What is a Vasectomy?
A Vasectomy is the most effective method of birth control. Designed to be a permanent solution to the pitfalls of procreation, roundabout three months after the procedure, you will no longer be capable of fathering children.
Are Vasectomies popular?
Well, seemingly not in the USA. This was highlighted by the trio of fathers, the self-styled ‘three Vascateers’ who underwent surgery in the public eye – not literally of course – to emphasise the low uptake amongst American men. A report in 2015 by the United Nations put the figure at one man in every ten. The reason? A cultural preference or tradition, perhaps a perceived insult to masculinity.
These guys felt it was the responsible and fair thing to do after their wives and partners had endured years of shouldering the burden of both contraception and childbirth. In the UK, this once sought-after operation has fallen hugely out of fashion with a noted 64% decline in the decade prior to 2016. The colloquial title of, ‘the Snip’, hasn’t helped and falling funding by the National Health Service is another contributory factor. Societal changes and failing partnerships followed by new relationships are another reason as men now prefer to keep their options open.
What actually happens in a Vasectomy?
The Vas Deferens, the tube which transports sperm from the testes, are cut and sealed, a simple mechanical barrier to prevent sperm travelling along the urethra and being passed to a female during the act of intercourse. Usually performed under a local anaesthetic, the whole process takes around thirty minutes. Most men describe it as painless or a little uncomfortable; it can be sore once the sedation has faded. Rest is advised for two or three days to reduce inflammation and any swelling. Sporting and demanding activity are to be avoided for around a week. Additional precautions should be employed during sexual relations for approximately three months as there is a residue of spermatozoa in the passageways. Most surgeons operate a follow-up procedure at this point in time and take another sperm count to confirm that the vasectomy has been successful.
Are there any drawbacks or disadvantages to a vasectomy?
Horror stories abound online but this a very safe and well-established procedure. The principle downside is its permanency so you should be absolutely certain you will not change your mind. There is a vasectomy reversal surgical intervention with varying success rates. This is longer and more complicated than the initial vasectomy.
Some pain post operatively is to be expected, after all, this is an invasive procedure. But discomfort should have ceased within a week. Only a small proportion of men are left with a continuous affliction which is exacerbated by ejaculation. Some men remain in ongoing pain after vasectomy sometimes termed chronic epididymal syndrome.
The clinical team may inadvertently stray too close to the epididymis which is a duct giving rise to the name of this condition. When sperm production rises, the tube becomes distended, causing pain and a lump. Further surgical intervention is usually the only way to remedy this.
I have been left with a lump in the scrotum after vasectomy
Everyone is different and some patients experience filling and swelling which is more evident than the man next in the queue. A lump in the scrotum after a vasectomy is likely reactive inflammation due to leaking sperm and the behaviour of the white blood cells, the body’s response to the procedure. Usually, this is managed with over the counter NSAIDs, Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory medications like Ibuprofen and on occasion, steroids, although most men respond well to the former.
Most guys are cautious about this surgery because of its interference in their private parts. Women do battle with periods, birth control, pregnancy and delivery whereas men are able to remain relatively untouched, literally and figuratively. An innate desire to keep these private parts private is additionally fuelled in some men by the feeling that sex will never be the same if they are firing blanks. It is somehow a dent to their masculinity and male pride.
The male pain threshold
Some men do not cope well with pain and some certainly don’t manage it in that particular location.
Reactions vary but most soreness and tenderness is alleviated with regular drugs and ice packs during the recovery period.
Painful lump in the scrotum after vasectomy
If pain persists for weeks or months following surgery then this is classified as Post Vasectomy Pain Syndrome or PVPS. There are a few specialists who offer referrals in this situation. It is crucial to establish the cause of the pain rather than just offering symptomatic or palliative relief. As well as physical issues, there are deep psychology problems which can be associated with this malaise which also require remedying. The pain may vary in nature; there can be a lump or nothing specific.
Sexual activity can worsen it which is one of the primary associated difficulties, often leading to a decrease in interest in sexual relations which is rather ironic. Of course, a painful lump in your scrotum after a vasectomy may be something as simple as post-operative trauma or a minor infection at the site of the incision. Qualified medical opinion is essential to determine the actual problem and the appropriate course of action.
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