The ultimate guide to vasectomy recovery

Post In: Ice Pack
The ultimate guide to vasectomy recovery

A vasectomy is a minor surgery that prevents the supply of sperm to your semen. During a vasectomy, the tubes that carry sperm are cut and sealed. You will still ejaculate semen (seminal fluid) after a vasectomy, but it will no longer contain sperm (the reproductive cells) once you have ejaculated about 20 times. Instead, the body absorbs the sperm, which is harmless.

Although vasectomy reversals are possible, a vasectomy is an effective form of male birth control. It is also considered to be permanent, and that is why you need to be certain you don’t want to father a child in the future before getting a vasectomy. 

The risks of experiencing complications after getting a vasectomy are typically low. It can be performed in an outpatient setting under local anesthesia. Note that a vasectomy will not by any means protect you from sexually transmitted infections.

Since it is a permanent procedure, you might be worried about the effects or perhaps some side effects that you might experience after the surgery. In this article, we will explore all the things that you can expect after a vasectomy.

What to expect after the procedure

After a vasectomy, you’ll experience bruising, swelling and pain, which usually get better within a few days. Your doctor will provide you with some of the following instructions for your recovery: 

  • If you notice any signs of infection, such as blood oozing from the surgery site, redness or worsening pain or swelling, call your doctor right away. The same goes if you have a fever of more than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit  (38 degree Celsius). 
  • Keep your scrotum wrapped in a bandage and wear tight-fitting underwear for at least 48 hours after your vasectomy.
  • Apply ice packs to the scrotum for the first two days to relieve pain and to reduce swelling.
  • Rest for 24 hours after surgery. You will also need to limit activity after surgery, as it could cause pain or bleeding inside the scrotum. You can probably do light activity after two or three days, but you’ll need to avoid sports, lifting and heavy work for a week or so. 
  • Avoid any sexual activity for a week or so. If you do ejaculate, you may feel pain or notice blood in your semen. 
  • Wait until your doctor confirms that sperm are no longer present in your semen before having sexual intercourse. Otherwise, use another form of birth control.

Sex advice following a vasectomy

A vasectomy doesn’t provide instant protection against pregnancy. You will still need to use an alternative form of birth control until your doctor confirms there are no sperm in your semen. Before engaging in unprotected sex, you’ll have to wait for several months or ejaculate 15 to 20 times to clear any sperm from your semen.

About six to 12 weeks after the surgery, your doctor may do a follow-up semen analysis where you’ll be asked to provide sperm samples to be examined. This is to ensure that no sperm are present. To produce a sperm sample, your doctor will have you masturbate and ejaculate into a container or use a special condom without lubrication or spermicide in order to collect the semen. Your semen will be examined in a lab to see whether sperm are present.

Vasectomy is an effective form of birth control. However, it will not protect you or your partner from sexually transmitted diseases, such as chlamydia or HIV/AIDS. Even after you have a vasectomy, you will still need to use condoms or other forms of protection if you are at risk of acquiring a sexually transmitted infection.

What are the risks in getting a vasectomy?

A vasectomy doesn’t cause any noticeable side effects in most cases, and serious complications are rare.

A potential concern with a vasectomy is that the procedure may be irreversible. If, in the future, you change your mind about wanting to father a child, it may be possible to reverse your vasectomy. However, there’s no guarantee it will work. Reversal surgery is more complicated than a vasectomy. Other techniques such as in vitro fertilization also are available. These techniques can be expensive and, in some cases, ineffective. Before getting a vasectomy, you need to be certain you don’t want to father a child in the future.

Men experiencing chronic testicular pain or testicular disease are not good candidates for vasectomy. 

Side effects following a vasectomy can include:

  • Bleeding or a blood clot (hematoma) inside the scrotum
  • Blood in your semen
  • Bruising of your scrotum
  • Infection of the surgery site
  • Mild pain or discomfort
  • Swelling

Delayed complications can include:

    • Chronic pain, which occurs in 1 to 2 percent of those who undergo the procedure
    • Fluid buildup in the testicles, which can cause a dull ache that gets worse with ejaculation
    • Inflammation caused by leaking sperm (granuloma)
    • Pregnancy, in the event that a vasectomy fails, which is rare.
    • An abnormal cyst (spermatocele) that develops in the small, coiled tube located on the upper testicle that collects and transports sperm (epididymis)
    • A fluid-filled sac (hydrocele) surrounding a testicle that causes swelling in the scrotum

Vasectomy myths

Many men worry that a vasectomy will cause serious problems. A vasectomy is a relatively safe procedure. You may find it helpful if we bust some popular (and unfounded) vasectomy myths. For example, a vasectomy won’t:

  • Decrease your sex drive – Undergoing a vasectomy will not affect your sexual performance or your masculinity in any way. In fact, men have even reported higher sexual satisfaction after a vasectomy.
  • Damage your sexual organs – There’s very little risk that your testicles, penis or other parts of your reproductive system will be damaged or injured during surgery. In extremely rare cases, injury to the blood supply can lead to the loss of a testicle, but that is unlikely to happen if your surgeon is skilled.
  • Increase your risk of certain cancers and heart diseases – There is no solid proof to support the concerns that link vasectomies with testicular or prostate cancer. There also doesn’t appear to be any link between a vasectomy and heart problems.
  • Cause severe pain – You might feel minor pain and pulling or tugging during surgery, but severe pain is rare. Likewise, after surgery you might have some pain, but for most men the pain is minor and goes away after a few days.

Got a question, or anything I can help with? My name is Steve Stretton, and I’m the owner and manager at You can drop me a line here. Good luck!

Back to blog