Study shows that more than a quarter of American women cite tubal ligation as their family planning method of choice. This indicates that since its inception in the 1960s, tubal ligation has increasingly become a more preferable method of birth control in the American society.
Women and/or couples, however, have a good range of contraceptive choices. At the onset, one needs to decide whether they want something that works temporarily or permanently. As in the case of tubal ligation, the effect is permanent (1% margin of error), and there is no turning back.
Tubal ligation or tubal sterilization involves tying the fallopian tubes to prevent eggs from going to the uterus. Those who would like their tubes tied, it is highly suggested that the procedure take place immediately after childbirth (postpartum tubal ligation).
- 8 Things You Need to Know Before You Decide to Tie Your Tubes
- 1. It doesn’t affect your hormones
- 2. It is more expensive than other birth control options
- 3. There are risks involved
- 4. There will be discomfort afterward
- 5. It lowers the chances of ovarian cancer
- 6. Vasectomy is easier
- 7. You can still get pregnant
- 8. It’s hard to reverse
- pros and cons to having your tubes tied….
- Sterilization is permanent.
- Sterilization can have some risks.
- Sterilization doesn’t prevent STDs
- It’s My Body and I’ll Tie if I Want To
- What You Need to Know About Getting Your Tubes Tied
- How it Works
- It’s Permanent
- There are Risks
- There May Be Potential Long Term Side Effects
- Deciding Whether Tubal Ligation is Best for You
- Tubal Ligation
- What is tubal ligation?
- Why might I need a tubal ligation?
- What are the risks of a tubal ligation?
- How do I get ready for a tubal ligation?
- What happens during a tubal ligation?
- What happens after a tubal ligation?
- Next steps
- What is tubal ligation, and how does it work?
- How effective is tubal ligation?
- What to expect from a tubal ligation
- How to best prepare for getting your tubes tied
- Pros and cons of getting your tubes tied
- Other methods of birth control
- Final thought
- Vasectomy vs. Tubal Ligation: Should It Be Him or Her?
- What is a vasectomy?
- Pros on having a vasectomy
- Cons of vasectomy
List of Pros of Tubal Ligation
1. It is permanent.
With as little as 1% margin of error, tubal ligation is one of the most effective ways not to get pregnant ever again. Unlike those so-called long-lasting methods, ligation is forever.
2. It brings confidence.
Even the traditional method of tube tying is virtually more effective than other forms of contraception, outside abstinence. A couple never has to worry about unwanted or unplanned pregnancy.
3. There is no need for schedules.
After getting the tubes tied, the couple no longer needs to mind a woman’s ovulation cycle, schedule of contraceptive vaccine, intake of pills or replacement of IUD. They can have sex without worries.
4. It works immediately.
Once the woman’s tubes are tied, she is immediately protected for life, save for the 1% margin of error. And if the procedure was done after childbirth, the cut heals simultaneously with childbirth cuts.
5. It does not disrupt hormone levels.
Unlike other contraceptive methods like pills and vaccines, tubal ligation does not cause hormonal imbalance and does not affect sex drive, and a woman continues to have her period.
List of Cons of Tubal Ligation
1. It is irreversible.
Once the woman’s tubes are tied, the effect is permanent. If the woman does fell pregnant, it is accidental and very rare.
2. It may cause regret.
If a woman undergoes the surgery, and then suddenly wants to get pregnant again, she may regret having her tubes tied in the first place. This is especially true for those who are still in their reproductive age.
3. The woman might feel cheated.
Unless it is clinically mandatory, a couple needs to discuss and decide together what type of contraceptive to use, permanent or reversible, seasonal or long-lasting. The couple also needs to decide who needs to undergo the permanent birth control method because men can also be permanently sterile by undergoing vasectomy.
4. It has side effects.
Tubal ligation is not free from side effects. The surgery may cause theoretical damages to a woman’s internal organs, not to mention the effects of anesthesia.
5. There is a possibility of tubal pregnancy.
If the procedure fails, it may cause tubal pregnancy, which is very painful and very risky to both mother and child.
Planning the size of the family is a sign of being responsible parents. While there are numerous ways to control pregnancy, tubal ligation among women is permanent. A couple needs to decide they are done having children and resolute about having the woman undergo tubal ligation.
About the Editor of Our Blog
Natalie Regoli is our editor-in-chief. The goal of ConnectUs is to publish compelling content that addresses some of the biggest issues the world faces. If you would like to reach out to contact Natalie, then go here to send her a message.
