Archive for the ‘vasectomy’ Category

FAQs on Vasectomy

June 27, 2015

Many men want the opportunity to plan the number of children they have – and many women want to finally be able to share the responsibility of contraception with their partner.
So as we mark Men’s Health Month, an awareness campaign on why the snip is not really the snip and why a little more conversation can mean a lot more action. It’s time to get informed.
1. Will vasectomy make me impotent?
A lot of men worry that a vasectomy will lead to a reduction in sexual performance or desire – not surprising really when in some cultures they use the same word for vasectomy and castration! But it can actually improve your sex life because of the peace-of-mind it brings. Having a vasectomy is liberating – imagine never having to worry about unwanted pregnancies again. Instead of frantically rummaging through the bathroom cabinet for a condom, hoping that the mood won’t pass, you can do it whenever you like!
2. What will happen when I ejaculate?
Having a vasectomy does not affect your hormones, ejaculation or orgasm. There’s no noticeable change in what your semen looks like, what it smells like, even what it tastes like. You will still have erections and produce the same amount of semen. The only difference is that the semen won’t contain sperm, as instead of travelling out of your penis, they will be naturally reabsorbed by the body.
3. Does it involve a lengthy operation?
Vasectomies only take 10-15 minutes. The same time as your morning shower or a coffee break from work and unlike the former means you and your partner never have to worry about contraception or unintended pregnancy again.
4. Should I be scared of going under the knife?
It may be known as the snip but at Marie Stopes UK we use a no-scalpel technique. A fast-acting anaesthetic is given before the procedure to numb the area and the sperm-carrying tubes (vas deferens) are sealed using heat. There are no hormones and nothing to insert, no stitches are needed. The procedure is also thought to be less painful and less likely to cause complications than a conventional vasectomy. A form of sedation is also available at some of our centres and can be requested at the time of booking.
5. Will it take ages to recover?
The recovery involves little more than a few days of guilt-free rest and relaxation. You can start having sex as soon it feels comfortable to do so and should be fit to return to work and after a couple of days unless you have a very physically demanding job. If you are uncomfortable, a regular painkiller such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen should do the trick and since you have got your feet up thanks to doctor’s orders, why not book one in to coincide with some good TV? Olympics 2016 anyone?
6. What is the failure rate?
Vasectomy is more than 99% effective. Out of 2,000 men who are sterilized, only one will get a woman pregnant during the rest of his lifetime. However it takes a number of weeks to clear the tubes of sperm after the treatment, so you will need to use another method of contraception until you have been given the all clear. I ask you to ejaculate 15 times and then bring in a specimen for me to exam under the microscope.

7. How risky is it?
Vasectomy is a very common and safe procedure. It is always worth arming yourself with all the facts, but ultimately vasectomy is the safest permanent contraception method on earth. The potential complications are much rarer than for a woman getting her tubes tied and most men experience no problems whatsoever.
8. Can I reverse my vasectomy if I change my mind?
The decision to opt for a vasectomy remains a highly personal one in which the potential risks and benefits must be considered, including the possibility that you may change your mind. Vasectomy reversal is possible but success is not guaranteed and depends largely on how long ago it was done so it is much better to consider it a permanent procedure.

Bottom Line: A vasectomy is the most effective method of permanent contraception. The no-scalpel, no-needle technique is associated with less pain and discomfort, less blood loss, and a quicker return to normal activities than the conventional scalpel plus incision technique.

Achieve Serenity During March Madness With A No-Scalpel, No-Needle Vasectomy

March 13, 2015

March Madness is on the horizon and what an ideal time to have your vasectomy. A few years ago I had a program that generated a lot of enthusiasm for having your vasectomy on one of the weekends of March Madness. (http://neilbaum.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/YOURology-Update-March15.pdf)

What does March Madness and vasectomy have in common? You probably answered, “very little.” However, many men who opt for a vasectomy as a permanent form of contraception are making the decision to have their “prime cut” this week or next week so they can watch the Sweet Sixteen and Final Four while recovering from the 15 minute procedure that can be easily done in the doctor’s office without a scalpel or a needle.

