Focus on your health

From Florida Hospital Apopka

It took Michael Contreras 18 years to find relief for a problem that most men don’t dare talk about: chronic pelvic pain. Michael, 57, was unsure what was causing the pain but thought it stemmed from complications of a past vasectomy.

“It felt like someone was gripping and squeezing my groin 24/7,” says Michael. “It felt like a golf ball was stuck down there.”

A small percentage of men who’ve undergone a vasectomy, hernia surgery or kidney removal or experienced scrotal or pelvic trauma or recurrent testicular infections may suffer from chronic testicular pain. The pain can range from mild irritation to severe, debilitating discomfort. Michael was placed on several medications to deal with the pain. Over time, the side effects negatively affected the self-employed, then-single father of three.

“The medication made me sluggish, and it was difficult to have a normal day,” remembers Michael. “My quality of life was horrible.”

After visiting numerous physicians, urologists and pain specialists, Michael was referred to Zamip Patel, MD, urologist, at Florida Hospital.

“Chronic pelvic pain is more common than many people think,” says Dr. Patel. He suspected Michael’s discomfort was caused by nerve entrapment in his spermatic cord, a bundle of fibers and tissues running through the abdominal region to the testicles.

To determine whether that was the case, Dr. Patel performed a nerve block last May. The procedure delivers local anesthetics and anti-inflammatory agents to a predefined location along the spermatic cord. The nerve block interrupts the pathway of the nerve, temporarily stopping the cycle of pain.

“We do this spermatic cord block so that we can be sure that if we do an operation, it will work,” says Dr. Patel.

Michael’s nerve block was successful, so Dr. Patel proceeded to perform a microsurgical denervation, or neurolysis, of the spermatic cord. The technique involves an operating microscope and a small, 1- to 2-centimeter incision in the groin to remove causes of pain. Dr. Patel says patients should feel complete relief a month after surgery.

“Dr. Patel was a true blessing,” says Michael, who’s now medication- and pain-free. “This type of stuff needs to be out in the open so men know there’s a solution.”

Michael attributes his strength to his spirituality and his wife of seven years, Lorie.

“Now I can enjoy simple things, like going to the movies or going to dinner and not having to sit on a pillow for comfort,” explains Michael.


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