8 Things You Need to Know Before You Decide to Tie Your Tubes
There are multiple birth control options available to women and men but tubal ligation or tying or tubes doesn’t get enough attention. Tubal ligation is when the fallopian tubes are permanently closed off and that is one of the reasons that it is often not recommended since it is so permanent. However, if you think you don’t want to have kids anymore or don’t want children at all, there is no harm in exploring this option as well.
There are multiple ways it can be done, according to OB/GYN Kecia Gaither, MD. The fallopian tubes can be cut, burned, or clipped, she told Bustle. Sometimes, doctors shy away from performing it if the person is in their 20s but for older women, it is not so frowned upon.
If you are considering getting your tubes tied, here are eight things you need to know about it, apart from the fact that it is permanent:
1. It doesn’t affect your hormones
Getting your tubes tied won’t change your periods or make you have menopause. It also doesn’t have side effects that birth control pills have like mood swings, weight gain, headaches, or that IUDs can cause like cramps, heavier periods, or spotting, according to WebMD.
2. It is more expensive than other birth control options
While it is an expensive procedure that is only true in the short-term. The procedure can cost anything between $2,000 and $6,000, says Gaither. Dr. Prudence Hall adds that many insurance plans can cover it partially, which will be far lesser than going for copay every month for the bill for several years.
3. There are risks involved
Like any other surgery, there are risks involved in getting this procedure too. If you have good health overall, are a healthy weight, and haven’t had surgery in that area earlier there are less than 1% chance of complications.
“There’s anesthesia, which always carries a risk, and the surgeon is going into the abdomen, so there’s some risk of injuring the bladder and bowel,” Nikki Zite, MD, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology surgery at the University of Tennessee, told Prevention.
4. There will be discomfort afterward
You can get the procedure after a C-section and you won’t have to stay in the hospital longer. There will be some discomfort at the incision site. You might also experience abdominal pain or cramping, fatigue, dizziness, gassiness or bloating, and shoulder pain, according to Mayo Clinic. However, if you have a temperature of 100.4 F (38 C) or greater, fainting spells, severe abdominal pain that continues or gets worse after 12 hours, bleeding from your wound through your bandage, and discharge from your wound that is foul smelling, you must get in touch with your health care provider right away.
5. It lowers the chances of ovarian cancer
It is not known why this happens but research has shown that tubal ligation reduces the chances of ovarian cancer. The Mayo Clinic said that recent research suggested that cells the fallopian tubes have cells that form a type of ovarian cancer but it is not known if the two findings are related.
6. Vasectomy is easier
If you have decided as a family to opt for sterilization, then you might want to consider him getting a vasectomy, which can also reduce the risk of prostate cancer for him. “Vasectomy is far less risky,” says Zite. “The guy’s anatomy is on the outside, you aren’t going into the abdomen, and there’s no general anesthesia involved.” Vanessa Cullins, MD, Planned Parenthood’s vice president for external medical affairs, added that getting him snipped is cheaper and more effective at preventing pregnancy.
7. You can still get pregnant
Every month your body is still producing eggs, which go into the abdomen or blocked tubes. However, this means that you can still get pregnant. Sterilization in women is only 99.5% effective in stopping pregnancy. While the chances are tiny they are still there.
“Yes, there are failures of permanent methods,” Alison Edelman, MD, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Oregon Health and Science University’s School of Medicine, told Prevention. “However, the failure rate is incredibly low.”
8. It’s hard to reverse
If you are getting the procedure done, it is good to be sure of it since it is really hard to reverse. There is a procedure that can reverse tubal ligation but the success rate is not high, says the Mayo Clinic. So, getting pregnant the traditional way is out of the question but IVF is still possible, says Hall.
Disclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
pros and cons to having your tubes tied….
I had my tubal done in July of 09. I was at the end of a VERY hard pregnancy, one that followed a loss at 19 weeks just 3 months prior. I was an emotional mess. MY DR suggested I get a tubal done, because I already had 4 , and another “hard pregnancy” would ruin my body. ..plus all the pressure from MIL (mother-in-law) and everyone else under the sun…I signed my consent form 3 weeks before delivery… and was all set to go. I also felt “done”
I had given birth the day before. They took me down gave me a new epidural, and knocked me out. I woke up about 20 mins later still on the table. I began to ask a few questions.. and cracked a few jokes and asked if they were done.. The DR informed me that I may be a bit more sore than normal because she had a hard time reaching my left tube. (they went in through a little hole under my belly button about one and a half inches across) I told her, “I don’t care as long as it works!”
anyway Recovery was HELL. This was my 4th child and I never felt this terrible after having a baby! I also had bad affect from the sedative they gave me and possibly allergic to percocets..
