“You’re going to do WHAT, WHERE?!” – (Vasectomy questions answered)

man-holding-his-hands-out-in-fear-screaming

First, a disclaimer: I know there are a lot of views on the subject of birth control. The point of this post is NOT to argue these views one way or another. The point of this post is to INFORM you on what you might encounter if you have decided to have this procedure done. I don’t want to hear why you feel it’s wrong, or right, or upside down, because frankly, I don’t care. In our case, due to some health issues in my wife, and a few other reasons I’d rather not share, we decided it was the best route for us.

“I can’t believe your going to blog about that” said my wife when I told her what I was writing about today. Well, I’m actually a little surprised myself, but here I am, writing about getting snipped. Maybe I’m drawn to subjects that normally don’t get written about, leaving a huge void of information on how to deal with/what to expect when you go through them. Maybe that’s why I blogged about our miscarriage. I guess I just figure that if I went through it, and had to learn some things the hard way, why not share it with other husbands (even if it is a tough subject to just “bring up”) so you have some information to go into it with? Make sense? Ok, you’re still looking at me like I’m crazy, but whatever. Maybe at this point you want to navigate over to the Newsweek blog. But, if not, buckle up, ‘cus here goes…

In this post, I want to answer some of the hard (and strange) questions I had as a guy, going into this thing. Questions that you can’t really just ask off the cuff. It’s just a little strange to follow-up a “Man, the cowboys lost again huh?” with “So, how bad did you swell up after you got snipped?” Just seems a bit awkward. The following is a little bit of what I experienced/questions I had. Obviously you’re going to be a little different, but it should be at least close to what it’s going to be like for you. Also, if you have any questions (no matter how strange) that you’d like answered, just ask them below in the comments. I’d be glad to answer as honestly as possible.

“Where do you go to get it done?” –  Yeah, that’s what I asked. Is there some sort of “snip doctor”? No. Well, not exactly. You can have your family practitioner do it, but I don’t recommend it. (And neither does my sister, who is a General Practitioner) You want to look up the Urologist in your area. And do your homework on them too. Get reviews online, check with other guys that have had it done. This isn’t something you want botched, or being done by a “newbie” who “thinks he know’s how to do it”. The Doc I went to had done over 300 of them, so he had a VERY good idea of what he was doing.

“Why do they want me to come in for a consult first? – Most docs want to sit down and go over the procedure with you, and make sure you understand what you’re having done, the risks, etc. I was scared that they would try to talk me out of it, but instead I got a really good understanding of what exactly he was going to do, what to expect. It’s worth the extra time.

“How bad does it hurt during the procedure?” – I can honestly say that I didn’t feel ANY pain during the procedure. There were sometimes when I felt a “tightness” in my testicles when he was working down there, but no sharp pain. They will numb you up at the incision site, and then again inside where they are working, so you shouldn’t feel a thing. They also had me take 2 Valium and a Hydrocodone before I came in, so I was feeling pretty “good” (ok, I was higher than a kite) when I got there. Let’s just say that my wife can tell you some stories about how I was acting before/when I got there. The Valium totally relaxes you, and makes you not care about much of everything. Doc could have fired up a chainsaw in the operating room, and I would have been like “cool man, what’s that for?”

“How bad is the aftermath?” – The docs will tell you to go home, keep ice on it, and take pain meds as needed. In my case the after-pain was nonexistent until the meds started to wear off. Then I started to feel the pain. That being said, if I kept an ice pack on it, and kept up on my pain meds, it was very manageable. Another thing I did was wear TWO pairs of boxer brief underwear when I slept, and put the ice pack in between the two pairs. That way the pack wasn’t making direct contact with it, and they kept the ice pack there while I slept.

I took two and a half days off of work, and was back to work for 4 hours on that 3rd day. It really depends on your job though. They don’t want you to lift anything for about 10 days if at all possible. And believe me, you might think “oh come on, it can’t be that bad”, but let me tell you, I started to help my wife move some boxes of stuff into the garage that second day, and let’s just say I stopped as soon as I started. You don’t realize how much you use the muscles down there when you lift, until you have this done.

“How bad was the swelling?” – As long as you keep ice on it every few hours the first couple days, it’s not bad. Are they bigger than normal, yes, but it’s not like having a soccer ball down there. It’s not comfortable to cross your legs for at least a couple of weeks however.

