What is Post-vasectomy depression?

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In this blog we will discuss what Post-vasectomy Depression is. 

We will also discuss its symptoms, causes, and what can be done to cope with post vasectomy depression. 

What is Post-vasectomy depression?

Counseling is Key to a Healthy Marr...
Counseling is Key to a Healthy Marriage

Vasectomy depression refers to the psychological effects of a vasectomy that impacts men post surgery. 

Post- Vasectomy depression is not a recognised, diagnosable disorder however, it has been observed in individuals who have undergone a vasectomy and is marked with low moods, sadness, anger, and other emotions related to the loss of fertility. 

According to a 2014 review of literature depression following a vasectomy occurs in some people however, it is relatively rare. 

This particular study explored the case of a 30 year old man who developed depression that lasted four years after a panic attack that occurred after the operation. 

Researchers found that the psychological complications of vasectomy is usually linked to:

  • Sexual dysfunction as a result of side effects post the operation
  • Effects on marital relationships due to sexual dysfuntion or due to the loss of fertitltiy.
  • Chronic postoperative pain which can significantly rescue quality of life
  • Complications including anxiety and depression. 

The study highlighted that depression after a vasectomy is often higher in risk when there is a lack of awareness and knowledge about the procedure and when there is inadequate support- before and after surgery. 

What are the signs and symptoms of post vasectomy depression?

Post vasectomy depression symptoms include the following: 

  • Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day- either by their own observation or observation made by others.
  • Diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day.
  • Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia. 
  • It is also likely that they will struggle with grief related to the loss of their fertility as well as grief that manifests in the form of anger and irritability towards others and towards themselves. 
  • A slowing down of thought and a reduction of physical movement (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down).
  • Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day.
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day.
  • Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.

For most men who experience vasectomy depression, they are most likely to experience these symptoms which ultimately impact their ability to maintain their relationships and manage their personal and professional responsibilities. 

It is also likely that they will struggle with grief related to the loss of their fertility as well as grief that manifests in the form of anger and irritability towards others and towards themselves. 

What is Post-vasectomy depression?

What are the causes of post-vasectomy depression?

According to a 2014 review of literature by Shaik, S., & Rajkuma who presented a case study of a 30 year old man who had undergone a vasectomy and showed panic attacks and depression related symptoms after found that the psychological complications of vasectomy is usually linked to:

  • Sexual dysfunction as a result of side effects post the operation
  • Effects on marital relationships due to sexual dysfuntion or due to the loss of fertitltiy.
  • Chronic postoperative pain which can significantly rescue quality of life
  • Complications including anxiety and depression. 
  • Lack of awareness and knowledge about the procedure 
  • inadequate social support- before and after surgery. 

Going under the knife for a vasectomy for whatever reason is not a small life experience, rather, the loss of fertility can be a major change in life circumstances. 

Even if the vasectomy is done willingly, the loss of fertility can hit some men after some time when they realise that their ability to become a father is gone. 

What to do if you have depression due to a vasectomy?

Here are a few things that you can do if you are experiencing depression due to a vasectomy:

Talk to your doctor

The first thing that you can do if you have depression or feel like your depression is eating your life or hampering your quality of life is to go see your doctor and your urologist.

Talk to them about your journey post the operation and how you are dealing with the loss.

Usually when you meet your doctor, they will do a general assessment and direct you to a psychiatrist or give you the medication you need as well as refer you to a therapist. 

Talk to your doctor about your symptoms as honestly as possible and work with them to come up with a treatment plan with them.

When they prescribe you medication, make an effort to give them feedback as often as possible about the dosage and the side effects as well to ensure effective treatment. 

Seek out  professional help

We also advise you to seek out professional help immediately since depression is not just low moods, it won’t simply “go away”. 

Talking to a therapist and engaging with them to understand what is happening to you after the surgery, the feelings of loss and grief that some might be experiencing, could be a place to start. 

