Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
14 Jul

Dear Mark: Sun Exposure and Eyesight; Vasectomies

EyeFor today’s edition of Dear Mark, we’ve got a quick two-parter. First, I discuss the pros and cons of ocular sunlight exposure in children (and adults). Should kids leave the house with a pair of wraparound goggles every single time, or are their prepubescent eyes safe without them? If too much sun exposure is bad, is none the best? Then, we cover the pros and cons of getting a vasectomy. Are there real health risks, like increased chances of cancer and/or heart disease? Will you lose functionality down there and experience a drop in testosterone?

Let’s go:

Dear Mark,

The linked WSJ article seems a tad overblown with respect to the risks the sun poses to kids eyes. Would love to get your take.

It’s very similar to the conventional wisdom on sun exposure for skin: less is better, all the way to zero. In my view, that simply can’t be optimal for humans.

I’ve got three girls. Should I be sending out into the world with sunglasses, always??

James

It depends.

While I’m definitely a fan of the sun and regular sun exposure, and I agree that the article is pretty alarmist, there are real issues with too much sun exposure to the eye:

Photokeratitis – Temporary inflammation of the cornea from excessive UV radiation. This is basically a corneal sunburn. Painful but reversible and doesn’t seem to cause any long term complications. Snow-farers know it as snow blindness because the highly reflective snow amplifies the UV. The Inuit even made snow goggles from caribou antlers, cutting slits that allowed just enough light to see without causing snow blindness.

Pterygium – Mostly cosmetic, a pterygium is a blemish along the conjunctiva (the thin layer lining the white of the eye) that can become irritated and inflamed. Evidence shows that UV exposure is a likely risk factor, with outdoor postal workers experiencing higher rates of the condition.

Cataract – The leading cause of blindness, cataracts form when proteins in the lens unravel, become entangled, and absorb pigment that then increasingly obscures the vision. Ocular UVB exposure is a risk factor for cataract formation, which is why French mountain guides – who are constantly outside during the day without much respite – have far more cataract formation and surgery than non-guides.

Overall I’m with you, James. Sunlight is a reality of the outside world and unavoidable if you’re outside; we are creatures of the outdoors. We’ve established that moderate amounts of sunlight are definitely good for our skin and our overall health, and it’s difficult to fathom that going outside for an hour or two without judiciously slapping a pair of Blue Blockers on immediately would place our eyesight in mortal danger. Too much? Sure, that’s true for most stimuli, let alone the light from a massive ball of cosmic energy illuminating. But a normal, sane amount? Given the ubiquity of sunlight in the natural environment and the fact that we’ve evolved in said environment, it seems implausible that any modicum of sunlight is dealing major damage to our eyes.

There may also be benefits to unfiltered ocular sun exposure. We often talk about the dangers of excessive light at night disrupting your sleep by inhibiting melatonin secretion. Well, the opposite happens when you get it during the day: it wakes you up and establishes (or maintains) a healthy, natural circadian rhythm. If you’re always avoiding full spectrum, truly bright daytime light, your rhythm will be off. And sure enough, people who get the most light during the morning and daytime begin producing melatonin earlier in the evening. There’s nothing better than full on sunlight to provide that.

Is there a time for sunglasses? Yes, just as a good UVA-and-UVB-blocking zinc oxide sunscreen can come in handy when you know you’re going to be out in the sun without shade for longer than you and your skin would prefer, a pair of sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB can help protect your eyes in the same situation. Doubly so if you’re in the snow, on a body of water, or at the beach where the power of UV is reflected and magnified; glasses are a good option to have in these situations. I wear ‘em myself – just not all the time.

I would provide sunglasses for your girls, not force them. As the pediatric opthomologist in the article even mentions, it’s better to run around and play outside without sunglasses than sit inside and watch TV. Besides, your kids are probably eating nutrient-dense, antioxidant-rich food, and that’s protective of the eye against sunlight damage. A smart, sane position is to get some sunlight directly in your eyes each day. Not a huge amount. Don’t stare into the sun on purpose or anything silly like that. Just go outside without sunglasses on (but handy in case you need them), go about your business, and the light will come to you.

Mark,

My wife and I are done having kids, but we’re also done with condoms and birth control. Neither of us can stand either, so I’m thinking hard about getting a vasectomy. Is there anything I should know? Are there any dangers associated with the procedure and the aftermath? I want everything else to work as intended, ya know?

