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#1
Old 10-03-2004, 09:55 PM
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Process By Which Vasectomy Lowers Testosterone Levels

Assuming a vasectomy is performed and it is performed without any problems or complications. How does the testosterone levels of some men decrease following the procedure. Many accounts of such as thing is documented on the internet including http://dontfixit.org

My understanding is the sole process by which testosterone is absorbed into the body is through the blood stream in the testicles. So assuming those are unharmed what am I missing here? Do they not tell us of something? Is there a process by which the sperm is actually producing testosterone? I certainly don't remember any of this in the pamphlets at the doctors office.
#2
Old 10-03-2004, 10:39 PM
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A vasectomy does not affect testosterone levels. Sperm do not manufacture the hormone known as testosterone; the testicles do this. All a vasectomy does is close off the sperm cells' exit to the outside world. The testicles continue to make sperm after a vasectomy, but they just can't go anywhere. The body absorbs them.

Read and learn.
http://healthcaresouth.com/pages.../vacectomy.htm
#3
Old 10-03-2004, 10:44 PM
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Yes I know this, but there are numerous cases of testoterone levels dropping following a vasectomy. Why? How?
#4
Old 10-03-2004, 10:56 PM
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I think you're working from a flawed premise, ranovercat. I did a very quick search of the medical journals and couldn't find any articles reporting a drop in testosterone correlated to vasectomies. I am not an MD, but we have several on this board, and I'm sure one will be along shortly to confirm this.

It would be pretty difficult, but certainly not impossible, to harm the testes during a vasectomy, and this could cause a change in testosterone levels. But a properly performed vasectomy should have no such effect.
#5
Old 10-03-2004, 10:57 PM
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Quote:
there are numerous cases of testoterone levels dropping following a vasectomy.
Got a cite for that? Every vasectomy website I'm looking at that addresses the issue says that a vasectomy does not affect testosterone levels. The testicles are the organs that produce testosterone, the way the ovaries produce estrogen, and snipping the tube that carries sperm to the outside world doesn't affect the way the testicles produce testosterone, any more than snipping the tube that carries the eggs to the outside world affects the ovaries' production of estrogen.

...a cite besides Kevin Hauber And His Awful Awful Experience...
#6
Old 10-03-2004, 11:07 PM
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Could it be that the drop is age-related? Levels do drop with age, and not too many really young guys are getting vasectomies. So a somewhat-older man gets a vasectomy, and finds later that his levels are dropping, and blames the vasectomy. Correlation doesn't equal causation, after all.
#7
Old 10-03-2004, 11:41 PM
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I suppose I'm kinda answering my own question here, but the above link I provided indicates numerous examples of the so-called phenonmenon I mentioned. The answer they suggest is this is caused by the bodies immune system response to the "loose" sperm. (And if I got it right) The body begins attacking the testicle itself.

So I guess the follow-up questions, are... Why is this not common knowledge? Is this accurate? & How often does this happen?
#8
Old 10-04-2004, 12:05 AM
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Quote:
the above link I provided indicates numerous examples of the so-called phenonmenon I mentioned
Ummm...not that I can see. Care to direct my attention appropriately?


1. The "above link" you provided are the experiences of one person, Kevin Hauber, who not incidentally is selling a book detailing his experiences.

2. I don't see where he documents on his website any medical evidence showing a drop in testosterone levels after a vasectomy. All he has is this one statement:

Quote:
Studies and cases have described findings of increased incidences of many disorders, including:

< snip >

Decreased testicular function including changes in testosterone production
So, what we have here is basically just Kevin's word for it, that a vasectomy causes testosterone to drop.

No "numerous cases".
No "numerous examples".

Just Kevin's opinion.

And that not even supported by any kind of evidence.

3. It is not "common knowledge" because it is not true. It is not a fact. Something cannot be "common knowledge" if it exists only in one person's brain.

4. No, it is not accurate. This is the entire gist of my posts.

5. How often does this happen? Once.


And, I read the USA Today article that Kevin links to on his website: he doesn't mention "decreased testosterone production" at all. What he has is "post-vasectomy pain syndrome (PVPS) or congestive epididymitis", and the article notes, "PVPS is chronic testicular pain probably caused by disruption of the nerves in the scrotum. Up to 27% of vasectomy patients experience PVPS longer than three months."


