Nearly 500,000 men get a vasectomy yearly because they are ready to enjoy the benefits of permanent birth control. A vasectomy is a safe, reliable procedure, but there are some widespread myths surrounding it. Men often have questions about how the procedure works or are worried about side effects.
9 Vasectomy Myths Debunked
Let’s debunk some common myths about vasectomy. It’s a safer, easier, and more effective birth control option than you may think.
1. It removes your testicles
There is a lot of confusion about precisely what the vasectomy procedure does. Some are concerned that it involves removing the testicles like they’ve seen happen when having pets neutered. However, with a vasectomy, nothing is removed!
A vasectomy is a small cut to a small tube inside your scrotum called the vas deferens. The ends are cauterized, clipped, or tied to prevent sperm from traveling through the vas deferens and into the semen
2. It destroys your sex life
There are many misunderstandings about how a vasectomy affects sexual desire and functioning. A vasectomy only stops sperm from mixing with semen. There is no change in testosterone levels, the penis, or sensation.
Over half a million men have vasectomies in the U.S. each year. Many of them report better sex after a vasectomy because it removes the worry about pregnancy and birth control and gives them back spontaneity.
3. It damages your sex organs
A vasectomy doesn’t involve the penis, testicles, or any tissue involved with sex other than the vas deferens. One or two small incisions will be made in the scrotum to access the vas deferens, and there will be some swelling and bruising in the scrotum afterward. After healing, however, sexual function returns to normal.
4. Sperm has nowhere to go and builds up uncomfortably in the testicles
The question of what happens to the sperm when they can’t be released gives rise to the myth that it must build up uncomfortably in the testicles. Your body knows what to do with unused sperm. They eventually die off, and then your body absorbs them just like it does other types of cells in the body. There’s no buildup or discomfort involved.
5. It has serious health risks
Vasectomies have very few risks. There is a concern that they cause a greater risk of prostate cancer, but there are studies that say otherwise. Men with vasectomies may be diagnosed more frequently because they often get screened when they have their physical exam, especially if they are over the age of 50.
6. Surgery is long and painful
A surgical procedure is often assumed to be time-consuming and painful. Believe it or not, a vasectomy is a short procedure with minimal discomfort. Local anesthesia is used to numb the scrotum, and most men report feeling only a tugging or pulling sensation during the procedure but not much else.
Many men opt for nitrous oxide for their procedure. Also known as “laughing gas”, this inhaled anesthetic lets you fall asleep for your procedure. You’ll wake up with no memories of the procedure and will be able to drive home shortly after.
All in all the procedure is quick – it only lasts 20-30 minutes.
7. It must have a long, painful recovery
Vasectomy is an outpatient surgery, meaning it’s done in an office or clinic, and men can go home the same day. Ice packs and over-the-counter pain relievers are usually enough to manage the discomfort after the procedure. Most men can return to their normal activities after a week or so.
One of the most popular times to schedule a vasectomy is during March Madness! Most doctors recommend at least 48 hours of rest immediately after the procedure. Why not spend it watching basketball (or your favorite sport, or a movie marathon)?
8. It’s not 100% effective at preventing pregnancy
The only perfect birth control is abstinence, but vasectomy is a close second. The failure rate is about 1 in 10,000, still less than a condom which is about 1 in 100. A vasectomy isn’t immediately effective, however.
Even after the vas deferens is cut, there are sperm that need to be cleared. It can take about 3 months before sperm is absent from your semen.
9. There’s no going back
Vasectomy is a permanent solution if you want it to be. That doesn’t mean there’s no turning back if your life changes and you decide you want a child later. Vasectomy reversal is possible and successfully restores sperm to the semen almost 95% of the time.
Don’t delay your decision to enjoy permanent birth control – schedule an appointment today!