Doctors in Charleston and across the nation have seen an uptick in male patients ahead of the NCAA basketball tournament.
Not because of blood pressure problems or extreme anxiety associated with filling out their brackets. Rather, March Madness has become vasectomy season for male sports fans.
Why? The reason is really pretty simple, says Dr. T.J. Tipton, a urologist with Roper St. Francis.
It seems men who have already decided to get the procedure are killing two birds with one stone. They figure it makes sense to take 45 minutes out of their day to get a vasectomy and spend the next several days relaxing and recovering on the couch while watching non-stop basketball games on television.
“The sport and the event itself kind of transcend basketball,” Tipton said Thursday. “More or less, they’re looking for a hall pass. Sort of a get-out-of-jail free card to sit on the couch and watch some TV.
“They’ll come in with their Kentucky or UNC basketball shirts on. It’s almost like an event built around (March Madness).”
Tipton didn’t have any hard numbers showing how many vasectomies the hospital has performed over the past few days. But the uptick is real, he said, and ranges from men in their early 20s to some in their 50s.
He said Roper St. Francis Healthcare falls in line with the national trend of anywhere from a 30- to 50-percent increase in vasectomies around the start of March Madness.
Data from the University of Michigan, the University of Utah, and other schools show that this is a real thing.
In fact, popular sports bar Buffalo Wild Wings has gotten in on the action. A major NCAA sponsor, the restaurant this year has been promoting its “jewel stool,” a special type of barstool with a cooling apparatus so men who have the procedure can watch basketball games at the bar.
Despite the friendly gesture for its customers, Tipton doesn’t recommend visiting any bars in the days after getting a vasectomy. The recovery time is generally three days and doctors recommend little activity in that span.
Tipton said March Madness isn’t the only time of year that they see an influx of vasectomy patients. Christmas is a big season for the procedure because insurance deductibles have usually been met by December.
And getting back to sports, the week of The Masters in April is also a popular time of year for vasectomies.
“That’s a four-day event, Thursday through Sunday. A lot of guys are interested in it, so you see the same thing,” Tipton said of the annual golf tournament played in Augusta.
The NCAA Tournament began Thursday and runs through April 8 with the national championship game in Minneapolis.