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Pain After Vasectomy

Updated on October 4, 2009

What do they cut during a vasectomy?

Here you can see the testes, the epididymides, and the tubes (vas deferens) that are severed by vasectomy. Unfortunately, damage to paravasal nerves and inflammatory scarring can cause permanent pain in some men.
Here you can see the testes, the epididymides, and the tubes (vas deferens) that are severed by vasectomy. Unfortunately, damage to paravasal nerves and inflammatory scarring can cause permanent pain in some men.

How Common is Persistent Pain After Vasectomy

Despite the common view that vasectomy is completely safe and has no long-term side effects, several post-vasectomy surveys have confirmed that some men have persistent pain after vasectomy. These contemporary studies are published in peer reviewed medical journals and document this problem in a significant percentage of vasectomized men. While most men have trivial short-term pain, some men have pain that lasts a few months, and up to 15% of men still complain of testicular or other scrotal pain seven months after their vasectomy. (Leslie et al 2007 Click here to read the abstract.) After one year, the incidence may decrease, but this has not been proven, and a study of two groups of men one year post-vasectomy and ten years post-vasectomy showed no difference in incidence. (Manikandan et al. Click here to read the abstract.)

There are six post-vasectomy survey studies that document the incidence of persistent pain. Severe pain, affects on sexual function, or quality of life are reported in 2 to 6% of vasectomized men in these studies. Summaries are available below and you can access the abstract by clicking the direct links:

1) McMahon et al - 253 surveys sent, 172 responded, and 33% complained of chronic testicular pain. The time interval from vasectomy averaged 4 years and 5% of the men complained of pain during sex. One in sixty respondents regretted having the vasectomy due to chronic pain. (Click here to read abstract.)

2) Choe/Kirkemo - 470 surveys sent, 182 responded, and 19% complained of pain. The time interval from vasectomy averaged 5 years and 2% of the men complained of pain that affected quality of life. Nine percent of the men were dissatisfied with their vasectomy. (Click here to read abstract.)

3) Morris et al - 198 surveys sent, 101 responded, and 52% complained of some level of pain. The time interval from vasectomy averaged 3 to 4 years and 6% of men complained of pain severe enough to seek treatment. (Click here to read abstract.)

4) Ahmed et al - 560 surveys sent, 396 responded, and 5% of men had pain that lasted longer than three months. For some of these men, the pain was severe enough to offer microsurgical denervation of the spermatic cord to treat the pain.
(Click here to read abstract.)

5) Manikandan et al - Surveyed two groups,  A. Ten years after vasectomy and B. One year after vasectomy. In group A 460 surveys were sent, 182 responded and 14% had chronic pain. Four percent of the men rated their pain as greater than five on a scale of one to ten (VAS>5). In group 460 surveys were sent, 220 responded and 16% of men complained of pain. Six percent of these men rated the pain as greater than five on a scale of ten. (Click here to read abstract.)

6) Leslie et al - 625 patients were approached, and 593 completed the preop survey, while 488 completed a postop survey seven months later and 15% of men reported chronic pain. Four percent of these men reported pain with sex and fourteen percent rated their pain as greater than five on a scale of ten (VAS>5).
(Click here to read abstract.)

Some methodologic flaws could have affected these results which may also be subject to self-selection bias and response bias, however, the numbers are still concerning. If one assumes that ALL of the men who did not return the surveys had NO pain, the pooled incidence of persistent pain from the studies cited above would still be 289/3026 or about 10%. Most of these authors suggested that chronic pain after vasectomy be included in the vasectomy consent process. This recommendation has not been universally adopted. Chronic pain is the most common post-vasectomy outcome that can affect quality of life.

Post-Vasectomy Surveys

Article Author(s)
Incidence of Persistent Pain
Affected sex or Life Quality
Leslie et al, 2007
4% affected sex
McMahon et al, 1992
5% affected sex
Choe and Kirkemo
2% affected QOL
If you wish to read the abstracts of these surveys, click on the links above and they will open a window to Pubmed, from the NIH.


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      Jimmy 4 years ago

      Four weeks after Vasectomy. Left test is back to normal. Right test is in pain. No bruise and no purple sack and no swelling. I followed up with doctor and the doctor said 10% experience this. He prescribed me steroid and antibiotic. It did not help much. I know 4 weeks after op is still too early to make a conclusion. I just wish I will not end up in CVPS group in the long run.

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      David 4 years ago

      I had a vasectomy over 5 years ago and have persistent pain on my left side. It feels like the cord is sore and hurts during and after sex. It gets swollen and then goes away. I hate it and hope that it doesn't last the rest of my life. The pain is right above my left testicle.

