Vasectomies: Myths & Misconceptions
Vasectomies—sometimes referred to as getting snipped—can cause a lot of anxiety for men. Despite the initial twinge many men feel when hearing about this procedure, a vasectomy is a minimally invasive surgery that can be completed in less than 15 minutes.
While this is the truth, tons of myths continue to circulate about vasectomies. Let's debunk a few of them now.
Myth: Vasectomies are incredibly painful and very invasive.
Reality: Not true. A vasectomy is one of the least-invasive procedures a man can have, and while there can be residual pain for about one to two weeks, most men feel back to normal within this time frame.
Myth: Vasectomies can cause erectile dysfunction (ED) by damaging male genitalia.
Reality: A vasectomy, done correctly, doesn't cause any damage to the testicles, the prostate or the penis. During a vasectomy, the doctor cuts and ties off the vasa deferentia, which are the tubes that deliver sperm from the testicles to the urethra, where the sperm join the seminal fluid. Tying off these tubes denies sperm their route to the semen and out of your body, eliminating the risk of causing pregnancy after ejaculation. The sperm are then reabsorbed by the body.
Myth: Vasectomies can cause prostate cancer.
Reality: There are no proven links between vasectomies and prostate cancer, or any other types of cancer or degenerative diseases, for that matter. The only risk, which is minimal, comes from possible infection after the surgery and pain associated with the healing process. However, most men do not experience infection, and recovery time for a vasectomy is fairly short.
Myth: A vasectomy will lower my testosterone level.
Reality: Having a vasectomy will not affect a man's hormone levels. This myth may be partially attributed to the gradual reduction in testosterone levels as men age. Often, many men choose to undergo a vasectomy at an age when testosterone is beginning to decline anyway. Vasectomies and low testosterone (low-T) are otherwise unrelated.
Myth: Vasectomies are permanent.
Reality: Actually, vasectomy reversals are possible, and not just possible, but common. They aren't always successful, but if performed somewhat soon after the initial surgery, there's a better chance of the reversal working. Even if several years have passed between the procedure and a reversal, many men find success.
A vasectomy may seem like a scary procedure—it is a pretty sensitive part of the body we're talking about—but it's the right choice for many men who want to continue having sex without worrying about temporary forms of birth control or the risk of unwanted children. Most men won't notice a difference in the quality of the sex they're having or in their ejaculations.