Wondering about vasectomy? You're not alone. Vasectomies account for 13% of contraception used by men ages 15-44 in the United States, and this percentage continues to rise as vasectomy becomes a more popular permanent birth control option. But there are still a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding this birth control procedure.
Let’s start with the basics. A vasectomy is a safe, effective procedure where a urologist cuts and seals off the tubes called the vas deferens that carry sperm. This prevents sperm from getting into semen, so it can no longer cause pregnancy. Pretty
To help debunk some common vasectomy myths, we talked to Dr. Jeff Morrison, a fellowship-trained urologist and men’s health specialist at CU Medicine Urology – South Denver. As a urologist, Dr. Morrison gets asked an array of questions about men's reproductive and sexual health. Here are the top vasectomy myths and truths:
Myth: Vasectomy lowers testosterone levels
Truth: One common myth is that getting a vasectomy will lower a man's testosterone levels. Some men worry that loss of sperm production after vasectomy might negatively impact testosterone production.
However, Dr. Morrison explains this is not true - while the testes do produce both sperm and testosterone, a vasectomy only cuts and seals off the vas deferens tubes that transport sperm. It does not affect the testicles' ability to produce testosterone, which travels through the blood vessels. Although sperm production decreases after vasectomy, this has no impact on testosterone levels. Men can be assured their testosterone production and levels will remain normal after a vasectomy procedure.
Myth: I will no longer ejaculate after vasectomy
Truth: Another common myth is that a man will no longer ejaculate after getting a vasectomy.
Dr. Morrison debunks this myth. “The majority of a person’s ejaculate comes from the prostate and seminal vesicles, which are downstream from the vas deferens where the vasectomy snip occurs,” explains Dr. Morrison. A vasectomy only prevents sperm from mixing with semen by cutting off the vas deferens. This stops sperm from being present in the ejaculate but does not affect the ejaculation process itself.
Myth: My sperm production shuts down after vasectomy
Truth: Another common myth is that sperm production shuts down entirely after a man gets a vasectomy. Some think the procedure disables the testes' ability to produce sperm.
Dr. Morrison explains, “This is another very common myth. The testicle has no idea there was a vasectomy downstream. They continue to produce sperm forever and the sperm get reabsorbed into the body.”
Myth: Sex doesn't feel as good after vasectomy
Truth: Some people worry that sexual pleasure or performance will be negatively impacted after getting a vasectomy. There is a myth that sex will not feel as good for men after the procedure.
“Thankfully the nerves that control erections and sexual sensation are very far away from the vasectomy site,” reassures Dr. Morrison about there being no change to sensation or erections after vasectomies.
Myth: It's easier for a woman to get her tubes tied
Truth: Some believe it is simpler and less invasive for a woman to undergo tubal ligation rather than a man getting a vasectomy. This myth asserts it is easier for women to become sterilized.
Dr. Morrison counters this myth by comparing the two procedures. While tubal ligation is performed laparoscopically through very small incisions, it still often requires general anesthesia. Patients report more pain and longer recovery times compared
to a vasectomy, which is done under local anesthesia in an outpatient setting. Men are able to return to normal activity in 1-2 days after a vasectomy versus 7-10 days for tubal ligation. When factors such as invasiveness, recovery and effectiveness
are considered, Dr. Morrison states vasectomy is overall an easier sterilization option.
Additionally, Dr. Morrison shares that vasectomy has a higher success rate than tubal ligation.
Myth: Vasectomy causes prostate cancer
Truth: Some men worry that undergoing a vasectomy may increase the risk of developing prostate cancer later in life. However, Dr. Morrison said there is no legitimate evidence to support this myth.
“There were some studies years ago that showed a potential very slight correlation between a man who’s had a vasectomy and prostate cancer. But, to date there have been no high-quality studies that prove this myth to be true. In reality, about 500,000 American men get a vasectomy every year, and we have no known proof that vasectomy causes prostate cancer,” explains Dr. Morrison.
Myth: Vasectomy is permanent and can't be reversed
Truth: Lastly, some people believe that vasectomies can’t be reversed.
“That’s also a myth. Vasectomies can be reversed. The issue here is that while the success rate of a reversal is well over 90% if done in 10 years of the vasectomy, we can’t guarantee a successful vasectomy reversal 100% of the time,”
shares Dr. Morrison. For this reason, Dr. Morrison shares that a vasectomy should be considered a permanent solution.
“With that said, we fully understand that life changes and we’re always happy to speak to someone about vasectomy reversal,” explains Dr. Morrison.
Learn more about the providers and services at CU Medicine Urology – South Denver here.