It was about 2 weeks after I began to have stabbing pains. Knowing I was probably healing, I let it go.. I nursed for 6 months after (with help from domperidone medication I got overseas…My milk supply was SOOOOO low despite pumping with a double pump after every feeding for 30 mins.. taking fenugreek you name it) So after I stopped nursing I got my cycles back… OMG the worst pain and bleeding ever. I figured, hey its gonna be a bit odd for a while.. I just had a baby, I just let it go. meanwhile I began to have issues with anxiety and mood swings.. and weight gain..So The DR’s tried me on some anti depressants. Nothing worked, they even talked about BI polar!!?? THEN I started LOSING my hair… and hair growth on my face HUGE dark hair coming in around my nipples etc… It was alarming to say the least!
Went to a few Doctors who made sure my thyroid was stable ( it has been perfect) and check my pituitary gland functions etc. gave me a few pelvic U/s’s for the pain and such..Found some cysts and such… but nothing more. I was still miserable. I started doing some research , and found the info on Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome… I was shocked!!.
I had almost every symptom. I also had been off birth control prior to my pregnancy in 08′ for more than 2 years and had perfect cycles. I am also only 26 years old. so age was not a factor in any of this. I went to my primary DR and showed her my info.. she agreed it could def be from my tubal ligation. But said there was not much she could do for me. I ventured out to a holistic DR who gave me some tools to cope and help damper down symptoms. began BBT (basal body temperature) charting my cycles to show the changes that have been taking place in temps and luteal phase changes etc. I also have had a HUGE increase in ovarian cysts, and have been trying to keep up with documenting it all.
Here is a link with some info on PTLS.
I am going for my reversal this march/april, Not only for PTLS,( post tubal ligation syndrome) but to repair my body. I feel like I am not whole anymore. Out of the hundred of women who I have been in contact with over the last year or so, none of them have had symptoms of PTLS since having their reversal! So there is HOPE for those of us who have it already.
I really want to raise awareness, because the DR’s wont tell you about this before hand.. then when women go back after complaining, they try to blame it on “BC masking symptoms that were always there” or ” just getting older” … Because neither of those apply to me.. all My OB offered me a hysterectomy or ablation… at age 26!!
and I can tell you the things I am experiencing are very real.. and are not a product of my desire for more children,( though I probably will TTC (trying to conceive) once again after my reversal, after I get my body and moods stabilized) I didn’t even begin to think about a reversal or the fact that my body was damaged until I had the realization that my ligation was the CAUSE of all the crap that had manifested over the last 18 months or so. I have never been more physically drained and in pain, in all my life… I just cant begin to explain, how much I have lost because of this surgery.
I hope this gives you some insight on the possible complications that CAN arise from this procedure… NOT all women have issues, BUT to me, knowing how terrible this syndrome is… I would never suggest anyone take a chance…
I created a blog about this, and a FB support group page, because there are SOOOOO many women who are dealing with this and have NO idea that it is from this…
ETA: my blog on PTLS is in my siggy
In This Section
- How effective is tubal ligation?
- How safe is tubal ligation?
- What can I expect if I get a tubal ligation?
- How do I get a tubal ligation procedure?
- What are the benefits of sterilization?
- What are the disadvantages of tubal ligation?
Tubal ligation is permanent, so you can’t change your mind later. Like all medical procedures, sterilization has some risks.
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Thinking about sterilization?
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Sterilization is permanent.
Sterilization is meant to be permanent. Getting a sterilization reversed is really expensive, complicated, and it doesn’t always work — your fertility may never come back.
You should only get sterilized if you’re totally certain you never want to get pregnant for the rest of your life. Read more about sterilization reversal.
If you want super-effective, long-lasting, reversible birth control, check out IUDs and the implant.
Sterilization can have some risks.
Overall, tubal ligation is very safe, and most people don’t have any problems. But all medical procedures have some possible risks. You may have some pain and discomfort during and after the procedure, and some of the rare risks of tubal ligation can be serious. Read more about tubal ligation safety.
Sterilization doesn’t prevent STDs
Sterilization doesn’t prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections. Use condoms to protect yourself from STDs.
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It’s My Body and I’ll Tie if I Want To
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When we found out we were pregnant with this baby, Mark’s immediate reaction was to declare his intentions on getting a vasectomy. While he loves me and loves our children, he does NOT love pregnancy’s effect on his wife – neither physical nor psychological. While initially we both were on the same page with how many children we wanted (we discussed it in depth on our first date), after Dexter was born, he admitted that he was a little nervous to have any more. Once Daniel came into the picture, he was quite happy to stop there. And so when we got the big news earlier this year that we had yet another on the way, he was adamant that there would be no more.