Many male basketball fans may be looking for the perfect excuse to lounge in front of the television all week. Many urologists, including myself, have the perfect solution: Get a vasectomy, the perfect cut!
I am suggesting a “3-Point Shot” plan – one vasectomy, one free pizza, and one weekend excuse to watch college basketball.

It is common for many men to schedule the procedure on a Thursday or Friday so they can have the weekend to relax. While the NCAA tournament lasts longer than the recovery period for a vasectomy – which is usually 2-3 days – this is a good excuse for basketball aficionados to catch a few games while enjoying uninterrupted viewing of basketball games.

So if you want to have a few days to watch the games without interruption, call our office to schedule an appointment. For more information, go to my website, http://www.neilbaum, and watch a video about the procedure and how it can be performed without pain or discomfort.

No baby and no more tuitions: consider the no-scalpel, no-needle vasectomy.

More FAQs From My Patients

February 16, 2015

I have a high cholesterol level. Is there anything I can do to lower the cholesterol level besides medications, i.e., statins?
Yes, there are cholesterol lowering foods that are effective and have absolutely no side effects. These include:
Soluble fiber of 25gms each day is helpful and good for the colon as well. Good sources of soluble fiber include legumes such as peas and beans; cereal grains such as oats and barley and vegetables and fruits such as carrots, apples, and dried plums (prunes).
Nuts to the rescue. Although nuts are high in fat, the fats are predominantly monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, which are known to decrease LDL cholesterol levels or bad cholesterol. By eating a daily helping of nuts — about 2.4 ounces — results in an average 5% reduction in total cholesterol concentration. Nuts that will help lower LDL cholesterol levels include almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pecans, macadamias and pistachios.
Plant sterols and stanols, plant compounds that are structurally similar to cholesterol, partially block the absorption of cholesterol from the small intestine. They lower levels of LDL cholesterol without adversely affecting high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good”) cholesterol levels. Plant sterols and stanols, plant compounds that are structurally similar to cholesterol, partially block the absorption of cholesterol from the small intestine. They lower levels of LDL cholesterol without adversely affecting high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good”) cholesterol levels.
So you can begin by decreasing your consumption of red meat, butter, and high cholesterol containing seafood such as crayfish (heaven forbid!) shrimp and lobster and try these other non-medical options. If these do not work, then talk to your doctor about medication.

I am thinking of having a vasectomy. Is there any risk of erectile dysfunction or impotence?
No, you have nothing to worry about. A vasectomy ONLY prevents the sperm from entering into the ejaculate or seminal fluid. It does not affect the testosterone level or the ability to engage in sexual intimacy. If your erections are good before the vasectomy, they will remain just like they were prior to the vasectomy. So it is safe to proceed with the “prime cut”!

I am a man 78 years of age. Do I need to have a PSA test for prostate cancer?
No, the American Cancer Society and the American Urological Association do not recommend screening for prostate cancer with the PSA test in men more than 75 years. Cancer screening tests — including the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test to look for signs of prostate cancer — can be a good idea in younger men between 50-75 but not in men over age 75. A normal PSA test, combined with a digital rectal exam, can help reassure you that it’s unlikely you have prostate cancer. But getting a PSA test for prostate cancer is not be necessary for men 75 and older.

I am 40 years of age and ate some red beets. My urine turned red. Is that normal after consuming red beets?
Usually red urine after red beet consumption is a result of a pigment, betalain, in the red beets and is nothing to worry about. However, if the red persists more than 24 hours after consuming the beets, then it is important to see your physician and have a urine examination. When the red color persists, this is referred to as hematuria. Hematuria is a clinical term referring to the presence of blood, specifically red blood cells, in the urine. Whether this blood is visible only under a microscope or present in quantities sufficient to be seen with the naked eye, hematuria is a sign that something is causing abnormal bleeding in the patient’s genitourinary tract. For more information on hematuria, please go to my website: http://neilbaum.com/articles/hematuria-blood-in-the-urine

Vasectomy Reversal After A Vasectomy

December 27, 2014

I am often asked if a vasectomy can be reversed. Most often a man divorces, has a new wife and they wish to have children in their new marriage. Can the vasectomy be reversed?

