Debunking the Myths About Vasectomies
If you are searching for a permanent birth control method, you have most likely thought about having a vasectomy. While it is a simple surgery, vasectomies are considered to be a permanent solution and should be researched thoroughly before making a decision.
How Do Vasectomies Work?
The term vasectomy stems from vasa deferentia, the name of the tubes in the scrotum that carry sperm to semen. This procedure involves blocking or cutting the vasa deferentia so that sperm is unable to enter the semen, rendering the male infertile. Vasectomies do not get rid of sperm altogether — the microscopic cells are absorbed into the man’s body instead of being released during ejaculation.
There are two main types of vasectomies: scalpel and no-scalpel. The scalpel method involves an incision made on either side of the scrotum to cut the vasa deferentia, while the no-scalpel method utilizes a needle to make a small hole in the scrotum to reach the vasa deferentia. The no-scalpel method is considered to be non-invasive and is associated with fewer side effects after the surgery.
The Truth About Vasectomies
There are many myths surrounding vasectomies, so we at Urology Specialists of the Carolinas are here to debunk any false claims that have been made and educate our audience about the truth.
1. Vasectomies are the most effective form of birth control other than abstinence.
This procedure is the best way to avoid pregnancies other than abstaining from sex. According to Penn Medicine, only one to two women out of 1,000 become pregnant within a year of their partner’s vasectomy.
2. Vasectomies do not affect semen production or orgasms.
This procedure does not affect a man’s semen production — it only blocks sperm’s access to it. After having a vasectomy, men still orgasm and ejaculate normally, they just will not be able to impregnate a woman.
Because it is a misconception that vasectomies affect orgasms, some patients refrain from having the surgery. This is false — having this procedure does not have a negative effect on men’s sex lives. In actuality, many men report experiencing feelings of relief and improvement in their sex lives because they are no longer concerned about unwanted pregnancy.
3. Vasectomies are reversible.
Sometimes men change their minds after vasectomies and wish to be able to father children again — luckily, they have that choice. While the procedure is “permanent”, we mean it in the sense that its effects will remain permanent until you wish to reverse it. A vasectomy will not “wear off” on its own, but you have the option to undergo another procedure, called a vasovasostomy, to unblock the vas deferens tubes and once again allow sperm to enter the semen.
They are not effective immediately.
This is very important to note — vasectomies work gradually. You will still have a sperm count in your semen for two to three months or approximately 20 to 25 ejaculations after the procedure. Contact your doctor eight weeks after your vasectomy and have them test your semen sample to make sure it is free of sperm. Until this is confirmed, use other forms of contraception to be safe.
4. They do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Vasectomies will not protect you from contracting or spreading STIs or STDs. Semen that has no sperm can still carry diseases, and some STIs and STDs only need skin to skin contact to be passed along. To protect yourself and your partner from these, wear a condom during sex.
5. It is a quick procedure and does not require a hospital visit.
Vasectomies only take about 10 minutes to complete. We estimate an extra five to 10 minutes at the beginning and the end of the procedure to account for preparation and cleanup, and the entire appointment lasts around an hour. They can be done at your urologist’s office using local anesthetic used to numb the incision site, so you can avoid hospitals and general anesthesia.
6. Recovery is relatively easy and painless.
Before the surgery, the patient is administered a local anesthetic to numb the testicles and reduce pain at the incision site. Recovery time for vasectomies varies from patient to patient, but men can usually go back to work two to three days after the procedure and resume sexual and physical activity within seven to 10 days with doctor approval. If you work in manual labor, however, you may need a full week to recover before getting back to work. Straining yourself physically could result in tearing at the incision site, increasing your chances of infection.
For more information on vasectomy recovery, read our blog, 5 Vasectomy Recovery Tips.
7. Your partner will appreciate it.
Vasectomies are generally the better option compared to tubal ligation (commonly referred to as “having your tubes tied”), oral contraceptives, and condoms. Your partner will appreciate your decision to have a vasectomy for a number of reasons:
- Recovery from a vasectomy is much faster than tubal ligation
- Vasectomies are cheaper than tubal ligation surgery
- This procedure is a one-time cost, as opposed to regularly purchasing oral contraceptives like birth control or condoms
- They are less invasive, lowering the risk of bleeding or infection
- Women can stop taking the pill, which often comes with hormonal changes
How Urology Specialists of the Carolinas Can Help
At USOC, we are committed to proving each patient with the comprehensive care they need and deserve. If you are considering having a vasectomy and would like to open the conversation with your doctor, read our blog, 10 Questions to Ask Your Doctor Before a Vasectomy, for a deeper look at the procedure.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our board-certified urologists, contact us at a location near you. But first, download our Man-To-Man Guide On Healthy Aging below for helpful tips to help you stay healthy as you age.