I admit, as much as I love my babies, I can’t imagine going through another pregnancy. As much as I mourned our last chance to have a little girl, I can’t ever put myself through this again.
So when my OB asked at last week’s appointment what my plans were after this, I laughed and said, “this is it. No more.” She asked if I was sure, and I told her that Mark was already planning his vasectomy for as soon as possible after the birth. She asked if I was interested in having a tubal ligation, commonly referred to as having my tubes tied.
Right up until the very second that she asked, I hadn’t ever considered it an option. My mother had had her tubes tied after her third child was born, and when he died of SIDS at 3 months old, she had had to go through the ordeal of having a tubal reversal. Knowing this, I have always said I would never have my tubes tied, “Just in case something happened.” But lately, through many talks with Mark and with my own understanding of my body and its limitations, I have realized that pregnancy is not my friend. I am great at actually giving birth. Both my kids have basically walked out of me, with little effort on my part and no rips, tears or scars to show for it. But the 9 months leading up to that point? Not good…
My doctor explained that if I opted for this option, it would involve them making an incision into my abdomen (providing my uterus was in the right place after the birth), pulling through my fallopian tubes and snipping them. Recovery would be fairly easy, and I should be able to go home on the same time scale.
She asked about my periods and whether I was regular. I told her that I am not ever regular, having dealt with PCOS my whole life, and she said that I needed to consider other birth control options. She strongly suggested I consider an IUD, which would last for five years and could be inserted 6 weeks after the baby came. She said it would make my periods lighter, regular and may even get rid of them all together. She was very enthusiastic about it, and she said she thought it may be a better option. Mark, too, thought that this was a good idea.
I decided to take the literature home and read about it and think what I wanted to do. But inside, I kind of already knew which way I was leaning.
When I really think about it, there are pros and cons to each decision. Mark will be having a vasectomy either way, just as double insurance since we clearly are INCREDIBLY fertile together. But a vasectomy can take months to become 100% effective, and even then it may not take.
So here’s what goes through my mind as I consider my options.
- I really don’t like the idea of having a foreign object in my body. An IUD may be great, but the thought of it inside of me really freaks me out. Also, while you aren’t supposed to be able to feel the strings that hang down, and it’s supposed to be rather unobtrusive, the literature I’ve read says that you have to check it once a month and be sure it’s in the right place. This is hardly something I want to have to remember to do!
- There have been reports of IUDs perforating the uterus and causing real problems for some women. That thought terrifies me.
- Between 2 – 10% of women will have the IUD fall out in the first year. Could you imagine?? If I wound up pregnant again in a year, I don’t know how I would cope!
- I know myself pretty darn well. I know how my mind works. After each of my previous children, I have been CONVINCED that I would never have another. And yet… here I am about to have a third. My mind will work to convince me that having another baby is a good idea somewhere down the road. If I have an IUD, the odds are that I would probably have it removed at some point and “leave it up to fate.” But if I have my tubes tied, I wouldn’t have this option. I am not about to have an unnecessary and invasive surgery in order to reverse it, which means that having my tubes tied is a PERMANENT solution that I don’t have to worry about again.
- Sure, tubal ligation is not 100% effective. But combined with my partner’s vasectomy, I think the chances of further pregnancies would be pretty slim.
- Having my tubes tied would be immediate and completely effective from the first moment. So as we wait for Mark’s vasectomy to work, we are protected.
The doctor warned me that tubal reversals are hardly ever effective, so if I changed my mind, I would probably still not be able to get pregnant. I had to laugh. I am the PRODUCT of a tubal reversal. My mother had hers done fairly immediately after my brother’s death, and while it took her a couple of years to actually get pregnant again, she did it. And after I was born, she even managed to do it again and have my little brother. It’s clear where my fertility comes from, isn’t it!?
At the end of the day, the worst fear I have about having it done is that something will happen to one of my children. This is a fear all parents have, and it’s horrible to contemplate. But I have unfortunately seen it happen to too many people to believe it can’t happen to me. And so I fear – if I’ve had my tubes tied and then the worst happened, would I want to have another baby?
The answer is hard… Of course I would WANT to, but I don’t think I would. I think I would be heartbroken and bereft, and I would try to convince myself that another baby was the way forward. But right now, I genuinely believe that I couldn’t do it. I know that I can’t go through it again, and the easiest way to ensure it is to have my tubes tied.
So next week, when I go back to the doctor, I will give her my answer. Unzip me and snip me! I am done.