Thanks,

Tim

Good news, Tim. The evidence strongly suggests that your facilities will remain fully operational, your sex life will improve (or at least stay the same), and your testosterone levels will be unaffected. All they’re doing is capping the vas deferens – the tubes that deliver sperm during ejaculation. You can still ejaculate, and the “body” is none the wiser. You’re just “inactive.”

  • In one 2005 study of 64 men about to undergo vasectomy surgery, researchers analyzed their sexual function pre-op and 90 days post-op. 67% of the men improved their function after surgery, while 17% worsened and 16% remained constant. Another study found that roughly a third of men enjoyed improved sexual function after vasectomy, while nearly 50% remained unchanged. The results differ across other studies, but for the most part the vast majority of men enjoy improved or unchanged sexual function after getting a vasectomy. If you’re happy with your work now, you’ll be fine.
  • Vasectomy seems to increase sexual satisfaction among couples as well. Husbands who received vasectomies and wives who received husbands who received vasectomies both reported improved sex, with the women enjoying the biggest increases in satisfaction. 93% of the males and 97% of the females would “recommend and do vasectomy again,” such were the benefits.
  • Rats who get the snip have similar testosterone profiles as intact rats. Although no human data exists, the fact that erection function and sexual satisfaction usually either increase or stay the same in post-op men indicates that testosterone is unaffected.

Associations between vasectomies and various health risks have been proposed, however.

Heart disease: There were very faint inklings of a connection between the two, but recent evidence has ruled it out.

Cancer: Much the same story as heart disease. Suspicion has made way for exoneration. Testicular cancer? No connection.

You might have seen the reports of a new study showing a link with prostate cancer. That’s true, and the headlines are scary. But consider that men who’ve had a vasectomy are probably more frequent visitors to the urologist than intact men. They’ll be receiving more tests in general and there will be more opportunities to take prostate cancer tests. Even still, the increase in absolute risk potentially caused by vasectomy remains low.

Sex with a loved partner is very important for many people. And on a physiological level, it’s extremely healthy. If this vasectomy will help you have more and better and less stress-free sex with your wife, it’s absolutely worth the very slight potential increase in prostate cancer risk. Go for it.

Thanks for reading, all. Let’s hear what you have to say about all this in the comments!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Good highlight on the vasectomy question. Few people look at surgical procedures in a “primal” scope.

    Dr. Anthony Gustin wrote on July 14th, 2014
  2. just a PSA regarding vasectomies: make sure you go for your follow-up visit to confirm zero sperm. my husband did not and we had a bouncing baby girl! this was about 3 yrs post vasectomy and 4 months after i started primal. I had (have) PCOS and needed fertility treatments with my previous 3 children. The vasectomy failure rate is about 4%.

    Amy F wrote on July 14th, 2014
    • I second this. My husband went to his followups, during which his sperm count never went down. It turned out he had 2 vas deferens(s)!! :O
      (not sure how to write the plural of that)

      He had to have the procedure again, on the other tube. Poor guy. But things went to zero, and we have been “good to go” ever since. ;)

      So yeah…. unless you are a gambling man, follow through all the way on this one. :)

      k-del wrote on July 14th, 2014
      • And just one more warning – even IF sperm counts are confirmed down to 0 at any and all of the follow-ups (3, 6 and 12 months are the usual), there is STILL a chance his body will try to mend things. We did the vasectomy plus fertility awareness method but one month he had gone for a while without clearing the pipes plus I ovulated late due to stress (both were interrelated) and CRAP! From my furious internet research, it seems to most commonly happen around the 3 year mark, especially if both parties are super-duper-primally healthy.

        Erin C wrote on July 15th, 2014
        • OMG that is terrifying. My husband had one this winter, and if it repairs itself after three years, I’d be 40 and pregnant. And throwing myself off the Brooklyn Bridge. lol

          Sasha wrote on July 20th, 2014
  3. I can’t wait for the men to discuss this. There is a small but intense fear in my heart that my boyfriend will lose his sexual functioning. They are cutting…down there! And we all know the statistics on medical mistakes, doctors being one of the main causes of death. Point me in the right direction to find good medical studies and information so I can avoid mass hysteria googling.

    Bev wrote on July 14th, 2014
    • My husband had a vasectomy a few months ago, and for whatever reason, the doctor invited me in to observe and I did – not wanting to be unsupportive, etc. While a bit intense to watch, as yes, those are your man’s testicles, and yes, that’s definitely a hole in them, it wasn’t that bad, and aside from some swelling, he experienced little discomfort. He’s also back to total “normal behavior” if you know what I mean :)

      It’s always a good idea to find a urologist with a reputation in your area. Our pediatrician recommended this one to us, as he had his OWN vasectomy done by him. Also, make sure they are using laser and not scalpel technology.

