As the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament begins, having a vasectomy might be insanely perfect timing for many American men who want to prevent future pregnancies. A 2017 study found that 30 percent more vasectomies were performed during the first week of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament compared with an average week during the year. Why so? Recovery time is only a few days and requires most men to rest at home on the couch.
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"It's the most reliable form of birth control, other than abstinence, that we have," says Dr. Tobias Kohler, a Mayo Clinic urologist and men's health expert.
He says roughly 15 to 20 percent of American men have vasectomies.
"Vasectomy is a procedure we do in the clinic where we take the vas deferens, which is the tube that connects the testicle to plumbing downstream, and we cut it in the clinic so that sperm can't travel downstream and cause a pregnancy," says Dr. Kohler.
The procedure takes about 10 minutes, and the recovery time is quick.
"If you have the procedure done on a Friday, you'd be back to work Monday for certain," says Dr. Kohler.
You might have some slight swelling or pain initially, so Dr. Kohler advises to take it easy.
"Use ice to the area. Avoid any kind of [vigorous] activity. And watch some TV."
And what about fears that vasectomies might cause problems with a man's sexual performance or testosterone levels?
"They do not," says Dr. Kohler.
Even though 6 percent of men eventually will have their vasectomy reversed, the procedure should be considered permanent.
"This is not one of those things where you want to do spur of the moment," says Dr. Kohler. "You want to make sure that this is absolutely what you want to do."