Vasectomy is a quick outpatient procedure with a short recovery period. However, the care you take during the first week can be the difference between a swift, painless recovery and a sore, uncomfortable experience. Here are some simple yet effective tips to help you ensure a successful recovery and manage post-vasectomy discomfort.
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How much time do I take off work?
Most men take a couple of days off, but it does depend on the type of work you do and your personal circumstances. If it’s a desk job going back to work earlier is possible; however, if your job involves physical movement, take your doctor’s advice, but most likely, you’ll have to take about a week off. The majority of vasectomies are done on a Thursday or a Friday to fit into people’s schedules better.
What’s the best way to look after yourself after the procedure?
Get plenty of rest
Lack of rest is frequently cited as a cause for a slow recovery and post-operative complications. Relax and stay off your feet as much as possible to avoid straining your scrotum. Try lying on your back with your feet elevated, as that will improve blood circulation.
Wear supportive underwear
Wearing a jockstrap right after your surgery will help reduce discomfort caused by increased pressure on the spermatic cords. Jockstrap supports the muscles and other structures surrounding the scrotum area much better than just tight-fitting underwear. Keep on your jockstrap day and night until you no longer need it and make sure to change into a clean pair every day. Some men feel more comfortable when wearing a jockstrap under or over their regular tight-fitting underwear or boxers.Recommended product
Use ice packs to reduce discomfort and swelling
Using an ice pack helps the healing process by reducing swelling and minimizing inflammation in the scrotum area. Gently press the cold pack against your scrotum for 20 minutes several times a day to relieve pain and discomfort. Make sure to put the cold pack outside of your underwear and not directly against the skin. You’ll want at least two, so you can have one in the freezer and the other pack on the surgery site when you need it.Recommended product
Don’t do any heavy lifting or exercise
Avoid all physical activity for a couple of days, and wait two to three weeks to resume more strenuous activities like exercise or heavy lifting. This could irritate the surgical site and cause blood to leak into your scrotum.Suggested reading
Avoid sexual activity
You should wait at least a few days before having sex again after a vasectomy, however, most doctors recommend waiting for a week. It’s important to note that this includes masturbation or oral sex. And remember you won’t be sterile right away.Recommended product
Take pain medication if necessary
For pain relief, you may take acetaminophen (Tylenol). Avoid blood-thinning medications like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.) and aspirin, as these may increase the risk of bruising and post-surgical bleeding around the incision.Recommended product
A donut-shaped pillow can ease discomfort when sitting
If you need to be sitting for extended periods of time. A donut-shaped pillow can help reduce discomfort. However, you should lie down as much as you can for the first 24 hours.Recommended product
Follow your doctor’s post-op instructions
Last but not least, make sure to follow all of your doctor’s post-operative instructions. Even though you might feel great immediately after your surgery, failure to get adequate rest can lead to additional problems and cause unnecessary pain.
What kind of pain is normal after a vasectomy?
Immediately following your procedure, you may feel a dull ache and mild pain in your scrotum and groin as the anesthesia wears off. Most men experience swelling and minor pain at the site of the operation for two to three days after the procedure, although the exact length of time will vary from person to person. This pain is often described as an ache or feeling of tenderness. Many men report resuming light activity within a day or so, while others need to wait a little longer.
How long will the bruising and swelling last?
Some men report little or no swelling and bruising, but for most, the bruising gets worse for a few days and disappears by the end of the second week, and the swelling goes down after a few days.Suggested reading
Does a vasectomy leave a scar?
The incision is usually very small, and the scrotum skin tends to be wrinkly and hairy, so seeing a scar after you’ve made a full recovery will be very difficult. It may be possible to see the scar if you know where the incision was, and you are examining the site closely with good lighting. We have a page that has pictures of vasectomy scars after healing. (NSFW)Suggested reading
How long does it take for a vasectomy to become effective?
Vasectomy is not effective until your system is cleared of live sperm. Even though the procedure blocks the re-supply of sperm immediately, it can take up to 2 to 3 months (sometimes even longer) to clear the active sperm already in your system. This means other means of birth control must be used until the doctor declares you sterile after the post-vasectomy semen analysis.Suggested reading
According to the Journal of the American Board of Family Practice, despite knowing that without confirmation of sterility, they could still get their partner pregnant, up to 42% of men didn’t return for post-vasectomy semen analysis.1Christensen RE, Maples DC. Postvasectomy Semen Analysis: Are Men Following Up? The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. Published online January 1, 2005:44-47. doi:10.3122/jabfm.18.1.44 Common reasons why this may include men feeling inconvenienced or embarrassed, simply forgetting, or being convinced they are sterile already. It can’t be stressed often enough how important it is to prove you are sterile before having unprotected sex.
SpermCheck Vasectomy: Home Sperm Test Kit
SpermCheck Vasectomy is an FDA approved home sperm testing kit. It comes with two tests and is designed to allow men to check their post-vasectomy sperm count from the comfort of their own home.
- Results in minutes
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Some discomfort, swelling, and bruising is to be expected after your vasectomy, but these symptoms usually subside within a couple of days. The most important part of the recovery is taking it easy. While many men like to “tough it out”, simply getting off your feet for a day or two will absolutely make your recovery less painful, quicker, and a more pleasant experience overall.
Severe pain or pain that persists longer than a week after the surgery may indicate some sort of complication. If you have any concerns about your pain levels, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor immediately.
References and further readingVasectomy-Information.com has a strict sourcing policy. We rely on evidence-based medicine, peer-reviewed studies, reputable clinical journals, and medical associations. Learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and up-to-date by reading our editorial policy.
- Christensen RE, Maples DC. Postvasectomy Semen Analysis: Are Men Following Up? The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. Published online January 1, 2005:44-47. doi:10.3122/jabfm.18.1.44
- Vasectomy (male sterilisation). NHS. Published February 22, 2018. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/vasectomy-male-sterilisation/
- Pre & Post Vasectomy Instructions. Department of Urology, University of Virginia School of Medicine. https://med.virginia.edu/urology/for-patients-and-visitors/mens-health/vasectomy-how-it-works/pre-post-vasectomy-instructions/
- Post-Vasectomy Care & Recovery | Patient Instructions. Pollock Clinics. https://www.pollockclinics.com/no-scalpel-vasectomy/after-vasectomy/
- Vasectomy patient instructions. Michigan Institute of Urology. P.C. Published August 2009. https://www.michiganurology.com/wp-content/themes/miu/files/form-vasectomy-patient-instructions.pdf
- After Your Vasectomy: Key Points. Lawrence Urology Specialists. Published March 30, 2017. https://www.lmh.org/app/files/public/2212/lus-after-vasectomy.pdf