After your vasectomy, what you do – or don’t do – can mean the difference between a quick, painless recovery and a sore, miserable experience that lasts for days, weeks, or even longer. Here are 6 easy-to-follow guidelines to give you the best chances for a quick recovery.
1. First and foremost, stay off your feet for several days. The delicate tissues will swell and hurt if you spend time standing for the first days of recovery. This means you cannot go out to dinner, a movie, or any activity where you are standing a lot. It is best if you sit around for a few days, taking it easy.
2. Avoid heavy lifting or straining for about a week or two. If it’s heavier than a gallon of milk, then don’t pick it up. Of course, everyone knows you can move that refrigerator or pick up that keg but right after a vasectomy is not the time to prove it. And this means if you work out, no squats, crunches or leg presses for 2 weeks. Your core and muscles will be just fine without the heavy lifting and exercises.
3. It is best to ice up down there (20 to 30 minutes on, 10 off) for the first few days after the vasectomy. You can use frozen peas. This will reduce inflammation and swelling, and give you a more comfortable recovery. And be sure to put the ice outside your underwear – never directly against the skin.
4. Wear an athletic supporter or bike compression shorts, outside your underwear, to provide support during the first week or two after the vasectomy. Gravity and movement are not good for recently traumatized tissues inside your scrotum.
5. Take anti-inflammatory medications such as naproxen or ibuprofen, as directed by your doctor, for the first few days to reduce swelling, inflammation and discomfort. Of course, don’t take these if you have had problems with upset stomach or stomach ulcers.
6. No sex (all definitions) for one week to let the area heal. And then, after one week, only with birth control until you are told it is safe to go without. The vasectomy does not instantly sterilize you! It simply blocks the resupply of fresh sperm into the pipes, so it will take 2 months or more to flush out the sperm in your system. This is why you need to check and be sure you are cleared out with a sperm check at 8 weeks. Do not ever assume you are sterile, as sometimes it takes much longer and so you could still be fertile.
The good news is that for most men, recovery after a vasectomy is relatively easy and painless, especially when you follow these simple guidelines.