“How long until you can have sex again?” – The doc I went to said “Oh, you’ll know when you’re ready”. I didn’t really know what he meant by that, but was too afraid to ask. There turned out to be a lot of wisdom in it though. Basically, the first 4 or 5 days, the thought of sex just sounds painful. Like kick you in the crotch painful. But at about the 6 or 7 day mark, it sounds a little better, and for most you should be “back in the saddle” (sorry, bad pun) by around the  7-10 day mark. Each procedure is different and some docs will ask you to wait more or less, but for most, it will be about a week before you start to enjoy it again.

“Does sex feel the same as it did before?” – For the most part, yes. Let me explain. At first orgasm felt a little “different” then it did before. Almost as if there was less of a “full release” than pre vasectomy. Most of it was probably just in my head, but it just felt a little different, but not in a “less pleasurable” way. Now, 2 months post-op, I can’t tell a difference in feeling at all. If anything, it feels a little better, not worse.

“Other strange sex related questions” –

“Is there as much ejaculate as before?” Since sperm only makes up about 5% of the ejaculate, the scientific answer to that question would be no. Can you tell just by looking at it? Not in a million years.

“Does the ejaculate look different from before?” No, not at all.

“Will my wife desire me less?” Yes, us guys like to play these silly head games. As a man, there is something about being able to get our wives pregnant that gives us a sense of “manhood”. To our wives however,  it can actually be a stress, not a turn-on, if pregnancy isn’t desired at the time. So, the answer to this question is no. If anything (and I’ve heard this from several guys who have had this done), it let’s the wife enjoy the encounter MORE, since there is no fear of pregnancy sitting in the back of her head.

“Is there any pain after total recovery?” – Like I said, I’m only 2 months post op, but the only pain I have is an occasional “ache” (similar to the “blue balls” feeling) in my testicles, and I do notice that I’m a bit more sensitive to accidental hits/knocks there by random misplaced knee from the kiddos, etc. I’m told that most of this will also go away over time.

“Can you still see the incision after it’s all healed?”  – No, not at all. Even my wife couldn’t find it. My doc used the stitches that dissolve, so other than a small, harder spot where the stitches were, you can’t tell at all.

“How long until you can have unprotected sex after the procedure?” – They want you to wait 6 weeks, or 12 ejaculations, whichever comes first. Then they have you bring in a sperm sample to the office, so they can test for any remaining sperm. If there aren’t any, you’re good to go. If there are, they have you bring in a sample every week, until there are none.

Random things you need to know:

– Take the drugs they give you before you go in for the procedure. Don’t try to be the “manly man”. Just take them. They know what they’re doing.

If you wear boxers normally, go buy some boxer briefs, or regular briefs. You will need at least 6 pairs. 10 would be better. Remember, you will be doubling up for the first few days. The goal is to have underwear that is supportive, without being TOO tight.

Resist the temptation to “see if it still works” too soon after post-op. There was a guy I know about who did that after the first day, and let’s just say it turned all kinds of pretty shades of purple. Yeah, BAD idea.

– Buy some ice packs. You want them to be about 4 inches wide by 5 or 6 inches long, and you want the ones that stay pliable even while frozen/cold. You can find them on Amazon, or any drug store. Have at least 2, so you can keep trading them out.

– DO NOT try to go back to wearing boxers less than one month out from surgery. Don’t ask me how I know this, but while you may think you’re fine, by the end of the day you will NOT be fine. Too much movement = bad.

– Remember the “ice pack between two pairs of underwear” trick that I talked about above. Works GREAT.

– Do NOT try to do ANY lifting before the 10 days are up. And even then, be careful! Like I said, you wouldn’t think it would affect that area, but it does. Anything over 10 lbs, don’t do it.

To sum it up – Was it worth it?

Here’s the deal guys. Was it fun to go through all the “stuff” I described above? The ice packs, the pain meds, the surgery, the awkwardness? No. Is it worth it to be able to have worry free sex with my wife anytime we want, without having to worry about if we have a condom, what time of the month it is,  where her cycle is, if she’s ovulating, etc, etc, etc? Totally.  I have, and will always, hate condoms, and I will never regret the day I got to throw them all away. 🙂

Is it the right thing for your marriage? Sorry, I can’t tell you that. Pray about it, have a long hard talk with your wife, and look at things in a “down the road” kind of way. If you’re 25, have 1 child, and might want more later, probably not a good call. If you’re 32, have 4 kids, and feel like the Lord may want you to adopt later, instead of having any more of your own, it might be a good option for you.

