All about Vasectomy and Why Nigerian men shun it

Some years ago, a university professor approached his colleagues at the college of medicine and informed them of his desire to be sterilized. The man felt he already had the number children he wanted and needed to close the child bearing chapter in his life.

His colleagues were excited. The sterilisation operation called vasectomy was still new in the country then and it appeared no Nigerian man was willing to adopt it as a ,family planning method. The doctors that saw the professor therefore saw his initiative as a major opening that could pave way for other men to embrace vasectomy as a family planning method in the country.

But that first visit was also the professor’s last to the clinic. Efforts to reach him not only failed, the doctors had to contend with a stern warning by his wife to back off.
“Why don’t you castrate yourself ?” She had yelled as she picked the last call from the clinic to her husband.
This true story sums up the attitude of the Nigerian men to vasectomy, a permanent birth control method and one of the very few family planning methods available for men who do not wish to have more children.

Since its introduction in Nigeria, very few men have been brave enough to undertake it. In some cases, where some men give it a thought, their wives had reportedly raised serious objection.
In Nigeria, most people still regard vasectomy as castration. And this is the last “disaster” which the usually virile Nigerian man will want to wish even his worst enemy. But how true is this belief ?

Experts say vasectomy is not the same thing as castration – where the testes are removed and the man is unable to have sex again. Vasectomy is a very simple procedure in which the small tubes which serve as passage for sperm called vas deferens are cut or blocked to prevent sperm from entering a man’s ejaculate. It’s a very safe procedure which is more than 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancies when done correctly.
Usually, it does not take more than 15 minutes for the whole operation to be carried out.

It is thus a quick and inexpensive operation and once the minor post-operative discomforts have passed, the individual needs never worry about contraception again.
Unlike castration, no part of the man’s external anatomy is removed. During the operation, the doctors first injects a drug to prevent pain. When the drug has numbed the area, he makes a small cut in the scrotum and then cuts or seals the tubes. The small incision is then closed with a little stitch and the man may leave the clinic after a short time.

Experts also say vasectomy does not in any way affect the man’s sexual performance. The man’s anatomy remains intact and his feeling at ejaculation will be entirely normal. The only difference is that the operation will guarantee that no sperm will be in the ejaculate.

Of course, like every other surgical procedure, there are some elements of risks involved but experts say the inherent dangers are easily minimised by the procedure’s simplicity, use of local anaesthesia, competent surgical procedures and hygienic surroundings.

About 40 percent of vasectomy patients are said to experience some swelling, discolouration or post-operative discomfort. Doctors say these however, are generally short term and minor. Arrange to be off from work for 2-3 days after the vasectomy. (Many men schedule their procedure on a Friday, recuperate over the weekend and return to work on Monday).

• The day of the procedure, carefully shave all of the hair on the scrotum. (It is not necessary to shave the entire public area, only the scrotum.)
• Bring an athletic support (jock strap) that will support the scrotum and help hold the gauze in place after the procedure. These are available at most drug stores.

After the Vasectomy
• Since you may experience some discomfort and/or swelling immediately after the procedure, we recommend that you arrange for someone to drive you home from the doctor’s office; however, if arranging for a driver is not feasible, you may drive yourself home.

• You may feel sore for a few days and should rest and avoid heavy lifting and exercising for three days.
• Men who have had vasectomies can return to normal activities within 24 to 48 hours of the procedure. (Many men have the procedure on a Friday and return to work on Monday.)

• A man can resume sexual activity within a few days of the vasectomy, but he must use another form of birth control until a check of his semen shows no sperm are present, usually 15-20 ejaculations or 6 to 8 weeks after the vasectomy.
• After the requisite amount of time, the patient should bring a semen sample to any of our clinic locations. A urologist will review it to verify that there are no sperm and that the vasectomy was successful.

• Men do not need to schedule an appointment or even wait at the clinic for the results of the semen analysis; however, since samples must be reviewed within two hours of ejaculation, please call our clinic the day you plan to bring in your specimen to ensure that a physician will be available to review it.

• Once the doctor has reviewed the sample, he will notify you of the results in person or via phone. Reversal
• A vasectomy is intended to be a permanent procedure, and men should take this fact seriously when deciding whether to undergo the procedure.

• About 5% of men who have had a vasectomy later wish to have their procedure reversed.
• Surgery to reconnect the vas deferens is available, but success cannot be guaranteed.
• The success rate for a vasectomy reversal depends primarily on the length of time that has passed since the vasectomy.
Courtesy: Urology San Antonio

National Mirror
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