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The primary and desired side effect of a vasectomy is birth control as the testicles no longer supply sperm because the vasa deferentia, which is the plural of vas deferens, have been cut. Some believe, however, that the procedure may lead to prostatitis and an increased risk of prostate cancer. Other possible side effects of a vasectomy on the prostate are the increased stress and pressure due to the tissue trauma caused by the surgery.
The prostate gland is approximately walnut-sized and surrounds the urethra. Located below and in front of the rectum and below the bladder, the prostate receives sperm from the vasa deferentia, which attach to the distal end to the testicles. The prostate mixes the sperm with an alkaline fluid that encourages semen flow and provides nourishment to the sperm. Though the vasa deferentia no longer transport sperm to the prostate following a vasectomy, the prostate continues producing and passing this fluid.
The surgery causes trauma to tissues, resulting in bruising and swelling, which may affect the prostate. Though this is a natural response to having a vasectomy, excessive swelling might impede urine flow as the swelling may produce obstructive internal pressure on the urethra. Health care providers usually recommend inactivity for 24 to 48 hours after a vasectomy, followed by a week of light activity. If discomfort or swelling escalates or is accompanied by unusual drainage and warmth at the surgical site, patients should be evaluated by a health care provider for a possible infection.
The body normally absorbs the sperm trapped in the prostate and the resectioned vasa deferentia, but occasionally the sperm may form clumps referred to as granulomas. When present in the prostate, a granuloma might trigger an immune response producing a benign form of prostatitis. Thought to be a generally harmless condition, rest and medication typically resolve the issue.
If microbes are introduced into the surgical field during the vasectomy, the bacteria could travel up the dissected tubes and into the prostate. This could cause an infection accompanied by pain, swelling and fever along with difficulty urinating. Physicians usually prescribe antibiotics to treat this affliction.
Though prostate cancer is the most common malignancy diagnosed in men, researchers are hard pressed to find an association between the disease and vasectomy. Researchers cannot find a biological reason for an increase in prostate cancer risk. The testicles and vasa deferentia are directly affected following a vasectomy, but the prostate continues to function normally.