A man may opt for a vasectomy if he does not want to impregnate someone in his lifetime. However, most of them experience lower abdominal pain after vasectomy as a response to their body’s fast healing, resulting in inflammation and secondary pain. But what is it really like after a vasectomy procedure? Is the pain bearable? Is it serious? Can it be relieved?
Continue reading to find out.
Overview of Post-Vasectomy Pain Syndrome
Post-vasectomy pain syndrome (PVPS) is characterized by continuous or intermittent testicular pain lasting more than three months. About 1–2% of men who undergo a vasectomy experience this discomfort, which leads to some form of medical treatment.
In some cases, the pain may begin within one month following the procedure and continue for years following the surgery. Pain can be ongoing and short-lived and resolved with anti-inflammatory tablets, but can also become chronic. It can be mild to moderate chronic pain and in rare cases, patients may experience debilitating pain. But do not worry because there are treatments used for PVPS.
The experience of lower abdominal pain after a vasectomy is only indicative of your body’s response to the healing process, which includes some inflammation and secondary pain. Typically, it is mild discomfort for 5-10 days and occurs in the scrotum area, but can also affect the groin or lower abdomen.
Symptoms to look for
PVPS symptoms range from mild to severe and are as follows:
- Continual genital pain
- Lower abdominal pain
- Pain when exerting yourself
- Pain from erections or sex
- Experience pain from ejaculation
- Erectile dysfunction
Factors causing PVPS
In terms of the symptoms exhibited and the treatment required, there are a few main causes for testicular pain following vasectomy:
Neurogenic: Some chronic pain is caused by sperm build-up in the vas deferens trapped in fibrous tissue, which then causes intense pain during activities that agitate your scrotum, such as running or cycling
Granuloma: Sometimes sperm leakage occurs during or shortly after a vasectomy, causing a lump and swelling.
Epididymitis: Epididymitis results from an increase in pressure inside the epididymis, which is a tube that transports sperm from the testes to the urethra. Normally, men continue to produce sperm after a vasectomy and the cells are reabsorbed by the body. However, they can develop a buildup of sperm in their vas deferens which can cause the epididymis to burst under pressure.
Testicular Torsion: If left untreated, PVPS can twist the spermatic cord that carries blood to the scrotum and cut off the blood supply.
Diagnosis of PVPS
PVPS must be distinguished from acute postoperative pain. Most PVPS patients suffer from persistent orchalgia for greater than three months after surgery. However, some patients experience pain while ejaculating, having intercourse, or erection.
The diagnosis of PVPS should ultimately be made as an exclusion diagnosis. A three-month follow-up history and physical is recommended after surgery. A scrotal ultrasound using color-flow Doppler should be administered to every patient suffering from chronic testicular pain. It is recommended to obtain a routine urinalysis, a urine culture, and a semen culture to determine whether there is an infection.
Treatment for PVPS
When the root of PVPS has been identified, treatment can be as simple as anti-inflammatories prescription or as drastic as removing the epididymis. Most urologists take a conservative approach and try non-surgical methods first, such as applying hold and cold compresses or wearing a scrotal-support garment.
An injection of anesthetics or steroids may be necessary if the pain persists. Additionally, removing the granuloma, the epididymis or reversing the vasectomy could provide pain relief while negating sterilization.
While vasectomy is a safe and routine procedure, the decision to become permanently sterilized is a major life change. Even though there is a very slight chance you could suffer chronic pain after you have a vasectomy, the odds strongly favor you that the heaviest discomfort you experience will come from getting up off the couch to find the remote.
Physical Therapy as a non-surgical treatment for PVPS
Pelvic floor physical therapy can also be beneficial in the treatment of PVPS. People who undergo a vasectomy may experience significant pelvic pain. Due to the abnormal testicular pain they are experiencing, their pelvic muscles tend to tighten up. A physical therapist can teach them pelvic floor exercises to relax those muscles and take the strain off of other areas such as the scrotum and testicles.
Pelvic floor therapy relieves pelvic pain and discomfort associated with testicular pain by relaxing the scrotum and testicles muscles. By using this therapy, you may be able to increase blood flow and relieve some symptoms.
At PELVIS.NYC, we have successful treatments of post-vasectomy pain. By alleviating their symptoms, we enable them to carry on with their daily lives. We listened carefully to identify the source of their pain and formulate the best possible treatment.