What You Need to Know About Getting Your Tubes Tied
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There are many forms of birth control, each of them with their own pros and cons. For women looking for a permanent method of birth control, tubal ligation (also known as “getting your tubes tied”) is a popular option. The procedure is permanent, which makes it an attractive option to those who definitely don’t want any children in their future. There are no daily pills to take, and once you’ve had the procedure you’re done worrying about birth control altogether, which honestly sounds very freeing.
However it’s important to do your research before any medical procedure. Like most things, getting your tubes tied has it’s own set of advantages and drawbacks. Before you go rushing off to the doctor, here are some things to consider about getting your tubes tied.
How it Works
Tubal ligation is a procedure that is done under anesthetic. At a hospital or surgical clinic a doctor makes an incision in the abdomen and seals the Fallopian tubes. This can be achieved by cutting, clamping or suturing the tubes. Doing so blocks the sperm’s path to the egg, making fertilization highly unlikely. It additionally blocks the female egg from moving from the ovaries through the tubes.
This procedure can be done in a few hours, or even just after you have given birth. It’s important to keep in mind that this is a method of pregnancy prevention, and doesn’t protect against STI’s. Although it is a common procedure, there is of course a risk of pain, infection and bleeding.
With the extremely rare exception of cases where the tubes grow back together, this method is close to 100% effective at permanently preventing pregnancy. While this is part of what makes it such a popular option, it’s also really important to be sure that you don’t want any pregnancies in your future before you commit.
There is a chance that you can reverse the procedure, however only under certain conditions. Additionally, attempting to do so can be costly, and have risk of complications. Your best bet is to make sure you are ready for a permanent option.
There are Risks
Although getting your tubes tied is a relatively simple procedure, there are risks. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, serious problems are rare, but may include bleeding, infection, organ damage and increased risk of ectopic pregnancy. There are a few conditions that can increase your risk of complications from a tubal ligation, including diabetes, obesity and lung disease.
However, this is still considered a very safe procedure because serious adverse complications are only estimated as happening in “less than 1 out of 1,000 women” (Johns Hopkins Medicine).
One of the more common risks for women who have gotten their tubes tied is the potential of having an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy. Although the likelihood of getting pregnant after you’ve had the procedure is slim, the chances of it being a tubal pregnancy are increased. An ectopic pregnancy is where the fertilized egg implants into the fallopian tube rather than the uterus. This carries the dangerous risk of the fallopian tube rupturing and causing internal bleeding.
There May Be Potential Long Term Side Effects
While tubal ligation is largely considered very safe, some women have reported a collection of unpleasant symptoms afterward. Although post-tubal ligation syndrome is not fully recognized by the medical community, to the women experiencing it, it is very real. While many women get their tubes tied and go about their merry way with no ill-effects, some women have reported symptoms that mimic the effects of a hormonal imbalance. These symptoms include hot flashes, depression, mood swings and fatigue.
Women who have experienced these effects are not only suffering from the symptoms themselves, but from the attitudes of the medical community that doubts that this condition exists. While there are researchers looking for more answers and many women fighting for advocacy when it comes to this syndrome, not much is known at this point about post-tubal ligation syndrome.
Deciding Whether Tubal Ligation is Best for You
For many women and couples, a tubal ligation is the perfect solution to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. Due to the fact that it is safe, effective and routinely conducted, it is often the choice of people who are sure that they don’t want any (or any more) children. However, because it is a medical procedure with it’s own set of side effects and complications, making an informed choice is the best possible route for a satisfied outcome.
READ NEXT: New Birth Control Pills Offer More Protection Against Ovarian Cancer
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What is tubal ligation?
Tubal ligation is surgical procedure to prevent pregnancy. It has commonly been called “getting your tubes tied.” It is also called a female sterilization.
- Tubal refers to the fallopian tubes. Each month, an egg is released from an ovary and travels through the fallopian tube to the uterus.
- Ligation means to tie off. This prevents the egg and male sperm from connecting to prevent pregnancy.
During this surgery, both fallopian tubes are blocked or cut. It is usually done in the hospital or in an outpatient surgical clinic. In most cases, you will be able to go home on the day of surgery. You may have this surgery done under general anesthesia (being asleep), or local or spinal anesthesia (anesthesia that leaves you awake, but unable to feel pain).
After the procedure, you will still have your periods and have sex normally. In fact, women may feel more at ease because they do not have to worry about unwanted pregnancy.
Tubal ligation is permanent birth control. Although it may be reversed by another operation, only about 50% to 80% of women are able to become pregnant after having their fallopian tubes reattached. This surgery doesn’t prevent sexually transmitted disease. You will still need to practice safe sex.
Why might I need a tubal ligation?
