My friend Dr. Joe Scherger and I enjoyed a sunny Sunday brunch at a garden eatery in DC. Unfortunately for the neighboring restaurant-goers, we engaged in a very loud and animated conversation about vasectomies. Joe is a family physician and men’s health expert who has recently become aware of “post vasectomy pain syndrome” through an online group that he leads. I noticed two men nearby crossing their legs reflexively and pretending not to be eavesdropping.
Apparently, as many as 10-15% of men may experience a prolonged period of testicular pain after undergoing a vasectomy. As common a complication as this is, Joe believes that very few men are sufficiently warned about it during the informed consent process. The pain may be caused by swelling (once the vas deferens is cut there is no exit point for newly generated sperm) or inflammation. In some cases, the body forms “anti-sperm” antibodies and attacks the sperm generating tissues in the testes. In other cases, small nerves in the area are damaged and heal poorly (causing neuromas).