      Sarah wrote on July 14th, 2014
    • doctors are NOT “one of the main causes of death”. for heaven’s sake. google that to start calming the heck down.

      my b/f had a vasectomy over 15 years ago, after his last child, and all the plumbing still works GREAT.

      noodletoy wrote on July 15th, 2014
      • Unfortunately the leading causes of death in America are medical errors, infections from hospitals and side effects from prescription drugs. Combined, these three things establish doctors somewhere around the 2nd or 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. Acknowledging of course that doctors are not purposely trying to kill you, and are themselves caught in the broken cycle of our terrible health care system….but statistically speaking…I’m going to err on the side of caution and go to the doctor as little as possible, since I enjoy living.

        Bev wrote on July 15th, 2014
        • I can’t imagine anyone doing something so drastic as cutting down there. I’d rather go without sex. Profalactic? Lubricant? Anything without mutilation.

          Nocona wrote on July 16th, 2014
    • The main cause of death is being born

      KD wrote on July 15th, 2014
      • Well played.

        Bret wrote on July 17th, 2014
  4. You could also look into methods of Natural Family Planning such as the Creighton Model System and Clear Blue fertility monitor. All-natural, no surgery, and very interesting.

    Paleo Duderino wrote on July 14th, 2014
  5. I’m blond and blue-eyed and live in Southern California. I do a lot of hiking outside. I have found that most of the year I don’t even need sunglasses to feel comfortable, and during the times of the year when I do need them, I usually only need them during the brightest part of the day or if I’m experiencing high altitude where the sun is more intense, snow, water, or walking on really light-colored pavement or rocks. I think getting full sun on your skin and in your eyes really does help you feel more alert and happy, too.

    Diane wrote on July 14th, 2014
  6. A doubly good article for me considering that my children spend a fair amount of time out in the sun of summer Seattle. What I’ve noted for myself at least is that even though I am pale-skinned and used to burn now that I am primal I tan instead of burn. I credit the change to the tri-fecta of vitamins A, D, and K2 from a daily regimen of fermented cod liver oil, hard, grass-fed cheese, and homemade kefir.

    C L Deards wrote on July 14th, 2014
    • Interesting combination of vitamins there. I knew Vit D could help with sunburns but not the other 2. Might have to try and experiment a bit and see if that help my pale skin tan a bit.

      Jacob wrote on July 14th, 2014
      • From what I understand the tri-fecta helps with absorption of the three involved and prevents toxicity.

        And as long as you are primarily grain free the trifecta helps in preventing cavities in my experience. Up until I went primal I would have a couple of cavities a year or show some signs of tooth decay. Since going primal and taking fermented cod liver oil in addition to some form of vitamin k2 (from kefir, hard cheese, high vitamin butter oil, or simply supplementation) I have yet to have a cavity.

        C L Deards wrote on July 14th, 2014
        • I’m not much of a cheese connoisseur…not that I don’t like cheese. I do, but I know nothing about what qualifies as hard cheeses and such. What are some good healthy cheeses to start on that are mild flavored and pack a lot of benefits?

          My typical cheese choices are sliced and shredded. lol

          Jacob wrote on July 15th, 2014
        • I consume grass fed kerrygold cheese. Costco here in Seattle just recently started carrying kerrygold dubliner cheese. Before finding it at Costco I bought it at Trader Joe’s.

          Kefir is a great source of k2, since it is made from bacterial fermentation.

          C L Deards wrote on July 17th, 2014
  7. Wonder if there are any studies why some patients / couples have improved satisfaction? I’d argue (without any evidence at hand) that the improvement is all physiological rather than physical. If you as a couple had been using condoms or other prevention aids, and always worried about getting pregnant, thatn I think the mental relaxation from not have to think about this is where the increase satisfaction is coming from. Still a very valid improvement. As they say, 90 percent of sex in between the ears. But I wouldn’t suggest a man consider vasectomy for a physiological improvement.

    David wrote on July 14th, 2014
    • Do you mean phychological?

      oxide wrote on July 14th, 2014
    • Do you mean psychological?

      oxide wrote on July 14th, 2014
      • I did, thanks for catching that… benefits are psychological. (think spell checker got me)

        David wrote on July 14th, 2014
    • Yup! Sex gets a lot better if you’re not mentally going “please no more kids, no more kids! This is how we got kids before!” in the background. Both my husband and I consider this one of our best decisions. Just don’t rush your recovery or you’ll end up back in bed. Other than that, no problems!

