• May 22, 2024
  • Dr Luke Wee

Last updated on May 27, 2024

Vasectomy is becoming an increasingly popular choice for permanent male birth control, offering an effective solution for couples or individuals who are certain they don’t want more children. While generally safe, being aware of potential side effects is important.

What Is a vasectomy?

A vasectomy is a surgical procedure that cuts or seals the vas deferens, the tubes that carry sperm, to prevent them from mixing with semen. This makes a man sterile without affecting his sexual function. Vasectomies are highly effective and have gained popularity as a long-term birth control method.

What Is a vasectomy

Whether a conventional vasectomy or a no scalpel vasectomy, people often wonder what the side effects are. This post will answer your questions and more!

The common post-vasectomy surgery side effects

After a vasectomy procedure, it’s normal to experience some side effects that cause discomfort and usually subside within a few days.

Pain and discomfort

Most men describe a sensation as similar to a mild bruise or a slight pulling feeling in the scrotal area post-vasectomy. This is normal post-operative pain and discomfort that typically lasts a few days. You can manage this pain and discomfort with icepacks, snug-fitting underwear, pain relievers such as paracetamol or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) and following the advice of your surgeon.

Sometimes the pain or discomfort may not be a normal part of your recovery and aftercare. These signs may indicate more serious complications:

  • Severe pain
  • Signs of infection (such as fevers, redness, warmth, or pus)

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention.

Swelling and bruising

Swelling and bruising are typical side effects following a vasectomy, resulting from the body’s natural response to the surgical procedure. Bruising occurs when small blood vessels are cut or disturbed during the operation, causing a temporary, harmless discolouration. Swelling is the body’s way of healing, with fluids and white blood cells rushing to the area to repair tissues, resulting in a temporary increase in size.

Both are normal parts of the recovery process and usually subside over time. These tips can help:

  • Ice packs
  • Rest
  • Supportive underwear
  • Avoid hot baths and strenuous activities

Report any signs of excessive swelling, prolonged bruising, or other unusual symptoms to your healthcare provider promptly as these may indicate possible complications.

The common post-vasectomy surgery side effects

Your surgeon or doctor will explain the difference between expected pain, swelling and bruising and any signs that this may have progressed to more serious complications.

Rare side effects and complications

While uncommon, there are some rare side effects to be aware of:

  • Infection: Any surgery carries a risk of infection, so watch for signs like fever or unusual discharge.
  • Sperm granulomas: Small, sometimes painful lumps that can form when sperm leaks from the vas deferens.
  • Epididymitis: Inflammation of the epididymis, causing pain and swelling.
  • Abscesses: Rare but can occur if an infection develops.
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED): Very uncommon, but some men may experience temporary issues with erections that may affect sexual function or sex drive (see FAQs below for more informaiton).
  • Chronic pain: A small percentage of men may experience long-term pain (post-vasectomy pain syndrome) in the scrotal area.
  • Failed vasectomy: Rarely, a vasectomy may fail due to the healing process and require further surgery to achieve male sterilisation.

While these only occur in rare cases, individuals should promptly seek medical attention if they suspect any issues.

Vasectomies and the risk of developing prostate cancer

There have been concerns about a link between vasectomies and an increased testicular or prostate cancer risk. However, current research and medical consensus suggest that there is no significant connection. Always consult with your healthcare provider for the latest information and to discuss any concerns you may have about vasectomies.

Vasectomies and the risk of developing prostate cancer

Whilst there is no strong link between vasectomies and testicular cancer or prostate cancer, some men remain concerned, It is best to speak to your doctor who can provide more information and advice regarding this.

Long-term effects and considerations

There are several different long-term considerations when it comes to vasectomies:

  • Permanence: Remember, a vasectomy is meant to be a permanent method of birth control, so consider it carefully.
  • Reversal: While possible, a vasectomy reversal is not always successful and can be expensive.
  • Sperm banking: For those who might want children in the future, sperm banking is an option to consider.
  • Emotional impact: It’s normal to have mixed feelings after a vasectomy. If needed, seek support from a counsellor or a support group.

Safe and effective permanent birth control for men

A vasectomy is a safe and effective way to prevent unwanted pregnancies, but it’s important to be informed about the potential side effects. Most men experience only mild discomfort and can quickly return to their normal activities. However, understanding the rare risks and long-term considerations is crucial. If you have any questions or concerns, be sure to talk to a qualified healthcare provider.

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Does a vasectomy have side effects on sexual performance?

Generally, a vasectomy does not have any long-term side effects on sex drive or sexual activity. Most men report no change in their ability to achieve and maintain an erection, sexual intercourse, or the sensation of orgasm after a vasectomy.

Can a vasectomy cause ED later in life?

There is no scientific evidence to suggest that a vasectomy directly causes erectile dysfunction (ED) later in life. ED can be caused by various factors, including age, health conditions, and lifestyle choices, but a vasectomy is not considered a contributing factor.

Does ejaculation feel different after a vasectomy?

Most men do not notice any difference in the sensation of ejaculation after a vasectomy. The procedure does not affect the production of semen, so the ejaculate volume remains the same. The only difference is that the semen no longer contains sperm.

Dr Luke Wee

About The Author

Dr Luke Wee

Meet Luke, our very own vasman. NZ men benefit from his hands-on experience in performing nearly 3,000 vasectomies! Luke has a special interest in men’s health and vasectomy procedures. He’s a Fellow of the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, a member of the Association of Surgeons in Primary Care and an international vasectomy peer group. Luke keeps his thumb on the pulse and consistently updates his skills and knowledge by attending national and international conferences.

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Have a query about vasectomies or family planning? Our dedicated team is here to help! Drop us a line with any questions or concerns you may have regarding the procedure, recovery, or any other aspect of vasectomy. We’re committed to providing informative and personalised answers to support your decision-making process.

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