Vasectomy: What to Expect at Home

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Your Recovery

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, depending 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 supportive underwear or an athletic supporter (jockstrap) for 2 or 3 days after the surgery or as your doctor instructs you.

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?

Activity

  • 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.

Diet

  • 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).

Medicines

  • 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 take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), or aspirin, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if and when to start taking those medicines again. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • 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.

Incision care

  • 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.

Ice

  • 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 call line 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 severe trouble breathing.
  • You have sudden chest pain and shortness of breath, or you cough up blood.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have severe pain in your groin.
  • 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 has soaked through a bandage over the incision.
  • You have signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the incision.
    • Pus draining from the incision.
    • A fever.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • The swelling in your scrotum is not going away.
  • You feel pain when you urinate.
  • You do not have a bowel movement after taking a laxative.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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Current as of: May 24, 2016