      Sarah wrote on July 14th, 2014
  8. Many eye doctors recommend the use of sunglasses any time one is outside, dawn to dusk, year around. The theory is that sun contributes to ARMD and various other eye issues. I find this a bit doubtful with regard to casual sun exposure. To paraphrase an old axiom: If our eyes needed constant protection from the sun, we’d have all been born wearing sunglasses. On the other hand, if one is out in the bright sun all day long, it seems only sensible to protect the eyes as you would any other part of your body.

    Shary wrote on July 14th, 2014
    • I specialize in selling Blue Blocker sunglasses in my business. I wear them at night if I’m watching some TV. I don’t wear sunglasses the first half of the day, but slide some on for the second half. Many american indian fisherman went blind from always looking in the water. I like the balance of the article. Get some good sun exposure without sunglasses and then protect.

      Nocona wrote on July 14th, 2014
      • I never wore sunglasses in my teens and 20’s. I don’t know why, other than (and this is stupid) I couldn’t afford the “in” styles and instead went with nothing. I have since worn sunglasses the last three years and my eye health isn’t what changed my mind. I started getting self conscience about lines, crow eyes, etc from squinting 12 hours a day.

        I still take them off when I’m gardening or doing other chores, but wear them on my daily walks, at the beach, driving, etc. When it’s in the early morning and late afternoon, I don’t wear them either.

        Curtis wrote on July 14th, 2014
    • i recently went to a seminar by Meir Schneider/
      (who was born legally blind & trained himself to “see” when he was 17 by Bates method,
      now he drives with his naked eyes).

      he is very much against sunglasses, esp. putting black glasses on a blind child. he attributed a significant part of gaining his vision to sunlight.

      now i rarely wear sunglasses sunscreen.
      (i wear a hat if i need protection)

      cheers,

      pam wrote on July 18th, 2014
  9. Good information about the vasectomy. My wife and I were looking at this option down the road once we are done having kids. Was always a little antsy what effect this had on the body and hormonal levels.

    Jacob wrote on July 14th, 2014
  10. As to children and sunlight. My brothers and sisters and I, as well as our friends, ran around all day in the Summer and never wore sunglasses. At age 15 I was diagnosed with near-sightedness, and astigmatism in the left eye, but that had nothing to do with sunlight. My eyes have changed over the years, but I can see things far away clearly. I just need readers to, well, read.

    I would imagine that fair-skinned, blue- or green-eyed people would have the most problems with too much sunlight as their geno-types developed in the far north where it was less sunny for much of the year. What about equatorial Africans? Do they have sunlight related eye damage?

    As to vasectomies. I had a vasectomy after my third child was born. That was so long ago the doctor used a stone knife. I’ve never lost my sex drive (I’m now 67). I do have some heart problems (exercise induced angina) but that was caused by eating a SAD diet for decades before finding this site. (I’m getting better.) And, so far, no cancer, except for pre-cancerous lesions mostly on my face and neck. But then being a red-head (now it looks blonde) I was more sun intolerant than most and I got my share of sunburns as a child and young adult.

    David Mitchell wrote on July 14th, 2014
  11. P.S. Regarding equatorial Africa. I remember seeing a documentary of men in West Africa who fished for sardines (no, not the little kind, the 1 to 2 foot long ones). They went out to sea in basically big canoes. They only wore a kind of loin cloth. Their skin was so black that it shined blue in the sun. They didn’t wear sunglasses.

    David Mitchell wrote on July 14th, 2014
  12. “If this vasectomy will help you have…less stress-free sex…, it`s absolutely worth…”

    This should read “less stressful” or “more stress-free,” right? Either that or

    a) my grasp of the English language is way more tenuous than I thought.

    b) I am totally misunderstanding the core concept of this whole “Primal” thing.

    Karl wrote on July 14th, 2014
    • Good catch! You are correct, that should read “less stressful” or “more stress-free.” I totally missed it.

      b2curious wrote on July 14th, 2014
  13. My wife and I try to work like a team, so I would love to know where the greater health risks lie between using the ring and getting a vasectomy.

    Blake Russell wrote on July 14th, 2014
  14. Vasectomy is the way to go. My husband got his when our last child was 6 weeks old. I was finally able to stop taking the dreaded birth control pill and everything improved…..our sex, my moods (lack of mood swings). Nothing is fool proof, so there is always a chance I could get pregnant again but if your done having children why not?!? The only concern my husband had was that he couldn’t work out for a week or two per the doctor. I told him that if we had more children how often did he think he could work out anyways?!? A week or two was a small sacrifice!

