The vasectomy is having a moment. Since last summer, more men than ever are booking the procedure — a quick, permanent way to prevent against pregnancy. Wondering what to expect before booking your vasectomy? Read on.
Before: What happens at a vasectomy consultation?
Vasectomies are safe, simple and usually covered by insurance. But you can’t just show up and get one the same day.
“First, you’ll need to meet with your urologist to make sure that a vasectomy is the right choice for you,” says David Crawley, MD, a urologist and medical director of Hartford HealthCare’s Tallwood Men’s Health for Backus and Windham Hospital.
Here’s what to expect at your vasectomy consultation:
- Your urologist will go over your medical history, and ask if you’re certain you don’t want to have any (or any more) biological children. While a skilled doctor can reverse a vasectomy, the procedure is intended to be permanent.
- You can ask any questions, and talk through exactly what to expect.
- You’ll schedule the procedure and get instructions on how to prepare, like avoiding certain medications and what to do the morning of your appointment.
> Related: 5 Common Misconceptions About Vasectomies
During the procedure: Will I be awake for all of it?
Yes, you’ll be awake for the procedure.
- If you’re feeling anxious, you may have the option to take an oral sedative to help you relax. You’ll just need someone to drive you home.
- You’ll get some numbing medication on your scrotum, either through an injection or a spray. “You might feel a tugging sensation or pressure, but the numbing medication will eliminate any significant discomfort,” says Dr. Crawley.
The actual procedure takes just 15 to 30 minutes.
- Your urologist will make a tiny opening in the skin of your scrotum and through that, cut and seal the vas deferens tube on both sides. That blocks sperm from getting into your semen.
- Throughout, you’ll be able to carry on a conversation with your doctor, listen to music or generally relax.
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Immediately after: How long does it take to recover?
For two or three days after:
- Stay home and put your feet up. “You basically have doctor’s orders to be a couch potato,” says Dr. Crawley.
- You might have a little bruising and swelling. If needed, take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory and apply a cold pack outside your clothing.
Until a week or two after:
- No sex, heavy lifting or strenuous physical activity.
For several months after:
- Use birth control when you have sex. “Your body will take at least a few months to use up its reserve of sperm — so don’t have unprotected sex until a sperm test proves you’re sterile,” says Dr. Crawley. Your urologist will explain when and where to get your sperm tested.
> Related: Considering a Vasectomy? Here’s What You Should Know
Long-term: Will a vasectomy affect my sex drive or performance?
Not in any negative ways. “Every part about sexual encounters, from desire to orgasm, should remain unchanged after a vasectomy,” says Dr. Crawley.
- You’ll have the same testosterone levels as before.
- Your ejaculate will look and feel the same.
- So will all your anatomy, including erections.
The only difference is that sperm — and with it, the possibility of getting someone pregnant — will be out of the equation. For many men and their partners, that’s a huge weight lifted. So if anything, you may enjoy yourself even more.
No wonder vasectomies are having a moment.