Recovering From a Vasectomy: What to Expect

Vasectomy is an effective method of birth control. It stops sperm from getting to your semen. There are few risks involved, and the procedure is probably much quicker than you expect. 

John E. Bertini, MD, FACS, and James M. Harris, MD, at Gulf Coast Urology in Houston and Nassau Bay, Texas, have performed numerous vasectomies and recommend it as a method of birth control in many cases. We understand that you may feel a bit of apprehension about the procedure and your recovery. This post explains what you should expect. 

The procedure

Sperm travels through a tube called the vas deferens to your urethra, where it combines with your semen and exits your body. When you have a vasectomy, your vas deferens is cut and closed, which prevents the sperm from mixing with your semen. 

The procedure is performed in our office where your doctor administers light sedation, makes a small incision in each of your scrotum to access your vas deferens, cuts and seals the tubes, closes the incision, and bandages your scrotum. This is a remarkably quick and simple procedure. 

You stay in our office for some time afterward, so we can monitor you. Once it’s clear you’re progressing properly, you can go home and your recovery is officially underway. 

Your recovery

We’re not going to tell you that this is a painless procedure. You will most likely have some discomfort, pain, and possibly some swelling. The good news is that it’s short-lived and not debilitating. 

There are a few things you can do to help with the discomfort. For the first few days, you’ll want to apply an ice pack to your incision a few times a day. This eases the pain and reduces swelling. 

You should also wear underwear that holds everything in place. Tight, supportive underwear can keep your stitches from coming out. You may also want to take over-the-counter pain relievers, if they are safe for you. 

Most men recover within a few days, with 8-9 days being the most you can expect to feel the effects of the procedure. In fact, the majority of men who have vasectomies return fully to their normal activities, including sex, within a week. 

What to watch for

There are a few things that may indicate a problem during your recovery. For example, if you develop a fever of over 100 degrees, you should contact us. 

If you notice blood or pus around your incision, or if your pain is unbearable or your swelling seems extreme, you should call us. Any of these could indicate an infection. 

A word of caution

Your vasectomy doesn’t work immediately. In other words, if you resume having sex a week after your procedure, you’ll still need birth control. That’s because it takes some time for the sperm that’s already in your reproductive system to work its way out. 

You can expect to need birth control for roughly three months, or 20 ejaculations. During your follow-up visits, we monitor your semen samples so you know when it’s safe to stop using other forms of birth control. 

Have questions? 

If you still have questions, please get in touch. We’re happy to address your concerns regarding the procedure and what you can expect during recovery. You can request an appointment online or call the office most convenient for you.

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