Normally, sperm – the male reproductive cells that fertilize a woman’s egg – are made in the testicle. Sperm travel away from the testicle through a tube called the vas deferens. There is one vas deferens for each testicle. The vas deferens connect with a reservoir where the sperm is held, ready to be leave the reservoir during sex. The sperm also mixes with secretions from the prostate gland that keep the sperm alive. When the sperm is ejaculated, it travels through another tube, the urethra, inside the penis and is deposited in the woman’s vagina at the cervix or the “gatekeeper” to the uterus.

A vasectomy cuts or blocks the vas deferens. Once the vas deferens is blocked, sperm cannot pass from the testicle to the reservoir where semen and secretions from the prostate gland are stored.

After a vasectomy, a man continues to have normal ejaculations of semen, but the ejaculate no longer contains sperm. This can only be discerned if the ejaculate is examined under a microscope.

In a traditional vasectomy, the surgeon uses a scalpel to make small incisions in the skin of the scrotum near the base of the penis to reach both vas deferens. (The scrotum is the fleshy sac that contains the testicles.) The vas deferens are cut or blocked to prevent sperm from traveling. The incisions in the scrotum are then closed with two or three small stitches.

In my practice, I perform the no-scalpel, no-needle vasectomy, which is less painful, has less bleeding and fewer complications. The surgeon makes one or two tine openings about the size of an eraser to access the vas deferens.

The puncture is widened slightly, then the surgeon cuts or blocks each vas deferens.

The puncture site can be covered with a tiny dressing. No stitches are needed.
A vasectomy is intended to produce permanent sterilization. Special microsurgery can reverse a vasectomy and restore fertility in some cases. Vasectomy reversal is a delicate, expensive procedure. And it is only successful in about 60 to 70 percent of cases.

No-Scalpel, No-Needle Vasectomy-The Prime Cut

December 8, 2014

Most practices are impacted at the end of the year by the rush of patients who have met their deductibles. In Urology, aside from patients wanting to get stones busted (Lithotripsy), scrotal issues addressed, and an occasional prostate; by far and away, the number of vasectomies that are done in December is at least 4-5 times the number that our offices perform during any of the other months. The following is intended for any questions that you may have regarding vasectomy and is based on more than 5,000 vasectomies I have performed over 30 years of urologic practice.

Vasectomy Facts

1. Average time for the procedure is 6-8 minutes.

2. Patients are not given any narcotics as Aleve or Advil are sufficient for any discomfort. Less than 1 in 100 patients require a narcotic prescription.

3. Patients are offered the option of Valium 20 mg. to take prior to the procedure with instructions to have a driver.

4. 95% of the men who come in for a vasectomy consult go on to have the procedure.

5. The biggest fear is of someone they do not know holding sharp instruments and working on their scrotum while they are awake. Because of proper education, including an article given to all patients prior to have the procedure, men need not worry about the vasectomy impacting their sexual function.

6. The sperm make up only 5% of the ejaculatory volume so no noticeable change in the semen volume.

7. Rarely men will be seen following the procedure for some discomfort and typically, it is related to some inflammation or small hematoma and Tylenol or Advil are more than adequate.

8. Because of the way the procedure is performed, it is very rare to see a scrotal hematoma, which can occur and creates a small swelling of the scrotum. This occurs most often in men who do not heed the advice of going home, lying down and keeping ice on the incision.

10. Occasionally, a question is asked regarding sperm banking and this can be done in a facility in one of the infertility clinics in the area.

11. Vasectomy reversal is a formal surgical procedure that can take anywhere from 1-1/2 to 2 hours to perform. Through a scrotal incision, the testicle and spermatic cords are brought into the surgical field. The ends of the vas identified, freshened up and scar tissue removed and an operating microscope is used to perform a surgical closure using typically anywhere from 7-0 to 9-0 permanent suture. Success rates for vasectomy reversal is approximately 75% within the first 10 years and drops to about 30% after 10 years.

Anatomy

The vas deferens is a small tube approximately 3 mm (1\8 inch) in diameter that carries sperm from the testicle up into the body where it unites with the seminal vesicles and stores the sperm until ejaculation when the semen is deposited in the vagina in order to fertilize an egg and start the process of conception.

No Scalpel Procedure

Following anesthetizing the skin in the mid-section of the scrotum with a device that deposits the anesthetic without the use of a needle. Then a single puncture is made about 1\4 of inch in length in the middle of the scrotum. Each vas is occluded with very small titanium clip. No sutures or stitches are required. The patient lies on the table for a few minutes and then goes home and lays flat in bed for a few hours using ice over the scrotum for 45 minutes out of every hour until going to sleep.