So where are you getting your "numerous cases" and "numerous examples" from?
#9
Old 10-04-2004, 11:25 AM
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The examples appeared in the forum section. http://dontfixit.org/forum/

I don't think the accounts come right out and say it, but it eludes to it. Many of the letters suggest that either they are on HRT or dealing with the effects of a lowered T level. Many of the people didn't have a pre-surgery level check, and they state this in their accounts. But its seems a good many of the have the symptoms of "male-menopause" directly following a vasectomy.
#10
Old 10-04-2004, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ranovercat
But its seems a good many of the have the symptoms of "male-menopause" directly following a vasectomy.
That doesn't imply a cause-effect relationship.
#11
Old 10-05-2004, 12:34 AM
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I have now read all the posts in the dontfixit forum.

The only evidence contained therein for lowered testosterone levels after vasectomy is still just Kevin's word for it, plus the personal opinions of two other doctors. Neither of them has any scientific evidence for this.

Doctor #1 is Malcolm Carruthers. Carruthers is a London physician who is pushing the "male menopause" theory, who specializes in hormone replacement therapy for men, and who has written a number of books on male menopause. He is the chairman of the Andropause Society, which touts hormone replacement therapy for older men.

Kevin says here that Dr. Carruthers has written this article condeming vasectomy and claiming that vasectomy causes male menopause. However, I don't see Carruthers' name on it anywhere. Ten papers are cited at the end--none of them supports the writer's position.

Kevin also touts Dr. Lou Zaninovich, who runs a male health clinic in Perth, contributes heavily to Kevin's forum, and who is also a Male Menopause and hormone replacement therapy guru. He also personally doesn't approve of vasectomies, is of the opinion that they cause male menopause, and has written a book about it, which, not surprisingly, is for sale.

Dr. Zaninovich, also not surprisingly, since he's a specialist in hormone replacement therapy, sees symptoms of lowered hormone levels all around him. After recounting an incident in which he tells a depressed patient to stay on his depression medication, he concludes, "ADDENDUM - Depression caused by low testosterone levels" and goes on to talk about--guess what.

Hormone replacement therapy.

And Dr. Zaninovich says:

Quote:
I hope to collate as many personal negative experiences as possible. I would like to hear from every guy out there who has had problems. I still wonder how big the problem is. Such data would be good start towards proving the link between Vasectomy and Male Menopause.
So, even Dr. Zaninovich himself doesn't have any evidence yet--no data--for showing a link between vasectomies and lowered testosterone levels.



So, that's it? That's your support for the statement, "vasectomies cause lowered testoterone levels"? Kevin Hauber, and two doctors who are in the business of selling male hormones, and who thus have a vested interest in having as many men as possible think they're coming down with male menopause, possibly because of their vasectomies, which make a convenient scapegoat? Neither of whom have any evidence to support this?
#12
Old 10-05-2004, 12:37 AM
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Holy snark Batman! I kinda thought ranovercat was asking a general question as opposed to stating a fact.

However, it appears that the answer to the question is "it doesn't".
#13
Old 10-05-2004, 01:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ranovercat
Assuming a vasectomy is performed and it is performed without any problems or complications. How does the testosterone levels of some men decrease following the procedure. Many accounts of such as thing is documented on the internet including http://dontfixit.org

My understanding is the sole process by which testosterone is absorbed into the body is through the blood stream in the testicles. So assuming those are unharmed what am I missing here? Do they not tell us of something? Is there a process by which the sperm is actually producing testosterone? I certainly don't remember any of this in the pamphlets at the doctors office.
If you follow the links at their site, you'd find they are sponsored by a couple Catholic organizations.
Can you say, "Propaganda?"
#14
Old 10-05-2004, 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by alice_in_wonderland
Holy snark Batman! I kinda thought ranovercat was asking a general question as opposed to stating a fact.
I'm afraid I disagree about the "snark". Duck Duck Goose is going way above and beyond on her own time to dig into, research, and check facts, which is very admirable. Something that no one else apparently had either the desire or the perserverence to do, including myself. In doing this she is an example of the spirit and the letter of what this forum on this message board is supposed to be about.

