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In searching for info on hydroceles, the first forum I ran across with very helpful information was in the UK, so now that I've had my hydrocele operation, I'll post my experience here as well. And thank you to the forum people for making postings available to search engines.
I'm in the US, and nobody over here is smart enough to figure out how you guys measure anything with your strange units like meters and fortnights, but presumably personal plumbing works the same way on both sides of the pond no matter what the size.
My hydrocele started several years ago, and had been getting slowly larger, and was the size of a large apple on one side. I'm presuming that your apples are the same size as ours of course. It never hurt, it just felt somewhat uncomfortable and in the way sometimes. And it felt kind of tight and full and I figured that someday I'd have to take care of it. I decided to do the operation probably six months ago and waited 6 months to better fit into my work schedule. On a pain scale of 1 to 10, I'd put having the hydrocele at a 1.
One advantage of having a hydrocele is that if I were thinking about doing some outrageous task and somebody questioned whether I had large enough balls to do it (an expression here in the states if not over there), I now had the medical documentation to prove that yes, in fact, I do. Or at least did.
As a slight aside, one of the valuable lessons I learned was that there are two types of doctors that best serve two different types of patients.
The first type of doctor wants patients that are completely obedient and don't ask questions and don't make any decisions contrary to the doctor's recommendation.
The second type of doctor I'd characterize as an "expert partner" who is happy to answer questions and get push-back on recommendations and discuss alternatives to fit their patients' needs.
I unknowingly happened to pick the first type. His recommendation was to do the operation and that I should not lift anything heavier than 20 lbs (you guys still know what pounds are, right?) for 6 to 8 weeks! That would not work for me because part of my job is lifting patients in and out of an airplane.
I eventually chose another doctor who was the second type, and whose recommendation was for the same operation, but he said that after 5 or so days, I could basically do whatever I felt like doing. I asked why the other prognosis was so different and he said that the long healing was 'old school' which is ironic because I think the first doctor was younger than the second. Alternatively, maybe the second doctor does a better job than the first, and as a result, would get faster healing. I don't know. I followed the standard process for dealing with any
bureacracy, keep calling back until you get the answer you want.
The second doctor also said that the vitamin regimen I'd gotten from a nutritionist was not useful based on double-blind testing. And that includes Saw Palmetto for prostate stuff which has been touted for centuries. But he wasn't opposed to my taking the vitamins and for my trying acupuncture first. He did advise not taking a couple of the supplements, Omega Oil and Gincko Baloba (as did the nutritionist) near my operation because they thin the blood. It also didn't hurt that he looked exactly like Steve Martin the famous comedian.
Acupuncture is the only thing I've found that helps occasional lower back spasms, but it did not seem to do anything for the hydrocele.
I'd never had surgery before and so of course was apprehensive, and all the talk about icing, pain meds, etc., didn't help any. But thanks to the posting on the forum by "Dougie", my reticence was reduced. https://patient.info/forums/discuss/successful-hydrocele-operation-37043
I had the surgery (only about 1/2 hour long) yesterday, and it's now been about 24 hours, and I can say that my pain level from when I came out until now has always been about 1.5, really nothing more than a mild discomfort even from the stitches. I was also apprehensive because he said he might give me a local anesthetic shot while I was under, so if that were true, it might wear off in a few hours and I'd be screaming bloody murder, but that never happened. I haven't even bothered to fill the prescription for pain meds.
The swelling is less than the original hydrocele, tho I haven't checked it very carefully because he said to leave a jock strap with dressings on for 72 hours and no bathing to give the stitches a chance to heal.
So basically, at least for me, the operation was pleasantly quite minor, much less of a pain than having a tooth pulled.
One useful tip I discovered is that I try to avoid bending the "plumbing" when I pee so I don't perturb the healing, so it kind of dribbles a bit down the front at the end. I found the best solution for me is to stand over the toilet, feet in back of the toilet, and my head leaning against the wall so that I'm at an angle, thereby giving the natural direction is as close to vertical as possible and that eliminates the dribble running down at the end. Just be careful if you're standing on a rug that might be slippery, it could make for a bad day.
Bottom line is that if you decide to do it, the operation, at east for me, wasn't anywhere near the big deal I was afraid of. Hopefully you'll have a similar experience.
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