Having a vasectomy is a big decision. Even when you are sure you do not want to expand your family any further, you may hesitate to schedule an appointment with a urologist. Here, we discuss some of the common misperceptions that keep men from taking that step into long-term birth control. If any of them sound like the thoughts that swirl through your mind, you will gain insight to help you move beyond them.
Vasectomy “surgery” is difficult and invasive.
The vasectomy procedure does involve one or two incisions, yes. But would we describe it as surgery? Not necessarily. It is an office procedure performed using an effective local anesthetic. The entire process takes less than have an hour.
A vasectomy will hurt.
Your board-certified urologist understands the delicate nature of the vasectomy procedure. Our specialists are compassionate and respectful of each patient’s valid stress related to having a vasectomy, and they take precautions to ensure the most comfortable procedure. Patients are frequently surprised at just how little discomfort they experience during their vasectomy. The doctor administers a small injection to numb the area, after which the treatment site is numb to sensation.
Vasectomy recovery is difficult and painful.
Again, patients are often surprised at the ease with which they can recover from their vasectomy. Patients are encouraged to take over-the-counter pain relief medication as directed for a day or two following their procedure. It is beneficial to rest for a couple of days and keep physical activity to a minimum. Patients who have their vasectomies on a Friday are usually able to return to work on Monday.
A vasectomy will diminish sex drive and sexual pleasure.
The vasectomy procedure is very localized. It only prevents the transfer of sperm from the testicles through the vas deferens. Hormone production is unaffected by vasectomy, and it is hormone production that influences sex drive. The vasectomy does not alter libido, physical sensation, sexual performance, or a man’s ability to get and maintain an erection. Furthermore, the enjoyment of sexual intercourse may actually improve after the vasectomy because worry about an unplanned pregnancy is gone.
Pregnancy can still occur after a vasectomy.
This is only a partial misconception. Patients should understand that, after a vasectomy, it can take approximately 20 ejaculations (and several weeks) for all sperm to exit the passageway from the testicles to the penis. Until follow-up tests confirm the absence of sperm, patients should avoid unprotected sexual intercourse. Stories of vasectomy failure most often relate to having unprotected sex too soon after the procedure.
A vasectomy is permanent.
Some men may hesitate to get a vasectomy because they want to retain the option of having more children in the future. With advances in surgical techniques and an abundance of research, it has been determined that a vasectomy is a reversible procedure. While there may be some limitations in terms of the timing and efficacy of vasectomy reversal, many men who have the procedure are able to father children.
The truth about the vasectomy procedure is that it is simple, convenient, effective but reversible, and only moderately uncomfortable during a short recovery period. If you would like to gain freedom through this procedure, contact our primary Chattanooga urology practice at (423) 778-5910. Satellite offices can be reached here.