The original question contained an assertion as to "Many accounts of such as thing is documented...", and DDG has gone into and called into question these accounts. The questioner returned and asserted that "numerous cases" had shown this drop, which is an assertion of fact regarding evidence, which turns out to be misguided. Any "snark" in her posts is her challenging the questioner back as the questioner is continuing to present as potential evidence anecdotal accounts with little to no scientific basis on a message board.

Now I suppose my post comes off as "snark" too, ironically, but my point is when someone goes out of their way and actually makes an effort to "fight ignorance" via research and fact-checking you can forgive them if tone of the answer might appear to be somewhat "challenging" (so long as it's not rude or boorish).
#15
Old 10-05-2004, 01:08 PM
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As long as you're working with anecdotal evidence, ranovercat, let me offer mine; i.e.; personal experience.

I had a vasectomy almost three decades ago, when I was 28, and it was the absolute best decision I ever made. I already had children, was divorced, and found myself at the cutting edge of the Sexual Revolution. Let me assure you that my testosterone has fizzed and bubbled along quite happily ever since with no loss in intensity.

As am matter of fact, I have recently re-married, to a woman 20 years younger than me, and I feel thirty again.

In regard to the Sexual Revolution, well...we lost...but it was a glorious war!
#16
Old 10-05-2004, 01:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Una Persson
I'm afraid I disagree about the "snark". Duck Duck Goose is going way above and beyond on her own time to dig into, research, and check facts, which is very admirable. Something that no one else apparently had either the desire or the perserverence to do, including myself. In doing this she is an example of the spirit and the letter of what this forum on this message board is supposed to be about.

The original question contained an assertion as to "Many accounts of such as thing is documented...", and DDG has gone into and called into question these accounts. The questioner returned and asserted that "numerous cases" had shown this drop, which is an assertion of fact regarding evidence, which turns out to be misguided. Any "snark" in her posts is her challenging the questioner back as the questioner is continuing to present as potential evidence anecdotal accounts with little to no scientific basis on a message board.

Now I suppose my post comes off as "snark" too, ironically, but my point is when someone goes out of their way and actually makes an effort to "fight ignorance" via research and fact-checking you can forgive them if tone of the answer might appear to be somewhat "challenging" (so long as it's not rude or boorish).
I gotta second Una here. DDG has been chastized in the past for being liitle too intense sometimes, but her digging skills and throughness put most of us to shame. The fact that she took the time and attention to unravel this assertion back to it's source and beyond, and revealed it to be mostly self promoting handwaving, is immensely admirable.

Her slight frustration at ranovercat's question is obviously (to me) less with the OP personally, and more with continued pointing at the "evidence" that keeps vanishing until all that's left is the smile.
#17
Old 10-05-2004, 03:36 PM
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I agree with the other posters that vasectomy does not affect testosterone levels. It doesn't make sense.

All kinds of things in your body fluctuate- blood pressure, hormone levels, etc. My experience is in women's health (not men's health), but we tested hormone levels (follicle stimulating hormone or FSH, specifically) in females regularly and repeatedly, often finding that the levels moved up and down over time, and that they could be graphed over time as staying overall the same or declining overall.

Complicating matters, in the hormone world, a decreased FSH level was better for our patients- it meant the body had to send less hormone to get a response from the ovary. High FSH meant the ovary had to be bombarded with messages in an effort to get the ovary to respond.

Again, my experience is with females.
#18
Old 10-05-2004, 04:01 PM
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I certainly wasn't objecting to the informaton that DDG provided - good for her for finding it. My only comment was that it was presented with...tone.

Hey, the OP is new and as such has no reputation for citing bad sources.
The OP named his source and asked for clairification or an explantion.
Clarification was provided, but I felt it was provided in a "You're a butthead for even asking such a stupid question, or believing such a stupid site." kinda way.

Personally, I thought that was uncalled for. However, this is not really the place to discuss it, and YMMV.
#19
Old 10-05-2004, 07:39 PM
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Congrats to DDG for impressive scholarship and research, and thoughtful writing. I certainly got no whiff of "attitude" other than "here's the facts. If you can cite contrary data, please do so." This is, after all, the SDMB!

