Thanks for all the feedback guys. Sounds like a little bit of a mixed bag when it comes to side effects, I’ll take a deeper look into those and see if it has anything to do with the surgeon’s skill or any existing issues in the literature.
Bri, the autoimmune thing is definately interesting. I know you mentioned it’s mostly conjecture at this point, but do you know of any formal research being done that I could look into?
Have a good one,
I found these on pubmed. They show there may be a link between autoimmune diseases and vasectomies.
There’s a bunch of info on google as well if you use the search criterion “vasectomy” and “autoimmune”.
1: Br J Gen Pract. 1997 Jun;47(419):381-6.
Is vasectomy harmful to health?McDonald SW.
University of Glasgow.
Since the late 1960s, vasectomy has been a popular and widely used form of contraceptive in Britain for couples who do not want to have any more children. However, throughout the past decade there has been considerable concern about the safety of this procedure. This paper reviews the current opinion on the possible health considerations associated with this operation and shows that the latest news is mostly reassuring.
PIP: Since the late 1960s, vasectomy has been a popular contraceptive option in Great Britain for couples who have achieved their desired family size. In recent years, however, considerable concern has been expressed about possible associations with cardiovascular disease and testicular and prostate cancer as well as long-term localized effects. This article reviewed the literature published during 1986-96 on these health concerns. Although vasectomized monkeys fed atherogenic diets appear to have a higher risk of peripheral artery disease, long-term studies of vasectomized men have failed to detect increased cardiovascular disease. No evidence has been found that vasectomy predisposes to testicular cancer or accelerates the growth of early testicular cancer. Studies demonstrating a 2-fold increase in the risk of prostate cancer after vasectomy were conducted in the US, where prostate cancer is common, and contained possible biases. European studies have not detected such an increased risk. Even if a relationship between vasectomy and prostate cancer is proven, further investigations would be required to determine if vasectomy causes prostate cancer through mechanisms such as hormonal changes, immunologic responses, or failure of growth inhibitors to reach the prostate due to obstruction of the reproductive tract, or whether vasectomized men are more exposed to the real causal agent. Moreover, even if the risk for vasectomized men in the UK is doubled, only 6/1000 men 65-74 years old would be expected to develop prostate cancer each year. The local effects of vasectomy on the reproductive tract are not fully determined. Distention of the epididymal duct occurs in most patients and granuloma formation is common. Vasectomy may also induce autoimmune orchitis. While many men develop structural changes in the reproductive tract after vasectomy, only a minority report discomfort. Although men considering vasectomy should be told that some studies have suggested a small increased risk of prostate cancer, they can be reassured that other health concerns are without foundation.
1: J Reprod Immunol. 1994 May;26(3):167-216.
Immunology of the testicular excurrent ducts. Pollanen P, Cooper TG.
Centre for Reproductive Medicine and Developmental Biology, University of Turku, Finland.
The sperm autoantigen concentration in the epididymis equals or exceeds that in the testis. This makes the epididymis a probable site of initiation of an antisperm autoimmune response. The mechanisms regulating antisperm antibody formation in the testicular excurrent ducts and some related aspects with clinical interest are reviewed.
1: Ugeskr Laeger. 1994 Apr 18;156(16):2373-4.
[Vasectomy][Article in Danish]
PIP: The first vasectomy operation was carried out 100 years ago in patients with prostate hyperplasia with symptoms. Then it became extensively used for hereditary hygiene purposes/eugenics, especially after the passing of the sterilization law in Denmark in 1935. In Nazi Germany, vasectomies and castrations were also used for forced sterilization of undesired races. Vasectomy has become a popular method of fertility control, especially in the US. In Denmark it is also popular, and since the 1973 sterilization law, approximately 100,000 procedures have been performed with a 95% rate of satisfaction. Vasectomy seems not to be as harmless as previously thought. The blockage of the transport route from the testes does not stop spermatogenesis. Spermatozoa are a certain kind of foreign matter which are first produced in puberty and act as antigens vis-a-vis other organisms. Certain immune complexes are formed that can have implication for a number of autoimmune diseases. Later in life vasectomy can be a potentiating factor in arteriosclerosis according to rhesus monkey experiments. Men with hypertension, hyperlipidemia, or heavy smokers should not undergo vasectomy. On the other hand, a 1990 epidemiological study showed no increased risk of cardiovascular diseases in vasectomized men. Yet the immune complexes could have other, more serious biological consequences. In large cohort studies the connection to testicular cancer has not been proven with certainty, but there may be an increased risk of prostate cancer among the vasectomized. The American Urological Association (AUA) has recently recommended that men over 40 who had been vasectomized should undergo examination and tests for prostate-specific antigen every year for early detection of cancer. There has been no indication of an increased mortality from prostate cancer among vasectomized men in the above epidemiological studies, but the AUA advises counseling patients about the possible connection.
1: Urology. 1994 Apr;43(4):521-4.
Relationship between antisperm antibodies and testicular histologic changes in humans after vasectomy.
Jarow JP, Goluboff ET, Chang TS, Marshall FF.
Department of Urology, Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
OBJECTIVE. To determine whether or not there is an association between testicular histologic changes and antisperm antibodies in vasectomized men. METHODS. Morphometry was performed on testicular biopsy specimens obtained from 19 vasectomized men and 21 fertile control subjects. Antisperm antibody status was determined on the serum of each patient and control subject using the indirect immunobead assay. RESULTS. Significant increases in seminiferous tubule wall thickness (p < 0.001), focal interstitial fibrosis (p < 0.001), and percent composition of interstitium (p < 0.01) were observed in vasectomized men as compared with control subjects. Serum antisperm activity was present in 74 percent of the vasectomized men but none in the control subjects (p < 0.001). There was no association between testicular histologic changes and immune status. CONCLUSIONS. Vasectomized men exhibit significant testicular histologic changes and increased autoimmune activity as compared with fertile control subjects. These histologic changes are not directly associated with antisperm antibody status, suggesting that some other pathophysiologic process must be responsible.