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10 Things You Should Know About Getting a Vasectomy

10 Things You Should Know About Getting a Vasectomy

Is your household flourishing, filled with the sounds of joyful (and sometimes not-so-joyful) children? Are you ready to enjoy the children you have without adding more to all that flourishing? You’re not alone.

Roughly 500,000 men get a vasectomy each year in the United States (about 5 million men worldwide) because it’s such a safe and simple way to enjoy the benefits of permanent birth control.

10 Things You Should Know About Getting a Vasectomy

Here are 10 things you might not know (and should!) about vasectomies

  1. It’s much safer for you than for your partner. When it comes to permanent methods of birth control, vasectomies are simple, in-office procedures, using localized anesthetic and with minimal risk of negative side-effects. Tubal ligation, the female equivalent of a vasectomy, is a bona fide surgical procedure, requiring full anesthesia and with all the same risks associated with other full-blown surgical procedures. Bottom line: it’s not manly to refuse the snip and insist on a tubal ligation for the woman in your life. You’re the one who should take this one for the team.
  2. All you need is a local anesthetic. That’s it. Unless your medical history says otherwise, your vasectomy will take place in the doctor’s office, in about 30-minutes or less. You don’t even need a sedative unless you beg for one. The doctor will numb the local area and you’ll be 100% awake, conscious and able to talk about the Cougs throughout the procedure. It’s that simple.
  3. Next stop – abstinence. No, really. When it comes to the most effective forms of birth control, vasectomy is #2 after not having intercourse at all. Now a vasectomy doesn’t sound so bad, eh?
  4. You can still get pregnant right afterwards. Those sperm are a dedicated bunch and they can still make their way upstream and through broken channels until you’ve completely healed and scar tissue is formed. Use protection for at least 12-weeks afterwards (or until your doctor has cleared you) based on your post-procedure, sperm-free semen samples.
  5. Recovery is a breeze. The large majority of vasectomy patients experience tenderness and inflammation for 2 to 3 days, and are back to their normal activity levels within a week. We tell our patients to try to wait one week with no sex, heavy lifting or straining. Compare this with tubal ligation, after which women experience significantly more pain, a full week (or longer) to ease back to normal, gentle activities (women are advised to avoid sexual intercourse or penetration for a week or longer), and three weeks before a woman is allowed to resume heavy lifting or more strenuous activities.
  6. They should be viewed as permanent. While it’s true that vasectomies can be reversed (not always, though), it’s important that couples feel 100% sure they don’t want children.
  7. Vasectomies can be reversed. That being said, there has been great success with vasectomy reversals. The success rates, however, are completely dependent on the age of the patient, the type of vasectomy you had and how long ago it was performed. The longer the span of time between the original procedure and the reversal, the lower the success rates. Your doctor will be able to give you a fairly accurate assessment of your chances during your consultation. Also not that reversal is not covered by insurance and costs $5,000 or more out of pocket.
  8. Risks are extremely minimal. The risks associated with vasectomies aren’t life threatening and will show up via additional pain or tenderness after the procedure. You’d report this to your doctor and he’ll fix it.
  9. Your libido will remain intact (and it might even increase). It’s amazing the positive effects permanent birth control can have on a sex life. Knowing you can’t get pregnant can make sex a lot more exciting. In fact, a 2010 study confirmed that not only do vasectomies not affect men's level of desire, their ability to maintain an erection or the quality of their orgasms, men with vasectomies report being happier in their relationships, since “the procedure decreasing anxiety about unwanted pregnancy and conflict over the use of contraception.”
  10. There is extremely little risk of impotency. We would love to write that there is ZERO risk of impotency because, in our practice, there has never been a single case resulting from vasectomy – but we can’t because there are always extremely remote chances for just about anything. Barring potential impotency you’re experiencing prior to the procedure, choose a reputable, board certified urologist with experience performing vasectomies and your ability to achieve and maintain an erection will remain intact. We promise.

Have more questions about getting a vasectomy, the procedure or the recovery process? Contact us here at Palouse Specialty Physicians and our urology group will take fantastic care of both you and your invaluable parts.

Published on April 28, 2017