Dr. Dean

How Much Will My Vasectomy Hurt?

Posting Date: 05/16/2000

Alex: I'm 25 and I have three kids, so I'm having a vasectomy soon. My daughter is seven, and I have two boys aged five and three. I've never had time to myself.

I'm scared out of my mind about doing this. I've heard about erection problems, prostate problems, and pain.

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How many men who have had vasectomies have side effects? My doctor says it is 1 in 50.

Dr. Dean: Wow, three little kids should be enough convincing for any guy. If you are looking for permanent birth control, a man having a vasectomy is always better for the sake of the couple than for a woman to have her tubes tied.

Medically, you don't have anything to fear. The myths you've heard about impotence and prostate cancer are just myths. There is an outside chance a vasectomy will affect a man's cholesterol level later in life. The evidence is still inconclusive.

As far as pain is concerned, most men will tell you it's no biggie, just a little discomfort for a day or two. After that, they don't even know anything happened. A small percentage though -- your doctor puts it at 1 in 50 -- complains of pain for a week.

Some doctors are using a Chinese method of vasectomy called scalpel-free vasectomy. It is the most painless way. It also requires a little extra skill on the doctor's part.

I do have to tell you that statistics show that men who have vasectomies when they are less than 35 years old have a high rate of regret. If you someday change your mind, you may be able to reverse it, but you should consider it permanent birth control.