Getting a vasectomy: ‘My scrotum’s career ended with an underwhelming online booking form and a scalpel’
Like any big moment in life, preparation is key when it comes to getting a vasectomy. This includes no Googling, making sure someone picks you up post-op and crucially, a high-quality shaving oil.
The waiting room looked like any other, right down to the out-of-date magazines splayed across an IKEA coffee table. The only noticeable difference here was the clientele. The place was populated exclusively by sheepish looking men, who buried themselves in their smartphones as if they were terrified of making accidental eye contact, or worse, recognising someone.
I started to panic. What if the doctor’s hand slipped? What if it got infected? What if a nurse walked in mid-way through the procedure and smirked? I realised I was being ridiculous and kicked myself for not taking a page of Olympic diver Tom Daley’s book – knitting would be an excellent distraction in that particular moment.
By the time the doctor called my name, I was stewing a carousel of anxiety. Then I realised if I didn’t stand up they’d announce my name even louder to this room of strangers who knew exactly why I was there so I shuffled forward and the fate of my vas deferens was sealed.
There is really no elegant way to put this, so I’m just going to say it. I Peter Kirwan: CEO of the Dublin Grooming Company and under-15s Community Games silver medallist, was there for a vasectomy.
If you’re a man, even reading the word “vasectomy” has likely made you cross your legs and wince. I understand. No matter how minimally invasive the procedure has become, we’re still talking about surgical equipment fiddling around in the most sensitive part of your anatomy.
The Internet is not your friend
After numerous conversations with my wife, we decided that it was time for my balls’ glittering career to come to an end. Unfortunately, the end of a scrotum’s career isn’t marked with Champagne and a number being retired – a scrotum’s career ends with a rather underwhelming online booking confirmation followed by the tip of a scalpel.
After hitting “Enter” on the form and paying the deposit, I entered “vasectomy” into my smartphone calendar and committed to not Googling anything. I then immediately caved.
The Internet is great – you can find funny dog videos in a few clicks, see the faces of long-distance friends and family for next to nothing, shop without leaving the house. However, it’s also a toxic wasteland of misinformation, especially when it comes to bringing a blade to your balls. And no, I don’t mean grooming, although let’s talk about that.
Preparation is key
Hats off to Vasectomy.ie, they sent me a comprehensive document outlining exactly how I should prepare for my appointment. This document outlined everything I should do from the type of clothes I should wear (loose-fitting) to the kind of underwear I should wear – a fetching pair of snug cotton briefs.
The notes were all straightforward except for one point that outlined in excruciatingly clinical language that I needed to shave my entire pubic region in advance.
Now to some younger readers, taking a razor to your ball sack isn’t a big deal. Hell, it’s just another Friday night. However, I missed the manscaping revolution. I’m from a different generation. I didn’t grow up with smartphones, Ariana Grande or TikTok. I grew up with Oasis, Tamagotchis and unkempt pubic hair. Shaving my meat-and-two-veg was an entirely new experience. Of course, as inexperienced as I was with pubic hair shaving, I had one thing going for me – I own a male grooming company that makes some of the best shaving oil in the world.
This brings me to the most important tip to help reduce any undue vasectomy discomfort. When you’re shaving your balls, for God’s sake use quality shaving products. You don’t need me to tell you that the area underneath your underpants is sensitive.
The skin of your scrotum is thin and can be easily irritated. So shaving your balls with quality shaving oil isn’t a suggestion, it’s an absolute imperative. I can only imagine how much more painful the post-procedure recovery would have been if my skin was raw and inflamed from sub-par grooming products.
I used the organic Shaving Oil to prep the area and to protect the skin around my nads alongside a thin layer of quality shaving cream.
Considering I’d never given my public hair so much as a quick trim before, I was pleasantly surprised to learn the shaving oil works just as well on the pubic region as it does on a chin. It only took ten minutes to shave off 25 years’ worth of uncontrolled growth.
Finally, I applied some moisturiser to the area three times before the procedure to ward off the influence of that alcoholic spray they use at the beginning of the procedure. Dry skin and that stuff down there will equal you making the Macaulay Culkin scream face in Home Alone.
“Now Mr Kirwan, take off your trousers and hop up on the bed.”
