Just wanted to do a quick check in at the end of September here. My triathlon life has been in shut down mode thanks to a recent visit to the urologist. 6 days ago, and five days after the Huckleberry 100, I went under the knife and had a vasectomy. No, this not some witty metaphor for some hardcore, nut busting workout. Thanks to my wife’s super uterus (seriously, she can get pregnant watching a documentary on submarines and seamen), I am really talking about having the “snip snip.”
As there are probably a few other triathletes out there considering this procedure, I thought I would briefly share some of my experience and hopefully answer all those burning questions you tri-geeks may have.
- At first, I thought it was kind of ridiculous to actually plan when I got the procedure around my mediocre age group triathlon career. But, after my first consultation visit with the urologist, this turned out to be a wise decision. I was basically recommended no riding or running for two weeks after the procedure. No strenuous exercise at all for a week after the procedure. Two weeks off can be pretty hard to stomach in the middle of the racing season, so you definitely want to plan accordingly.
- Okay, how about pain during the procedure. It was basically worse than the typical dentist visit, but nothing outrageous. Maybe slightly more unpleasant than standing in line at athlete check at an Ironman or using a porta potty at mile 25 of the run. I thought I would just get two quick numbing injections and that would be it. Turns out that was an underestimate. First, I got two injections to numb along the spermatic cord. This was an “interesting” shooting sensation. Then, there were two shots at the incision sites in the scrotum. More quick stinging and burning. While Lidocaine takes care of the sharp pain associated with needles and scalping, it doesn’t do much for the deeper “pulling” pain that comes with manipulating the vas deferens. So in other words, as the doc was moving the vas around, I had two definite sensations of being gently kicked in the groin during the procedure. I was awake the whole time. I had no pre or post procedure pain medicine other than Advil and a beer. Blood loss was minimal and looked worse than it really was.
- To keep things safe, they tape the other goods out of the way. And you might want to save yourself some time and shave beforehand. Yes, down there.
- Okay, now to recovery. Despite countless jokes about bags of peas and other horror stories you read online, I am happy to say I had minimal pain after the procedure. That’s right, it’s actually an internet medical story that doesn’t involve all hell breaking loose! Right after I had some prolonged bleeding that stopped within an hour or two with pressure. I used some Advil over 16 hours to help with some soreness. But by the next morning, I was walking around. I didn’t need any ice at all. Honestly. The doc recommended tight fitting boxers or sports briefs. Fortunately, us triathletes have plenty of tight fitting compression garments, and that did the trick well. Two days after, I was out shopping at Target. Three days later I shoveled river rock. Four days later, I swam. Six days out, I still don’t think I’m ready to quite run yet. While the discomfort is pretty miniscule with everyday activities or even gentle swimming, jostling around definitely is still unpleasant. No way to ride yet, but I think probably in another week I’ll be ready.
In the end, I have to say this was fortunately an over hyped experience for me. If I wasn’t ravaged by the annual return to school shared sinus infection among my family of five, I would be pretty chipper. Yes, there are lots of different opinions on the safety of the procedure, ethical considerations, and the notion of auto-immunity. I’ll be honest, if that is what you want to read about, you need to find a different internet site. I’m just a triathlete who is done having children and wants to keep on running and riding. If you have any questions in that regards, please let me know and I would be happy to answer!