A vasectomy prevents sperm made in the testicles from reaching semen, and it’s permanent. Ejaculation won’t change, but you will still need to use other forms of birth control until your doctor says you are sperm-free.
During a vasectomy, your doctor cuts and seals two tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the urethra. They will do this through your scrotum.
What to Expect Before the Procedure
Having a vasectomy is an effective and permanent form of birth control. It can also be a good option for men who don’t want more children or have a history of sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia. A man should wait for a vasectomy until he is sure he doesn’t want more children. It is also important to fully discuss with his partner before deciding to have the procedure.
On the day of surgery, wear a jockstrap or secure bandage to stabilize the testicles. After numbing injection, the urologist makes a small scrotal incision to access sperm tubes. Special instruments are used for removal. Scrotum may feel sore and bruised. Recovery takes about a week. Rest and avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercise. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is safe for pain relief. Avoid aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen a week before surgery to prevent increased bleeding.
Once the scrotum has healed, men can resume physical activity, including working, but they should continue to use another form of birth control until medical professionals test their sperm samples and confirm that they are free of sperm. It may take up to three months for the sperm to clear from both vas deferens.
A vasectomy doesn’t affect a man’s sex drive, orgasms, or ability to have erections. It does, however, reduce the number of orgasms a man has. If the sperm tubes are not removed properly or if they recur or “canalize” after the vasectomy, it can also cause pain during sex. If you’re experiencing sex pain after a vasectomy, talk to your doctor for advice.
What to Expect During the Procedure
The doctor makes a small cut in the scrotum to reach each tube (the vas deferens), which runs from the testicles to the urethra. The doctor removes a small piece of each tube and seals it off. This prevents sperm from traveling down the tubes to enter the semen and causes pregnancy. It can take up to three months for sperm to clear out of the tube, so you must use other forms of birth control during this time.
Most men don’t experience pain or discomfort after a vasectomy incision but may need mild pain medications for a few days. This can include Tylenol or other prescription pain relievers. Contact your doctor immediately if you experience severe pain or bleeding after your surgery.
Your doctor will likely recommend you stop taking aspirin and aspirin-like medicines (ibuprofen, naproxen) up to one week before the procedure. This is to help reduce blood clots and the risk of complications, such as bleeding. Doctors will explain the best vasectomy technique. “No-scalpel” is common, using a small puncture without stitches or scars, reducing infection risk. Traditional vasectomy involves two scrotal cuts, removing tube pieces, and using stitches or glue for closure.
After the procedure, you must keep the scrotal incision clean and dry. This includes avoiding sexual activity until the site heals completely. You should also avoid activities that could cause the incision to open, such as heavy exercise and sports. Wait up to three months for sperm clearance after vasectomy. Use other birth control until the doctor approves sex resumption. Bring weekly semen samples to monitor sperm presence.
What to Expect After the Procedure
A vasectomy is a permanent procedure. It is important to understand this before undergoing the procedure. Some men may feel slight discomfort and sensitivity for the first week, but these feelings should fade. Vasectomy does not alter hormone levels, so it will not change a man’s sex drive or ability to have orgasms. However, the surgery does not protect men against STDs or STIs, so they should continue to use condoms.
A man can usually return to work within a day or two after the procedure but should avoid strenuous activity and heavy lifting. He should also wear tight-fitting underwear and an undergarment like a jockstrap to support the scrotum. He should apply ice packs to the scrotum to reduce pain and swelling.
The incision is closed with stitches or glue. He should contact the doctor for unusual symptoms: blood oozing, fever above 100.4 F (38 C), redness, increased pain, swelling, or insufficient scrotum swelling.
After a vasectomy, it takes months to clear sperm. Use alternative birth control until a semen test confirms sperm absence at a follow-up appointment.
Many people find their scrotum getting painful or swollen after a vasectomy. These changes are not harmful but should be reported to a doctor. They are often the result of granulomas, which are growths in the lining of the scrotum. These can be treated with medication, but they are not always a sign that the procedure has been successful.
A man should not take aspirin, ibuprofen (including Advil and Motrin), or naproxen (including Aleve) for one week before the procedure. These drugs can thin the blood and increase bleeding during surgery. Other medications, such as acetaminophen (brand name includes Tylenol), are fine.
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Sex After a Vasectomy
Vasectomies are highly effective and have low complication risk. Wait for full wound recovery before having sex. A follow-up checkup is scheduled 6-12 weeks later to assess healing and sperm count. Use birth control until sperm is cleared.
Vasectomy doesn’t negatively impact libido. Studies show sexual function may improve, as no worries about pregnancy. Sex becomes more spontaneous and less stressful for partners. Most men who had a vasectomy find it the best decision. NorCalVas survey: 97% reported improved sexual life, and 73% would undergo the procedure again.
Although some people experience pain or discomfort in their scrotum after a vasectomy, it is not common. Most men find that the first time they ejaculate after vasectomy feels slightly different, and some blood may be in their semen. However, this is normal, and there is nothing to be worried about. Additionally, wearing tight-fitting underwear can help reduce pain or swelling in the scrotum and prevent the skin from absorbing blood.
It is also important to note that a vasectomy does not affect testosterone production in the testes. A different cell type from the cells that generate sperm produces testosterone, so vasectomy has no impact. A vasectomy does not prevent STDs because they are transmitted through body fluids, such as saliva or semen. Therefore, it is important to continue using other forms of birth control, such as condoms, to protect against infection.