Many thanks to the Web master and all of the other men who have shared their stories and provided important information to others considering a vasectomy!
I am 31 days away from undergoing the procedure, so my voyage is not yet complete; however, I wish to share what I have learned so far. (I’m scheduled for the Friday before Father’s Day…kind of ironic!)
The whole issue of vasectomy was something I’d never really thought about until a few months ago. I came home from work to find my wife smiling a big grin and literally rubbing her hands together. (She’d had lunch with a girlfriend whose husband recently had a vasectomy.) Still in my suit, tie and overcoat, I sheepishly asked why she was smiling like the Cheshire Cat, and she proceeded to ask me to get a vasectomy and backed up her reasons with information obviously obtained from her girlfriend. Not expecting such a request at that moment, I was taken back, and told her I would look into it. Frankly I was quite shocked by this request because I had previously had surgery so we could have children, now I was being asked to have surgery again so we couldn’t!
Let me explain: we’ve been married 12 years, and have three wonderful children: 10, 7, and 2. When we first started to plan a family my wife got pregnant within weeks. About a year after the first was born, we started trying again. This time months went by and nothing.
For some time my wife had commented about feeling something in my scrotum; I told her it was just one of the tubes that had always been there. So after my wife was cleared by her OB/GYN, I decided I would go get checked out.
A visit to a urologist revealed that I had a varicocele – a varicose vein in the lower abdomen which works its way down into the scrotum, causing increased heat which adversely effects sperm production. I was told by the doctor it is the most common cause of “second child” infertility in men! (Why it happens after the first but before the second, I don’t know!).
A semen analysis revealed my sperm had decreased motility and many were abnormally formed; again, all problems of increased heat in the scrotum caused by the intruding vein. Fortunately I was able to find a doctor who could surgically correct the problem using microsurgery. Since the vein was concentrated on the left side, a small (3″) incision was made in my pubes, through which the surgery takes place. Because the vein is intertwined with the cords and nerves, the entire left testicle was taken out and the vein removed. My recovery was uneventful, and my wife was pregnant within three months post-surgery.
However, ever since the surgery I have had discomfort. My left testicle is noticeably more sensitive; so if I cross my legs wrong, or one of the kids knees me while playing, I find I have a much lower threshold to pain on the left side! In addition, my left testicle often aches, and even feels dull and achy if I haven’t had an orgasm for a few days. I never mentioned this to my wife as I just accepted it and have learned to live with it over the past eight years. After my wife requested me to have a vasectomy I initially turned to the internet to get as much information as I could about the procedure, how it is performed, and the risks and benefits.
After reviewing much of the on-line information about vasectomy, I soon learned that some men suffer from post-vasectomy pain (PVP). While the percentage of men who suffer from PVP is small, I was concerned that since I already experience some pain/discomfort from the previous varicocelectomy, was I at an increased risk of developing PVP? I could not find an answer to this specific question on-line.
So, I decided to seek the advise of two doctors: one doctor who performs “traditional” vasectomies, another who performs “no scalpel vasectomies” (NSV).
My first consultation was with the “traditional” doctor. He was an older guy who was very friendly, and who shared that he too had a vasectomy after his fourth son was born. After he explained how the “traditional” procedure is performed, I told him I was concerned about developing PVP since I already had some mild pain from the varicocelectomy. He asked me to describe the pain, which I did. His initial diagnosis was epididymitis. During the physical exam he checked the placement of my vas and said everything was fine. He then squeezed the very top of my left testicle between two fingers. I nearly went through the roof. Just as he had suspected: the assault to the epididymis during the prior surgery was causing my discomfort and pain. A vasectomy would not interfere with the epididymis, and there was no increased risk of me developing pain post-vasectomy, since many men who suffer from chronic swelling of the epididymis go on to have uneventful vasectomies. He went on to explain that the surgery was done in his office…the man in the chair, legs up in stirrups while he does the snip. (Yikes, stirrups! I thought to myself…talk about feeling vulnerable!)
The second urologist who performs the NSV procedure confirmed that I should be at no greater risk of developing PVP because of my prior surgery. In fact, he added that the vasectomy may improve the pain/discomfort I already experience, since one of the treatments for men with chronic epididymitis is to cut and seal off the vas deferens, thus preventing bacteria from entering the epididymis and causing infection.
I was most comfortable with the second doctor, mainly because of his bedside manner, and also because he performed the a no-scalpel procedure, which I feel is less invasive than the traditional method.
