Perhaps you’ve done some research or already consulted your doctor and found out that a vasectomy is nothing to be afraid of. Recovering from a vasectomy requires investing more time into personal care and hygiene, as well as regular follow-ups with your doctor. You can get back to work after a week or so, but it will take longer to fully recover.
Now, there are some things to remember to ensure that you have a quick vasectomy recovery. Follow these tips over the following weeks, and they should help reduce the risk of post-vasectomy complications and get you back to normal as quickly as possible. Also, remember to always reach out to your urologist for questions.
1 – Get some rest
As with any surgery, rest after the procedure is crucial. Rest as much as possible. You can also try lying down with your feet raised as this will help improve circulation and healing.
The goal is to avoid heavy and strenuous activities, especially those that involve lifting or carrying. The less pressure or stress applied, the better.
2 – Follow all post-op instructions
Make sure to follow all of your doctor’s post-operative instructions. You may think you’re in the clear several hours after the procedure, but you can still re-injure yourself or cause serious damage to the surgical site. Post-operative instructions may include several of the tips found in this article. Your doctor will also instruct you when to change your bandage and how to apply a new one. They will also recommend various pain relief techniques. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your recovery, do not hesitate to call your doctor.
3 – Avoid infection
Keep your genital area as clean and dry as possible. Even if the incision is small, there is still a risk of it becoming infected if not properly taken care of.
Again, refrain from physical activity or other strenuous activities, especially during the first week, as these may cause excessive sweating that will cause irritation. Also, do not shower or bathe for at least 24 hours after surgery. You can only bathe or shower at least 48 hours post-op. Once you can bathe again, always pay close attention to cleaning and gently drying your genitals.
Lastly, change into a clean pair of underwear at least twice per day. This will help prevent the risk of infection.
4 – Reduce discomfort
After your procedure, you may still experience some discomfort and pain. You may also notice a bit of swelling and bruising around the scrotum or a feeling of fullness. All of these are normal and they shouldn’t last long. However, if feelings of fullness and pain last still continue after more than a few weeks, contact your urologist.
To help relieve any discomfort and reduce swelling, use an ice pack on the scrotum intermittently throughout the day. Avoid taking painkillers like aspirin or ibuprofen in the first 48 hours. These may actually increase bruising or swelling around the incision, rather than ease your discomfort.
Lastly, wear tight-fitting supportive underwear day and night throughout your recovery. Unlike loose boxers, close-fitting underwear will provide support for your scrotum and reduce discomfort. You can also wear a jockstrap or athletic supporter for the first seven to 14 days after recovery.
5 – Avoid sex and ejaculation for up to a week after vasectomy
Refrain from having sex and ejaculation for one week following a vasectomy. Give time for the incision or small opening on the scrotum time to heal and for the severed ends of the vas deferens to seal.
Once you resume sexual activity, you may notice blood in your semen or feel more pain. This is common upon the first few ejaculations. It may take several months or about 20 to 30 ejaculations for your semen to be completely free of sperm. Use condoms or other forms of birth control until your doctor has rechecked your semen and confirmed that your semen is sperm-free.
6 – Manage your discomfort with Tylenol and ice packs
Try Tylenol (acetaminophen) to relieve pain, but avoid blood-thinning medications like Bayer (aspirin) and Aleve (naproxen) as these can lead to post-surgical bleeding.
You can also apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel to the scrotum for the first two days. Do this for 20 minutes at a time and multiple times a day. This will reduce swelling and minimise discomfort. You can also use a frozen bag of veggies or a thin, folded washcloth.
7 – Take medications as prescribed—both before and after vasectomy
Your doctor may prescribe specific medications for special cases. Conditions and habits such as old age, a poor diet, smoking, use of corticosteroids (drugs for treating arthritis, asthma and allergies), having a poor immune system or diabetes can put you at a higher risk of infection after the vasectomy. If you have one of these risk factors, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics before your procedure. Continue taking these medications as prescribed after your surgery.
8 – Return to work when ready
You should be able to return to work one or two days after your vasectomy, as long as it is a non-physical activity and if you don’t feel severe discomfort. If your job involves strenuous activities, like lifting or driving, consult with your doctor on when you can return to work.
9 – Look out for potential complications during your vasectomy recovery
In some cases, patients may experience a few side effects or complications. If you experience any of these side effects, contact your urologist immediately:
- Numbness or bruising of the scrotum along with swelling and minor pain
- Bleeding or a blood clot (hematoma) inside the scrotum
- Infection at the incision
- A testicular cyst
On very rare occasions, a patient may also develop chronic testicular pain. If you feel a lump or increased swelling on your scrotum, or have a fever, chills, trouble urinating or constant bleeding at the incision, see your urologist as soon as possible. These complications may delay the vasectomy recovery process and require additional treatment or care.
10 – Wait for your semen test results
Your semen will need to be tested by your urologist about two months after your vasectomy. The first test results should show 0 percent sperm count. Otherwise, a further test will be needed until the urologist can finally confirm complete absence of sperm in your semen. Only then can you proceed with regular, unprotected sexual activity. At this point, your recovery process should be complete.
Got a question, or anything I can help with? My name is Steve Stretton, and I’m the owner and manager at Gelpacks.com. You can drop me a line here. Good luck!