According to Dr. William Miller, "everybody, practically" who consults with him prior to scheduling a vasectomy is nervous.
"It's almost universal," said Miller, who performs approximately 200 vasectomies a year in his office at Integris Baptist Medical Center. "Pain is the No. 1 concern, of course. After that, they come in all flavors. A guy today was worried it would make his penis shorter. He had heard that."
In the outpatient procedure, which Miller said takes about 20 minutes, a local anesthetic is applied to the skin of the scrotum where the incision will be made. This " coupled with a prescribed Valium taken an hour beforehand " kills any chance of the patient feeling pain.
The incision allows the physician access to the vasa deferentia " a pair of cords through which sperm travels on its journey outside the body. The cordsare cut, the remaining ends are cauterized, the scrotum is sewn up.
Miller said some men wrongly fear that having no sperm count somehow equates to emasculation or impotence.
"Physiologically, it won't," he said. "But mentally, it can have an effect on certain people. But for the vast majority of men, it doesn't affect their sex drive or performance, and there's no physiological reason it should."
In fact, a vasectomy may even make one's sex life better, as couples are free of the restraint and stress that other birth control methods may cause.
"It does (improve sex) for some people, especially if they're using a diaphragm or condoms, or the wife has some kind of life-threatening condition where she absolutely cannot get pregnant," Miller said. "There's a lot of fumbling around and a lot of anxiety, and this takes that all away." "Rod Lott