Before having a vasectomy, you may have many different questions about what to expect: Is it a painful procedure? How long does it take to recover after surgery? are there any side effects?
While many people are primarily concerned with the physical consequences, it is also important to consider mental health. According to research, psychological complications such as depression can occur after a vasectomy and are more likely to occur in those with pre-existing psychiatric or marital problems and inadequate preoperative counseling.
Specifically, the researchers examined a 30-year-old patient who had been married for seven years and reported feeling sad and fatigued. He didn’t start showing symptoms of depression until four years ago, after a vasectomy. For health and safety reasons, the patient’s family did not support the procedure, nor did he receive any prior consultation with his doctor.
Previous research has shown that there are many risk factors for mental illness after a vasectomy, including pre-existing marital and sexual difficulties, pre-existing mental health conditions, and negative perceptions of the surgery’s health effects. Some of these factors are present in patients.
The researchers concluded that proper screening and counseling of candidates for vasectomy can reduce the risk of psychiatric complications.
The link between vasectomy and depression
“Regret can lead to post-vasectomy depression. Even if you have children, people grieve that your ability to have children is over. If you never had children, this decision makes things even more final,” said Dr. Sanan Hafez, Director of Comprehend the Mind, a New York-based neuropsychologist. “If you’re doing it under pressure from your partner, it makes the man more prone to depression and possible relationship problems due to resentment.”
Just as some women grieve over menopause, some men may feel less masculine because they can’t have children. Dr. Hafeez added that wrestling with various emotions during surgery can lead to varying degrees of depression, depending on whether someone has a depressed personality to begin with and how conflicted they are about the surgery.
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Gail Saltz, MD, Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and How can I help? Podcast from iHeartRadio, agree. It may be a coincidence if a person becomes depressed after a vasectomy, but it is also true that the process has important psychological implications for many men.
Dr Saltz said this could mean a loss of masculinity, loss of fertility, loss of hope of immortality through offspring, loss of imaginary future children and possibly some unexpected sense of their overall masculinity. These perceived losses can trigger grief, grief, and anxiety, which can lead to depression.
Risk factors for psychological problems after vasectomy
If a person has anxiety or depression, they may be more likely to develop post-operative depression than people without these problems. Entering a program without having all the facts is a risk factor for depression.
If you have a life partner, this should be a decision that is discussed by weighing the pros and cons. Dr Hafeez said it should never be an impulsive decision. Urologists should be able to talk to patients about the emotions men experience before and after surgery. Just like a woman shouldn’t change her body to please a man, a man must make this decision with 100% confidence that it’s what he wants.
In addition, Dr. Saltz explained that feeling conflicted and conflicted about undergoing surgery can lead to increased negative emotions later on. Military conflict and sexual dysfunction do increase stress and the types of stress that can lead to the development of depression.
Minimizing the risk of post-vasectomy depression
Some men feel lost and sad about not being able to get a woman pregnant. If they are forced to make a decision, they may feel angry and resentful. Talking with a urologist and understanding the physical and mental effects of the procedure is a must, explains Dr. Hafeez.
It may also be beneficial to talk to other men of a similar age and situation. A man should also make sure that this is what he wants, not to appease his partner.
If in doubt, a man should seek counseling before undergoing surgery, Dr. Hafeez said. If all “safeguards” are in place before having a vasectomy, and the man is frustrated, he should seek help from a licensed mental health professional.
Dr. Saltz explained that a more thorough understanding of what it all feels like to have procedures and time to resolve internal conflicts could mean psychotherapy.
Afterwards, it is important to understand the early signs and symptoms of depression so that medical treatment can be initiated before more severe depression develops. As with all major life stressors, partner support is important.
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Journal of Mental Illness: “Post-vasectomy depression: case report and literature review”
Dr. Sanam Hafeez, Director of Comprehend the Mind, a neuropsychologist in New York City
Gail Saltz, MD, Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and host of the iHeartRadio podcast “How Can I Help?”