the near future I’ll post your story.

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Hi Regrets2,

I’ve posted your story here today:

I was just updating some statistics for /r/postvasectomypain and wondered if I could do some rough order-of-magnitude estimates of how many guys with PVPS end up with their story in the subreddit.

If you assume 500,000 guys get vasectomies in the US and I really don’t know but let’s say another 200,000 guys (based on population) get vasectomies in the UK, Canada and Australia – all large countries that show up in my collection, that’s 700,000 guys per year.

If you assume that 2% of those men get PVPS, that’s 14,000 per year with PVPS.

This chart shows about how many men got PVPS for every 1 man that I captured the story of:

capturerate

So what do you think? Looks about right? For every 1 PVPS story, there are a few hundred men walking around who did not document their story online, or whose story was deleted, or who I just have not found yet? Seems all pretty reasonable to me. The number of missed guys is getting smaller every year, which makes sense too given the trend toward more people using social media. Well, more people of vasectomy age. :slightly_smiling_face:

For fun, here’s the capture rate over time if you use the 1:1000 statistic that many urologists seem to think is the correct incidence:

Capturerate2

So how likely does it seem that I found 10% of the guys from 2017 who developed PVPS? Well… maybe but it seems less plausible than the first graph.

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Internet Archeology

I have found a number of efforts over the last 20 years to talk about PVPS on the internet. Here is a list of various websites/blogs/forums that have dealt with the topic over the years:

URL Founder Started Status
alt.support.vasectomy David Brown 1999 Abandoned due to spam around 2008
vasectomy-information.com David Brown 2000 Live
dontfixit.org Ken Hauber 2000 Live
vasectomy-information.com:80/forum David Brown 2008 Offline
vasectomysideeffects.net rndyvlkr ? 2008 Offline
painaftervasectomy.blogspot.com Anthony Ellis 2009 Live, last post 2009
vasectomypain.org Anthony Ellis 2009 Offline in 2014
Facebook: Vasectomy support group for men 2010 Live
vasectomypainstories.org Anthony Ellis 2010 Offline in 2014
health.groups.yahoo.com/group/VasectomyPain/ Anthony Ellis 2009 Offline in 2014
vasectomysideeffects.blogspot.com James Ward 2011 Live, last post 2014
vasectomyrisksandsideeffects.blogspot.com Informant 2013 Offline 2014
postvasectomypain-pvp.blogspot.com PVP sufferer 2013 Live
Facebook: Post Vasectomy Pain Syndrome - Support Group 2013 Live
postvasectomypain.org Victor Ng 2014 Live
vasektomie-gegner.blogspot.com Dominik Riedo 2017 Live
Facebook: Vasectomy Support Group 2017 Live
reddit.com/r/postvasectomypain Ethan Fischer 2018 Live

If anyone knows of any other PVPS focused online projects, I’d appreciate hearing about them.

Link to this list is here:

https://www.reddit.com/r/postvasectomypain/wiki/websites

Thanks - Ive joined the facebook groups, both private, so pending admission. Will see what the content is like.

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Symptom clusters

Here is a pie chart that breaks down what symptoms men report through their social media posts:

symptom clusters

LTP = Long term pain (e.g. aching, zingers)
PSX = Pain during sex (pain during ejaculation, soreness after sex)
DC = Disappointing climax (less good or strange feeling during ejaculation)
LL = Lower Libido
EDY = Erection trouble

Comma separated list indicates that the man reported all of the symptoms. (E.g. LTP,DC means they had long term pain and disappointing climax)

Color scheme is as follows:

Pink = Long term pain
Beige = Disappointing climax
Dotted = Pain during sex

“Other” means “other combinations” of the same symptoms, but the pie slices are too small to be interesting.

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Another data point on the “Disappointing Climax” ratio. It has been a year since I posted the observation that disappointing climax seems to hover just under 30%. Back then there were 525 stories on the subreddit. Now there are 850 stories, of which 230 feature disappointing climax. So that’s 27%, similar to where it was last year.

I also found this quote by Andrew Dawson, a reversal doctor in the UK:

‘PVP tends to appear 3-12 months after the procedure,’ he says. ‘Many men take time to do anything about it. They hope it will go away but often it doesn’t. It may reduce as you get older but not fully go away. In about a fifth of cases there’s also a loss of sexual interest and satisfaction. Pain and sexual dysfunction go hand in hand. Later onset PVP is also possible.

https://www.menshealthforum.org.uk/vasectomy-kick-balls

I don’t know where he got his figures, but they roughly line up with my observations on social media.

This issue, the loss of libido and sexual satisfaction, gets almost zero acknowledgement from medical people. The only time they touch the topic is to say that it absolutely cannot happen. The only way it is treated by our culture is to make fun of men who think it is a possibility.

You also see this issue come up frequently in Anthony Ellis’ writing. He was an important PVP information hub about 10 years ago, saw thousands of stories, and commented several places about the men who had reported to him that their sex lives were ruined by vasectomy.

I haven’t found any hard science on this, but my guess is that at least 5 guys out of every 1000 who get a vasectomy have their sexual satisfaction severely damaged as a result. The challenge in collecting the science is that it is incredibly difficult to get men to talk about this complication.

