Scalpel. Incision. Puncture. Testicles. Unless you’re playing word association with Leatherface, these things just don’t belong together. Your balls are definitely going to get violated during a vasectomy — and that’s gonna hurt, at least a little.
It sucks. But hey — so can an unwanted pregnancy!
Vasectomy pain 101
Depending on how much sedation you get, you may experience pain or an uncomfortable tugging sensation when getting a vasectomy.
You’ll typically be awake for your vasectomy, although some doctors will perform the procedure with the patient under sedation, if requested.
If the anesthesia is working, the procedure should be mostly painless, if still slightly traumatic — after all, it’s not every day that someone even handles your balls, let alone pokes holes in your scrotum.
However, the incisions are small and generally heal quickly if you rest your scrotum for a few days. Only in rare cases does pain continue for more than a couple of weeks after surgery.
Getting a vasectomy is nobody’s idea of a good time. But while getting snipped can include some pain and discomfort, a vasectomy is the quickest and easiest way to achieve permanent birth control.
As surgery goes, it’s easy compared to what women go through to get their tubes tied. And the long-term health risks are minimal compared to having to take hormone-laden birth control pills every day of your adult life.
When your Daddy days are done, here’s how much pain you and your danglies can expect when you get a vasectomy.
We also break down how to know if the pain you experience after vasectomy surgery is normal or a sign of trouble where you need to get your doctor’s hands back on your sack, pronto.
Some pain or discomfort is normal after a vasectomy. This pain usually resolves without treatment as your body heals — as long as you take it easy while you recover.
But 1 to 2 percent of betesticled folks will experience long-term pain after a vasectomy. Post-vasectomy pain syndrome (PVPS) can happen for a bunch of reasons, including:
- damage to spermatic cord structures (the procedure messes with your sperm tubes)
- nerve compression
- back pressure from epididymal congestion (basically your sperm tubes get clogged)
But how does PVPS really feel? “It feels like you’re getting kicked in the nuts all of the time,” says Dr. Sijo Parekattil, director of Avant Concierge Urology in Winter Garden, Florida, and Associate Professor of Urology at the University of Central Florida.
That’s… ow. No.
Post-vasectomy pain levels
Unless you do something dumb like hitting the gym the day after surgery, your post-vasectomy pain should be pretty mild and manageable with over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers and rest, says Parekattil.
PVPS, on the other hand, typically includes the kind of pain that can interfere with your quality of life and requires medical attention. PVPS patients may experience pain during ejaculation, intercourse, or erections.
Other symptoms include:
- tenderness in the area of the vas deferens and/or epididymis (a structure above each testicle)
- a feeling of fullness of the vas deferens
- general scrotal pain
- pain during sex
- pain while straining like when you have a stubborn poop
How long will it hurt
“After a vasectomy, most men feel a bit of soreness or achiness, but it’s usually minor and resolves after a few days of ice and rest,” says Dr. S. Adam Ramin, a urologist and medical director of Urology Cancer Specialists in Los Angeles. Mild pain should clear up within 2 weeks of surgery.
With PVPS, constant or intermittent testicular pain can last for 3 months or more. You might need additional treatment to resolve this.
What to expectomy during a vasectomy
This is what happens during The Big Snip:
- First, the urologist sticks a needle full of anesthesia into your scrotal skin and the epididymis. This numbs the area before snipping commences.
- They will then make either small cuts or punctures in your scrotum.
- Your urologist will then pull out the vas deferens (the tubes which carry semen to the penis) far enough to cut them and cauterize each end.
- Finally, the surgeon pushes the tubes back into the scrotum. They seal it back up, usually with stitches or skin glue.
Yeah, erm… What?
Here’s how to de-ouchify your dudeberries after the snip (all real science words, we promise):
- For normal post-vasectomy pain, put ice packs on your scrotum the night of your surgery and the day after to reduce pain and swelling. You don’t want literal blue balls, though, so don’t freeze them for more than 20 minutes at a time.
- Wearing an athletic supporter — aka jock strap — will help speed healing and ease pain.
- Keep your scrotum clean and dry to avoid infections, and wait 2 days before resuming nonstrenuous activity.
- Give your balls a break and refrain for a week from bouncing them around while jogging or straining them with weightlifting. (Or juggling them, or doing any weird stuff with them, or… just leave them alone for a while, alright?)
- Wait a while before ejaculating. When you do finally come again either solo or with a partner/s (and you will — vasectomy doesn’t stop that), don’t be surprised if some discomfort in the groin or testicles accompanies your release — that’s normal.
Depending upon your pain level, urologists may prescribe medication like meloxicam to ease short-term pain or gabapentin to target nerve pain.
What about PPVS, because holy sh*t
If you’re experiencing PVPS, treatment often begins by taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for a 4 to 6 week period.
Some doctors might also recommend acupuncture or pelvic floor therapy, a form of physical therapy targeting your nether regions. If that doesn’t work, you might need more surgery to relieve your pain (yaaay. 😑)
Depending upon your individual symptoms, surgery could target nerves in your scrotum, removal of the tubes that hold sperm (epididymectomy), or a reversal of your vasectomy.
In extreme cases, you might need to lose one or both testicles. Yikes.
When to see a doc for follow-up
If you’re still experiencing pain more than 2–4 weeks after your vasectomy, contact your doctor.
Your post-surgical visit with your urologist is a good time to discuss any lingering pain.
PVPS is a chronic condition that may or may not begin immediately after surgery — some case of PVPS have taken months or years to develop.
You can expect at least some pain and discomfort during and after a vasectomy. Anesthesia usually blunts surgical pain, while post-surgical pain typically resolves in a few days as long as you rest.
Rarely, some people feel long-term pain and require further medical treatment.
Still, pain in your hanging hams shouldn’t come as a surprise. If you’ve put a lot of thought into why you want a vasectomy, they are largely safe and could change your life for the better.