Since I was now comfortable with the doctor and the fact that I was at no greater risk of developing PVP, I asked for help with another problem I was experiencing: inability to maintain an erection when wearing a condom. After learning that I take beta-blockers for a rapid heart rate, and the problem only occurs when I wear a condom, he stated that since the rubber squeezes the penis, and the medicine decreases blood flow to the extremities, I’ve got two things working against me. He suggested Viagra, but added that being able to go bareback after the vasectomy should help out my problem!
The second doctor performs the thirty-minute procedure in the same-day surgery unit of a local hospital mainly for the ease of obtaining a sterile environment and tools. (While I would have preferred having the procedure done in the doctor’s office, the stirrups were still in the back of my mind!) Before leaving the doctor’s office I signed the requisite consent forms, but told him I wanted a few days to think it over before scheduling the surgery.
Well, in the car on the way home, I too developed a Cheshire Cat grin and would have rubbed my hands together but for having them on the steering wheel: no worries of an unwanted pregnancy; being able to go at it like rabbits-whenever, wherever; the feeling of skin on skin with no latex interfering, and the likelihood of no more erection problems…what else can a man ask for?!?
When I got home I told my wife the good news, and told her that I now am looking forward to the day when we’re condom free. The next day I called the doctor’s office to schedule a surgery date. The next available date was some three months off. (Yes, he’s that busy..every Friday morning, four men… 8am/9am/10am and 11am!). Ever since I’ve been looking forward to my June 14th surgery and the possibility of being “sperm-free” before my 40th Birthday in mid-July.
Well, as luck would have it, the other day over lunch my wife informed me that she is not so sure she wants me to go through with it at this time because it is permanent, and she is not ready to face this decision. I tried to allay her fears and told her that we have done a great job at producing three wonderful children, and that I am comfortable with my decision, and now look forward to a new phase in our relationship, but she still feels that it is too permanent a decision to be made at this time. I haven’t postponed the surgery date, and hope she will change her mind before then. If not, I’ll cancel the surgery as I do not want to go against her wishes, even though I am totally relaxed and confident I have made the right decision.
I’ll keep you posted…………….
6th September 2002
My appointment was for 4pm on Friday, August 16. I was the doctor’s last patient for the day. I got to the office about 15 minutes early and sat anxiously waiting. At one point the doctor came out to the reception area to pick up a file. He saw me and asked, “Are you sure you want me to do this to you?” With some trepidation I replied, “I’m here, aren’t I ?” He smiled and left. The doctor’s comment didn’t make me nervous, but afterward I felt even more anxious.
After a few minutes a nurse came over to me and asked me to re-sign the Consent For Sterilization as required by New York law. (You must sign the consent, then wait more than 30 days, and then re-sign the consent before a doctor can perform the procedure!)
When I was done signing I told her I was a little anxious and wondered if they could give me something to calm my nerves. The nurse gave me a hit on the arm and said, “a couple of deep breaths and you’ll feel better!”
After what seemed like a lifetime the same nurse called me into the back. She took me to a room which had an examining table, a light bent over the table, and a tray of instruments/gauze/solutions. She said, “take off all your clothes, even your socks, put them on the chair, lie on the table on your back, and cover up with the sheet that’s there.” “Even my shirt?”, I asked sheepishly. “Yeah,” she responded, “you might get sweaty”.
So I did as directed. A few minutes later the doctor came in and started cleaning my scrotum and the surrounding area with betadine solution. He asked how I was feeling, and I said I was alright, and I did feel a bit better that he was there. I then asked him again if, in his professional opinion, I was at any greater risk of having chronic post-vasectomy pain afterward because I had a previous varicocelectomy. He said that there is always a risk of pain, but everything was fine anatomically, so there was no increased risk. I took his word for it and said “well, then lets go”.
After cleaning up the remaining betadine he turned his attention to the needle and bottle of xylocaine on the table. I leaned up onto my elbows and told him I wanted to watch. He said, “no way. If you watch I’ll be too worried about what you’re doing….no, you can’t watch…now lay down”. I did as I was told and responded: “Doc, if I don’t watch I’ll be really upset. I watch everything, even when I go to the dentist I get a mirror. And with this procedure I have a perfect vantage point!” While I was saying this he had taken the needle and was prepared for the injection. He advised I was going to feel a little pinch…which I did, but after it was over and he put the needle down I said, “what pinch?”
I then asked again if I could watch. He relented and said since I handled the initial injection well, he would let me. He then called the nurse in and asked her to pick up the back of the table and put a pillow under my head. The nurse looked puzzled, and he explained that I wanted to watch. She said, “I’ve been a nurse for 23 years and you’re the first patient that’s ever wanted to watch!”
