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All you need to know about Vasectomy

Besides female sterilization methods, there is a male sterilization method too. It is called vasectomy. It is a simple surgical operation in which the surgeon cuts or seals the tubes carrying the sperms. It is a permanent choice of birth control in men. Sometimes, it can be reversed but chances of success are less.

How does it work?

The fluid that a man ejaculates when sexually excited is called semen. In vasectomy procedure, the sperms are stopped from getting into the man’s semen. The tubes that transport these sperms into the semen from the testicles are either cut, blocked or sealed with heat. So, when a man ejaculates after vasectomy, his semen contains no sperms and therefore cannot fertilize an egg in a woman.

Few facts about vasectomy

Vasectomy is considered to be more than 99% effective. It doesn’t interfere with your ability to enjoy sex or affect your sex drive. Your erections will also be normal but just that the ejaculation will not contain sperm. It is generally advised to use contraception for at least 8-12 weeks post-surgery as the possibility of viable sperms being in the tubes and leading to the penis is still present. The success of the operation is confirmed by taking 2 semen tests post-surgery.

Effects of surgery

  • Sometimes there are chances of scrotum getting bruised, swollen or being painful.
  • There might also be slight chances of getting an infection

Your doctor will suggest suitable precautions and preventions for the above.

Vasectomy should not be done if:
 
  • You plan to have children in the future
  • You consider donating sperms to a sperm bank
Word of caution
  • A vasectomy does not give protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), hence the use of a condom would be advised.
  • Also, it is not an easily reversible process. Hence, one has to be sure if it’s right for you.

Types of vasectomy

Vasectomy is a quick and relatively painless surgical procedure. You and your doctor can discuss to decide which options work best for you.
 
There are 2 main types of vasectomy:

Conventional vasectomy using a scalpel (surgical knife)

In this procedure, the surgeon numbs the area on your scrotum using a local anesthetic. He then makes 2 small incisions on each side of the scrotum. The surgeon then reaches out to the tube that transports sperms (called the vas deferens). He then cuts and removes small sections of the tube. The end of the tubes is then tied or sealed using heat. The scrotum skin is sealed using dissolvable stitches that go away within a week on their own.

No-scalpel vasectomy

In this process, the surgeon applies a local anesthetic to the scrotum. He then makes a tiny puncture hole on the scrotum skin and reaches out to the vas deferens (The tube that carries sperms). In this type, the surgeon doesn’t use a scalpel and neither cuts the skin. The tubes are then closed in the same way as the above procedure. This process involves no stitches and is less painful. It can cause little bleeding but less likely to cause any complications than a conventional vasectomy

How long will I need to recover from a vasectomy?

Vasectomy is a small procedure and one can usually go home the same day. You will be advised to rest for 24 hours and refrain from bathing or swimming for 24 hours. It is safe to avoid sports, heavy weight lifting or indulge in other strenuous activities at least for a week post-surgery to prevent any complications. If you happen to ejaculate within one week of surgery, there is a high likelihood of pain or blood in the semen. This is considered normal. One can usually return to work 1 or 2 days after a vasectomy.

Underwear

One should wear tight-fitting underwear or an athletic support for first few days after the operation. This helps to support the scrotum and eases any discomfort or swelling. Ensure to keep changing your underwear frequently.

Hygiene

It is important to dry your genitals gently and thoroughly after a bath or shower for few days.

How will I know if my vasectomy has worked?

The surgeon will advise you to do a semen test after 12 weeks of surgery. If the results show that the semen is sperm-free, it is considered that the vasectomy had been successful. In some men, two tests are required to confirm the same. During this process, it is advisable to keep having an alternate source of contraception. Once the procedure is successful, you can stop all other forms of contraception.

Good reasons for having a vasectomy are:
 
  • if your family is complete and you and partner decide to not have children in the future
  • if you or your partner wish to avoid passing on a certain hereditary disorder or disease
  • if a pregnancy has chances to put your partner’s health at risk.

 
It is important to weigh all the risks and benefits before deciding to undergo a vasectomy.

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