The doctor was tall, with short grey hair and an easy smile. He spoke in that doctorly tone of polite detachment that I’m sure all medical students are required to take a class in before being granted a medical license.
This familiar tone went a long way in easing my nerves.
“He’s done this a thousand times,” I thought. “Look at him, he doesn’t even think it’s weird that I’m sitting here with my trousers down. If anyone’s going to slit my vas deferens, I’m glad it’s this guy.”
So far so good.
However, I’d driven myself to the clinic and was determined to drive myself home (big mistake, huge, but I’ll get to that), so I opted for local anaesthetic rather than being put to sleep. Here’s the thing about a local anaesthetic for a vasectomy: you’d imagine having a syringe jammed directly into your testicles would be painful and you know what, you’d be right.
Getting the anaesthetic was easily the most painful part of the actual procedure (thankfully I’d already warded off the alcohol sting with my moisturiser plan) but it passed quickly and after about ten minutes you feel enough like a eunuch for the main event to begin.
If you’re squeamish, look away now
And, as it turns out, there’s actually no scalpel at all.
A tiny hole is put in your scrotum, the doctor then uses a terrifyingly named device called a Haemostat to separate the vas deferens from the skin. From here, the Vas deferens is lifted through the scrotum hole, allowing the doctor to plug this tube before gently returning the vas deferens to its original spot. And that, my friends, is a vasectomy.
For some men, the procedure can be completed through one single hole, for other men, it requires two. While the first hole punched in my sack wasn’t exactly painful, it was a little more uncomfortable than I would have liked. I considered closing my eyes and thinking of Ireland but this wasn’t the time to tough it out. This was surgery on my ball-sack for goodness sake. Therefore I asked the doctor for a little more anaesthetic. He nodded and handed me a bite-mark-riddled wooden spoon.
Only joking! He administered a little bit more anaesthetic and I didn’t feel a thing during the second part of the surgery. That brings me to my penultimate vasectomy tip, there’s no shame in a little more pain relief.
Afterwards, the doctor handed me a few leaflets on post-procedure recovery, recommended some over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and paracetamol for the pain and then wished me a good day.
The entire procedure only lasted about 25 minutes.
By the time I was back in the car park, I couldn’t help but scratch my head and wonder why I’d been so nervous. As I climbed into my car, I only felt the vaguest of pains in my nether regions. Little did I know this was the beginning of a hellacious drive home.
Yes, with hindsight, I absolutely should have heeded Vascetomy.ie’s advice to have someone drive me home. They don’t require it if you opt for a local anaesthetic, but they do advise it.
Of course, I completely ignored this expert medical advice. As I was pulling out of the hospital car park, the anaesthetic was just beginning to wear off and by the time I was driving down a busy Dublin street, my balls felt like they were on fire. The pain had a heartbeat, throbbing agony pulsated through my nether regions. Every time I had to change a gear it felt like Mike Tyson was using my testicles like a fast bag. The language I used when the keys in my pocket brushed against my ball-sack would have made Gordan Ramsey blush.
Mercifully I got home in one piece, managed to hobble into my house and collapsed onto the couch. My wife brought me in some paracetamol and through the haze of agony, I’m pretty sure I proposed to her again. Once the drugs kicked in I felt much better although I still spent the rest of that day wallowing on the sofa with true-crime series.
As minimally invasive as vasectomy surgery is, recovery still takes a few days. The first five days after my procedure, I shuffled around in a constant state of fear that I was going to walk crotch-first into something hard and pointy. Much to my wife’s amusement, I took to wearing a jockstrap – essentially a sports bra for balls – which helped aid my recovery.
Thankfully, after two weeks I was fully recovered from the surgery, although anyone who has grown out a beard will be unsurprised to learn that the phrase “itch is a bitch” also applies to your nether region’s hair regrowth. Needless to say, I have never been more thankful for my organic beard oil.
In summary, there are a few things I’d like to pass on to my former self shuffling around that bland waiting room. Make sure you do your research with a real person rather than the internet, get appropriately prepped and don’t cut any corners (*shudder*), always choose an experienced ball-handler and finally, heed the expert’s advice – have someone drive you home.
This article was originally published in February 2022.