Everything you’ve been told about vasectomies is true—it’s a super-safe office procedure that takes your doctor about 15-30 minutes to perform, and after a brief waiting period, you’re pretty much guaranteed sterility for the rest of your life. A total no-brainer!
But here’s another tidbit that’s also very true and something you should really pay attention to, especially if your idea of relaxing is a quick 10-mile run or swinging 35-pound kettlebells. Even though the recovery following a vasectomy is pretty chill, literally, it’s critical that you take a break from the gym for a few days or risk some not very pretty issues down there.
As hard as it may be for you gym rats, you’re really going to need to embrace the couch-potato life, especially for those first critica days after your vasectomy.
“You won’t be able to engage in mildly strenuous activities—walking and standing all day, until one week after your procedure,” says Dr. Justin Low, who leads vasectomies at a family planning clinic in Australia.
In other words, your burpee days will be on hold for at least the first week or two.
What to expect following your vasectomy
No matter how you, er, slice it—whether you opt for an old-school scalpel method or find a urologist who uses a laser—a hole is made in your testes and either glue or stitches seal the ends of your vas deferens, which is snipped to prevent sperm from leaving your testicles.
Let that sink in: A doctor is going to cut, snip and glue or stitch things inside your balls, leaving you with some bruising, swelling, and pain down there. That should make you sit down and stay down after your procedure to let things heal.
Here are some things that can help immediately after the vasectomy:
- You’ll want to keep things snug down there and support your scrotum with a bandage and tight-fitting underwear for at least 48 hours after your vasectomy
- The frozen peas are no joke. You’ll want them, or some kind of ice packs, to ice your scrotum for the first two days to prevent swelling
- You’ll need to limit activity and rest for the first 24 hours post vasectomy. While you can probably get away with some light activity after two or three days, you really need to stay away from sports, lifting and heavy work for a week or so, according to the Mayo Clinic. Rushing back to deadlift after your vasectomy could cause pain or bleeding inside the scrotum
- No weightlifting or running until the third or fourth week after the surgery. Do you live for crossfit? You’ll need to hold yourself back from pushing tires around a parking lot for the same amount of time. Can’t wait to lace your running shoes back up and hit the pavement? This seasoned runner suggests 10 days is the right amount of time to wait to start running after a vasectomy, and that you’ll want to invest in a jockstrap (yup, they still make those things)
What’s a sports-loving guy supposed to do?
Can’t stand the idea of sitting around all day and being banned from the gym? Consider doing what lots of other guys all across the country are starting to do: schedule your vasectomy around March Madness tournaments. Yes, that’s a thing. You can literally hang on the couch with your balls in the air, watching non-stop basketball during your recovery.
Not a college basketball fan? Consider The Masters, or some other golf tournament. Seriously, you can even use your vasectomy as the perfect excuse to catch up on Ballers or Ray Donovan.
Let’s talk about sex
Of course, your favorite form of exercise is probably sex, but you’re going to have to hold off on that workout, too. Your man-zone also needs time to heal before sex, so press pause on any sexual activity for a week or so, and don’t be surprised if you feel a little pain from ejaculating and see some blood in the semen.
Also, when you get the green light to start having intercourse again, you’re going to want to use a backup form of birth control to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. It takes about 20 ejaculations for sperm to clear out your system, or about three months. How can you know for sure it’s all clear? Well, you’ll need an examination. But if you’re not comfortable returning to the doctor for the test, you can check your sterility at home with SpermCheck, an over-the-counter product that measures your sperm count.
Your vasectomy is definitely going to put a tiny crimp in your workout style, but the long-term benefits are well worth missing out on a few sets of pushups at the gym.