Office visits

A vasectomy consultation is always performed before the procedure for a number of reasons:

1. To explain the procedure to the patient.

2. To allay fears, address misconceptions, and put the patient at ease.

3. To ensure anatomically that there are no problems with performing the vasectomy which include an extremely large patient with small scrotum, prior evidence of infection, and to screen for extremely anxious patients who probably would not tolerate the procedure being performed in the office under local anesthesia.

4. Pre-procedure instructions are given including the need to shave all the hair on the scrotum preferably the night before.

5. Men are given a prescription for Valium, which they should take 30-45 minutes before the procedure. If the man takes the Valium pill, then he will need a ride home as he should not drive a car after using Valium.

6. Post-procedure instructions are given including the need to go home and stay off his feet and keep ice on for two days. Sexual intercourse can begin typically 3-4 days post- procedure. Additionally the men are instructed to return for a follow-up visit. It takes approximately 15 ejaculations to clear all sperm from the portion of the vas above the legation of the vas.

6. Typically, a man makes a follow-up appointment at 6-8 weeks although the record is one week, but he wasn’t married! They are also informed of the 1 in 1500 chance of reconnection of the vas.

Summary

The majority of men have the procedure performed on Thursday or Friday, spend the weekend resting with ice, return to work on Monday and are back to regular activity including intercourse by Wednesday or Thursday of the following week.

Bottom Line: Having done more than 5,000 vasectomies, I can think of very few men who would not be willing to undergo the procedure again or recommend it to a friend. Certainly, in comparison to tubal ligation, which requires general anesthetic, it is a much simpler, less costly and less painful form of sterilization.
Don’t hesitate to give me a call if you have any questions about vasectomy or go to my website to view a video on vasectomy: http://neilbaum.com/videos/vasectomy

Issues To Consider Regarding Vasectomy

October 12, 2014

Men who consider a vasectomy often ask questions about the risks involved. This blog will discuss the risks and the consequences of vasectomy and what every man needs to know before proceeding with the procedure.

There are three main concerns regarding the long-term consequences or general health hazards of vasectomy. These concerns have arisen mainly from isolated studies over the past 50 years. Remember that it is important to show that several things be true when trying to link two medical conditions: a) that the link makes physiological sense and that this is shown in either animal models or in humans, and b) there should be excellent evidence of this link in populations of humans.

Heart Disease Risk

In 1979 a study was published that suggested that atherosclerosis or coronary artery disease might occur prematurely after vasectomy in monkeys. In this small study, monkeys fed high cholesterol diets were found to have what appeared to be increased amounts of atherosclerosis following vasectomy. Subsequent animal studies did not agree with these initial findings, and large epidemiological studies, including an extensive study of U.S physicians followed for 259,000 person-years have concluded that neither early atherosclerosis nor heart attacks or strokes occur more frequently in men who have had vasectomies compared to men who have not.

It is true is that after vasectomy, approximately 60-70% of men develop a form of allergy to their sperm in the form of antisperm antibodies. The body, either during the vasectomy or after, is exposed to sperm proteins that it commonly does not see and antibodies against these proteins can be observed in some patients. However, it has not been shown conclusively that the presence of these antibodies has any significant effect on other organs.

Prostate Cancer Risk

There has been much discussion over the past 15 years about whether vasectomy is associated with the development of prostate cancer later in life. The Journal of the American Medical Association published 2 reports suggesting that men who have had a vasectomy may be at risk for developing prostate cancer. Both studies were coauthored by Dr. Edward Giovannucci. One study evaluated men married to female nurses: men with vasectomies were compared to men without. The second study evaluated men in the health professions (veterinarians, pharmacists etc) who had had a vasectomy, and, again compared them with other male health professionals who had not had vasectomies. In both studies, there appeared to be an increased risk of developing prostate cancer in men who had a vasectomy more than 20-22 years before. On the contrary, several other studies, including several in the U.S showed no statistically significant increase in the risk of prostate cancer following vasectomy. Indeed, it was suggested in the same JAMA issues that a true cause-and-effect relationship could occur by chance alone, or because of biases (selectivity) or other unaccounted variables in these two studies.

