this is not intended as a forum for medical advice, only discussion.
Subject: A Physician's Story
"…I am an emergency physician….
"I want to express my admiration to
you for sharing your story and concerns with all of us in the article in
the New Times. I want to tell you how sorry I am that you are suffering
from this procedure. I am so impressed how brave you were to so honestly
portray your life with your pain. It took courage to tell your story.
I'm sure without a shadow of doubt that it will help lots of people in
"I also had a vasectomy around 1985.
I remember having a mild discomfort in my testicles. I also had mild
pain with sexual excitement and with ejaculation for about the same
length of time. I asked my urologist about it and he told me that it
would go away soon. Little did I realize that it would take about three
years to go away. Now I don't even think about it, but I sure did at the
time. I can't imagine the suffering you go through. I am so glad you
have learned meditation. I know your spirit has allowed you to get much
closer to your wife over this. She sounds like a wonderful supportive
"I have been the 'medical' member of
the only support group in this area for people suffering with all forms
of chronic pain…. There is nothing like a group of loving supportive
people outside your family who can listen without judgment to give you
the kind of support you may not get in the circle of friends or family
you have, even with a wonderful supportive wife.
"God bless you."
Response: This brings up several things for me.
First and foremost, there are people in the medical community who
exhibit incredible compassion and empathy for patients who suffer at the
hands of other physicians. For this I am extremely grateful. Secondly,
it can happen to anyone. This is not the only instance of physicians who
have experienced post-vasectomy complications themselves. Numerous
others are contained in the literature.
Subject: Post-Vasectomy Pain
"I had a vasectomy in San Luis
Obispo in late July of 1989, after the birth of our second son. I have
felt for some time, as described by you in the New Times, that my life
is spent wondering why I feel like someone planted their knee in my
groin. I have been to general physicians, unnamed of course, who defied
my description of the nagging sensations and limited pain. They
diagnosed epididymitis, like you said, and discounted any very close
inspection of my testicles which, in my opinion, (supported by your
informative article) contain little cysts that weren't there before. To
think that there is so little that we can do (surgeries that don't
necessarily work?) to make us feel better is a terrible reality to stare
"This article made me think and made
me write about how I feel. I know that it has not been 'all in my head',
borne from some latent psychological trauma induced by the fear of being
neutered, as alluded to by my now estranged spouse. I got a lot of
valuable information out of your story and do sympathize and empathize
whole-heartedly…but did not get much hope that something can be done
medically to make me feel better."
Response: Thanks for your submission. I offer you,
as I offer to anyone else suffering from or interested in this
condition, my book that contains many of the available references and
resources on the subject. Just ask. Beyond that though, I am committed
to offering this web site and any other viable means of communication
available to help each other make it through this circumstance.
Personally, I have found this form of patient-to-patient communication
to be an invaluable resource in sorting through my available options,
and reinforcing for myself that it is not just "all in my
head." Unfortunately, getting this through the heads of some
doctors is difficult. Don't give up.
Subject: Right on!
"Thank you for raising our public
awareness. I too, underwent this surgery and wonder about long-term
risk. I appreciate your courage."
Subject: Post-Vasectomy Pain
"I was sorry to read the trouble
that you have been having. I too had the procedure 6 or 7 years ago and
have had some minor problems, especially the first couple years after
the operation. Nothing to compare to your problems. What I just realized
is that my discomfort has mostly gone away over the last couple of
"Maybe giving yourself time and
dealing with it yourself are the best. I would be very reluctant to go
under the knife again if I were you. Even when an operation goes well,
it seems to take a long time before you really feel yourself again. Good
Response: Thanks for your comments, and I have to
agree with you in many ways. I have heard repeatedly from men
experiencing post-vasectomy pain that they only started feeling better
when they stopped having surgeries and stopped letting doctors mash on
them all the time.
I have had several requests to post my
feelings as to why doctors don't diagnose or discuss post-vasectomy pain
and other complications more often, and why it is poorly publicized.
First, this is a highly personal matter
and men tend to be embarrassed about it, thinking that there is
something uniquely wrong with them, as their doctor may have told them.
Mine sure did. I think they are trained to say these problems are one in
a million, because I've probably heard that close to a million times.
Often, pain and other side effects will
take years to develop after the vasectomy is performed due to the
long-term development and action of antibodies, so doctors don't connect
the events and diagnose post-vasectomy pain as something else, like
epididymitis. In fact, congestive epididymitis is one of the early terms
applied to this syndrome by medical researchers. It all stems from the
fact that a man's body continued to produce sperm at 50,000 or so cells
per minute and they have nowhere to go except to rupture out into the
bloodstream where they were not naturally intended to be. The body
reacts to this invasion; often subtly, but sometimes dramatically. Many
of the men who have posted messages in this forum know about those
For some men, the pain only occurs during
sexual excitement and/or ejaculation. For others like me, it's all the
time and more when I attempt sex. Talk about refocusing your priorities.
When men do get in to see the doctor about these types of problems, many
doctors will mash on their sore testicles for a while and often tell
them it's all in their head and go see a psychologist. Alternately, the
doctor may say, gee, that's too bad, why don't we try cutting your
testicles off and see if that helps the pain. I'm not exaggerating here.
It's been offered to me and to others I know more times than I care to
count. These are not options most men are willing to pursue, so they
stop seeing doctors and find a way to live with the pain.
For those who pursue treatments, they are
often remarkably unpleasant (to put it mildly), and most doctors are
unwilling to report the results because it's an embarrassment, they
don't want to believe that it's a problem, and don't want to make waves
in the medical community. Even at this, in over 150 medical journal
articles I've found (see the reference section) over 900 cases mentioned
of significant post-vasectomy pain and complications. This research
speaks repeatedly of the significant changes that occur in a man's body
after vasectomy and the painful results that can occur. This is just the
tip of the iceberg.