Tips to Live By

Vasectomy: Common Questions, Answered

Feb. 6, 2020

A vasectomy is a big decision. If you're considering one, you may be confused by conflicting information or misconceptions about the procedure.

A vasectomy is a simple surgical procedure that prevents sperm from being released during ejaculation — which makes a mean unable to get a woman pregnant.

Dr. Monty Aghazadeh, urologist at Houston Methodist, is here to answer commonly asked questions about vasectomies.

Will a vasectomy affect libido?

A vasectomy is a procedure that keeps sperm out of semen. But, this doesn't mean a man becomes impotent. Vasectomies don't affect sex drive, performance or the ability to maintain an erection.

Is a vasectomy painful?

Vasectomies are done as an outpatient surgery, and take about 30 minutes to complete. In most cases, you can return to work and regular activities the next day. However, you may feel some discomfort after the surgery, so it's a good idea to have someone accompany you and drive you home.

Can a vasectomy cause erectile dysfunction?

It's a common misconception that after a vasectomy you will no longer be able to ejaculate. Sperm accounts for less than 3% of the volume of ejaculate. Semen is created in the prostate gland and seminal vesicles, which are unaffected by vasectomies.

Will a vasectomy affect testosterone levels?

While it's true that the testicles are responsible for both sperm and testosterone production, the way they're transported is different. "Testosterone is transported through the bloodstream, not the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles," Dr. Aghazadeh says.

Can a vasectomy fail?

A vasectomy can fail, but only in extremely rare cases. Failure occurs when sperm find a new way into the vas deferens, called "recanalization," or if you have sex too soon after surgery.

How long does it take for a vasectomy to work?

After surgery, men may still have residual sperm in their systems that can cause pregnancy.

"It can take about three months for a vasectomy to be completely effective," Dr. Aghazadeh cautions. "At the three-month mark, your doctor will test your semen to ensure there are no sperm present."

Can a vasectomy be reversed?

The surgery to reverse a vasectomy is complicated, so finding an experienced surgeon is key. It's important to know, however, that the longer someone has lived with a vasectomy, the more difficult the reversal may be.

Categories: Tips to Live By
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