We are in an era focused on women when considering family planning. Women mostly shoulder the burden of contraception on their own and there is a gap to engage men in vasectomy procedure. The majority of current family planning options are for women and the options for men are limited to condoms and vasectomies.
What is Vasectomy?
In this simple procedure, men undergo a minor urological surgery during which the tubes that carry sperm from a man's testicles to the penis are cut, blocked or sealed with local anaesthesia. This is also known as 'male sterilisation'.
Though vasectomy has become common among men but still many misconceptions about this vent-blocking have been masquerading as facts. To promote greater understanding, to encourage men to participate in family planning and to convince the naysayers that vasectomy is the right choice when concerned about family planning, the day November 16 has reached us with the sixth annual World Vasectomy Day. If you are reluctant to undergo the vasectomy, read the following vasectomy myths and facts, contribute to the world population control and avoid unintended pregnancies.
Myth 1: Vasectomy is painful and dangerous
Surgeons tell that men would feel nothing but a scratch during the procedure but pain differs in all patients. Around 95% of vasectomy patients report mild or minimal pain. So the answer is a YES, a vasectomy will probably hurt a little. After 10-20 minutes of surgery, you should take rest for 1-2 days. Avoid strenuous activities like heavy lifting for a week, wear tight underwear or supporter, use frozen peas or sit in a warm tub to minimise pain and swelling. Over the counter pain medicines such as ibuprofen are enough after surgery. After a week, the pain goes away and you can return to your regular activities including sex.
Some vasectomised people may experience an inflammatory reaction. This can be resolved in 2-4 weeks and you can use anti-inflammatory painkillers. Only about 1 in 1,000 men experience chronic pain after a vasectomy.
Of the two types of vasectomy procedures, the newer No-Scalpel Vasectomy (NSV), in which doctors use a small puncture instead of a scalpel incision in the traditional method, has grown popular since there is little bleeding, no stitches and a fast recovery time.
Myth 2: Vasectomy reversal is not possible? Or After vasectomy, having children is not possible
In a complicated surgery 'vasoepididymostomy', the surgeon reconnects the tubes that were cut in the initial surgery (vasectomy). But it does not guarantee you to have children again. The success rate of a vasectomy reversal is as follows.
75% - Within three years of the vasectomy
Up to 55% - After 3 to 8 years
Approximately 30% - 40% - After 9 to 19 years
That's why doctors suggest you rethinking before you opt for vasectomy.
A non-pharmaceutical agent and a contraceptive gel called 'Vasalgel' is under trials. Researchers believe the gel could be a new form of potential birth control and also offer men a reversible alternative to vasectomy.
Myth 3: You won't be able to ejaculate Or You won't be able to have orgasm
You should understand that
The tubes near the testicles are only blocked and the penis is not affected in any way during vasectomy.
The seminal vesicles which secrete fluid that partly composes the semen are not cut during vasectomy.
The muscle contractions that force fluid out during ejaculation come from the pelvis are not affected by vasectomy.
The amount of fluid that comes out of the testicle with sperm is less than 1% of the overall ejaculate semen volume. The sperm's pathway is blocked and it can't combine with the semen that is ejaculated during sexual climax.
Without sperm in semen, a woman's egg can not become fertilised.
The aim of the vasectomy is to make you sterile. If you could ejaculate before vasectomy, you will ejaculate after vasectomy too.
Myth 4: Vasectomy kills your sex drive (Or) Vasectomy causes erectile dysfunction (ED) (Or) Vasectomy makes you impotent (Or) Vasectomy is same as castration
In castration, only testicles are removed. As we said, vasectomy makes you sterile but not impotent. If erectile dysfunction (ED) presents after a vasectomy, it is mostly due to your anxiety because a vasectomy will not affect any of the nerves that allow erections. The levels of male sex hormone - testosterone and masculinity are also not impacted during a vasectomy. Remember that the testosterone that is produced in testicles passes through the bloodstream, not through the sperm transporters - vas deferens which are cut during vasectomy. No decrease in testosterone level means stable erections you have or no decrease in your libido.
Interestingly, it is found that the vasectomised men are more satisfied sexually than the nonvasectomised men. The reasons could be the decreased anxiety about unwanted pregnancy and avoiding the use of contraception.
Myth 5: Vasectomy causes prostate cancer
Earlier, a few studies faced criticisms for their flawed research methodologies in finding the connection between vasectomy and prostate cancer. The American Urological Association reviewed all the data and say in their guidelines that clinicians do not need to routinely discuss prostate cancer, coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, dementia or testicular cancer in pre-vasectomy counselling because vasectomy does not cause all these conditions.
Myth 6: Vasectomy shuts down sperm production
As we said, a vasectomy just blocks sperm passage. Due to a vasectomy, the produced sperm in testicles cannot find a way to go out. Sperm lives about 3-5 days and if you don't ejaculate for every 5 days, they die. The died sperm is replaced with the millions of new sperm. This is a continuous process in testicles regardless of where the sperm goes. This is why vasectomy reversal is possible.
Then, where does the sperm go once the tubes called vas deferens blocked? The sperm build-up in the epididymis, a 16-foot-long tightly coiled tube behind each testicle where sperm learns to swim. The pressure of this build-up of sperm which can be absorbed by human body may cause pain in some men.
Myth 7: Vasectomies don't fail (Or) Vasectomy makes you sterile immediately
They fail very rarely when a sperm finds a new way to enter the vas deferens. Though vasectomy is a permanent form of contraception, it does not make you become sterile immediately. The sperm count becomes zero after three months and around 30 ejaculations. Interestingly, doctors suggest having more sex to flush out the residual sperm after vasectomy. But you should use another form of contraception until you ensure all sperm cells are gone by post-vasectomy semen analysis (PVSA).
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