Choosing this form of birth control may be a good choice if:
- You are an adult woman
- You are in a stable relationship in which both partners have agreed to permanent birth control
- Pregnancy would be a health risk for you
- You or your partner has a genetic disorder that you don’t want to pass on to a child
This form of birth control may not be the best choice for you if you are unsure if you will want to become pregnant in the future. It also may not be a good choice if you may have other partners in the future. Having a new partner might make you reconsider getting pregnant.
What are the risks of a tubal ligation?
Tubal ligation is safe, but all surgeries carry some risks. Serious problems occur in less than 1 out of 1,000 women. You will need to sign a consent form that explains the risks and benefits of the surgery and you should discuss these risks and benefits with your surgeon. Some potential risks include:
- Bleeding from an incision or inside the abdomen
- Damage to other organs inside the abdomen
- Side effects from anesthesia
- Ectopic pregnancy (an egg that becomes fertilized outside the uterus)
- Incomplete closing of a fallopian tube that results in pregnancy
Even though tubal ligation is a safe and effective form of birth control, about 1 out of 200 women may still become pregnant after the procedure. Having the surgery just after your period starts may avoid the chance that an already fertilized egg will reach your uterus after surgery.
These conditions may increase your risk for problems after surgery:
- Previous abdominal surgery
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Lung disease
You may have other risks, depending on your specific health condition. Be sure to discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider before the procedure.
How do I get ready for a tubal ligation?
In the days before your surgery, tell your surgeon about any medicines you take. This includes herbal supplements and over-the-counter medicines. You may have to stop taking aspirin or other medicines that thin your blood and may increase bleeding.
Other points to go over include:
- Tell your surgeon if you or someone in your family has ever had a reaction to general or local anesthesia.
- If you smoke, you may be told to stop smoking well before surgery.
- On the day and night before surgery you may be given instructions for when to stop eating and drinking. If you are having general anesthesia, it is common to have nothing to eat or drink after midnight.
- Ask your surgeon if you should take your regular medicines with a small sip of water on the morning of the procedure.
- Wear loose comfortable clothing on the day of surgery to have an easier time getting dressed afterward.
- If you are having the surgery as an outpatient, arrange for someone to drive you home and stay with you during the early recovery period.
What happens during a tubal ligation?
Before the procedure starts you will have an intravenous line (IV) started so you can receive fluids and medicines to make you relaxed and sleepy. If you are having general anesthesia, you may get medicine through the IV to put you to sleep. A tube may be inserted in your throat so that you can inhale the anesthesia through your lungs.
If you are having local or spinal anesthesia, you will be given a numbing medicine in your abdomen or in your spinal area. You may remain awake during surgery, but you should not feel any pain. The actual surgery takes about 30 minutes.
Here is what typically happens during the procedure:
- The surgeon will make one or more small cuts (incisions) near your belly button. Sometimes the surgeon makes a small incision in your lower abdomen as well.
- Gas may be pumped into your belly to inflate it. This gives your surgeon a better view and more room to work.
- The surgeon will put a narrow tube with a light and a camera on the end into your abdomen. This tube is called a laparoscope.
- Your surgeon will use long, thin instruments put through the laparoscope or through another tiny cut to find and grab hold of the fallopian tubes.
- The tubes may be cut, tied, clamped, banded, or sealed off with an electric current.
- After surgery is done, the surgeon will close the incisions in the skin, probably using 1 to 2 stitches. He or she will cover the area with small dressings.
What happens after a tubal ligation?
After your surgery, you will be taken to the recovery room to be watched while you recover from the anesthesia. Your IV will be removed once you can drink fluids. You will probably be able to go home in a few hours.
Here is what you can probably expect at home:
- You will be able to gradually resume your normal diet.
- Some discomfort is normal. Ask your surgeon what medicines to take for pain.
- You may have shoulder pain for a few days. This is from the gas that was pumped into your belly. Lying down for a while often relieves this pain.
- Keep your incision areas dry for a few days. Follow your surgeon’s instructions on bathing and dressing care. You may need to go back to have your stitches removed. Keep all your follow-up appointments.
- Gradually resume normal activities in a few days.
- Avoid heavy lifting for a few weeks. Ask your surgeon when you can return to specific activities.
- You may be able to return to sexual activity in about 1 week.
