The NCAA men’s basketball tournament is a time for basketball watch parties, bracket competitions, and...vasectomies?
A vasectomy is the fourth most popular birth control method in the country with an average of 500,000 vasectomies performed annually in the U.S. It may or may not surprise you to learn that the number of vasectomy procedures spikes significantly around the annual NCAA basketball tournament. The Cleveland Clinic illustrates this phenomenon with a report showing a 10 percent rise in vasectomies around the tournament from 2014 to 2016.
So why are men scheduling this procedure for such a specific time, and what do you need to know about vasectomies if you’re considering getting the snip? We’ve got the lowdown for you here.
Vasectomies are a simple, safe, relatively low-cost and highly effective form of birth control — failure rate is just 0.15 percent in the first year, and that rate falls over time. Costs run from $300 to upwards of $5000 and are covered by most health insurance providers.
The procedure itself takes around 20 minutes to perform with local anesthesia. During a vasectomy procedure, a urologist isolates the vas deferens (the tubes that carry sperm to the urethra from the testicles) from the scrotum and obstructs them to render a man sterile. Your testicles will still produce sperm after the procedure, but your body will absorb it. However, be warned that you’re not sterile immediately following the procedure! It may take several months before the vasectomy is fully effective, so use other methods of birth control in the meantime. About three months after the procedure, your doctor will assess your sperm count until the count reaches zero so you can be sure that you’re sterile.
You should have a serious discussion with your partner before getting snipped, as vasectomies are meant to be permanent. However, vasectomies can be reversed. But just like a vasectomy doesn’t instantly make you sterile, it takes about 4 to 12 months after a reversal for conception to be possible again.
Most men can return to work a day or two after having a vasectomy, but doctors generally advise two to three recovery days for men to avoid strenuous activities and stay off their feet. While relaxing in bed, on a couch or in an easy chair, patients should use an ice pack on the affected area (20 minutes on, 20 minutes off) for the first 36 to 48 hours. Wearing tight-fitting underwear can help to further support your scrotum and minimize discomfort.
Other precautions include waiting at least one week before ejaculating to give the vas deferens tubes the chance to heal, avoiding bathing or showering for a day or two to reduce the risk of infection, and looking out for signs of infection like severe swelling, bruising, fever, chills, or discharge in the incision area. Consult a doctor immediately if you experience these symptoms.
All in all, not much. If you’ve experienced erectile dysfunction before a vasectomy, you may continue to deal with ED afterward. Vasectomies themselves don’t cause ED or a drop in libido, but negative psychological fallout from the procedure could cause you to experience ED or a decreased sex drive. If that’s the case, your doctor may recommend counseling or prescribe ED treatments to get at the root of any psychological causes.
Sex won’t feel any different for your partner, either. At the very least, he or she might feel a small lump around the site of the incision. As for you, ejaculations and orgasms should feel the same as they did before. The amount of semen you produce might decrease, but minimally — usually by only about five percent.
A 2017 study conducted by athenahealth found that the number of vasectomies was 30 percent higher during the first week of the NCAA tournament in 2016 than a typical week throughout the rest of the year. Not only that, but the number of vasectomies performed on Friday of that week was 41 percent higher than the average Friday. In their study, athenahealth gathered data from 235,000 patient visits to 173 urology practices within their network. The researchers paid particular attention to men in the 20s to late 40s age bracket, which is the average age range of a vasectomy patient.
When it comes down to it, the reasoning behind this correlation is pretty simple: If you’re a man who’s been ordered to lay around for two or three days, what could be better than spending that time on the couch watching basketball? Men who schedule their vasectomies for the first Friday of the tournament have the perfect excuse to lie around and watch 48 games of basketball, guilt-free.
Because of the rising popularity of this choice, there are now many other additional perks to having the procedure done during the tournament. Today, vasectomy deals, discounts, and procedure giveaways are not uncommon, and neither are ice packs adorned with the team logo of your choice. If you’re going to make the snip, you might as well make the most of it.