Every year, 500,000 men in the U.S. head to the urologist for what’s commonly called a “little patch.”
This cutting is a vasectomy, a male sterilization procedure that prevents sperm from entering the semen, says the American Urological Association (AUA).
Although vasectomies are common, knowledge about them is not as common. Here are seven things you may not have known about vasectomy.
They are extremely effective
The AUA explained that you still produce sperm after a vasectomy. However, it is absorbed by your body and cannot enter the semen, meaning you will not be able to get pregnant.
“Vasectomies are one of the best forms of birth control,”.
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Facts about vasectomy
After abstinence, vasectomies are considered the most effective method of contraception for their long-term success rate of over 99%. Only 1-2 women in 1,000 will end up pregnant within a year of their partner having a vasectomy.
But you still need to be careful
“Theoretically, you could get your partner pregnant right after a vasectomy if there is still sperm where the vasectomy was.
The sperm count will gradually decrease after a vasectomy. “About 8 weeks or 20 ejaculations after your vasectomy, you should have your urologist test a sample of your semen to make sure it’s sperm-free,”. The US National Library of Medicine (NLM) recommends preventing pregnancy by using another form of birth control until the absence of sperm is confirmed.
It won’t affect your sex life
Doctors identified the biggest myth surrounding vasectomies. “You will experience no difference in your sexual function or pleasure. You’ll still be able to have sex and ejaculate and everything will be the same.”
And that’s probably a relief for men and women everywhere.
Recovery is easy
Recovering from a vasectomy is pretty easy. According to the NLM, most men return to work 2-3 days later and can resume physical activity in 3-7 days.
Recovery includes a happy pastime: sitting in front of the TV. And that could be why there is a significant spike in vasectomies around the Super Bowl or March Madness, a trend that many urologists and ESPN aptly refer to as “Vas Madness.”
“When recovery is sitting on the couch all weekend with the TV on and a bag of frozen peas, it makes sense that many men would choose to do this when they can fully enjoy their TV time,”.
It’s a brotherhood
If you’re considering a vasectomy but aren’t quite sure yet, don’t hesitate to talk to men who have had it.
Doctor’s said: “There is a camaraderie between men who have had a vasectomy and these men are very open to talking about it. The peer-to-peer conversation is a great way to make people aware that vasectomies are a good and safe option.”
It’s the final cut…
“Vasectomies should be considered permanent,” which means it’s not something done on a whim.
“It’s very common for men and couples who never want children or don’t want any more children to choose a vasectomy,” “We never judge them, but we don’t do a procedure until we’re sure they understand it’s permanent.”
The Association of Reproductive Health Professionals agrees, stating that vasectomies should never be performed if there is any chance you might want to have children in the future.
Side effects of vasectomy
The procedures are safe. Afterward, you may have mild pain along with some swelling in the scrotum and possibly a little bleeding. But this doesn’t happen often, and when it does, it’s usually not serious. About 1% to 2% of men have pain that does not go away.
Complications are not common, but if they do occur they can include bruising, inflammation, and infection. They are rarely serious but tell your doctor if you have symptoms. A few other problems are possible but rare:
Pain or a feeling of pressure or discomfort in the testicles
Sperm granuloma (hard lump or inflammation caused by leakage of sperm)
Spermatocele (a cyst in the test tube that collects sperm)
Hydrocele (a sac of fluid around the testicle that causes your scrotum to swell)
Advantages of vasectomy
If you don’t want kids, this is about as reliable a form of birth control as you can get. It’s also less likely to cause problems than a woman having her tubes tied (aka tubal ligation), and it’s cheaper. A vasectomy is a one-time expense that may even be covered by your insurance plan.
If you’re worried about your sex drive, don’t be. The procedure will not affect your testosterone levels, erections, climaxes, sex drive, or any other part of your sex life.
When you’re home, take it easy:
Rest for at least 1 day. You should be fully recovered in less than a week. Many men have the procedure on Friday and return to work on Monday.
You will probably be sore for a few days. Treat swelling and pain with an ice pack. You can also wear a jockstrap for support.