Well, I proceeded to watch the entire procedure with the doctor explaining everything each step of the way. I found it really interesting as I’ve always been a frustrated lawyer who wants to be a doctor! There was minimal blood, and in all honestly, the worse part of the entire procedure was a somewhat uncomfortable tugging sensation. I was very glad the doctor relented and let me watch.
I was not given a prescription for pain medication, but if I felt it was needed I could call the doctor over the weekend and he would call it into my pharmacy. After resting for five minutes, I was up and dressed and out on the street hailing a cab.
The cab ride to the station was a bit harrowing. The cab driver was flying down Broadway, swerving to avoid buses, and landing on potholes. This made me feel a bit sick to my stomach, and I had to hold my abdomen to keep everything from jostling around.
When I got home I put on a jock strap which I’d bought because I felt that the extra support would make me more comfortable. I slipped on a pair of boxers and then laid down with a zip-lock back of crushed ice. I slept the remainder of the day until the next morning.
The next day I alternated between the couch and my bed, and kept the ice on. Before the surgery I thought that the need for ice was probably exaggerated because I’ve never found it to be helpful before, but in this case, I wanted the ice. It really made me feel more comfortable.
By the Sunday after my surgery I was walking a bit more and by late in the day I started getting a pain in my lower abdomen on the left side, so I laid down the rest of the day with ice. The doctor called that night to see how I was doing. I told him that I still had discomfort in my testicles, especially when I moved, and a sharp pain in my abdomen above my penis, which hurt when I walked, coughed or laughed. He said that the testicles are integrally connected to the kidneys, in fact they are formed in the kidneys, so when there is trauma to that area, it can often be felt in the kidneys. He said that often the pulling and tugging need to access the vas can cause temporary discomfort in the kidneys. I didn’t ask for any pain medication and he told me to continue resting and apply ice for the rest of the day.
I went to work on Monday. By early afternoon I was feeling tired and had increased discomfort in my testicles and the abdomen, so I left early and went home to lie down and apply ice, yet again. In retrospect, I should have stayed home all day, but I was glad to get out of the house and off my back!
By Tuesday the pain had decreased so I was able to return to work as usual. Each day I continued to improve and by a week later, I was almost pain free. I really only had pain if I crossed my legs or bumped into something. I felt around in the area and my testicles were no longer sensitive to the touch; what was sensitive was a small lump on each side next to each testicle. It felt like this lump was on the vas itself. I’m not sure if this was scar tissue, or residual swelling, or granuloma. But in any event, as I write this 13 days post-surgery the lump has decreased in size and the tenderness is almost gone.
On the eighth day after my surgery I decided that it was time to make sure my plumbing still worked. My wife was a bit apprehensive, especially when she saw that my testicles were still a bit discoloured, but I assured her that everything felt ok. I admit that it was a bit scary and I felt a twinge or two as we got further along, but everything worked fine and we noticed no change from before surgery. Needless to say, I was relieved!
As I write this today, I can say that I have no regrets about my decision. The discomfort I experienced is now nearly forgotten. And for the luxury of not having to wear condoms or worry about birth control for the rest of my life, I would do it again! And at the risk of sounding crude, I now feel hornier than ever before. I don’t know if its anything physical or if its all psychological, but once I get the all clear from my doctor, my wife better watch out!
11th December 2002
Just wanted to share my good news: my urologist called earlier this week. He said, “I have good news for you…you’re shooting blanks!” I laughed hearing my doctor to talk to me like that! He then asked: that is good news isn’t it? (as if I’d changed my mind and somehow regretted my decision to have a vasectomy) “Of course”, I replied, to which he added, “good, now just don’t hurt anyone”. I laughed again.
Well all I can say is that since we got the news, my wife and I have been going at it like teenagers. I cannot say how LIBERATED I feel! For the first time in years: no fumbling to get a condom off the bedside table, no piece of latex desensitizing my dick, and as I’m about to climax, no worries that something will go wrong and she’ll get pregnant.
It is absolutely wonderful, and this is perhaps the best sex I’ve ever had in my life…who would have thought at age 40!! My wife even suggested we go to a sex shop and buy some toys! I was like” Yeah baby!” I snigger to myself sometimes cause we’re having sooooo much fun…who would have thought?!?!?
Last night after we were finished making love (the third consecutive night in a row) I layed on my back, my wife snuggled at my side…she started laughing to herself. “What?”, I asked. “Its like Richard’s new toy” she said, “you want to use it every day…and I love it” “It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made” I added. My wife agreed.
