Having a vasectomy is a step that takes a bit of bravery. Although you are probably looking forward to the result — permanent birth control — you may not be looking forward to the discomfort that you're expecting after the procedure. Much of your apprehension may, in fact, come from your uncertainty about the recovery process. To ease that uncertainty, here's a look at what you can expect in the days and weeks that follow.
You'll need to take time off from work.
Your surgeon will likely recommend that you rest completely for one to two days after your vasectomy. This means spending most of the day sitting or laying on the couch — not doing dishes, vacuuming, or cleaning laundry.
If you have a rather sedentary job, you'll want to take two days off from work. If you have a more active job, such as driving a truck or cooking in a restaurant, you'll want to take a week off.
You can return to light activity after two days, but you'll probably still have soreness and want to take breaks frequently, so it's best to just stay home and slowly ease yourself back into everyday activities before jumping back into a physical job.
You'll need to take time off from sexual intercourse.
You won't want to have sex or masturbate for about a week after the procedure simply because doing so tends to be uncomfortable. If you do have sex and ejaculate, the fluid may be bloody — this is normal and not a cause for alarm.
Keep in mind that you should not assume you are no longer fertile until your doctor tests your semen and confirms that it is free from sperm. In rare cases, vasectomies are not complete, and men remain fertile after the procedure.
You'll want to monitor yourself for signs of infection.
Complications from a vasectomy are rare. However, infection is the most common complication, so it is the one you should watch out for. Contact your doctor if you have a fever, pus near the incision, or more than minor swelling.
You'll need to manage your pain.
The pain associated with vasectomy is generally described as moderate. In other words, it's definitely there — but you can keep it under control. Hold ice packs against your scrotum for about 10 minutes at a time every two or three hours. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen, and wear tight underwear to minimize movement in the scrotum.
If you have any lingering questions as to what you can expect after a vasectomy, reach out to your surgeon.