    Pdawg wrote on July 14th, 2014
  15. I had a vasectomy five years ago. Best decision ever.

    No change in drive, function or “end product.” Zero worry about pregnancy during sex.

    Added benefit of three days of solid post-op sympathy including primal meals in bed.

    Aaron wrote on July 14th, 2014
  16. I have never liked sunglasses–makes everything so dark–and use them rarely. I generally wear a sun visor to shade my eyes.

    jo wrote on July 14th, 2014
    • May I suggest Blue Blocker sunglasses. They brighten things up while relaxing the eyes. They create contrast and work well in shady, as well as sunny locations. Mark recommends them at night while watching TV too! They are very good for your eyes.

      Nocona wrote on July 14th, 2014
      • Thanks for the suggestion. I have a pair that I bought for TV viewing at night. I guess I didn’t realize that I could use them during the day.

        jo wrote on July 15th, 2014
  17. Just remember the two biggest myths of vasectomy:

    1: This won’t hurt a bit

    2: You’re gonna get sex every day!

    Basically, be realistic in your expectations, both during, and post-op. It may not hurt at all, and maybe your partner really is that … demanding and/or accomodating, but the real goal here is to eliminate the stress of playing testicular roullette and make spontaneity easy.

    And above all, when the doctor tells you to put ice on the boys for a couple days, if you value your sanity, USE ICE!! And stay ahead of the curve on that. I kept the boys cold from the time I crawled out of bed to the time I crawled back into it for the next 2 days. And believe me it helped. A lot.

    The first 6 months post-op, I wouldn’t have repeated or recommended it, but at this point, yeah, I would.

    Cheers

    Lou wrote on July 14th, 2014
  18. Vasectomy has been great for us as a couple in the long term but at first it was extremely painful for my husband for longer than we expected. Talking to others, we are not the only ones to regret it at first.

    There can be psychological implications, not just because of the fertility issue but also because having a procedure on an intimate part of the body can bring up feelings of having been violated or emasculated. A friend of mine chose female sterilization instead, deciding that was best for them as a couple. We no longer regret it but it does sometimes seem to us that vasectomy is made to sound like such an easy thing to go through. Perhaps it is for some/many but we wish we had been better prepared.

    Caroline wrote on July 14th, 2014
    • My husband and I decided about three years into our marriage that we didn’t want kids. I went to an OB/GYN to see about getting my tubes tied. Actually I went to four. EVERY ONE of them wouldn’t do it because I was in my mid-thirties and hadn’t had children. The only one who even gave it consideration handed me a slew of forms to fill out that all basically said “you know it’d be a pain to reverse this, right? You know that, right? If you get divorced and find a new guy and decide you want kids with him you realize you’re pretty much SOL, okay?”

      So my husband, who’s eleven years older than me, went to a urologist. “I want a vasectomy.”

      “Sure! What time would be good for you?”

      I have friends who have children who still had to jump through hoops to get their tubes tied.

      BTW, my husband’s vasectomy was thirteen years ago. All systems are go. :D

      Trish wrote on July 14th, 2014
      • I had 2 c-sections. The 3rd child was a surprise but the first two were planned. I actually found an OB/Gyn that was going to let me VBAC (but he still kept talking about using pitocin). So I opted for the 3rd c-section and got the tubes tied. Before the birth, my husband an I constantly chanted to each other “free birth control!”. That was nine years ago and we’re still very happy with our 3 children.

        ValerieH wrote on July 14th, 2014
      • I tried to get my tubes tied in my twenties when I had insurance that would have covered it – no one would do it. I’ve known since I was a kid that I didn’t want any. It was the most infuriating experience of my life, being told that I would “change my mind when I met someone.” I am now thirty, married to someone who has never wanted kids, and I still can’t get it done. Vasectomy it is.

        Libby wrote on July 15th, 2014
  19. Question about sun exposure: does it matter whether you’ve got blue eyes or brown eyes? I have blue eyes, and I’ve always been told that blue-eyed people should take more precautions around the sun than brown-eyed people. Is that true, or does it not matter?

    meepster wrote on July 14th, 2014
    • My optometrist has advised me to wear sunglasses regularly during summer for this reason. According to him sun exposure tends to negatively impact the sight of people with paler eye colours more than those with darker eye colours (though that being said, my eyes are hazel and I still have this issue).

