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Vasectomies are an extremely effective form of birth control that can prevent pregnancy nearly 100 percent of the time, according to Planned Parenthood.
A vasectomy works by disconnecting the tubes that allow sperm to join with semen in the body. The procedure is low risk and can normally be done in an outpatient setting under only local anesthesia.
Preparing for a vasectomy
Before you or a partner have a vasectomy, you’ll discuss with your doctor whether a vasectomy is the right option.
They might want to verify that you’re sure you don’t want to have biological children, since vasectomies are intended to be permanent. They’ll also walk you through the procedure to make sure you’re prepared.
How the procedure is performed
Vasectomies can often be performed in a doctor’s office or outpatient medical center. Your doctor will start by giving you a small injection to numb the skin around your scrotum.
Once your skin is numb, the doctor will make an incision or surgical hole in the area. They’ll then locate the tube that allows sperm to join semen and pull it through the incision or hole.
The tube is then cut and sealed by tying it, using surgical clips, or heating it. When the tube is sealed, it will gently be placed back inside your body. The area will then be cleaned and stitched.
Recovery after a vasectomy
You can go home after the procedure. You’ll probably be sore for several days afterward and might have bruising and swelling in the affected area.
Your doctor will give you recovery instructions, but generally, you’ll be advised to:
- Watch your incision site for any signs of infection.
- Keep a bandage on your incision site for at least 48 hours.
- Evaluate the area as much as possible for the first 48 hours.
- Use ice packs to keep swelling down.
- Rest for several days.
- Avoid sexual activity for about a week.
What to expect after recovery
Your vasectomy won’t be effective right away. Even after you heal, it’ll take a few months and between 15 to 20 ejaculations before there is no longer any sperm in your semen.
Your doctor will schedule a follow-up exam in 2 to 3 months to analyze your semen. You’ll need to use other methods of birth control until your doctor tells you that your semen is clear of sperm.
Sex and orgasms won’t feel any different after a vasectomy. The only difference will be that there is no longer sperm in your semen.
If you do have any pain, discomfort, or changes to your sexual function once your vasectomy has healed, talk with your doctor right away.
Vasectomies are one of the most effective forms of birth control. Unlike condoms or birth control pills, you don’t have to remember to do anything or make sure you’re doing something correctly for it to be effective.
However, a vasectomy doesn’t prevent you from getting or giving a sexually transmitted infection. That means safe sex should continue to be an important consideration.