SUNDAY JULY 18
THE DOCTOR DR CINDY PAN
n a vasectomy, the two vas deferens (the tubes through which the sperm usually leave each testis in the scrotum) are cut and tied off, so any new sperm produced thereafter no longer make it into the ejaculate. Remaining sperm in the seminal vesicles generally flushes out in 15 to 20 ejaculations, and a test is usually performed two to three months after the procedure to ensure there are no more sperm in the ejaculate. Until then it is best to continue using another form of contraception. The major benefits of a vasectomy are that it is permanent, highly effective and does not require any action by the female partner. She is therefore not subject to any side effects or reactions to oral contraceptive pills, depot injections, implants or vaginal rings, or complications from intra-uterine devices.
IS A VASECTOMY A GOOD OPTION? The operation takes about half an hour and usually requires only local anaesthetic. There may be a brief sensation of aching in the testes during the procedure and for a few days afterwards. One should avoid heavy physical work and sexual activity for a few days after the procedure. While it is possible to have a reversal vasectomy procedure, known as a vasovasostomy, it does not always work. It is also more complex, usually requiring general anaesthetic. Sperm count recovery is gradual and variable, depending on the man’s age and the length of time since the original vasectomy. A vasectomy is a great contraceptive option if you and your partner are certain you do not want to conceive, especially if the female partner has had difficulties with the pill or other contraceptive methods. However, if either of you have the slightest inkling of doubt, you should take your time before leaping in!
■ Dr Cindy Pan has had over 10 years of clinical practice experience. Her books include Pandora’s Box: Lifting The Lid On Life’s Little Nasties (HarperCollins) and Playing Hard To Get (HarperCollins). She appears on television, lectures and speaks about all aspects of health, relationships and wellbeing.
ermanent contraceptives are positive options for individuals in long-term, stable relationships. They provide a simple solution that solves the stress and anxiety of other methods of contraception. Offering these choices is highly beneficial and I’m grateful that today’s medicine provides these options. When you consider permanent contraception, one of the partners will have to undergo a procedure. Either option means the days of worrying about contraception are over (technically). Couples often consider vasectomy as the best option as it poses the least risk for either partner compared with female sterilisation (tubal ligation). Men often need to get over the hurdle of worrying about impotence and surgery “down there”, but a vasectomy is simply an operation that blocks the tubes that carry sperm to the
THE NATUROPATH LEAH HECHTMAN penis. There should be no effect to erection or enjoyment of sex. After a vasectomy there is unfortunately no turning back and the procedure should be considered permanent. There is a slight chance of the tubes rejoining naturally, and 80 per cent of these failures occur within two months of the procedure. As such, only consider the procedure if you’re in a long-term, stable relationship and if you don’t want to have any children. There is a procedure known as a vasovasostomy (reversal), however, success is variable and often other fertility complications can ensue. It is important to remember that it is a surgical procedure and that all surgeries have inherent risks. It does not offer any protection from STIs, so some men will go through the procedure and still need to use condoms.
■ Leah Hechtman is a naturopath and fertility specialist. She is a lecturer, author, researcher and industry consultant and has her own clinical practice in Sydney, NSW. She specialises in fertility, reproductive and psychological health. For more information visit www.naturalhealthfertility.com
turns its back
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A study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found 91% of subjects treated
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“LED light therapy works by giving older, slower cells the energy they had when they were young, so they can work harder and faster to create the substances that prevent sagging and keep wrinkles at bay”, explains Sydney plastic surgeon Dr. K. Tavakoli.