Concerns raised from these studies include the fact that the men in the study might not represent the larger population of all men who get vasectomies. This means that the study cannot be used with certainty to predict a similar occurrence in the general population. It is also possible that the men who had had vasectomies in these studies would be more likely to see a urologist rather than an internist or family practice physician for later evaluation of a urologic problem than the men who had not had vasectomies. Urologists are better at finding prostate abnormalities than other kinds of physicians and therefore cancer might have been detected earlier than it would have otherwise. This is called “detection bias.” It has also been suggested this study design makes it impossible to identify all of the factors that might contribute to this end result with two events (vasectomy and cancer) occurring several decades apart. A prospective study is really necessary here to answer the question. A prospective study evaluates groups of patients at the time they have the vasectomy and follows them regularly for years to see, if indeed, cancers do occur. This is the most powerful way to study this relationship, but was not used in the Giovannucci papers. In addition, no study has ever established that there is an increased risk of death after prostate cancer following vasectomy.

Because the question of a relationship between vasectomy and prostate cancer was raised, the American Urological Association first recommended that men who had a vasectomy more than 20 years ago or who were > 40 years of age at the time of vasectomy have an annual examination of their prostates as well as a blood test for prostate cancer (serum Prostate Specific Antigen or PSA). However, given the recent lack of support for this relationship between vasectomy and prostate cancer, this recommendation has been revoked. Finally, no mechanism is known, nor is there any animal model proof of the plausibility of the link between these conditions.

Dementia Risk

There is a recent, single, small paper that has linked vasectomy to the later development of a rare form of Alzheimer’s disease. The issue is that a researcher found that, among a group of patients suffering a form of dementia called primary progressive aphasia (PPA) that is often confused for Alzheimer’s disease, the men had a higher percentage of vasectomy than was thought normal. The study found that 40% of 47 men with PPA had had a vasectomy, while among another 57 men from the community without PPA there was a vasectomy rate of 16%. What this means is simply that the rate of vasectomy among PPA patients is a little over 2 fold higher than in otherwise healthy patients. This study did not find an increased rate of vasectomy in patients with Alzheimer’s.

The most common form of dementia caused by brain deterioration in individuals over age 65 is Alzheimer’s disease. A very unusual form of Alzheimer’s disease is called primary progressive aphasia. This condition robs people of their ability to speak and understand language, but they are still able to maintain their hobbies and perform other complicated tasks for a long time. By contrast, Alzheimer’s patients lose their memory, interest in hobbies, family life and become idle.

A “mechanism” for the association between PPA and vasectomy was also proposed in the study. It involves the fact that men can have antibodies form to sperm after having a vasectomy (see above risks) and these antibodies may somehow cross-react with the brain and cause PPA. There is no animal model data to support this theory, however.

Problems with this study are similar to that described for prostate cancer risk and vasectomy. How unique were these patients that they gathered from all over the US twice annually to participate in a support group with such rare disease? We really need a prospective study to show this relationship as retrospective studies have too much “bias” or too many uncontrolled issues that could produce the same result. In addition, the study groups were very small: fewer than 20 PPA patients had a vasectomy and fewer than 10 healthy patients had a vasectomy. It is hard to generalize at all from so few patients in a study. Also, the study methods were faulty in that the vasectomy condition should have been confirmed by reviewing the medical charts on the PPA patients, since their disease alters their ability to understand, hear and remember what has happened to them! Indeed, like the issue of prostate cancer and vasectomy, this issue will take at least a decade or two to confirm or disprove.

Bottom Line: Vasectomy remains an effective method of sterilization. Certainly there are risks with any procedure and the risks of prostate cancer, dementia, and heart disease need to be considered by every man who wishes to proceed with the vasectomy.

The Safety of Vasectomy Using No Scalpel, No-Needle Technique

October 12, 2014

Vasectomy remains one of the most effective and safest methods of contraception. The only technique that would be cheaper is the diaphragm and abstinence. Both of which have a high failure rate. The next few blogs will discuss the safety of vasectomy.

