In this blog, we will discuss what vasectomy depression is.
We will also briefly discuss the cause of vasectomy depression, symptoms, and what steps you can take if you are experiencing depression after a vasectomy.
What is Vasectomy depression?
Vasectomy depression refers to the psychological effects of a vasectomy that impacts men post surgery.
This form of depression is marked with low moods, sadness, anger, and other emotions related to the loss of fertility.
Vasectomy depression is not a diagnosable disorder however, it can be related to what is known as situational depression which refers to depression that occurs due to changes in life circumstances.
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.
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 also 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.
Vasectomy Depression can take the form of depressive episodes observed in depression, clinically known as major depressive disorder, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental disorders.
Depression is a serious mood disorder where people affected by it experience persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
Apart from these symptoms of emotional distress, people with depression can also experience physical symptoms such as chronic pain, or changes in their behaviour such as social withdrawal or slowed movements.
For someone to be diagnosed with clinical depression, symptoms must be present for at least two weeks. Let us look at the various symptoms that must meet the criteria for a diagnosis of depression.
The individual must be experiencing five or more symptoms during the same 2-week period and at least one of the symptoms should be either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure.
These symptoms should indicate change from normal functioning.
- 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.
To be diagnosed with depression, these symptoms must cause significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
These symptoms should also not be the result of substance abuse or another medical condition.
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 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”.
There needs to be an active effort to work through your condition as well as pharmacological support that you might need in the case there are neurological causes to your condition.
Talking to a therapist and engaging with them to understand what is happening to you does not mean that you have failed in life. It simply means that you need help like everyone else and that does not make you any less of a person.
Your therapist will help you understand what is happening to you, might prescribe you medication if needed, 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.
Educate yourself on the disorder
It is very important that you educate yourself about your condition. Your doctor or psychiatrist might give you some materials however, it is also important that you do some independent study on your own too.
You can consider reading materials online or talking to your therapist in more depth as well as joining seminars and group meetings to learn about the disorder as well as the various things that you can do to manage depression.
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.
In this blog, we have discussed what vasectomy depression is.
We have also briefly discussed the cause of vasectomy depression, symptoms, and what steps you can take if you are experiencing depression after a vasectomy.
Faq related to vasectomy depression
Can a vasectomy cause depression?
Yes, it is possible that a vasectomy can cause depression. According to a 2014 review of literature depression following a vasectomy occurs in some people however, it is relatively rare. Usually it occurs due to one’s struggle to deal with postoperative complications and the experience of loss of fertility.
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.
Does a vasectomy shorten your life?
A vasectomy has no associated with lifespan of an individual- it does not increase or decrease their lifespan.
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