Vasectomy is minor surgery to block sperm from reaching the semen that is ejaculated from the penis. Each year, more than 500,000 men in the U.S. choose vasectomy as permanent birth control. During vasectomy, each vas deferens (the two tubes that move the sperm from each testicle) are separated. This blocks sperm from reaching the semen tat is ejaculated from the penis. After a vasectomy, the testicles still make sperm, but the body absorbs them. A vasectomy prevents pregnancy better than any other form of birth control, except abstinence. Only 1 out of 2,000 women will get pregnant after their partners have had a vasectomy.
Your doctor can perform a vasectomy in an office or hospital. Vasectomy is a minor surgery that should take about 20 minutes. One urologist who performs vasectomies tells patients to “… take a long hot shower the morning before with a lot of soap and make sure to have a bag of frozen peas and a couple of rented movies at home” for after surgery.
Before the vasectomy, your scrotum will be shaved and cleaned. Usually local anesthesia is used. You will be awake, but should not feel any pain. Some patients may also be given medicine to reduce anxiety. With a standard vasectomy, the urologist makes one or two small cuts in the scrotum. One vas deferens tube is cut and tied or sealed with heat. The tube is replaced inside the scrotum. The procedure is then repeated on the other side. Lastly, the skin is closed with stitches that dissolve and do not have to be removed.
About one to two percent of men may have ongoing pain or discomfort after a vasectomy. The pai is most often treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen. Exact causes of pain are not know, but in some rare cases, additional medical or surgical treatment may be needed.
Other risks after a vasectomy are very low, but may include:
In very rare cases, the vas deferens may grow back together, which would allow the man to have children again. Studies show men who have had a vasectomy are not at higher risk for any other medical conditions such as heart disease, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, or other health problems.
Your scrotum will be numb for a few hours after a vasectomy. Once home, you may put cold packs on the area, such as a bag of frozen peas and lie on your back as you are able for the rest of the day. Mild discomfort or pain is normal after a vasectomy and you should be treated with over the counter pain relievers. Wearing snug underwear or a jockstrap will ease discomfort and support the area.
You may have some swelling and minor pain in your scrotum for a few days after the surgery.
You may be able to go back to work in one or two days if you do deskwork. Men with more activity and heavy lifting at work may need more time off, as you should avoid heavy lifting for a week. You can have sex as soon as you are comfortable, which is usually within a week. Just keep in mind the vasectomy is not effective from day one. Sperm may still be in the semen for many months after a vasectomy. It takes about 20 ejaculations or about three to four months to clear the sperm from the tubes; however, results vary for different men. Most often, your doctor will test your sperm count three months later. Until the sperm count is zero or there are less than 100,000 sperm and none are moving, sex without another method of birth control may lead to pregnancy. Having a semen analysis after your vasectomy is the only way to confirm this. after recovering from a vasectomy, a man and his partner should notice no difference during sex. An uncomplicated vasectomy does not cause erection problem. Ejaculation and orgasm should feel the same. The amount of semen does not decrease more than five percent. The only change your partner may be able to feel is a lump at the vasectomy site if one has formed.
The Choice to have a vasectomy is a very personal one. Talk with your partner and think about what is best for you and your family. It is of great value to think through all your choices carefully before deciding to have a vasectomy. Below are some things to keep in mind:
Disclaimer: This information is not a tool for self-diagnosis or a substitute for professional medical advice. It is not to be used or relied on for that purpose. Please talk to your urologist or health care provider about your health concerns. Always talk to a health care provider before you start or stop any treatments, including medications
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