Joe’s story: My vasectomy experience – NHS conventional

I used your site extensively prior to my vasectomy (which I had today) and would like to put in my experience as I go through the next few months to hopefully help others. I believe there is an adverse selection problem when it comes to reading personal stories on vasectomy because most people only want to write about it if they’ve had problems. I haven’t had any problems, and I want others to know that it can be absolutely fine.

I am 34 and have 2 young kids (one 5-year-old and one 18-month-old). As with most people here who decide to have a vasectomy it was a joint decision with the wife once we knew that we did not want to increase our family. I started the whole procedure by discussing it with my GP. He referred me to the local hospital where I met the urologist who discussed the procedure with me and explained some of the risks. He then examined me and decided that a general anesthetic would be appropriate in my case as my vas were quite difficult to palpate. For the record, my procedure was a standard NHS vasectomy ie/ 2 incisions with a scalpel and closed ended. I had read an awful lot about NSV, open-ended, closed-ended, etc but in the end, I was comfortable with this procedure as the surgeon had much more experience in the traditional vasectomy.

The day of the vasectomy

Fast forward 3 months and onto the actual procedure. I was pretty nervous in the days leading up to the procedure wondering whether I was doing the right thing. One attempt to have sex with a condom was enough to convince me that I was indeed doing the right thing. Somehow I just can’t get off with one of those on me. Onto the procedure, the key things I worried about were nurses seeing me naked and shaving my privates and having to move my knob around, getting an almighty erection, and the side effects of the general anesthetic. None of these turned out to be an issue at all. The issue of shaving and erections etc was a non-issue as the nurses put me to sleep before doing any of this. I remember waking up in the ward after the procedure feeling fine. I was wearing a jockstrap and felt no pain. There were no residual after-effects of the anesthetic I just felt fine with no nausea. It is an absolutely weird experience having a general anesthetic because of the total amnesia you have so one minute it’s 10 am and in what you think is just the blink of an eye 2 hours have passed, and you’ve had the procedure. Very strange for a guy like me who has never been admitted to a hospital and I recommend it as anticipatory nerves and anxiety cause most of the problems I feel. The nurses brought me a cup of coffee and a cheese sandwich when I came around which was most welcome seeing as I hadn’t eaten for a while (as a precaution because of anesthetic). The nurses told me to do a wee, gave me a few instructions, and then sent me off with my sample bottle and told me to hand it in to the lab in 16 weeks.

The wife came to collect me and took me home. By end of the day, I felt a slight discomfort down there but not pain. I did a bit of icing with peas in freezer bags around the incision areas for 30 mins or so. Took a couple of ibuprofens and went to sleep with no problems.

After the procedure

On the second day still not much pain at all but some discomfort around the incision sites. Did a spot of icing with the frozen peas again. Again controlled this discomfort with ibuprofen, wasn’t really needed but felt it would reduce inflammation and speed recovery so I took them anyway. I felt a bit randy and got an erection so I was wondering what to do with this. In the end I thought who cares? I’ll give it a go so got the right hand ready and went away. I am delighted to report no problems whatsoever – no pain on ejaculation, no difference in sensation – everything working fine. The gunk looked exactly the same too. I was so happy about this I can’t tell you. A lot of my anxiety had been around the sensations afterwards and whether it would feel different or worse painful.

Well, I’m on the third day, and still no issues. The wound sites are not that painful. I’ve had 2 showers since coming home and no problems with bruising, infection, and so on. I think the key is rest and I’ve been getting plenty of it.

On Friday 6th April I am still recovering well but have had some discomfort verging on pain around the abdomen area yesterday night. I think this was due to slight swelling around the area of the tubes. I felt them and they did feel a bit tender. I suppose when they have to deal with 400 million sperm piling into them every day it’s going to take a while before the necessary biological processes to break them down kick in. I took a couple of Ibuprofen and slept well. The pain isn’t really there this morning. Still, it is worth knowing that even if you feel well enough not to overdo it. At the end of the day, it is a surgical procedure and there will be some side-effects I guess. The wounds are healing quite well and I expect the stitches will disappear by about Monday (a week after the procedure). The boys seem around the same size as normal and there is no sign of granuloma to report as of yet.

I want to get the discomfort into perspective though – it’s not severe and even if I had to continue with this for a couple of weeks it wouldn’t be a problem. I’m not doubled over in pain or anything like that. I’ll be trying to take it easy over this Easter long weekend and hopefully be fine when I go back to work (office job) on Tuesday.

3 week update

Coming up to 3 weeks so I thought I’d give an update. The stitches came out today with a little help from me. I heard they are supposed to dissolve within 7-10 days and since it’s 18 days since the procedure and the white ends were still visible I thought I’d give them a little pull and see what happened. They came out very easily. The wounds are nicely healed too.

There has been no pain now for about a week so I’m feeling pretty happy about the whole thing. I’m a bit hacked off that I am supposed to wait for 4 months before I give the sample though. I emailed the consultant and he said that ejaculations are more important than time so once you’ve done 30 ejaculations you can give the sample regardless of the time. I’ll probably go and give the sample next week then 😉

Once again without wishing to upset anyone who has had or is currently having problems post-vasectomy all I can say is that it has been a perfectly reasonable experience for me and I would recommend this procedure for those that have decided that their families are complete. It really isn’t that big a deal from a medical standpoint.

July 7, 2007 update

Got the all-clear on June 8th! The timeline has run like this:

  • Oct 2006 – Met GP to discuss vasectomy. Was referred to a specialist at NHS hospital.
  • Nov 2006 – Met urologist who talked me through the procedure and examined me. Suggested general anesthesia.
  • April 2nd, 2007 – Procedure carried out.
  • June 2nd, 2007 – Submitted sample for test.
  • June 8th, 2007 – Got the all-clear letter.

All in all, I am very happy I did it. I do not have any ill effects from the procedure and I didn’t feel the procedure was much of an issue anyway (that said I was under a GA). The anticipation is far worse than the actual procedure.

What can I say – I highly recommend this to those that have completed their families and don’t want the hassle of family planning anymore. Looking forward to loving life free of worry – spontaneity here we come!

I will update this entry from time to time to let you know how it’s going but the bottom line is for me anyway the closed-ended traditional vasectomy appears to have been a success. I don’t view myself as one of the lucky ones because we are in the majority. I view those that have problems as the unlucky ones as they are by far in the minority and this is a fact that often gets overlooked and leads to a lot of anxiety unnecessarily.

January 2011 update

It’s been nearly 4 years now since I had the vasectomy done. I can happily report no ill effects or unusual pains, everything feels fine and normal. Oh, and I haven’t had any more kids either!

I remember reading loads about all sorts of different types of procedures – open-ended, closed-ended, etc, etc but the reality is the surgeons are really the guys who know best on this issue. There is no point with such limited knowledge attempting to self-prescribe your own procedure in my view. I can certainly recommend the NHS for this procedure as they carried it out free of charge and as I have mentioned there have been no problems at all since it was done.

Submitted by Joe

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