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Can a Vasectomy Cause ED? Your Questions Answered Here

September 21, 2023
4 mins

Getting a vasectomy is unlikely to cause or resolve symptoms of erectile dysfunction.

Men who undergo this surgery for family planning should not expect any changes in their sexual performance.

If a man can get an erection before surgery, he should be able to get an erection after surgery.

Likewise, if a man is struggling with erectile dysfunction (ED), those problems will persist after surgery – unless he seeks appropriate treatment.

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What is a Vasectomy?

A vasectomy.) is a surgical procedure that’s considered to be one of the most effective forms of male birth control.

Every year, around 500,000 men undergo the procedure. This surgical birth control option prevents sperm from mixing with the seminal fluid that exits a man’s testicles when he climaxes. This eliminates the need to use other contraceptive methods, like condoms.

How Does a Vasectomy Work?

Typically, vasectomies do not require hospitalization and are usually performed with local anesthesia, so the patient is awake the entire time.

The surgery is usually performed by a urologist – a physician who treats issues relating to the kidneys, bladder, and reproductive organs.

Once the scrotum has been fully numbed, a doctor will do the surgery using one of two techniques:

  • An incision vasectomy will begin with making one or two small cuts on the scrotum. Once these cuts are made, the surgeon will locate the vas deferens. These tubes transport sperm between the testicles and the urethra. The surgeon will cut the vas deferens, effectively blocking sperm from exiting the testicles. The ends of the tubes are then cauterized and either tied or stitched shut. After the procedure has been performed on each testicle, the incisions in the scrotum are glued together, stitched up, and sealed.

  • A no-scalpel vasectomy does not require a scalpel to cut into the scrotum. Instead, the surgeon will use an instrument called a hemostat to make a tiny puncture on the sides of the scrotum. Then, the surgeon will pull the vas deferens through the puncture holes, and sever them. Once the ends of both vas deferens have been sealed, the procedure is over. Since the puncture is typically so small, there is no need to stitch up the scrotum. 

Can a Vasectomy Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

While a vasectomy will prevent pregnancy, it shouldn’t have an effect on the ability to get an erection.

After all, a vasectomy is intended to prevent sperm from exiting the testicles. Neither sperm nor the testicles play a role in the ability to get and maintain an erection.

The process of achieving an erection primarily involves the cardiovascular and central nervous system.

When a man becomes aroused, his brain will release neurotransmitters and chemical messengers into the nervous system. These messages will be carried throughout the body and have a large impact on the blood vessels. Arteries entering the penis will be dilated and veins exiting the penis will be constricted. This will result in more blood flowing into the penis and less leaving it, resulting in an erection.

A vasectomy shouldn’t interfere with this process, except possibly the mental aspect of it.

It is possible for a vasectomy to trigger feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression. These feelings may contribute to symptoms of erectile dysfunction.

What is the Cause of Erectile Dysfunction?

If you have erectile dysfunction before or after a vasectomy, it is most likely the symptom of an underlying medical condition.

Health problems known to contribute to erectile dysfunction include:

  • High blood pressure

  • Obesity

  • High cholesterol

  • Clogged arteries

  • Diabetes

  • Heart disease

  • Multiple sclerosis 

  • Spinal injuries

  • Stress

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

How Can You Treat Erectile Dysfunction?

There are numerous options for men who want to treat their erectile dysfunction and improve sexual performance.

Prescription medications

The prescription medication Viagra® is a popular treatment for erectile dysfunction. Cialis® is also used to treat ED.

Proven effective in clinical trials, these three oral medications are classified as PDE5 (phosphodiesterase type 5) inhibitors.

Upon entering your system, these medications work to block the PDE5 enzyme located in the walls of blood vessels. As a result, the amount of blood flowing into your penis increases to help create an erection.

It’s important to note that these medications only work when a man is sexually aroused. Without arousal or stimulation, they will not cause an erection.

The effects should last several hours, depending on dosage, the patient’s metabolism, and the severity of erectile dysfunction.

Common side effects include headache, indigestion, flushing in the body or face, abdominal cramps, and back pain. These effects should fade away once the drug is out of your system.

PDE5 inhibitors can interact poorly with other medications – particularly nitrates and blood pressure medications. If you are currently taking these medications, you may want to consider an alternative treatment.

Vacuum pump

If prescription ED medications are not a viable option for you, using a vacuum pump may be a good alternative.

These devices are relatively safe and do not require arousal to work. This makes them ideal for men whose ED is triggered by mental and emotional issues.

Using a vacuum pump is fairly simple:

  1. Insert your penis into the empty cylinder and create a seal against your lower abdomen.

  2. Operate the hand-powered or battery-powered pump in order to create a vacuum and draw blood into your penis.

  3. After a few minutes, there should be enough blood in your penis to create an erection.

  4. Trigger the release valve in order to break the vacuum and remove the device from your penis.

  5. Slip on a constriction band to trap the blood inside your penis, taking care not to wear it for longer than 30 minutes.

Injection therapy

This treatment method works similarly to PDE5 inhibitors like Viagra.

But unlike oral treatments for ED, this therapy requires using a needle to inject the medication into the penis.

This method can be highly effective, especially in severe cases of erectile dysfunction.

How Rex MD Can Help

While vasectomies and erectile dysfunction both involve the male reproductive system, the relationship between the two is limited.

If performed correctly, a vasectomy should have no impact on a man’s ability to get an erection. If you are experiencing ED for other reasons, you may want to look into prescription ED medication or alternative therapies.

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