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      sean 4 years ago

      had vasectomy 2.5 years ago.Almost immediately after procedure had pain in left hip and will not go away. Dull ache in teticles to varying degrees of ache, a gentle squeezeing sensation most of the time. Epididymis swollen and hard, tender ALL the damned time. Prostate infection 2 nd week after procedure, dribbling, allergies have gotten body is rejecting me. Wish I never had gotten it done, no help, doctors quick to fill referral for procedure but abandon you when you come back with complications.....

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      Ray 4 years ago

      I had a vasectomy 17 years ago, I am 61 now). Over the past 7 years I have had recurrent problems with pain at the back of my right testicle. My Doctor has prescribed Trimethoprym which I have taken for two months, this has reduced pain in my testicle bot not in my lower right abdomen. The pain is intermittent and occurs when I do heavy work. I can go days without feeling any pain but then it will reappear and be with me for days. My sex life is not affected. Most of the web sites I have looked at discussions about the problem but non mention if there are potential other problems which may occur if it goes untreated. It would be helpful if further research could look into what happens over a period of time and what drugs, if any have any affect on the problem.

      I would be content to suffer the intermittent pain if I knew that it was not going to develop into another problem?

      I also have a cyst on my testicle which has not been problematic but has been in the area since my vasectomy.

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      HF3456 5 years ago

      I had a vasectomy about 15 years ago. The recovery took longer than the doctor told me it would. My testicles ached for a long time and my vas deferens tubes felt like they were pulling on my testicles. Over time, the pain went away.

      About a year ago the tubes starting hurting again during sex. Since then, they still occasionally hurt. It is a jabbing pain that goes away after a few seconds. I went to my primary physician and he said that he has had LOTS of men coming in with vasectomy complications years after the procedure.

      The pain has not gotten worse over the last year, but it does make me say ouch when it hits.

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      KIPI61 5 years ago

      my husband has asked me to comment here, he's German. in 1992 .I was refused an operation to tie my tubes, due to bad health. Our GP really pushed ( we were advised to have no more children) that my husband should have vasectomy, Yes, we were told that there was a minimal 1 in a million chance that something could go wrong, was the quote. This operation has caused havoc in our marriage. The pain my husband experiences having sex makes me cry, it makes me feel so guilty even wanting to sleep with him. It was so much so that my husband developed a " I can't touch anybody" phobia, that had to be treated. We were separated for 2 years, because ( my opinion) he just couldn't cope with not being able to live a normal live - sex life. We are back together , our sex life? sometime he just can't cope with the thought of having that pain and we don't have sex for 4 or 5 months. Oh we have tried what the Dr s said and had sex everyday to release any pressure . We have been back to different doctors, some even had the cheek to say, its all in his mind, although that has been dismissed. Unfortunately we don't have the funds to sue believe me we would if we did. I can only press anyone thinking about having this OP. to think again, we certainly wouldn't ever go through it again. Yes we know people that have had it successfully done, BUT 5% aren't successful and if it happens to you, its 100%

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      jack 5 years ago

      I have done mine 4 months ago, I started to have pain and discomfort 2 weeks after the procedure. I used to have great sex, since then, my sex life is gone. I went to couple of doctors, they told me just wait for another two months. It really has an impact on my life. If anyone thinks about a V, think it twice!

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      diveman_10 5 years ago

      Eighteen (18) months 2 surgeries a handful of procedures too many to count doctors appointments and $100,000 later and still have left side groin pain. Not sure what my next step will be, maybe a reversal. I am just not sure I want to take the risk of another surgery or have each side of my scrotum sliced opened to have it done. My vasectomy has ruined my sex life and damaged my relationship with my wife. In hindsight I wish I would have stayed with condoms, it would have been cheaper and pain free. I am posting this in the hope that someone is doing their own research on vasectomies prior to surgery and realizes the true risks, not the pro “advertising”, of a vasectomy.

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      Mark 6 years ago

      I had a vasectomy 9 months ago. I have had severe lower abdominal pain at least 75% of the time since I had this procedure done. Even when it goes away it reoccurs with the slightest activity. Anything from lifting my children, intercourse with my wife, and anything athletically makes the pain return. It usually last for three to four days before subsiding as long as I don't do anything that could cause it to flair up. It would say it is somewhere around a 6-7 on the pain scale and has really effected my life. Everything from how I parent to intimacy with my wife has changed. If I had the choice to go back nine months, I would not have had this done.

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      Mike 6 years ago

      I had it done 6 years ago an am still in pain. I have no idea what might trigger it. I go months without pain or it is reoccuring on a weekly basis. The pain is dull and sharp at the same time, similar to a direct blow to the scrotum. During the proceedure I could feel a sharp pulling in the same area with the same pain and have never been the same. The pain is from the bottom of the right testical, up along the outside edge and into my abdomen. Standing, sitting, ice, pain killers do nothing for the pain. I have even asked if removing the testical would stop the pain and if necessary both. No joke. I have seen 5 urologists and basically they feel me up and go "hmm" well your the 0.1% of the poulation that has comlications and then they send me on my way. Diagnosis in 30 seconds or less, than you so much medical "proffessionals".