Actually, some literature indicates that vasectomy can transiently raise testosterone levels, due to decreased spermatogenesis from post-vas testicular congestion. Freed of the need to produce so many sperm, the testes can use their energy to crank out more testosterone.

Things eventually reach a new equilibrium however, and testosterone levels return to normal.

I won't vouch for the validity of the literature, which actually states that vasectomy was once done to enhance libido, not control fertility. But here's the source: http://vasectomy-information.com/jhaver/
#20
Old 10-05-2004, 07:57 PM
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I never meant to be offensive by bringing this up. I simply wanted to present what my opinion of the site was, how it was presented, and how I personally took it. My questions where to validate this "feeling" and see what everyone here thought. I appreciate everyones answers.

I guess I was hoping to spur on some sourght of validation for the information. I of course didn't want to place it in the original question but I asked because 3 weeks ago I had a vasectomy, and felt as though the testosterone went right out the door. I was hoping the intelligence of this board may actually say that this is indeed a common occurence. Some sourght of testicle conspiracy.

Thanks again for your information.
#21
Old 10-05-2004, 08:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ranovercat
I of course didn't want to place it in the original question but I asked because 3 weeks ago I had a vasectomy, and felt as though the testosterone went right out the door.
You say you feel as though your testosterone level had dropped. Have you given any thought to having it checked? I personally have no idea what low testosterone would feel like, or at least, how I would be able to pin any general list of symptoms I was experiencing as being caused by low testosterone. And I have been making the stuff for roughly half my life, so you'd think I'd have a good basis for comparison there.
#22
Old 10-05-2004, 08:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ranovercat
I never meant to be offensive by bringing this up. I simply wanted to present what my opinion of the site was, how it was presented, and how I personally took it. My questions where to validate this "feeling" and see what everyone here thought. I appreciate everyones answers.

I guess I was hoping to spur on some sourght of validation for the information. I of course didn't want to place it in the original question but I asked because 3 weeks ago I had a vasectomy, and felt as though the testosterone went right out the door. I was hoping the intelligence of this board may actually say that this is indeed a common occurence. Some sourght of testicle conspiracy.

Thanks again for your information.
I think you're probably reacting to the catabolic state that anyone goes into after surgery. There's really no evidence that short-term fluctuations in the testosterone level cause any mood changes.

But if you have concerns about it, I'd urge you to discuss it with the doc who did the surgery on you.

And I never found your question offensive. The website you linked to did offend my sensibilities as a professional who trained as a medical scientist, who tries to practice evidence-based medicine. But you came to the well seeking knowledge, and thereby gained. Come back again, friend!


QtM, MD
#23
Old 10-05-2004, 08:49 PM
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Actually I'm pretty used to the "feelings" and "effects" of hormone changes. I've been on HRT in the past and not because of a low testosterone level or anything. But I know what it feels like when there is a sudden decrease in testosterone. I plan to see the doctor about it, but from our previous conversations he seemed as a "basic education" medical Doctor. I have a strong feeling I'll get the PC "Buck it up and take it like a man." speech.
#24
Old 10-05-2004, 09:22 PM
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Just wanted to appaud DDG's thoroughness and research. I'm very impressed!
#25
Old 10-05-2004, 09:24 PM
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Shoot... that's applaud
#26
Old 10-06-2004, 07:56 PM
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That's okay, I enjoy being appauded, too.

Ranovercat, can I ask...

Quote:
I've been on HRT in the past and not because of a low testosterone level or anything.


Am I missing something? Why would one be on hormone replacement therapy, if not because of low hormones?
#27
Old 10-07-2004, 12:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ranovercat
Actually I'm pretty used to the "feelings" and "effects" of hormone changes. I've been on HRT in the past and not because of a low testosterone level or anything. But I know what it feels like when there is a sudden decrease in testosterone. I plan to see the doctor about it, but from our previous conversations he seemed as a "basic education" medical Doctor. I have a strong feeling I'll get the PC "Buck it up and take it like a man." speech.
Are you a body builder?
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