Tell your surgeon about any of the following:
- Increasing pain or pain that is not relieved by medicine
- Any drainage, bleeding, redness, or swelling
- Vomiting or nausea
- Dizziness or fainting spells
Before you agree to the test or the procedure make sure you know:
- The name of the test or procedure
- The reason you are having the test or procedure
- What results to expect and what they mean
- The risks and benefits of the test or procedure
- What the possible side effects or complications are
- When and where you are to have the test or procedure
- Who will do the test or procedure and what that person’s qualifications are
- What would happen if you did not have the test or procedure
- Any alternative tests or procedures to think about
- When and how will you get the results
- Who to call after the test or procedure if you have questions or problems
- How much will you have to pay for the test or procedure
Few decisions are more personal than whether or not to have a child. For some of us, the answer is an easy yes or no. For others, it requires a bit more soul searching. When the answer is no, there are a number of birth control options. Most allow a woman to delay having a child by preventing pregnancy temporarily. Another option, tubal ligation, is a much more permanent solution.
Tubal ligation is a viable option both for women who’ve never had children, and never want any, as well as women who’ve had children and don’t want anymore. Yet while we’ve all heard about “getting your tubes tied,” what exactly does it mean, what’s involved and what are the risks associated with this procedure?
What is tubal ligation, and how does it work?
Tubal ligation, or getting your tubes tied, is a surgical procedure which involves a few small incisions near your belly button, and perhaps on your lower stomach as well. Your doctor will then locate your fallopian tubes, cutting, clamping or otherwise blocking them, and then close up your incisions. This is generally a one-day surgery that won’t require you to stay overnight.
Getting your tubes tied is also sometimes referred to as female sterilization, since it permanently prevents pregnancy. Cutting or sealing your fallopian tubes stops sperm from ever meeting egg. No fertilization: no baby. While you will still have your period, you will essentially be sterile.
How effective is tubal ligation?
Getting your tubes tied is a very effective method of permanent birth control. According to the Johns Hopkins website, only about 1 in every 200 women may still become pregnant after the procedure. This might happen if the fallopian tubes weren’t fully closed during the procedure (since sperm can wriggle through even the smallest of openings), or if an egg was released before the procedure, and becomes fertilized (an ectopic pregnancy). Overall, however, tubal ligation, or female sterilization, is one of the most effective methods of birth control, period.
Is it safe?
Getting your tubes tied is relatively safe. In fact, the biggest risk is associated with the fact that it involves a surgical procedure. As with any surgery, there are certain risks of infection or a poor reaction to your anesthetic. Pre-existing conditions such as diabetes might increase your risks as well. Your doctor will go over specific risks and things you need to consider when you discuss the procedure with her.
What to expect from a tubal ligation
Even if you’re definite about not having children, or not having any more children, getting your tubes tied can still be a scary procedure to face. Here’s what to expect:
Like any other surgical procedure, your doctor will have specific instructions about when to stop eating and drinking the night before. Arrange for transportation home from the hospital afterwards, as well as someone to stay with you until the anesthesia has worn off, just in case.
You’ll either receive a general anesthetic, which sends you to sleep, or a more localized anesthetic, in which case you’ll either be completely awake or in a light twilight state. You won’t feel any pain during the procedure, and it takes less than an hour.
You’ll have specific instructions about caring for your incisions, such as how long to keep them dry, as well as what kind of activities can be resumed when. You will be a bit sore, and perhaps groggy from the lingering effects of your anesthetic.
How to best prepare for getting your tubes tied
You can take a few days from work, or at least give yourself a long weekend, to recover. And don’t schedule any social events within a few days of your procedure, in order to give your body time to rest and recover. However, the most important preparations you make should be mental.
While this procedure can be reversed, it dramatically decreases your chances of actually becoming pregnant. Be sure you’ve discussed this choice with your doctor, and with someone whose opinion and feedback you trust.
If you’re with a partner, even if you’ve both agreed previously not to have children, or not to have any more, another discussion about the procedure and its ramifications is still a good idea. Better to address any doubts before your procedure than to have to deal with regrets afterward.
Pros and cons of getting your tubes tied
Below is a general list of positives and negatives associated with tubal ligation, but you’ll no doubt be able to add some of your own personal reasons or concerns. Factor these in when you discuss the procedure with your doctor, your partner or a trusted friend.
- relatively simple procedure: a one-day surgery, and no major incisions
- chances of becoming pregnant are very low
- “reversible,” should you experience a change of heart
- peace of mind: knowing you don’t have to worry about a contraceptive
- surgical risks, such as infection, are still a consideration
- ectopic pregnancy (an egg becoming fertilized inside the fallopian tube) is still a possibility
- “reversible,” but with a lowered chance of conceiving afterward
- regret if you later decide to have a child, and are unable to conceive
Other methods of birth control
There are, of course, other methods of birth control: the pill, the patch and IUD implants. All of these, barring one IUD (intrauterine device, if you opt for the copper type), utilize hormones to varying degrees to prevent pregnancy. All of these are also short-term preventatives, and you can become pregnant not long after removing or discontinuing use. Bedsider has an awesome rundown of every birth control option, and tons of other info too.