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      andy 7 years ago

      in pain , had op twice now 6 weeks and on pain killers !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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      Brain doctor 7 years ago

      Come over to our support group at yahoo groups called vasectomy pain.

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      Rick 7 years ago

      I'm 40 years old and had my vasectamy done 2 months ago.I went back to the DR. about 3 weeks later with pain in my right testicle. He prescribed antibiotics and said it may be a small infection,not very common but does happen. It is now a month later and i still have a acheing throb at times and it hurts when getting in and out of cars all day,not very good when your an auto technician. I have 5 great kids and thought I would take this responcibility to have this done since my wife went through so much pain giving birth 5 times, now having second thoughts.Can't turn back now I guess i just have to man up.

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      Paul 7 years ago

      I'm 38 and had a vasectomy 5 months ago and have had severe pain ever since on my left side. I've seen the doctor only when I had the vasectomy done and I would only get the nurse practitioner when I went back I've even had my family doctor look into this and get no answers. Now I have severe pain when I get aroused and sometimes I can't have an orgasm or very little comes out. Is this normal and will this go away? Can anyone help me?

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      Tony 7 years ago

      38 years old & had a vasectomy 8 months ago. A few weeks ago i started getting severe pain in the testicles/groin when aroused and it gets worse during sex. Has happened almost every time since then... hoping it goes away cause it's putting a real damper on sex.

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      Jeff 7 years ago

      11 years since vasectomy, still in pain. Thousands spent on reversal, denervation, epididymectomy. No help. Better to just blow you testicles off with a shotgun. Cheaper then a vasectomy, and same result.

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      Dr Ellis 7 years ago

      Consider coming over to our support group at Yahoo Groups called "Vasectomy Pain."

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      benjamin 7 years ago

      i had this done 9 months ago and ever scine i have experienced a verry sharp pain in my testies durring sex. and it has been getting more and more painfull. i was not informed of this and the doctor acctuly told me otherwise.i fear it will need another surgery and now realy wish i had not got it done .

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      Brain Doctor 7 years ago

      Persistent pain after vasectomy is very common, yet no one talks about it and men are not warned prior to the procedure. Luckily, only about 15% of men still have pain after 6 to 7 months. You could join our support at Yahoo groups called vasectomy pain. There are over a hundred men there who have persistent pain.

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      Steven Gadd 7 years ago

      I had my vasectomy 4 weeks ago and have suffered excruciating pain in my lower abdomen all day. Went to the doctor and left testicle is tender and sore to touch. The pain goes up from left testicle to lower abdomen and lower back. Had to do emergency stop in my car today and it was like a kick in the balls. The pain I have felt all day is the same abdomen pain you get when you are kicked in the testies. I have been prescribed antibiotics. I am gutted, as I deliberated for months wether to have it done and it was my surgeon that talked me into it. After the op he said there had been complications. I was off a week after the op with internal bleeding. It was healing nicely until today. What a nice reward after four beautiful children to be 'kicked in the balls'.

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      Dr. Ellis 7 years ago

      You can join our support group on Yahoo Groups called "Vasectomy Pain". There are over 100 men there with chronic pain after vasectomy and we now have a urology expert on the board.

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      J DeBoer 7 years ago

      I had a vasectomy about 7 weeks ago and am still having pain in the testicales. After 4 weeks I went into the doctor and he prescribed some antibiodicts. Those are gone and my right teste is still very tender and it does not feel normal. It feels like there is a bump or several bumps on the bottom of it. Any idea as to what I can do? Thanks

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      Jon J. 8 years ago

      I had my vasectomy over 2 yrs ago. And just recently started having the pain talked about in this forum. It is not persistent or chronic. But when it happens it is excruciating. I would compare it something similar to being kicked square in the b***s. and it last for several hours if not over night. Usually it is after sex and has been more of a recurring thing in the last few weeks. I thought maybe it was one of the clips or something along those lines. As i too was never informed of the long lasting effects of the "scar tissue" I am fearing now a return to the doctor to have this treated. What of it?? pain pills? or yet another surgical procedure. I hope this gets out to guys all over so they have a more informed decision before they choose to have this done.

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      mark b 8 years ago

      i am a married man of 31 and i had a vasectomy 7 months ago, i was not warned about any long term affects and now my sex life is greatly affected as i am in great pain upon reaching an orgasm, i wish i never had it done and having a chance i would consider sueing the doctors.

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      Dr. Ellis 8 years ago

      I hope some men with persistent pain after vasectomy will post a short narrative here (a few lines) to highlight this issue that is not routinely covered during the informed consent process for vasectomy. Most of the men I have spoken with who have persistent pain after vasectomy were not warned of this potential life-changing outcome.