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Can you change your mind after a vasectomy?

Updated: November 18, 2012 6:13AM

Q. I’m thinking about having a vasectomy, but what are my chances of having the procedure reversed if I change my mind later?

A. Every year more than 500,000 men in the United Sates have vasectomies. About 5 percent seek reversals later.

Now if you change your mind it won’t be because of the way a vasectomy makes you feel. Having your vas deferens snipped (that’s the tube that carries sperm from your testicles to your urethra) won’t reduce your sex drive, your ability to have an erection, orgasm or the amount you ejaculate (sperm only makes up about 5 percent of the ejaculate). And men frequently report that sex is more enjoyable without having to worry about an unwanted pregnancy.

When it comes to reversal, the outcomes are pretty good: If you have a reversal within three years of the vasectomy, your doc is 97 percent likely to be able to rebuild the vas channel.

Most people ask for a reversal because they have a new partner. Men under 30 are not encouraged to have vasectomies, because they’re 12 times more likely to ask for a reversal down the road.

Q. I read that researchers are saying if you’ve got heart disease and you’re fat, you’ll outlive someone who is normal weight. Is that right?

A. The so-called Obesity Paradox (people who have heart disease, diabetes or end-stage kidney disease and are overweight live longer than people who are normal weight) is big news, but we think it should be called the Big Fat Mistake.

People who are normal weight according to their BMI (body mass index), but who have excess fat around their waists (for men, a waist 40 inches or larger; for women, it’s 35 inches or larger), are 17 percent more likely to die from a heart attack than folks whose BMI says they’re overweight (but whose extra pounds are concentrated elsewhere).

What makes a big belly so dangerous? The fat deposited in your torso is very busy metabolically. It churns out hormones and proteins that fuel high LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, high blood pressure, insulin resistance and overall inflammation that’s implicated in cancers and dementia.

What we know for sure: Being overweight always is a risk factor for developing heart disease, and excess body fat increases bodywide inflammation that triggers diabetes, dementia and cancer.

Avoiding obesity — and related health problems — depends on being fit. Exercise strengthens the immune system and builds good muscles to help battle disease. Exercise is vital if you do carry extra pounds; overweight people who exercise outlive overweight folks who don’t.

King Features

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