Whatever you decide, my hope is that this post gives you some real answers about what to expect, and how it’s going to affect you physically. Beyond that, is up to you.

How about you? Have any tips/questions to add? 

  1. Good story! I did the same a few years ago. Never had any regrets. Did not use any ice packs, only meds. The doc told me to wear the first days underwear that is not tight at all, and it was OK for me.
    I did on Friday morning, and got back to work (office) on Tuesday, only walking a little cowboylike, at least in my feeling 🙂
    Used the elevator in stead of the stairs the first days.
    The docs told me the six week thing, but I had to bring in a lot of weekly sperm to check before it was ok. It took 12 weeks, so don’t hurry…
    Now, a few years later, there is nothing that remembers me of the the whole thing. Only worry-less sex… 🙂

    • Dan
    • December 26th, 2013

    I love a good straightforward disclaimer right up front. Don’t want to read this? Stop now and don’t bother commenting. *Applause* I’m working up a bog of my own where I am going to have a static page that is a going to be a blanket disclaimer. I don’t want to feel obliged to deal with “yeah, but what about the man/woman, wife/husband? type of remarks when nobody wants to give you the benefit of the doubt that you are trying to write a fair and considered article without a lot of PC disclaimers. “of course I realize the husband/wife also has a part to play…..” yadda yadda yadda. Also, from the Seinfeld PC episode: “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” Good for you laying it out up front.

    • Ryan
    • December 27th, 2013

    Great article on just the specifics of having it done to stay more informed. Just a few points to add:

    1. The Doc that performs this should tell you to have a follow-up visit/check in about 6-9 months. Make SURE YOU GO. I’ve known 2 friends that skipped that 6-month re-check and found out that the tubes had corrected themselves through the scar tissue.

    2. Ice packs work well, but for those that might have forgotten to order them or don’t have any around a few bags of frozen peas work just the same. You can break up the little peas and spread and mold the bag around just as you can with a bendable ice pack. And with the generic kind your looking at $.80-$1.00 in cost.

    3. I will also concur that the pain does go away but it does seem that the occasional knee from a child, or weird bounce of a ball that hits you just right seems to hurt much more than it did before the procedure. Maybe I’m just getting old and it hurts more in general, but my mind is telling me it hurts more now than it ever did before.

    Thanks for all the good information. As you said it’s up to you if this is right for you and your family, but having the information helps you make the right choice for your situation.

    • Ryan,

      Thanks for the comments! I agree that it seems to hurt more now, when I’m hit there, then it did pre-vasectomy. Or to me the pain is sharper maybe? Or it doesn’t take as much to really hurt, as before? Who knows, maybe it’s just in my head….lol…

      Gerad

    • Timm
    • December 27th, 2013

    Thanks for posting. Yea it can be a touchy subject, but I’m glad to see someone address it. I had mine done three years ago and all is well. After 8 kids in 11 years we needed to be done. For me the choice was easy it was tougher on my wife. She had to wrestle all the issues and implications before she agreed. Which is great. It’s a serious decision and people need to count the costs. Thanks again for sharing!

  2. Mine was easier than yours. I had mine done on Thursday afternoon, went to Bible study the next morning at 0600, and worked all day. I was good to go in about three days.

    • Wendy
    • December 27th, 2013

    Great article and I wish more men would read it. My husband had it done and he was like what is the big deal. He followed the doctors orders and had no problems!! We are both happy that we don’t have to worry about pregnancy now, and that part of our life is a lot more fun and less stressful!! Also the Vasectomy procedure cost a lot less than if I had had my tubes tied! I wish our oldest son would go through with it (They are on their 5th child). His father has talked to him but he says no, he’s afraid it will take his manhood away from him…(sigh!)

  3. Thanks for addressing this! Great Q&A here. My hubby had the vasectomy too, and he didn’t think it was a big deal either. Yes, it hurt for a few days, but then everything was great. We also used the frozen peas instead of an ice pack, but the double briefs is a good idea. And I’ll second that post-vasectomy I can see nothing different and everything feels fine (okay, more than fine) on this wife’s end. 🙂

    • Just a guy
    • December 27th, 2013

    One important tip…remember that they are saying there is a chance of it not working. I had mine, 2 years later welcomed another child. Getting my second one, my urologist says he recommends annual counts to make sure it’s all free and clear.

  4. Thanks for taking this on.

    I had far less problem than you did, but I have a high pain threshold and I heal very quickly. I took no drugs before hand, then took OTC pain killer before the local wore off. 24 hours after the procedure I was taking nothing and feeling okay.

