For some men, undergoing a vasectomy has a lot of benefits. But is a vasectomy right for you? Syed Shahzad, Consultant Urological Surgeon from BMI The Priory Hospital and BMI The Droitwich Spa Hospital, shares his advice on the procedure.
If you’re looking for a permanent form of contraception then a vasectomy may be for you. In fact, it’s more than 99% effective1. However, having a vasectomy isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly. The decision should only be made after discussing it with your partner. You should also be certain that you don’t want any more children or you don’t want children at all. It's also important to make sure you consider all your options with a consultant.
Here are 6 common questions answered:
1. Will a vasectomy affect my sex life?
Once you’ve recovered from your vasectomy, your sex life shouldn’t be affected at all. Your sex drive will not decrease as a vasectomy has no impact on your testosterone levels. It will also not affect your ability to get an erection, ejaculate or the amount of semen you produce2. In fact, one study reported that sexual satisfaction improved for men who have had vasectomies3.
2. Does a vasectomy prevent from STI’s?
A vasectomy will not protect you from sexually transmitted infections. You will still need to use barrier methods, such as condoms, to prevent catching STI’s and passing them on.
3. When can I go back to work?
You should be able to go back to work 1-2 days after your vasectomy. However, if your job involves heavy lifting or sporting activities, you may need to wait a week before you go back1.
- Here are some complications that can occur:
You may experience complications from the procedure. These can include:
- Slight bruising or swelling
- Blood in semen for a few ejaculates
- Infection needing antibiotics and rarely surgical intervention
- Chronic troublesome pain in scrotum (up to 1 in 20)
- Early failure (1 in 250)
- Late failure (1 in 2000)4
4. What does the procedure involve?
The procedure itself is very quick and only takes 15 minutes. During the procedure, the consultant will remove a section of the tube that carries sperm.
A vasectomy is mostly performed under local anaesthetic. However, if the tubes are difficult to feel or there are complication factors such as previous scrotal operations, the consultant may opt to do the procedure under general anaesthetic.
Following the procedure, you should be able to go home on the same day.
- How to prepare for a vasectomy
- Tell your consultant of any medications you are taking. You may be advised to stop taking blood-thinning medications before the procedure.
- Wash the genital area thoroughly on the day of your procedure.
- Arrange for someone to drop you off and pick you up. Although you may feel fine, it’s a good idea to let someone else drive you home after the procedure as you’ll need to avoid pressure or movement in that area.
5. How soon will I be sterile?
It’s important to be aware that you are not sterile immediately after the operation. It may take up to 25 to 30 ejaculates to clear the sperms from the tubes. You’ll also need to use contraception for 8-12 weeks after the operation1.
Before your partner stops using contraception, you will need a semen test to ensure that sperm is no longer present. This test is usually carried out through your GP 12 weeks after the procedure. If the test shows that no sperm is present, your consultant will confirm that you are sterile.
6. Is a vasectomy reversible?
It’s important to remember that a vasectomy should be viewed as a permanent decision. Although vasectomy reversal is possible, this procedure can be complicated and may not always be successful5.
If you have a vasectomy reversal within three years of your vasectomy, there is a 75% chance that it will be successful. However, if you have your vasectomy reversed between three and eight years, there is a 55% chance of success5.
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