Some men in Minnesota experience chronic pain after a vasectomy, known as post-vasectomy pain syndrome (PVPS). While pain is normal for a few days post-vasectomy, those with PVPS will continue to have pain months after the procedure. The pain can be severe enough to interfere with daily life. It can be a dull, general pain, or be sharp and localized, and many report that the pain gets worse during intercourse. In the past, the incidence of PVPS was thought to be very low (<1%), but recent surveys have shown that up to 15% of men who get a vasectomy experience PVPS, while 2% experience chronic pain that significant effects quality of life. Dr.Shu performed about 1000 vasectomies, only one patient came to have a follow up due to ongoing post vasectomy pain after three months of vasectomy.
Treatment and cause of PVPS may be different patient-to-patient, as everyone responds differently to the procedure.There are multiple potential causes of post-vasectomy pain syndrome, including sperm granulomas (small clusters of sperm cells), neuroma (pinched nerve) due to inflammation, vasectomy being too close to the epididymis and epididymal congestion.
Generally, PVPS is treated initially treated conservatively, via heat/cold therapy, scrotal support, NSAIDs, etc. If this isn’t enough, other drug therapies are sued. If pain is debilitating and continues despite treatment, it may require the excision of a granuloma, epididymectomy (removal of epididymis), or vasectomy reversal. These methods, while more invasive, have a fairly high rate of resolution.
While PVPS is certainly something to take into account when deciding on whether or not to get a vasectomy, it is not common and in most cases very mild. For most, the freedom granted by a vasectomy far outweighs the (very low) potential of complications.