Besides the fact that a vasectomy is very popular, one must remember that there is no form of fertility control, except abstinence, which is completely free of potential complications. In all, vasectomy remains one of the safest and best forms of permanent contraception, provided that the patient is aware of and understands the potential risks associated with the procedure. The side effects and complications of vasectomy are divided into “early” and “late” categories, depending on when they occur. The risks and complications of the procedure, including potential vasectomy pain, are examined below in greater detail.

Vasectomy and Pain

Men worry about pain and discomfort during and after the procedure. In my practice less than 5% of respondents said they had pain, much lower than the well-recognized and commonly published rate. In addition, seldom do any of the men require post operative pain medication. I suggest bed rest and ice over the scrotum the day of the procedure and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as Tylenol or Aleve for post operative pain.

Early Complications

Shortly after the procedure there may be mild discomfort, and most men are able to return to work in 1-2 days. A small amount of oozing (light bleeding, less than the size of a quarter) and swelling in the area of the tiny opening are not unusual. This should subside within 72 hours. Occasionally, the skin of the scrotum and base of the penis turn black and blue. This is not painful, lasts only a few days, and goes away without treatment. For a period of 7 days following the vasectomy, sex should be avoided. Strenuous exercise (for example climbing, riding motorcycles or bicycles, playing tennis or racquetball) should also be avoided for 7 days, and nothing heavier than 8-10 pounds should be lifted after the procedure until day 7 when all activities including heavy lifting can begin.

Rarely (less than 1%), a small blood vessel may bleed into the scrotum and continue to bleed and form a clot of blood (hematoma). A small clot will be reabsorbed by the body with time, but a large one usually requires drainage through a surgical procedure.

Importantly, the vasectomy procedure is not always 100% effective in preventing pregnancy because, on rare occasions, the cut ends of the vas may rejoin. This occurs very infrequently; the published rate is about 1 in every 600 vasectomies. My vasectomy failure rate, defined as either persistent motile sperm in the ejaculate or a pregnancy after the procedure, is less than 1/1000 cases.

Since sperm can survive for several months in the vas deferens above the point where they were interrupted, it is very important that another form of contraceptive is used until sterility is assured. To determine whether the ejaculate is devoid of sperm, an ejaculate must be brought in for formal microscopic examination after the procedure. Since “clearing the tubes” through ejaculation is a relatively inefficient process, it make take 15 ejaculations to empty the system entirely of sperm. In terms of time after the procedure, roughly 90% of men will have no sperm in the ejaculate 3 months later. This is the reason we ask men to provide us with a semen sample after 15 ejaculations or 3 months after the vasectomy. Occasionally, it may take 6 months or longer after the procedure to flush out all the sperm. The semen specimen must demonstrate no sperm before unprotected intercourse is permitted.

Bottom Line: Vasectomy is a safe form of sterilization and there are few complications.  Each man who considers proceeding with a vasectomy needs to weigh the benefits vs. the risks and complications associated with the procedure.  Most men will find that the procedure is the best way to proceed with contraception.

What Happens After A Vasectomy?

October 10, 2014

A vasectomy, using the no-scalpel, no needle technique takes just a few moments to accomplish in the doctor’s office. However, there are some precautions that are necessary after the procedure.

Most often, men are concerned about the pain involved in a vasectomy procedure as well as having a healthy, functional sex life afterwards. The no needle technique using a local anesthetic and the no-scalpel procedure which allows the procedure to be accomplished through a quarter inch opening without requiring an incision, causes minimal or no pain during or after the procedure.

Post Vasectomy Advice

  • The vasectomy procedure lasts anywhere from 10-12 minutes.
  • Patients do not require any general anesthesia and often take a Valium tablet before the procedure to remove the anxiety often associated with the procedure.
  • A bag of frozen peas or ice should be placed on top of the underwear over the scrotum to help reduce any swelling. Instead of frozen peas, you can place a few ice cubes in a zip lock bag and place this over the scrotum for a few hours after the procedure.
  • You may feel an ache in your testicles which is treated with extra strength Tylenol or Aleve.
  • You will need to have a ride home if you take the Valium.
  • It is recommended that vasectomy patients abstain from sex for 3 days.
  • You should have no activity the day of the procedure and minimal activity for 2-3 days after the procedure. You can resume all activity including heavy lifting and bike riding seven days after the procedure.
  • You will need to use some form of contraception until your semen is examined under the microscope to be certain that all sperm are absent from the ejaculate. I suggest that you have 15 ejaculations using contraception and then bring in a specimen for me to examine. If no sperm is seen, I will ask for a second specimen a few days later and if the second specimen is without sperm, you will be considered sterile and can stop using contraception.