      SisterCaveman wrote on July 15th, 2014
      • I guess that does make sense. I spent a day outside without sunglasses the other day, and I am definitely regretting it now. My eyes feel a bit inflamed. Not doing that again.

        meepster wrote on July 15th, 2014
  20. Do it and never look back. My vasectomy is the only thing I ever got my money back on thousands of times over!

    Groktimus Primal wrote on July 14th, 2014
  21. I’ve had zero complications from my vasectomy. …and I’ll echo the improved sex life and going for the follow up appt. Take the Dr’s advice and sit on a bag of for the remainder of the day and you shouldn’t have troubles.

    Bryan wrote on July 14th, 2014
  22. There is an alternative to a vasectomy that is under development in the US that goes by the name Vasalgel. It is based on a polymer contraceptive called RISUG®, which is in advanced clinical trials in India. I’ve been following the progress for years and cannot wait for the this to come to market. From the Parsemus Foundation website – “Vasalgel is a long-acting, nonhormonal contraceptive similar to vasectomy but with one significant advantage: it is likely to be more reversible. The procedure is similar to a no-scalpel vasectomy, except a gel is injected into the vas deferens (the tube the sperm swim through), rather than cutting the vas (as is done in vasectomy). If a man wishes to restore flow of sperm, whether after months or years, the polymer is flushed out of the vas with another injection.”

    Chad wrote on July 14th, 2014
  23. I always say my husband getting a vasectomy was the nicest thing he ever did for us. So freeing to have that worry taken out of the bedroom and so nice for me to not have to take any drugs

    A Smith wrote on July 14th, 2014
  24. Doe’s the surgeon wear sunglasses when performing a laser vasectomy?

    Jack Lea Mason wrote on July 14th, 2014
    • His future’s so bright, he’s gotta wear shades…

      Nocona wrote on July 14th, 2014
  25. I’ve always had very light-sensitive eyes and squinting against bright sunlight for a long time tends to gives me headaches and make me very tired. It’s also very distracting. Sunglasses all the way for me.
    I wear prescription glasses all the time for my terrible eyesight, and switching between regular and sunglasses frequently can be annoying at times (going in & out of shops for example), but it’s totally worth it. Also, squinting gives you crow’s feet ;)

    Linda wrote on July 14th, 2014
  26. I had a vasectomy in 1989. I was 32 at the time. It was one of the best decisions I made. My wife and I were done having kids and wanted no more. We are still together after all these years.

    The vasectomy caused zero decrease in libido. If anything, it went up since we were no longer worrying about birth control pills, sponges, foam, IUD, diaphragm, etc. I’ve gotta say how much I hated the diaphragm, bumping into that thing. Sponges and foam caused intense burning. And all of these birth control options have varying levels of failure percentages.

    After the operation, I did however have some bouts of epididymitis, an infection or inflammation of the epididymis (the coiled tube on the back of the testicle). You can get this either with or without a vasectomy, so I don’t know if the vasectomy brought this on or not.

    But all has been great. It worked for me and things function within and beyond acceptable parameters.

    Tin wrote on July 14th, 2014
    • I’m glad you mentioned this because nobody else has, so far! It’s not that uncommon. My husband has occasional bouts of pain. Overall, the vasectomy (20 years ago) was great, but I don’t know if he’d do it again. People should google “testicular pain after vasectomy” or some such term to find more info. wikipedia has an entry (“post-vasectomy pain syndrome”). Don’t want to scare people, but somebody did ask and he deserves to get a full answer.

      Katherine wrote on July 17th, 2014
  27. Based on personal experience, I’m skeptical about the eyes not needing solid sun protection. I’m 46 and in recent years have noticed this growth on the inside of both of my eyes. Turns out, I have Pterygium in both eyes. I’m dark haired, dark eyed and olive skinned. While I rarely bothered with sunscreen as a child/teen, I did wear sunglasses. I lived a fairly regular life (ie, I’m not a surfer or a fisherman or a skier who would have massive sun exposure), in the northern US, so I don’t know how I ended up with this damage.

    I did stop wearing sunglasses when I started to need reading glasses around age 40, but I also moved to the PNW at the same time. Sun exposure is really no longer a problem (more concerned with not getting enough!). Best I can figure, I did the damage when I was young.

