Almost half a million American men have vasectomies each year. As with any medical procedure, it is important to be informed before deciding whether a vasectomy is right for you. Read on to find out what you need to know before your vasectomy.
1) A vasectomy is considered a permanent sterilization procedure.
It is true that a vasectomy can often be reversed, but it is important to note that vasectomies are still considered a permanent sterilization procedure. Reversal procedures are complicated, time-consuming, and not always successful, so men shouldn’t make light decisions about having a vasectomy. For this reason, it is recommended that men only have vasectomies when they have completed their families or feel safe they do not want children, and when they are in a strong, committed relationship with a partner who is the same. Some men choose to collect sperm before a vasectomy in case their situation changes.
2) Recovery is usually quick and side effects are rare.
Most men recover quickly from vasectomies, especially the modern needle-free and scalpel-free variety. The majority of patients can return to work the day after or shortly after this procedure. There may be some tenderness or swelling, but this is usually minimal and can easily be treated with ice.
Vasectomies have very few short- and long-term side effects.
Vasectomies do not change testosterone levels, so men do not see a collapse in their libido. In fact, with no need for birth control or fear of pregnancy, many couples notice that their sex lives improve after a vasectomy.
3) You won’t be sterile right away.
While no new sperm will enter the vas deferens (the tube containing the sperm that is cut during a vasectomy) after a vasectomy, there will still be some sperm in them. This sperm must be removed through ejaculation (either through masturbation or sex with a partner) for sterility reasons. Experts suggest that patients need to ejaculate between 20 and 30 times to clear any existing sperm reserves. For this reason, you should use contraception until a urologist verifies that there is no sperm in your semen.
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