What Happens to a Man’s Body After a Vasectomy?

By Kevin C. Hauber

How does vasectomy affect a man’s body? This is a reasonable question, which unfortunately is rarely answered, even after significant effects occur.

Let’s use an analogy of a 40-year-old fire hose. You hook this fire hose up to a hydrant and turn on the water. Let the hose represent the epididymis portion of the testicles and the vas deferens, which would measure some 20 feet in length if stretched out, and let the water represent the 50,000 sperm cells a minute that a man’s body manufactures, even after vasectomy.

Now, tie a knot in the fire hose. What happens? Something is going to rupture, right? That’s why fire departments don’t use 40-year-old fire hoses, and why men develop ruptures in their testicles after their vas is tied off during the vasectomy procedure.


Actually, the technical term for this phenomena is a “blowout.” According to Campbell’s Urology (a textbook for urology students and doctors) “The brunt of pressure-induced damage after vasectomy falls on the epididymis and efferent ductules…. It is likely that, in time, all vasectomized men develop ‘blowouts’ in either the epididymis or efferent ducts.” This rupturing can occur spontaneously at any time following vasectomy, and often when the epididymis is under pressure, such as when a man is ejaculating.

Autoimmune Responses

But that’s not all. When the rupturing occurs, sperm cells enter the blood stream, where they were not naturally intended to be. As a matter of fact, nature makes a very specific point of keeping sperm cells out of the blood stream, because sperm cells have very strong enzymes on their surfaces and only half a DNA strand. What does the body think is happening? The immune system is sent on full alert to fight off a perceived infection of millions of invading cells per day, and the body becomes “autoimmune”, i.e. the body goes to war on itself. Again from Campbell’s Urology: “Vasectomy results in violation of the blood-testis barrier producing detectable levels of serum antisperm antibodies in 60 to 80 per cent of men….” Once this reaction starts, it is nearly impossible to stop, even with a vasectomy reversal. Research has shown that a sperm count taken prior to vasectomy is a good indicator of the likelihood of this autoimmune response; the higher the sperm count, the more likely a man will become autoimmune. Most doctors choose not to do this test prior to vasectomy, or to even inform their patients of the likelihood of this response. What can’t be predicted, however, is the specific reactions a man might have to the formation of these antibodies. That is left purely to chance.

Why is this autoimmune response important? Well, numerous reactions have been identified as part of this autoimmune response. In three men out of five or more, chronic inflammation leads to the formation of a sperm granuloma at the rupture site, which may need to be removed surgically to alleviate painful symptoms. Other types of cysts often form in the epididymis and/or the scrotum including spermatoceles and hydroceles, which may also require further treatment or lead to other problems. The autoimmune response that follows vasectomy has also been linked to an increase in the incidence of numerous diseases by dozens of studies. These diseases include testicular dysfunction and hormonal imbalances, recurrent infections, various forms of cancer, and other immune system deficiencies. According to Dr. H. J. Roberts, an internist who has studied the effects of vasectomy on the immune system for over 30 years, “ no other operation performed on humans even approaches the degree and duration of the multiple immunologic responses that occur in the post-vasectomy state.” The appearance of symptoms to these reactions may take years to manifest.

Pain and Injury

Problems during the procedure itself often cause damage to testicular blood and nerve supplies, and also commonly cause damage to delicate lymph vessels. Chronic testicular pain is an often undisclosed and potentially debilitating result of vasectomy. Urologists tend to play this aspect down, but if you read the literature, you will find a significant incidence of chronic pain resulting from the kinds of reactions discussed thus far. In surveys that asked patients about their post-vasectomy experience, up to a third of vasectomized men complained of chronic testicular pain of varying degrees, which is commonly termed Post-Vasectomy Pain Syndrome. When this pain is more severe, doctors will often recommend further surgery, up to and including complete removal of the testicle(s) and spermatic cord(s) to alleviate the pain. Sometimes further surgery works, and sometimes it doesn’t.

How Can This Be True?

By now you have probably asked yourself, “How can this guy be saying all this? After all, he doesn’t have ‘Dr.’ in front of his name.” Actually, I have lived the nightmare of chronic pain and autoimmune reactions since my own vasectomy in August of 1999. Twelve surgeries and nerve blocks, and well over a hundred medications and therapies that I have pursued in the interim have not resolved the pain I experience on a daily basis. Other men have told of similar experiences for even longer durations. Many men are reluctant to discuss this issue due to its highly personal nature.

Do You Care To Be A Lab Rat?

Hundreds of medical research articles and several books by numerous doctors over the last three decades have examined the issues of vasectomy and the effects the procedure can have on the body. Unfortunately, much of that information has been well concealed from the public eye. Studies and cases have described findings of increased incidences of many disorders, including:

• Life-long autoimmune (allergic) responses
• Chronic testicular pain (Post-Vasectomy Pain Syndrome)
• Decreased testicular function including changes in testosterone production
• Chronic inflammation including the formation of sperm granulomas
• Scrotal and epididymal cyst formation including Spermatocele and Hydrocele cysts
• Congestive and infectious epididymitis
• Prostatitis
• Prostate cancer
• Testicular atrophy (shrinking of the testicles)
• Lung cancer
• Non-Hodgkins lymphoma
• Testicular cancer
• Erectile dysfunction/impotence
• Circulatory problems including phlebitis
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Pulmonary embolism
• Lupus
• Atheosclerosis (hardening of the arteries leading to heart disease)
• Autoimmune orchitis (degeneration of testicular tissues due to antibody action)
• Staph infections including infections of the heart valves
• Gangrene of the scrotum and other serious infections
• Vasitis nodosa (chronic inflammation of the vas deferens)
• Loss of libido
• Multiple myeloma
• Personality disturbances
• Diabetes
• Multiple sclerosis
• Adrenal gland dysfunction
• Migraine and other related headaches
• Hypoglycemia
• Narcolepsy
• Generalized lymph node enlargement
• Liver dysfunction

According to Dr. Talma Samuel and Dr. Noel Rose in the 1980 Journal of Clinical and Laboratory Immunology, “Having been induced by the individual’s own untreated [sperm] antigen… the response [to vasectomy] justifies the most rigorous definition of autoimmunity. The widescale use of vasectomy, therefore, provides the clinical immunologist with a unique opportunity to study a longstanding, induced autoimmune response in otherwise normal human subjects.”

Over 50 million men have unwittingly participated in this experiment. You need to ask yourself if you want to do the same.