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Interesting thoughts. I guess the word “severely” falls somewhere between 1 and 10 assuming you are scaling the impact of disappointing climax.

I would be curious to know more about those 850 stories. What is your sampling ratio? Are they all pain guys? A mix of pain guys and non pain guys?


That was an interesting article, but WTH was this?

Quote

"But I’d put it like this: if you block up any tube in the body, you will cause pain. The vas is no different. So 95% of men get away with it".

Wait a minute… What? Here we go again - another paradox.

-Difference Between Oxymoron and Paradox-

"People are often confused by the difference between oxymoron and paradox. Paradox is a literary device in which a statement or group of statements features initially contrasting ideas".

My process for adding stories to the subreddit basically goes like this. Every day I look around for post vasectomy “problem” stories. I have several websites that I go hunting for these stories. Google, facebook, twitter, reddit, etc. Everywhere I can think of.

When I find a URL that seems promising, I add it to my spreadsheet. Rows in the spreadsheet that correspond to a story that should end up on the subreddit get coded as ready to go.

I don’t have a precise set of criteria for marking stories for inclusion, but roughly speaking if the guy is having some sort of significant trouble and it has been a few months since the vasectomy, that gets the story marked. The kinds of trouble I see most often are long term pain or sexual dysfunction (libido/disappointing orgasm/ED).

Once the story is marked for inclusion, it goes into a list that is sorted randomly, and I just pick one off the top every day and post it to the site. Maybe the guy has had pain for 3 months. Maybe he has had pain for 25 years. Maybe he had pain for 6 months and then got better. I try to avoid the temptation to discard stories because they have a happy ending, for example. I would consider that to be dishonest, and anyway it’s nice if guys have good stories to keep hope alive if they have PVP. That said, I do sometimes throw out stories that are borderline. Like the guy had some mild occasional discomfort at three months and was worried about it and then reported that everything was great at 5 months… I might leave that on the cutting room floor just because it was such a low-impact complication. There aren’t really that many in this category. Most guys who report seem to either have a very easy vasectomy or something serious enough to get on the list. Some guys report stuff that they perceive as “major” but that I think is not major. For example, they smelled burning flesh during the procedure and felt like they had been kicked in the nuts for two weeks. To me that is not the kind of war story I’m looking for.

Stories that are really long tend to languish in the marked pile for a while because they take a lot of time to abridge. So if I am in a hurry I skip down to a shorter story.

To give you an idea of the size of this operation, right now there are about 230 stories marked for inclusion, and about 12,000 URLs that I’m tracking and will eventually disposition as being a story or not a story. I would guess that maybe 2000 of those contain stories that I would post to the subreddit, assuming I keep working on this project that long.

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I only see guys who say they have a wonderful experience suffered no pain and the dr was amazing. As long as guys are putting that sort of crap on here you will never get your message across I offen wonder why they have to post of there amazing vasectomy. Why are they on here. You know its proper bullshit

It sounds like your pool involves mostly the minority.

I certainly don’t think this number is even remotely close unless this statistic (if you even want to call it that) is only relevant to a specific pool which lacks a significant amount of data from the big picture.


I don’t know what the actual statistics are regarding diminished orgasm, but based on everything I have ever seen or heard, it is a substantial number. My guess is that number would be scalable as well. Didn’t notice any difference, noticed a bit of difference, quite a bit of difference, and so on… I can think of several reasonable and logical reasons as to why that may be the case or is the case.

Keep in mind that the majority of the mainstream data regarding the post vasectomy orgasm (at minimum) is carefully worded. To me - it is a trick of words. Who assumes that having your vas deferens disconnected from their testicles will not change anything at all - not one bit? I would guess that anyone that is thinking reasonably and logically would assume or should assume that something about their orgasm is going to change post vasectomy.

My guess is that the majority of men just don’t complain about what they already assumed beforehand. There is a trade off involved. To me, it seems reasonable and logical that the majority of men would trade no risk of pregnancy for a reasonable amount of diminished orgasm. What is reasonable to one man might not be reasonable to another. Think scaling again…

Someone that was previously mentioned had similar thoughts.

I was trying for a lower bound there. Even though that sounds pretty low, when you consider about 4 million men get a vasectomy annually that’s 20,000 men who end up with severely damaged sex lives due to vasectomy every year, and nobody in medicine wants to acknowledge that it is happening at all.

For what I’d consider a plausible upper bound, let’s say about 10% of guys who get a vasectomy have enough chronic pain to get on my list. About 73% of men on my list are there for chronic pain, so that means that 13.6% of men with a vasectomy could qualify to be on the sub. 457 men out of 850 had either low libido, disappointing orgasm, ED, or pain with sex, which is 53%. Multiply that by 13.6% to get 7.3%

So on the high end, that’s 73 men per 1000 who self report with sexual dysfunction of one sort or another. Certainly there could be men who have an altered sensation that they are not reporting, etc. etc.

Run the same math with the assumption that 3% of men could qualify for my list and you get 22 out of 1000 with sexual dysfunction.

So 22 to 73 per 1000.

Obviously this is not awesome as far as precision and based on a lot of assumptions, but it’s the best I can do.