Pregnancy After Vasectomy: What You Need to Know Post-Snip

Vasectomy is a method of permanent male sterilization. The chances are very low of getting pregnant, which decreases over time. Read more here.

A happy young couple laying on the bed together while talking and holding hands

A vasectomy, often called male birth control, is a procedure that cuts the supply of sperm to the semen. Performed under local anesthesia, the patient is aware of the surgery but does not feel any pain. The “snip” is performed for men or couples who don’t want children or any additional. However, can pregnancy after vasectomy happen?

Extremely common, 500,000 men annually in the U.S. have a vasectomy or 50 million men in total. Recovery is usually quick and painless, however, some men experience sperm granuloma, a hard lump that leaks from the cut or congestion in the scrotum. After these issues dissipate, people can usually go about their lives and normal activities.

Some wonder if pregnancy after vasectomy is possible. One of the best birth control methods, the instance of pregnancy are low with less than 1% getting pregnant.

Below, we are covering more about vasectomy and how to recover from it.

Pregnancy After Vasectomy: Is It Possible?

The reason people usually get a vasectomy is to not have kids anymore. According to the American Pregnancy Association, there is a less than 1% chance of getting pregnant, which decreases over time.

Before the vasectomy, men should have a semen analysis. This can help determine the success of this procedure and to evaluate for other options. It’s also critical to be sure that this is what you want to do. A vasectomy can be reversible but it’s not easy and may not be effective. Talk to your partner and ensure you both do not want to have more children before proceeding.

While the instance of pregnancy is low, it is still possible where women should pay attention to their bodies to note any symptoms. They can also take a pregnancy test, and of course, seek guidance from their doctor.

What are the Types of Vasectomies?

A heterosexual couple talking with a doctor about pregnancy after vasectomy procedure
A vasectomy does not change sexual performance. It only works to inhibit pregnancy.

There is much misconception and fear about vasectomies. Many think it affects sexual performance or it’s painful. This is not true where the only thing that does change is the ability to get a partner pregnant.

A quick procedure (usually only takes 15 minutes), many don’t realize that there are options including a no-scalpel vasectomy.

Below, find more information about the two types of vasectomy procedures, which is based on the size of the incision:

  • Incision method: Surgeons make one to two cuts in the scrotum using a scalpel. After the procedure, they use dissolvable stitches to close the incisions. 
  • No-scalpel vasectomy: This method does not include the use of a scalpel. Instead, surgeons make a small puncture on the scrotum to access the tubes. As such, there is minimal bleeding and no stitches are needed. There is also less of a chance of an infection, quicker healing, and fewer complications. 

What are the Side Effects of Vasectomy?

Post-vasectomy, it is very important to rest. You may experience bruising on the scrotum, blood in your semen, swelling, and mild pain in the scrotum. In some rare instances, patients experience an infection or a blood clot.

Delayed complications such as chronic pain and inflammation occur in 1-2% of cases.

The recovery period is generally 6-8 weeks or until your doctor says so where you will need to get ample rest and use condoms when you are able to be sexually active again. After that point, many couples enjoy the benefits of a vasectomy with less worry and no concerns about conception. It will not affect your sexual performance, increase your risk of cancer, or cause heart disease.

Post-Vasectomy Recovery Plan

A young fit man waking up in the morning facing the window
A good rest, along with herbal remedies and a healthy lifestyle can help you recover faster after a vasectomy procedure.

Many enjoy the ease and quickness of a vasectomy. As an outpatient procedure, you can go home the same day. A few hours later, you may feel numbness or a tugging sensation on the scrotum. There might also be minor swelling and bruising for a few days.

From a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) perspective, vasectomy can cause a direct obstruction to the flow of the semen. “Vasectomy is invasive, though minimally, and it impairs the qi (vital life energy), blood and fluid circulation, which will eventually result in qi and fluid stagnation as well as blood stasis,” says Brandon Yew, a Senior TCM physician at Real Health Medical Clinic in Singapore.

Below, you’ll find tips to ease any discomfort post-vasectomy and help with your recovery.

Pain medicine

You may be given prescription pain meds to help with the initial pain. In most cases, ibuprofen or naproxen is enough to relieve discomfort and pain.

Ice packs

An ice pack to the scrotum can reduce swelling. This is generally applied for 20 minutes at a time for 2-3 days.

Limit activity 

Rest is crucial for your recovery. You will have to limit your activities, especially any strenuous exercise, heavy lifting, or sports. This also includes sexual activity, including intercourse and ejaculation.

Good hygiene

It’s important to maintain good hygiene to prevent infections. Remove and change the dressing if it gets soiled and keep the incision site clean and dry. The incisions should be covered with clean gauze pads for around 3 days after the surgery. A calming bath can also help to ease any discomfort.

Healthy diet 

A cheerful handsome white man eating healthy food outdoor after a vasectomy procedure.
A healthy diet ensures a faster healing time and is crucial for those who want to get pregnant after vasectomy reversal.

A healthy diet can assist in your post-vasectomy recovery. Physician Yew advises against consuming seafood, particularly crustaceans, mollusks, or shellfishes, as they contain high amounts of toxins that can complicate wound healing.

“The damp-heat pathogen from TCM point of view is notorious for causing various skin conditions. It’s best to avoid alcohol, smoking, deep-fried oily and spicy foods, sugary foods, fruits like durian, lychee, longan, jackfruit, and rambutan until the wound heals completely.”

Herbal remedies 

Herbal remedies containing Astragalus root and Dragon’s blood — a natural plant resin that’s extracted from various tropical trees and known for its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties — can help with the healing of open wounds. You can also try American ginseng, which has mild therapeutic action and is an everyday supplement for enhancing and restoring overall bodily function. Supplements can also assist with your vitality and energy levels.

Physical treatments such as acupuncture and tuina can also help. “Prescriptions from a TCM physician in the form of TCM herbal medication, acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, and tuina address the unique body constitution of every individual patient. Hence, it’s best to always first consult the TCM physician for proper assessment.” 

A vasectomy is a common and safe procedure that has been tried and tested for many American men who don’t want to have children. The aftercare is minimal and manageable where you will be as good as new — with less worry — in no time.

References

  1. Mayo Clinic. 2021. Vasectomy. [Accessed on December, 3 2021]  
  2. Cleveland Clinic. 2021. Vasectomy (Male Sterlization). [Accessed on December, 3 2021]  
  3. American Pregnancy Association. 2021. Pregnancy After Vasectomy. [Accessed on December, 3 2021]  
  4. University of Virginia. 2021. Pre-and-Post Vasectomy Instructions. [Accessed on December, 3 2021]  

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