    Cat wrote on July 14th, 2014
  28. High levels of Vitamin C are associated with low levels of cataract formation. In Europe they use l-carnosine in eye drops to prevent cross linkage of fibrils leading to cataracts. You can get these drops here also (“Visual Ocuity” is one brand) and the l-carnosine is listed under inactive ingredients. They are marketed as plain lubricating drops but they will give you the l-carnosine advantage.

    maidel wrote on July 14th, 2014
  29. for a primal website I am really surprised there isn’t more talk about natural alternatives. I am a woman in my mid-20’s and I have been using NFP with my (now fiancée) for a year. When used correctly, it is just as effective as the pill and no one has to undergo surgery…do your homework, it isn’t just “the rhythm” method anymore, it is a scientific system based on a woman’s temp and “symptoms”. Its really interesting to learn about the effect of BC not only on the woman using it, but the man she is with and potentially the community as whole.

    Merky wrote on July 14th, 2014
    • Merky I agree with NFP and the natural approach to contraception, and my husband and I currently use it very successfully (both when not trying and trying to get pregnant). However, we are still in our 20s and having kids, so it works perfectly for this season of life. I think once we’re done having kids it will be very nice to not have to worry about it – to be able to throw away the thermometer and the backup methods during fertile times, and just relax and know that we are in the clear. To me, birth control or NFP seems like a necessity for younger people who may want kids someday, but avoidable when you’re past that age. I’m all for my husband getting a vasectomy someday :D

      winter wrote on July 15th, 2014
  30. My 2 cents worth is about a friend of mine who wanted to have children after finding out that she could, even though she was on heavy meds (her doctor told her he would monitor her so that it wouldn’t be an issue). So they had her husband’s “V” reversed. It all worked out fine and after having a lovely daughter and thinking it might be nice to have another they didn’t seem to be able to have any more and then, surprise, several years after giving up came their 2nd daughter.
    As far as sunglasses go I wear them when it’s REALLY bright but normally I have a cute straw hat that shades my face and that’s good enough for most days.

    2Rae wrote on July 14th, 2014
  31. I’m surprised you didn’t mention the importance of age in the vasectomy decision calculation. If you and your wife are in your 30’s and want to call it quits, getting snipped seems like a reasonable option, but if you are in your mid 40’s or later, vasectomy is a waste of $$. The chances of conceiving plummet between 40 to 45 for women, and if you both can count to 10 and pay attention (I’m talking to the guys especially) you have a pretty good chance of knowing which couple of days during the month to get a little extra sleep…Once you establish that monthly “rhythm,” it’s pretty effortless.

    Mike wrote on July 14th, 2014
    • Tell that to my aunt, who had twins at 54 years old. Auntie had periods until she was 6 months along. Rhythm failed her. Or to my co-worker, whose little boy made his debut when she was 47 and in complete early menopause, as the doctors said. You’re good to go, they assured her. So she did. Oops!
      And really! How does one establish monthly rhythm without cycling? Nope. Sorry. “Plummet” does not equal “goes to zero.” A vasectomy is well worth the time and trouble.

      Nannsi wrote on July 14th, 2014
  32. I’m a 58 year old green eyed, easily tanned woman who grew up in Florida, and spent many hours outside in full sunlight. I never wore sunglasses as a child and I developed cataracts at age 48. Don’t take chances with your children’s eyes or your own eyes. It’s a real risk with real consequences.

    Sandy wrote on July 14th, 2014
  33. Re: vasectomy: compared to tubal ligation, it’s the less invasive operation. So when it was time at our house, that was the rationale (along with “I had the babies, YOU get the vasectomy.”) Ice worked well. And, apart from the occasional 3-year-old flinging herself onto Daddy’s lap, it was pretty much pain free. And neither of us regret it.

    I wear sunglasses when the sun is bright enough to bother me. So mid-morning to mid afternoon, the shades are on or I’m in the shade. The rest of the time I try to get by without them…natural light at natural intensity mornings and evenings. And it’s glare that bothers me most, not light intensity, unless it’s full sunlight reflected off of something shiny. Then it’s blind spots, nausea, and migraines. Polarized lenses for me, all the way.

    Nannsi wrote on July 14th, 2014
  34. I have to add – I had a serious Pterygium when exposed to sunlight too much. I was on drops and considering surgery (but knowing it would grow back). It actually was bad enough to cause pain. My sunglasses helped, but going primal eliminated the issue. I now get just as much if not more sunlight and the Pterygium has never reoccurred.

    Mike Byron wrote on July 14th, 2014
  35. I think a vasectomy is the best option for birth control if you’re done having kids! There are less risks than other forms of bc (hormones, etc). And over the long run it’s much cheaper! I am so happy that my husband got one!

    I know TWO people who have recently gotten pregnant using NFP (ovulation can come earlier or later than expected so you have to be diligent about charting/looking at ALL the signs mentioned in the book). I think the book is a great read, but not worth the stress/planning IMO. Plus sometimes you want don’t want to wait until you’re done ovulating to have sex!

