"Fixing" Something That Is Not Broken
By David Crank
From Volume 4 Issue 1 of Unless the Lord ... Magazine
Vasectomies and tubal ligations are two procedures in which surgery is performed with the intent of interfering with the normal functioning of bodily organs. This is not medical treatment to heal a disease, or to cut out a cancer, or even to remove a diseased part (like a nearly ruptured appendix). This is truly the breaking of something that is working properly, purposely thwarting God’s design. As should be expected, there are sometimes adverse consequences. Human doctors are limited as all humans are, thus their "fixes" sometimes create more problems than they solve.
Vasectomies have become an extremely popular form of birth control. They are advertised as being quick, simple, nearly painless, and without real risk of unwanted side effects. Yet research and the experience of many men say otherwise.
A significant number of men experience short-term complications. However, the most significant concern is over those few, who experience severe long-term consequences. Some of these include: autoimmune responses, chronic testicular pain, hormonal changes, and possible increased risk of cancer and autoimmune diseases. How could these problems be caused by a vasectomy? Consider just what a vasectomy does.
The vas deferens tube is closed off, blocking the normal path of the sperm cells. Yet these cells continue to be produced at a very high rate. What happens to these blocked sperm? The answer you normally hear is that the body disposes of them. But how does this really work? Some have compared the vasectomy to tying a knot in an old fire hose with the water pressure still turned on at full force. The hose wasn’t made to withstand the pressure on a long term and continuous basis. Eventually something is going to rupture, and rupture it does.
Men develop ruptures in their testicles. The immediate result can be anything from a sharp pain to a dull ache, and the sperm cells escape into places they were never intended to be, some ending up in the bloodstream. Sperm cells are very active and carry strong enzymes necessary for their natural function. Released into the blood stream, sperm tends to cause a strong autoimmune response with antibodies manufactured to destroy the errant sperm cells. Though many doctors claim this is harmless, much research seems to indicate otherwise, with high correlations found between the presence of sperm antibodies and many serious disorders.
Autoimmune responses have also been linked to chronic inflammation and the formation of a sperm granuloma at the rupture site, which may need to be removed surgically to alleviate painful symptoms. "Problems during the procedure itself often cause damage to testicular blood and nerve supplies, and also commonly cause damage to delicate lymph vessels." (1)
Consider some of the following quotes from medical researchers concerning vasectomies:
"When a patient elects to have a vasectomy, he must understand that pressure build-up proximal to the vasectomy site, congestion of the epididymis, and, indeed, epididymal blowouts are inevitable consequences of this surgical procedure. In more than 800 vasectomy patients whom we have seen, there is always some degree of epididymal engorgement and congestion. Indeed, after one explores these postvasectomy patients microsurgically, it becomes difficult to understand why the vast majority of such patients have no pain or discomfort." EI Shapiro and SJ Silber, Open-ended vasectomy, sperm granuloma, and postvasectomy orchialgia., Fertility and Sterility, 32: 5, 546-550, November, 1979.
"The greatest anatomic effects of vasectomy occur in the rete testis, epididymis and vas deferens. The rete testis and epididymis frequently sustain damage induced by back-up pressure. Blow-outs and secondary sperm extravasation commonly occur at the body and tail of the epididymis. Vasectomy usually causes loss of tone and luminal dilation of the testicular end of the cut vas deferens…."
antibodies can be measured in the serum of up to 70 percent of men after
Chronic Pain / Discomfort
"We have carried out a survey by postal questionnaire and telephone interview of 172 patients 4 years after vasectomy…Chronic testicular discomfort was present in 56 patients (33%)…. Prior to vasectomy, all patients should be counseled with regard to the risk of chronic testicular pain." Mc Mahon, et al, 1992, Chronic testicular pain following vasectomy., British Journal of Urology, 69: 2, 188-91, February, 1992.
"In our study chronic scrotal pain was the most frequently reported complication of vasectomy with an incidence of 18.7%. Pain adversely affected quality of life in 2.2% of our study population. A review of the literature would suggest that techniques in which the epididymal vas is not ligated can reduce the incidence of post-vasectomy scrotal pain. Regardless of the technique used, the high litigation potential of this procedure warrants thorough counseling of the factors that may affect quality of life." Choe JM, Kirkemo AK, Questionnaire-based outcomes study of nononcological post-vasectomy complications., Journal of Urology, 155, 1284-86, April, 1996.
"A group…with a previously unappreciated syndrome of unremitting epididymal pain and induration 5 to 7 years after vasectomy was collected…. Recognition of this late post-vasectomy syndrome, which represents a major complication of vasectomy, might be expected to increase as cohorts of vasectomized individuals age…. Patient discomfort usually was constant, often disabling, exacerbated by sexual activity and, occasionally, radiating along the spermatic cord structures…. because the vasectomy procedure is so prone to medico-legal complications, we believe that the late post-vasectomy syndrome should be included in the informed consent form for vasectomy." Stuart M. Selikowitz & Alan R. Schned, A Late Post-Vasectomy Syndrome., Journal of Urology, 134, 494-7, September, 1985.
