You did it. You joined approximately 50 million other men worldwide, of which 500,000 are American men who, each year, bite the bullet, severing their ties of being able to reproduce. A vasectomy is a commonly used form of sterilization and birth control in which the tubes that carry sperm are closed or blocked, disallowing sperm to leave a man’s body.
What to expect in the coming weeks
Once the procedure considered permanent is over and done with, how are you to take care of yourself in the coming weeks? First, of course, you want a quick, painless recovery so as not to miss much work and to return to normal as soon as possible. So here are some easy-to-follow steps you can do to improve your chances of a speedy recovery.
- Immediately after the procedure, go home. But be sure to review any reading material, instructions, etc., sent home with you and ask any questions before you leave the office.
- Once you arrive home on that first day, take time to start rest. This will help you recover more quickly. Take someone with you to drive you home and to do any heavy lifting or potentially strenuous activities.
- Stay off your feet as much as possible for a few days. Standing for any length at a time can irritate the tissues that were operated on and could cause significant swelling and pain. Also, avoid standing in a line, such as at a sporting event, and instead take a few days off just to be able to sit as much as needed, allowing your body to heal.
- No heavy lifting or straining for at least a week or so. Be prepared to lift nothing heavier than picking up a gallon of milk during this time. You may feel like you could lift anything, but refrain from doing so. Any strain from lifting or pulling on something heavy could tear or rupture the delicate tissues that have been infringed upon. It is also advisable not to perform specific exercises such as squats, lunges, crunches, or leg presses for about two weeks.
- Following a vasectomy, expect some swelling, inflammation, and discomfort. To keep this to a minimum, take anti-inflammatory medications such as naproxen or ibuprofen as directed by your doctor. If you have issues with ulcers or stomach upset, discontinue and get advice from your doctor. In addition, using ice down there can help reduce any swelling or inflammation. Several times a day, for 20 to 30 minutes, place an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas on the outside of your underwear in the area of the vasectomy. Never put the ice bag directly on the skin.
- During the first week or two, you will need extra support to protect the inflamed tissues inside your scrotum from movement and gravity. Wearing an athletic supporter or bike compression shorts outside your underwear will provide support, making you feel more secure and less likely to cause irritation or damage to the area.
What about sex?
All men will ask, “When can I have sex?” Your doctor will advise you to wait at least one week after the procedure before having intercourse. Be aware you won’t necessarily be completely sterile right away. It can take several months for the sperm remaining in the vas deferens to be ejaculated or reabsorbed by the body. Until you’ve been tested and given the all-clear, continue to use a form of birth control. Remember, a vasectomy does not affect your sex drive or ability to have erections, ejaculate, or have orgasms.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.