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What is a vasectomy and is it safe?

A vasectomy is a very effective medical procedure that is designed to make a man sterile and is totally safe. There are two tubes involved, called the vas deferens that the surgeon will cut. These are the tubes that carry the sperm from the testes to the pouch in the scrotum where the semen is held prior to ejaculation. Put simply, a vasectomy blocks the only outlet that sperm have of leaving the body. After a vasectomy, the sperm is then reabsorbed into the body. Men who have vasectomies are still able to have sex and ejaculate, but the semen will not contain any sperm. This means that it is almost impossible for an egg to be fertilized and result in a pregnancy.
 
If you have made a firm decision to not have any more children, then a vasectomy is a good choice for you and your partner. Convenience and freedom are the main benefits - no more condoms, no more pills, and no more insertions of anything before having intercourse. Once the recovery period after a vasectomy has passed, there are no side effects as well as a very low failure rate. A man who has undergone a vasectomy has a one in a thousand chance of getting a woman pregnant. An additional benefit is that you will save money in the long run, because, once you have paid for the procedure, you will have no more contraception expenses.
 
However, a lot of careful thought is needed before taking the plunge and having a vasectomy. It is considered a permanent procedure and, although it can sometimes be reversed, it is an expensive procedure with no guarantee of a successful pregnancy. So, if you have any doubts at all, it is better to opt for another form of contraception that is not permanent.
 
The most common form of vasectomy is performed in the doctor’s surgery and takes about 30 to 60 minutes to complete. A small incision is made on each side of the scrotum. The vas deferens tubes are then lifted to the surface, cut in two, their ends cauterised, tied off or closed with a titanium clip after which the incisions are then stitched closed. This is done under local anesthetic so you are awake all through the procedure.
 
There are some doctors who are performing vasectomies by using an even easier method that does not involve a scalpel at all. After you are given a local aesthetic, the doctor maneuvers the vas deferens tubes close to the surface of the skin. He then uses an instrument to make one small opening in the skin through which he then cuts the tubes and cauterises or ties them off. Stitches are not needed with this method as the small hole heals on its own. This procedure takes anything from 10 minutes to one hour to perform. Both types of vasectomies cost far less than it is to sterilize a woman, and most insurance companies will cover the operation.
 
There is some pain after the procedure but you will receive pain medication from the doctor to help control it. Relax for a few days and apply an ice pack to your scrotum to reduce swelling. Unless your job involves physical labor, if you have the procedure done on a Friday, you can probably return to work on Monday. It is recommended that you wait about a week before intercourse, lifting heavy objects, or getting involved in any strenuous activities. If you have opted for the latter of the two vasectomy procedures, you will more than likely have less pain and your recovery time will be less as well.
 
There are a few men who develop complications after having a vasectomy. For instance, the incisions or small holes in your scrotum, or sometimes the tubes themselves could become infected. If you notice blood or pus coming from the incisions or small holes, you develop a high fever, or you have extreme pain, then call your doctor immediately. There are some men who develop scar tissue inside the scrotum that needs to be removed. Bleeding under the skin could cause swelling or bruising, but this usually clears up by itself after about two or three days. If the bruising is taking longer to heal, apply an ice pack and get as much rest as possible.
 
Some preparation is necessary before undergoing a vasectomy. Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen for two weeks before your operation. Doing this decreases the risk of bleeding. Do not eat breakfast on the day of your operation just in case complications arise and you need a stronger anesthetic. Before you leave home, have a shower or a bath and wear comfortable clothing. It is also a good idea to take an ice pack and a jock strap with you to help support the scrotum after the procedure. Ask your doctor about any extra precautions you should take for your specific case.
 
Vasectomies have a success rate of about 99% and are practically fool proof, but contraception is still necessary for a while. This is because, for the first fifteen to twenty ejaculations after the procedure, there may be a few sperm that were still in your tubes. Your doctor will need to check your semen after the next twenty ejaculations, just to make sure that your semen is indeed sperm-free.
 
It is possible to reverse a vasectomy, but it is expensive and there is no guarantee that it will work. It you feel that you might still want to have another child, then talk to your doctor about keeping some of your sperm in a sperm bank or consider using another form of contraception.

More questions

There are some very good reasons that you would want to avoid sexual intercourse.
Your vagina will naturally shrink after delivery, as your body heals, but whether it returns to its original size, depends on a number of factors.
Your menstrual cycle usually starts towards the end of your breastfeeding phase, but how regular it is once it is back varies from woman to woman.
It is not uncommon for women to experience pain and discomfort during sex, for the first couple of months after having a baby.
The delaying effect that breastfeeding has on the return of normal menstruation has an effect on fertility and can be considered as a method of contraception – although it is not a very reliable one.
The Intrauterine System, or IUS, is an effective method of birth control that is safe to use while breastfeeding.
It is true that some women experience a drop in their sex drive while breastfeeding, however, this isn’t always the case.
The return to your normal cycle is not a hard and fast rule and it can take anything from a month to a year before your first post baby period happens.
It is entirely up to you and your husband as to when you want to start having sex after the birth of your baby. The best thing to do is to have patience and wait until your body is ready for sex after your baby is born.
As very often happens, if you are just too tired to have sex after a long day, then tell your husband. If he is understanding and clever, he will help you as much as he can. After all, you will both benefit from this.

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