"Post vasectomy pain syndrome… can turn a previously fit man into a chronic invalid. Even if the operation was painless, and not accompanied by the bruising and immediate post-operative discomfort which is quite common, weeks, months or years after the operation, nagging pain begins at the site. Sometimes tender cysts, or lumps called granulomas, can arise around the cut ends of the vas, and even if further surgery is performed to cut them out, the pain persists. This can be one of the most difficult problems in andrology to treat, especially as the precise cause is usually unknown. More research is urgently needed to prevent and treat the condition…." Dr. Malcolm Carruthers, MD, Vasectomy - The Unkindest Cut of All, [Online], http://wwwgoldcrossmedical.com/androscreenvasectomy.htm,undated, downloaded August 5,2000.
"Chronic intrascrotal pain may occur in up to a third of patients after vasectomy and in approximately half the pain is considered troublesome." Padmore et al., Analyses of indications for and outcomes of epididymectomy. The Journal of Urology; 156: 95-96, July 1996.
"Spermatic granulomas are specialized abscesses which frequently occur at the site of vasectomy. Although some are often silent, others can be agonizingly painful. A series of 154 granulomas is presented. Of these, 83 were symptomatic and 63 required surgery for relief of pain." Schmidt SS, Spermatic granuloma: an often painful lesion., Fertility and Sterility, 31:2, 178-81, February, 1979.
Auto-immune Disease & Links to Other
"Because of the frequency of chronic pain syndromes following vasectomy, concern regarding the long-term complications of this procedure has revived…" "The disorders that are now being linked with autoimmune reaction after vasectomy include unexplained thrombophlebitis, prolonged fever, generalized lymph node enlargement, recurrent infection, skin eruption, multiple sclerosis, liver dysfunction, and rheumatoid arthritis. In addition to these health problems, several studies have revealed a statistically significant association between the risk of prostate cancer and a history of vasectomy. The risk of prostate cancer in men who have had a vasectomy is more than three times that of those who were not vasectomized." Dr. Anthony H. Horan, Are There Long-Term Consequences of Vasectomy?, [Online], http://home.swbell.net/birons/vas.htm. downloaded March 5, 2000.
"In more than 50% of men, vasectomy leads to auto-immune pathology. The auto-immune response to sperms following vasectomy is triggered by the phagocytosis of sperm in the epididymis. In the humoral immune response, sperm agglutinating, sperm immobilizing, and antibodies to sperm nuclear protamines occur, as early as 3-4 days after vasectomy. The incidence reaches 60-70% within 1 year and remains almost the same even after 20 years. Shahani SK, Hattikudur NS, Immunological consequences of vasectomy., Archives of Andrology, 7: 2, 193-9, September, 1981.
"Family physicians should be aware of the potential effects and complications of vasectomy so they can appropriately counsel patients seeking sterilization. Vasectomy produces anatomic hormonal and immunologic changes and…has been reputed to be associated with atherosclerosis [hardening of the arteries], prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and urolithiasis [kidney stones]. Complications of vasectomy include overt failure, occasional sperm in the ejaculate, hematoma [bruising], bleeding, infection, sperm granuloma, congestive epididymitis [a synonym for post-vasectomy pain syndrome], antisperm antibody formation, and psychogenic impotence." Raspa RF, Complications of vasectomy., American Family Physician, 48: 7 1264-8, Nov. 15, 1993.
(1) The footnoted quote, and most of the above information was found at Kevin Hauber’s web site, www.dontfixit.org. Kevin’s interest in researching and writing so extensively on this topic comes from his personal experience. He has suffered the nightmare of chronic pain and autoimmune reactions and within just a few years has undergone twelve surgeries and nerve blocks, and well over a hundred medications and therapies, without lasting effect.
Similarly, tubal ligations (TL) are widely recommended as safe and effective, without real side effects. Yet large numbers of women who have had tubals report otherwise. Many doctors continue to deny that there is such a thing as "Post Tubal Syndrome" (PTS), in spite of the widespread reports and the research of Dr. Vicki Hufnagel in this area.
Dr. Hufnagel explains that this condition is the result of a rapid decline in estrogen levels due to damage to the blood supply to the ovaries during the TL surgery. "Depending on the damage to the veins and capillaries, blood volume to the ovaries may slightly decrease or can be eliminated completely." Many of the symptoms of PTS are associated with having an estrogen/progesterone imbalance.
When an ovary loses much of its blood supply, it becomes atrophic and nonfunctional, creating a sudden loss of estrogen. Women are commonly told that their ovaries will continue to function normally after a tubal ligation. This is true for some, but not true for many others. Often one or both ovaries will fail due to becoming isolated from their blood supply.
Accord to Dr. Hufnagel, most women (about 56%) have two sources of blood supply to their ovaries, one from ovarian arteries and one from uterine arteries. About 40% of women have their ovaries supplied entirely from the ovarian arteries. About 4% of women’s ovaries are supplied with blood entirely from the uterine artery. It is the uterine blood supply to the ovaries that is commonly compromised.
Women are also commonly misinformed that a single ovary will compensate for a non-functional one. However, "the remaining ovary does not begin to make twice as much estrogen as before nor does it release twice as many eggs."
For more information on Post Tubal Syndrome, see Tubal.org on the Internet.V