Impotence as a direct physical result of a vasectomy is rare, but there are men that can experience impotence as a psychological effect of the operation. It has been suggested that this may be due to an irrational fear of castration. However, after a vasectomy the body still produces semen like normal and should still respond to sexual stimulus like normal.

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What is a vasectomy?

A vasectomy is a common form of permanent male contraception. It's also known as sterilisation and it's an outpatient procedure that stops sperm from entering semen. This means that after a vasectomy a man still ejaculates like normal but there is no sperm, thus almost completely eliminating the risk of pregnancy. It's rarely dangerous, is far less complicated than female sterilisation and very few men report any side effects after the operation.

vasectomy procedure

What happens during a vasectomy?

Vasectomies aren't usually performed under complete sedation and a doctor will use a local anaesthetic, which is enough to allow for the procedure to take place without any discomfort. After the local anaesthetic is applied, an incision is made in the scrotum and a tube known as the vas is severed and sealed. The vas is a small tube that transports sperm to the testicles.

The doctor will simply stitch-up the incision after the same procedure has been performed on the vas on the other side, which concludes the procedure.

Why does vasectomy cause impotence in some men?

Erections involve many endocrine and vascular functions, which when disturbed can result in impotence, however a vasectomy should have no direct effect on the processes involved in giving a man an erection. In other words, the procedure itself isn't likely to cause any physical damage that may result in impotence, although it may take a few weeks before the discomfort after the procedure goes away and a man can have sex as normal with his partner.

An incredibly small number of men may experience continued pain after a vasectomy, which may affect sexual performance, but this is very unlikely and is rarely reported in the UK. Sometimes inflammation of the scrotum can occur as a result of sperm leakage, but this can easily be corrected and also isn't a normal occurrence.

Impotence most often occurs after a vasectomy due to negative psychological associations with the procedure. It is therefore not recommended that you go through with the procedure if you already have fears of castration. You should also not go through with the procedure if you find that you already experience problems with impotence as a result of any physical or emotional cause.

What if I experience impotence after a vasectomy

If you do experience impotence after a vasectomy it's possible that there may be another underlying cause of your erectile dysfunction. This is why it's important to speak to your doctor, especially to eliminate any physical causes such as illness as the root of the problem. However, it's more likely that post-vasectomy impotence is psychological. Any such issues can usually be addressed through therapy or with the application of impotence treatments such as Viagra or Cialis.