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How Long After a Vasectomy Can I Have Sex?

Here at my Brisbane vasectomy clinic, many men have questions about when it is safe to resume sexual activity. It is important to be aware that a vasectomy is not effective straight away and that it takes several months before you can safely have sex without fear of pregnancy.  You’ll also need to take the time to let your body heal from your procedure before resuming sexual activity.

Fools rush in: taking the time to heal

In the days following a vasectomy, it is normal to have some inflammation. This inflammation is how the body starts to heal, and may cause some swelling of tissue. As tissue stretches it can feel full or like a dull ache. This is the same process that people may feel after a vaccination or after a big session at the gym. In my experience, this usually doesn’t bother the men who visit my Brisbane vasectomy clinic very much. 

If the dull ache is annoying, it is prudent to take some anti-inflammatory medication such as Ibuprofen or diclofenac. Some men take pain medication for a week, some for a few days, and others none at all. In rare cases, some may require medication for a few months as the healing process can take that long to completely resolve. This is very rare though. As you can imagine, swelling is best minimised rather than encouraged. 

With all this in mind, you can probably start to answer the question, how long after a vasectomy can I have sex?  Although different vasectomy doctors will have slightly different opinions, in general, you should wait a week before resuming sexual activity, including masturbation. If, however, you experience any significant or notable pain, please stop. 

Many men have sex earlier and are completely fine however, my rule of thumb for patients at my Brisbane vasectomy clinic is, the safest option is wait a week.  If you feel your recovery is taking a little longer than average, it may be worth waiting longer than seven days. If this applies to you, you should also continue to take anti-inflammatory medication such as Ibuprofen or diclofenac. These anti-inflammatories work even better with some paracetamol.

 

Eliminating pregnancy risk

Men aren’t sterile immediately following a vasectomy. There are two large storage tanks of sperm on the sides of the prostate that need to empty. These storage tanks are called seminal vesicles. In most men it takes about 20 ejaculations to empty the seminal vesicles of sperm.  For older men it often takes many more ejaculations. This is because the force of contraction during ejaculation is not as strong in older men. It can take up to a year to completely empty out the residual sperm. Men need to have a semen analysis (or semen test) to confirm all the sperm has emptied out of the seminal vesicles. Once men have a clear sperm test, they can have sex without using alternative contraception. How long you have to wait to have sex after a vasectomy depends not only on the number of ejaculations but also how much time has passed.

There is a small chance that the divided vas deferens heals itself following a vasectomy. This is rare and can happen at any time but the first three months are the most dangerous. Men shouldn’t do their semen analysis prior to three months, even if they have ejaculated more than 20 times.  Additionally, even if you  have waited three months and ejaculated more than 20 times, you still need to do a test. The bottom line when considering the question, how long after a vasectomy can I have sex, is a combination of time and testing.

As I say often to the men who visit my Brisbane vasectomy clinic, you should openly communicate with your partner and let them also know when it is safe to rely on a vasectomy for contraception. They may also want to discuss coming off the contraceptive pill, depo provera or having a mirena removed with their own doctor.

Make sure you rest and take some anti-inflammatories following your vasectomy.  It is also best for men getting a vasectomy to wait seven days before having sex or masturbating.  Crucially you will need to use alternative contraception until you receive a clear post-vasectomy semen analysis.

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