    I went back to work (landscape) four days after, My doctor would have had a fit had he known. I had scheduled a few easy days – no lifting, limited bending, and I was fine.

    As to long term pain, I has an occasional dull ache on one side during the first three winters. Nothing since.

    I would say I was on the very easy end, while your experaince is about average. I’ve talked to guys who had it worse, but few had it much worse.

    • libl
    • December 29th, 2013

    Here’s my (well, my hubby’s) experience. Procedure went well and he was high on meds and insisted on walking around a store with me right after. He wouldn’t listen to me telling him he’d better just take it easy. He wouldn’t ice it and sit still. Wound up a shade of purple/black you wouldn’t believe and in pain for weeks. That, in turn, did something mentally to him and he lost his sex drive for a while. Long story short, don’t try to be the man who recovers as soon as he leaves the doctor’s office. TAKE IT EASY!!

    A year later, sex is better than ever and happening more often than ever (like nearly every day). He lasts just as long, if not longer. Yes, recovery may take some time, but be patient.

    One more piece of advice: don’t forget your wife! Just like you don’t want to be forgotten when she’s in the post-partum time, she may not want to be forgotten during your recovery. My hubby forgot me and while I did my best to be patient and understanding, I couldn’t help but feel hurt since I took care of him when I was on bedrest, pelvic rest and during the post partum time.

    • Good point. You’d think we’d know how that feels, and make sure we don’t forget our wives still have a sex drive while we’re down, but good reminder! Why was his drive lower for a while? Was it the fear of pain?

  5. This is a great post, thank you for sharing. Particularly, thanks for having the guts to talk about how your orgasm felt “different.” I am 38 days post-op so this gives me some hope. I’ve had two sexual related and very depressing side effects thus far: I lost sensitivity in my penis and orgasm is simply not what it used to be. I completely relate to the lack of feeling a “full release” after the procedure.

    Do you honestly think the quality of orgasm changed for you by two months or do you think you just mentally came to terms with this is how things are going to be now? Just looking for any additional insight you’re willing to provide on this. Related: I do notice that my ejaculate is more watery.

    Again, thanks for posting.

    • Tlbtb2,

      Hey! Thanks for the comment.

      I haven’t noticed any less “feeling” or “sensation” in my penis post-op. The fact that you have, worries me a little. I would check with your doc to see if there may have been any nerve damage accidentaly?

      As far as the “full release”, like I said, it didn’t feel right the first probably two times or so. After that it got better, to the point where now, it still feels slightly different, but not enough to matter, and as far as intensity, I’d say it’s even MORE intense then before.

      As far as the “watery” goes, I haven’t noticed much there. I do however leak pre-cum more than I did before. Not sure why.

      Hope that helps!

      • I appreciate you responding so quickly, thanks!

        Yes, I plan to check back with the urologist who performed my vasectomy soon on the sensation issue. I was able to see a partner of his already and he said, “the nerves there aren’t anywhere near where the operation was performed so it’s not possible.” Considering what I’ve read online from others who have the same problem I *do* think it’s possible but we’ll see. I’m cautiously optimistic that I’ll be able to regain my original feeling. It’s not a total sensation loss but definitely a reduction to the point where I was somewhat shocked the first time I had sex. It’s still a bit early in my recovery so we’ll see if that and the orgasm improves for me over the next month or so.

        Once again thanks for the great post. It’s nice to have a well-articulated, detailed, and valuable source of information from an actual person person who had undergone the procedure. If you experience any changes in the future I’d definitely be interested in your updates.

      • Thanks! I hope you get the nerve thing figured out!

    • Jack
    • January 16th, 2014

    My wife and I have been considering it. I have been told my a couple of men not to do it. They told me that once it is done, it creates problems being able to perform. Is there any truth to that?

  6. I just started a blog myself about my own vasectomy-story.
    I must say it’s quite similar to yours albeit some minor differences. I’m now Vasectomy+6,5 hours and haven’t really felt any pain or discomfort. I use a couple of bags of peas to ice them every now and then but I would probably be just fine without that as well.

    For me, my biggest worry was the anesthetic. I had read that it felt like a bee sting and really, having a bee sting my nut sack is probably one of my biggest fears, topped only by getting someone accidentally pregnant. However, the “pain”, if you can even call it that, was nowhere near that severe. It felt more like a mosquito bite.
    VERY much pain free, in and out within about 30 minutes.

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