As far as my varicocele goes, I am happy to report that even though I had a prior surgery to that area to correct an infertility problem, I have not experienced any problems or complications as a result of the vasectomy. I remain pain free – not even the slightest ache or throbbing as I had before the surgery! There is one difference, however, and its difficult to explain: before my vasectomy when I was horny I could physically feel that I needed to (pardon the crudeness) “shoot a load”…this physical need combined with being horny made me want to get my rocks off. Now, I still get horny, but I no longer get that feeling that I need to shoot one off. Its no big deal, but I used to like that crazy combination of horniness and my physical desire to start humping someone!
So as you can see, despite all of my apprehension, I have no regrets and feel I have made a decision which will enhance the quality of my life and my wife’s! The decision to have a vasectomy was not an easy one to make. It took several months for me to feel comfortable with it. But after learning everything I could about the procedure from this and other sites, I decided that it was for me.
29th March 2003
I just wanted to update you on my post-vasectomy recovery!
Here is it seven months after my vasectomy and all was well until last week. I started getting a dull ached in my right testicle. Pain grew more steady and stronger, so I had a feel to see what was going on. I felt a lump the size of a small grape–not on the testicle, rather it was just in there amongst the tubes. Over the weekend the pain grew worse, especially when I sat down, got up, or attempted to cross my legs. I went to the doctor yesterday and was diagnosed with a granuloma in the spermatic cord where the vas was cut. Nothing can be done except take anti-inflammatories and wait for my body to absorb the thing.
I had known that granulomas are a complication which can occur post-vasectomy; what I didn’t realise is that 1) they could be so big and 2) that they could hurt quite so much. So I’ve been on 600mg of Motrin three times a day. The pain isn’t as bad, but the thing feels just as big (and its not much fun having three grapes down there!)
So now I’ve had a post-vasectomy infection and after seven months a large granuloma. Can anything else happen?
Don’t misunderstand me..I still have no regrets about having the procedure done, and up until last week I’ve been as happy as Larry not having to worry about birth control. I consider this problem an inconvenience that I have to deal with, and once its over I’ll be humping away without a care in the world! In fact, I’ve become a spokesman for vasectomy; since my procedure, a good friend and my brother-in-law have had the procedure done (and neither of them have had any complications-bastards!)
3 years post-vasectomy
I’ve been chatting with a guy who got an infection in one of his incisions a week or so after his traditional vasectomy. He was full of questions (which he apologised for thinking they were stupid questions), some about the procedure and recovery, some about things he could expect down the line. I was honored to tell him about my experience. I drafted a response and provided my thoughts on the questions asked. He replied expressing gratitude that I answered his questions in a honest way based on my own experience. This has prompted me to write an update nearly 3 years since my vasectomy!
Aside from some technical questions about pain and burning, which I won’t get into, he wanted some reassurance that he had made the right decision, and asked “Is sex really better?”. I answered whole-heartedly: YES SEX IS BETTER after a vasectomy.
Before my vasectomy, my wife and I seemed to have sex with the fear that “an accident” was imminent…this created a psychological barrier which held us back. I was either fumbling with a condom or trying to calculate the right time to pull out…this does not make for soul satisfying, gut wrenching orgasms!
But now, the fear of an unwanted pregnancy is a thing of the past. Sometimes, even three years afterward, I have to stop and think how lucky I am not to have to worry about it. My wife will sometimes snicker about how happy she is to have this burden lifted from her. And as we all know, aside from the momentary physical pleasure of sex, the psychological aspects are much greater. Now we are free to fantasize and experiment and do whatever we want, wherever we can!
The freedom from worry has been truly liberating for both of us and has contributed to a better sex life….we’re closer then ever, we’re exploring each other’s fantasies, and we’re doing it more often-wherever, whenever we can. I’ve even had my penis pierced and now sport a very sexy Prince Albert. (Sorry if that makes you guys who are recovering from surgery a bit squeamish, but there really was no pain in the piercing and ring is a great accessory which the missus loves to play with!) Pictures below.
The other issue he was concerned about was the volume and appearance of semen after vasectomy. I have noticed that the volume of my semen is slightly less then it was before the procedure. Also the consistency is not the same: its now more watery and not as milky white in appearance. I don’t know if these changes are from age or the vasectomy, all I care about is that its sperm-free!
So as I approach the 3rd anniversary of my vasectomy I am a “Happy Camper” as they say…better sex, more sex, no worries…I couldn’t have asked for more!
Thanks to all who have contributed to this site, and to the webmaster who takes the time to keep it updated and running, and given others the information and support they need to make this important decision. The combination of medical literature and personal experiences make this site invaluable to anyone who is contemplating a vasectomy, and I am proud to share my experience with others.