Your therapist will help you understand what is happening to you  and can help you tap into your own strengths that can help you adapt to challenges, changes, and overcome them.

Understanding your condition, diagnosis and Engaging with a therapist, being diligent with your medication, and making the changes you need to make to get better will help you during this difficult time. 

Actively seek positive experiences

According to positive psychology research, positive feelings are an important aspect of well-being. For a person to engage in activities and other experiences that help them feel positive feelings such as love, belongingness, achievement, and a sense of hope is important.

Take active action to seek out these positive experiences in your day to day life. Even if you do not want to, even if your body is refusing to- take that chance for yourself and choose to do something that makes you feel less miserable. 

This could be as simple as watching a movie, petting your cat, taking your dog for a walk, eating ice cream. Do what makes you happy without judging yourself for these choices.

Focus on self-care

While it might be hard to take care of yourself- you might find it hard to eat, wash, wake up, and do other basic things. 

It is okay to allow yourself to let yourself go for a few days but making the effort to stick to routine and structure in your day to day life can help you move forward. 

Taking care of your physical needs is very important as it is a way to care for yourself. Taking care of your emotional needs is also important and you can work towards emotional self care after taking care of your physical needs first. 

Once you feel like you are up for it, take time to seek out support from your friends, family, and loved ones. Positive relationships are also important for wellbeing. 

Talk to them about how you are feeling, allow them to get distracted while doing fun things together. Let them provide you company when you do not want to be alone- take effort to reach out to them. 

Allow yourself to feel loved by people who genuinely care for you and seek out new meaning from these positive and healthy relationships. 

You can choose to make new changes that help you feel better or healthier like going to the gym, changing your diet to a more healthy one, going for wants. Sometimes change in routines can also be your way of caring for yourself. 

Join a support group

Another thing you can do for yourself is to join a support group of people struggling with depression after a vasectomy or due to a medical issue so that you can experience emotional support first hand within these communities and over time learn how to manage your challenges by learning from each other. 

By joining a group that is open, empathetic, and growing towards healing, you and your experiences can be an excellent sense of support to someone else who is also in their early part of their journey. 

Conclusion

In this blog we have discussed what Post-vasectomy Depression is. 

We have also discussed its symptoms, causes, and what can be done to cope with post vasectomy depression. 

Is depression common after a vasectomy?

Depression does occur after vasectomies in men however it is relatively uncommon compared to other conditions related to depression. It is rare but it happens. 

How do men feel after having a vasectomy?

Going under the knife for a vasectomy for whatever reason is not a small life experience, rather, the loss of fertility can be a major change in life circumstances. 

Even if the vasectomy is done willingly, the loss of fertility can hit some men after some time when they realise that their ability to become a father is gone. 

Are there hormonal changes after vasectomy?

According to research, a vasectomy has no long term impact in the hormonal makeup of an individual. In fact, any impact on the life of a person after a vasectomy is often psychological due to the experience of loss. 

What are the various complications after a vasectomy?

Some complications after a vasectomy could include:

  • Sexual dysfunction as a result of side effects post the operation
  • Effects on marital relationships due to sexual dysfuntion or due to the loss of fertitltiy.
  • Chronic postoperative pain which can significantly rescue quality of life
  • Complications including anxiety and depression. 

Can a vasectomy cause mood changes?

Yes, it is possible that vasectomy can cause mood changes.  Individuals who have undergone a vasectomy often report changes in mood and are marked with low moods, sadness, anger, and other emotions related to the loss of fertility. 

References

Shaik, S., & Rajkumar, R. P. (2014). Post-vasectomy depression: a case report and literature review. Mental illness, 6(2), 5494. https://doi.org/10.4081/mi.2014.5494

What Is Post-Vasectomy Depression? Ironwood Urology. Retrieved on 17th April 2022. http://www.urophoenix.com/Blog/TabId/34061/PostId/6895/what-is-post-vasectomy-depression

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