About a vasectomy
A vasectomy is a procedure that cuts and seals the tubes that carry sperm which is included in a man’s ejaculation (seminal) fluid. It is a popular method of birth control which prevents a woman from falling pregnant, without having to resort to oral contraceptives, which often have a range of dangerous side effects.
This is usually a safe procedure which is often performed in a doctor’s office. While the risk of complications is low, and mostly clear up on their own, more serious issues could be in need of a doctor’s attention.
Although there are potential side effects with a vasectomy, there are also some myths attached to a procedure:
Here are some of the misconceptions:
- A man’s sexual performance is definitely affected.
- There are cancer risks involved.
- The procedure is very painful.
None of these are true. However, if you do have some concerns about having a vasectomy, discuss the issue with your doctor before you make a decision.
Complications which may occur
The vasectomy procedure is done in a relatively short space of time, but as the tubes which are cut and sealed are situated just behind the testicles, it is not usual to experience a little pain or discomfort in that area. This is not considered a complication, and can be successfully treated with anti-inflammatory pain killers.
Supportive underwear which lift the testicles away from the surgical site, will also help ease any pain or irritation.
Here are some difficulties which could happen:
- Although all procedures are done under sterile conditions, there is always a potential risk for infection. If the surgical infection does not clear up after cleansing with antiseptic lotions, the doctor will probably prescribe a course of antibiotics.
- The epididymis is one of the tubes located at the back of the testicles which stores and carries sperm. After a vasectomy, this tube may be become inflamed and cause pain and swelling in the testicles. The treatment is always antibiotics, and usually clears up quickly.
- Unusual swelling. Extreme, swelling in the surgical area can be the result of bleeding, a collection of clotted blood, or a build up of normal post-surgical fluid. The swelling usually disappears after a time, but if it persists, a doctor may have to drain the area.
- Some bruising or swelling may occur in the scrotum, the sac which contains and protects the testicles. This normally clears up quickly and is not painful. Anti-inflammatory meds can be used if you feel the need.
- After a vasectomy, some bleeding can take place from the surgical site, and a haematoma may occur. This is a collection of clotted blood which may press on other structures of the body and cause discomfort. The bleeding should go away on its own, but if it continues and soaks the dressing, call the doctor for advice.
If you experience symptoms like a more urgent need to urinate, painful urination, a lump on a testicle, blood in the urine, or swollen glands in the groin, there might be an infection which will need antibiotics from the doctor to fix.
A vasectomy in not a serious procedure and the benefits are well known. The American Urological Association estimates that up to 500,000 men in the US have a vasectomy each year, and less than 1% suffer any serious, long term, or even short term, complications.
However, it is pertinent to realise that a vasectomy is not an immediate birth control method. It takes 8 to 16 weeks for the sperm to be gone completely. Your doctor will probably ask you to come back that during that period to provide a semen sample to be absolutely sure you are “sperm free.”
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