    Honestly, I would totally recommend vasectomy over NFP. One less thing to take up head space.

    sara wrote on July 14th, 2014
    • Also, my husband went to “Dr. Snip” in Seattle… totally fast procedure, very little down time & pain. I think the process had been made much easier in the last couple of years with technology, etc.

      sara wrote on July 14th, 2014
  36. First comment on this forum but just wanted to point out that vasectomies are not risk free. There is a fairly low (according to official medical literature) percent chance of 1-3% of long term pain (Post Vasectomy Pain Syndrome).

    I was unfortunately one of the unlucky few who this hit. Basically it’s a case where you can develop chronic blue balls from getting a vasectomy. My doc never informed me of this, low, chance even asking him point blank about ANY chance of having long term pain. Unfortunately my story is not an isolated rare case. What is seemingly rare however is that if you become unlucky enough to have this happen to you the chances of fully recovering and getting back to normal are not that great. I have personally talked to a handful of guys like me and a lot of them eventually fail their reversal surgeries and end up back in pain.

    This forum and paleo way of life has been truly a gift to me along with this forum. So I wanted to bring this up here. I also wanted to bring it up here because I think getting healthier may have been a contributing factor to developing PVPS. Getting healthier = more sperm production potentially.

    If you are considering getting a vasectomy at least do a semen analysis to find out if you are an above average sperm producer. I don’t know what my numbers were before the vas but after I found out with my reversal recovery – I am a pretty/very high sperm producer = pain if you ‘close the pipes off’ – pressure can and does build up.

    http://vasectomypain.crankycoder.com/t/my-pvps-story-and-resolution/81

    Don’t mean to rain on anyone’s parade but this can be SERIOUSLY life altering debilitating daily chronic pain. Fortunately I only suffered for about 9 months with the worst of it, but don’t consider myself to be out of the woods yet … if ever.

    Dave wrote on July 14th, 2014
  37. Normally I don’t comment on things but I had a vasectomy 20 days ago. I talked to a ton of people and did a little research beforehand. I would be skeptical talking to dudes that have had this procedure years ago, things in medicine and so forth evolve rapidly. Now they have a procedure that does not use a scalpel and/or does not have any visible stitches. I worked the frozen vegetables for 3 solid days and sat around watching tv (extremely boring). Then I went back to work but still did not exert myself, and iced periodically after dinner. Day 8: ran 4 miles. Day 10: a nice 2 hour long run, zero issues. ZERO. Recovery went even better than I had expected. Don’t go to some doc that is using the older methods or who hasn’t done a ton of these things.

    Jack wrote on July 14th, 2014
  38. PS I never did tell my kids why I kept carrying around a bag of frozen peas for 3 days…I guess they’ll figure that out some day! Our 4/year old gave me the weirdest looks. Some day you’ll get it buddy.

    Jack wrote on July 14th, 2014
  39. I was told by my eye doctor when I first got contacts that light-eyed people absorbed more light into the eye than dark-eyed people, and that people with contacts absorbed more light than those without.

    I live in SoCal, I have light eyes and wear contacts – so the only time I go sunglass free is when I am at the beach (swimming) and hanging laundry outside or other quick outdoor chores. My sunglasses live near my car keys, year ’round.

    While I truly enjoy the sun time that hanging laundry brings – I hadn’t particularly thought of it as eye-sun-time. I do find that time energizing and balancing. Well worth doing – at least if you are at home to do it. ;)

    Hearthrose wrote on July 14th, 2014
  40. regarding vasectomy – my husband had this done more than 15 years ago – and it has been awesome. He is very healthy and sex life stayed just as great as it was before – however, I do think he got the surgery too soon. It was only a couple of months after our second child and a few years later I wanted a third child, and well, the choice was already made – and I did not want a 3rd child enough to try and reversal.

    anyhow, the surgery for him was very minimal out patient procedure – and I am not sure how much has changed since then – but your commenter Jack (above) noted that a guy should carefully choose a doc that has experience with vasectomies and make sure they are up to date -and I fully agree.

    someone once said that “a happy wife is a happy life” – and well, we also know that “a happy husband is a happy life” because we want both partners contented, right?

    and with a vasectomy taking the place of damaging birth control pills – and unreliable and uncomfortable condoms, well – the role of sex as the super glue that unites a couple can flourish – because a happy wife is also a happy penis. ha!

    healthywings wrote on July 15th, 2014

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