Vasectomy: What to Expect at Home
A vasectomy is surgery that makes a man unable to father a child. Your doctor cut and tied or sealed the tubes that carry sperm from the testicles to the penis (the vas deferens). You may have some pain in your groin for 1 week after the surgery. Your scrotum may be bruised and swollen. This will go away in 1 to 2 weeks.
You will probably be able to return to work or your normal routine on the day after surgery. How long it takes depends on your job. If your job involves physical labour or lifting, it may take 2 or 3 days before you can go back to work.
You may need to wear snug underwear or compression shorts for 2 or 3 days after the surgery or as your doctor instructs you.
You will need to use a reliable form of birth control until the doctor is sure that you are not releasing sperm in your semen. This is usually checked 6 to 8 weeks after the vasectomy.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
How can you care for yourself at home?
- Lie down as much as you can for the first 24 hours. Rest when you feel tired. Getting enough sleep will help you recover.
- After the first day, try to walk each day. Start by walking a little more than you did the day before. Bit by bit, increase the amount you walk. Walking boosts blood flow and helps prevent constipation.
- Avoid strenuous activities, such as bicycle riding, jogging, weight lifting, or aerobic exercise, for about 1 week after the surgery or until the doctor says it is okay.
- Avoid lifting anything that would make you strain. This may include a child, heavy grocery bags and milk containers, a heavy briefcase or backpack, cat litter or dog food bags, or a vacuum cleaner.
- Ask your doctor when you can drive again.
- Most men are able to return to work the day after surgery. This depends on the type of work you do and how you feel. It may take 2 or 3 days.
- You may shower unless your doctor tells you not to. Pat the cut (incision) dry. Do not take a bath for about 5 days.
- Ask your doctor when it is okay for you to have sex. You will need to use some form of birth control until the doctor is sure your sperm count is zero.
- You can eat your normal diet. If your stomach is upset, try bland, low-fat foods like plain rice, broiled chicken, toast, and yogurt.
- Drink plenty of fluids (unless your doctor tells you not to).
- Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. He or she will also give you instructions about taking any new medicines.
- If you stopped taking aspirin or some other blood thinner, your doctor will tell you when to start taking it again.
- Be safe with medicines. Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
- If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
- If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine.
- If your doctor prescribed antibiotics, take them as directed. Do not stop taking them just because you feel better. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.
- If you think your pain medicine is making you sick to your stomach:
- Take your medicine after meals (unless your doctor has told you not to).
- Ask your doctor for a different pain medicine.
- You may gently wash the incision with warm, soapy water and pat it dry, unless your doctor gives you different instructions.
- If you have strips of tape on the incision, leave the tape on for a week or until it falls off.
- To help with pain, put ice or a cold pack against your scrotum for 10 to 20 minutes at a time, every 4 to 6 hours. Put a thin cloth between the ice and your skin.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
When should you call for help?
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
- You passed out (lost consciousness). You have chest pain, have shortness of breath, or you cough up blood.
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
- You have pain that does not get better after you take pain medicine.
- You have loose stitches or your incision comes open.
- Bright red blood soaks through the bandage.
- You have signs of infection, such as:
- Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
- Red streaks leading from the area.
- Pus draining from the area.
- A fever.
- You cannot urinate.
- You have symptoms of a urinary tract infection. These may include:
- Pain or burning when you urinate.
- A frequent need to urinate without being able to pass much urine.
- Pain in the flank, which is just below the rib cage and above the waist on either side of the back.
- Blood in your urine.
- A fever.
- You are sick to your stomach or cannot drink fluids.
- You have signs of a blood clot in your leg (called a deep vein thrombosis), such as:
- Pain in your calf, back of the knee, thigh, or groin.
- Redness or swelling in your leg.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if you have any problems.
Where can you learn more?
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
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Current as of: October 18, 2021