What to expect after a vasectomy

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You did it.  You joined approximately 50 million other men worldwide of which 500,000 are American men who each year, bite the bullet, severing their ties of being able to reproduce.  A vasectomy is a commonly used form of sterilization and birth control in which the tubes that carry sperm are closed or blocked disallowing sperm to leave a man’s body.

But now that the procedure which is considered permanent is over and done with, how are you to take care of yourself in the coming weeks?  You want a quick, painless recovery so as not to miss much work and to return to normal again as soon as possible.  Here are some easy-to-follow steps you can do to improve your chances of a speedy recuperation.

·      Immediately after the procedure, go home.  But be sure to review any reading material, instructions, etc., sent home with you and ask any questions before you leave the office.

·      Go directly home as the sooner you start resting, the quicker your recovery will be.  Take someone with you to drive you home and to do any heavy lifting or potentially strenuous activities.

·      When you come home, stay off your feet for a few days as much as you can.  Standing for any length at a time can irritate the tissues that were operated on and could cause significant swelling and pain.  Avoid standing in a line such as at a sporting event and instead opt to take a few days off just to be able to sit as much as needed allowing your body to heal.

·      No heavy lifting or straining for at least a week or so.  This includes nothing heavier than picking up a gallon of milk during this time.  You may feel like you could lift anything, but refrain from doing so. Any strain from lifting or pulling on something heavy could tear or rupture the delicate tissues that have been infringed upon.  It is also advisable to not perform certain exercises such as squats, lunges, crunches or leg presses for about 2 weeks.

·       In the first few days following a vasectomy there can be significant swelling and inflammation in the area of the procedure.  Using ice down there can help reduce this from happening.  Several times a day for 20 to 30 minutes, place an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas on the outside of your underwear in the area of the vasectomy.  Never put the ice bag directly on the skin.

·      During the first week or two, you will want and need some extra support to protect the inflamed tissues inside your scrotum from movement and gravity.  Wearing an athletic supporter or bike compression shorts, outside your underwear, will provide support making you feel more secure and less likely to cause irritation or damage to the area.

·      Following a vasectomy, it can be expected there will be some swelling, inflammation and discomfort.  To keep this to a minimum, take anti-inflammatory medications such as naproxen or ibuprofen as directed by your doctor.  If you have issues with ulcers or stomach upset, discontinue and get advice from your doctor. 

·      All men will ask the question, “When can I have sex?”  Your doctor will advise you to wait at least one week after the procedure before having intercourse.  Keep in mind you won’t necessarily be completely sterile right away.  It can take several months for the sperm remaining in the vas deferens to be ejaculated or reabsorbed by the body.  Until you’ve been tested and given the all clear, continue to use a form of birth control.  Remember, a vasectomy does not affect your sex drive or ability to have erections, ejaculate or have orgasms.