Bottom Line: While pain tolerance varies from person to person, the pain following a vasectomy is generally a mild discomfort as long as instructions are followed. Avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercise, take pain medication when necessary and place ice on the scrotum to speed up recovery time.   Finally, a vasectomy is not a protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STD).

Vasectomy For Male Contraception-What Are the Alternatives?

October 10, 2014

A vasectomy is a method of male birth control that should be considered carefully as it is, for the most part, a permanent form of sterilization. The procedure using the no-scalpel, no needle technique can be done in minutes. However, reversing the vasectomy takes several hours in the operating room and is usually not covered by insurance. Before you move forward with a vasectomy, it is important to review vasectomy alternatives that are available.  If you have any doubts about having children in the future, you should explore temporary birth control options.

Tubal ligation, commonly referred to as getting your ‘tubes tied,’ is a procedure used for female sterilization. The fallopian tubes, the small tubes that transport the egg or ovum from the ovary to the uterus, are closed off by various methods (severed, sealed or pinched) to block the eggs from reaching the uterus.

Essure

Essure is a permanent method of birth control where small metal coils are placed in the fallopian tubes. The coils cause scar tissue to form, which blocks the eggs from reaching the uterus. The coils are inserted vaginally during a hysteroscopy procedure. Unlike tubal ligation, there are no incisions or anesthesia used. Birth control is needed for several months after the procedure until the scar tissue has completely formed.

Bottom Line: Vasectomy should be considered a permanent form of contraception. If there is a possibility that you might want more children in the future, I suggest that you consider temporary forms of birth control that are non-surgical. There are a variety of options available including condoms, birth control pills, cervical cap, diaphragm and, yes, abstinence!

Vasectomy And Prostate Cancer-What’s the Risk

July 10, 2014

I often receive calls about the relationship between prostate cancer and vasectomy. There have been many studies that have looked into this relationship and this blog will shed some light on the issue and help men make an informed decision on having a vasectomy, one of the best methods of permanent contraception.

Men who had a vasectomy had a significantly greater risk of developing aggressive, potentially fatal prostate cancer, according to data from a 50,000-patient cohort study.
A recent study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology stated that the overall association between vasectomy and prostate cancer was modest.

The lead authors was quoted as saying, “I think we need to tell men that vasectomy has some risk with prostate cancer, may be linked, but we don’t know. It’s something they need to be aware of and monitored, but really, to me, this is not something that is such a strong association that we need to be changing the way we practice, either prostate cancer screening or vasectomy.”
Studies dating back to the early 1990s have yielded conflicting results about the association between vasectomy and prostate cancer. Some studies have shown as much as a twofold increase in the risk of prostate cancer after vasectomy, whereas others showed no association, the authors noted.

During follow-up through 2010, 6,023 participants had newly diagnosed prostate cancer, including 811 lethal cases. The data showed that 12,321 of the men had vasectomies. The primary outcomes were the relative risk (RR) of total, advanced, high-grade, and lethal prostate cancer, adjusted for a variety of possible confounders.

Vasectomy did not have a significant association with low-grade or localized prostate cancer.

The study adds information to the discussion and controversy surrounding vasectomy and prostate cancer but leaves many questions unanswered. Use of transurethral resection of the prostate, statins used to treat elevated cholesterol levels, selenium, and a number of other factors can influence prostate cancer risk.

The study added little information that goes beyond what previous studies had shown, said Gregory Zagaja, MD, of the University of Chicago. The study suffered from the same limitations of studies that came before it.

Multiple experts state that no consensus exists about potential biological explanations for reported associations between vasectomy and prostate cancer or whether the association is biologically plausible.

Bottom Line: There is a modest risk of prostate cancer in men who undergo a vasectomy. All men, whether or not they have had a vasectomy, need to have a regular PSA and digital rectal exam. For more information on this topic and the relationship between prostate cancer and vasectomy, speak to your doctor.


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