1. Can a tubal ligation be reversed?
Yes, your tubes can be reattached or unblocked, but with varying success rates in terms of being able to become pregnant afterward. In fact, according to some studies, your chances of conceiving can dip as low as fifty percent.
2. How soon can you have sex after getting your tubes tied?
Most doctors will advise about a week, in order to let yourself heal. However, everyone heals and recovers (physically and mentally) from a procedure differently, so you can take as long as you need.
3. How much does a tubal ligation cost?
If you don’t have insurance, getting your tubes tied can cost a couple thousand dollars. This will include your initial consultation, the procedure itself and also any follow-up appointments, including having your incision stitches removed. If you do have health insurance, check your policy to see how much of this cost your plan will cover.
4. How long is the recovery period?
You’ll have to consult your doctor for timelines on specific activities, but within a month most women are back to about their regular routines.
5. What are the side effects of getting your tubes tied?
The sides effects are predominately those associated with any surgical procedure: pain around your incision areas, possible infection, adverse reaction to anesthetic. However, since it involves such a sensitive area, it may also affect your desire to have sex, for a while.
6. What happens if you get pregnant with your tubes tied?
There is a possibility of becoming pregnant even after getting your tubes tied. In fact, the younger you are when you have the procedure, the higher the chance your fallopian tubes may even grow back together. In this case, a woman could have a perfectly normal pregnancy. Other times, a fertilized egg might end up in the fallopian tube. This is called an ectopic or tubal pregnancy and is a health concern you’ll need to go to the doctor to address.
When you come down to it, the biggest issue with tubal ligation is the decision to have it at all. We don’t get to talk much about the social pressure aspect of motherhood, do we? But we should. Just because you can have a child doesn’t mean you actually have to, or want to. If you’re already a mother, talking about getting your tubes tied is a little less stigmatized, since you’ve already experienced those “joys” of maternity. Yet even so, removing the possibility of experiencing that again can be a heavy topic. Make sure you think about it, and talk about it with people whose opinions you trust, before you decide what’s right for you.
Overall, however, tubal ligation is a short, simple procedure that can ease your mind about unwanted pregnancy almost completely. While there are risks, and it can be a tricky thing to reverse in terms of actually conceiving, getting her tubes tied has put many a woman’s mind at ease. Whether you’ve had all the children you want to have, or have simply decided motherhood just isn’t for you, getting your tubes tied can be the next logical step to putting the issue aside, and moving on with your life.
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Heather Adams is a writer, and the creator of the speckled note.
Vasectomy vs. Tubal Ligation: Should It Be Him or Her?
Marriage is full of many tough decisions: Where to live? Which house to buy? Where to go on vacation? How many kids to have? When to stop having kids?
Even when you two can agree on something—like you’re definitely not having any more kids—how you go about that decision can be challenging.
Which one of you should be sterilized?
First of all, sterilization is the most common form of birth control in the U.S. and it’s the most effective. But who should it be? Should he get snipped, or should she get her tubes tied?
Let’s take a look at the two procedures, vasectomy vs. tubal ligation, and weigh the pros and cons.
Understanding Tubal Ligation
Tubal ligation is the most common form of sterilization, as nearly are 700,000 performed each year in the U.S. and couples are more likely to opt for tubal ligation than a vasectomy.
It can be done while a woman recovers from childbirth, or as an outpatient procedure under general anesthesia. As an outpatient procedure, known as interval tubal ligation, the surgeon makes an incision in the navel so the abdomen can be inflated with gas, usually carbon dioxide or nitrous oxide, and then a laparoscope is inserted into the abdomen.
Using instruments passed through the abdominal wall, the doctor seals the fallopian tubes by clamping, cutting or burning them to prevent eggs from moving to the uterus. You can usually go home several hours after the surgery. Recovery could take one to three weeks.
Understanding a Vasectomy
A vasectomy is a simple procedure that nearly 500,000 men in the U.S. undergo each year. It’s considered one of the safest and most effective forms of birth control.
The procedure can be performed at a physician’s office, and it usually takes 20-30 minutes. The doctor either makes a small puncture in the scrotum (or stretches the skin) to reach the vas deferens. The vas is then severed to prevent sperm travel.
Recovery takes about two days—though guys should refrain from strenuous activity and sex for about a week. Even after resuming sex, guys should use another form of birth control for about three months until their vas deferens are clear of lingering sperm.
How do you know they’re clear? Well, you have to check your sperm count. But you can spare yourself another trip to the doctor by using a home sperm test like SpermCheck, which tells you your sterility status within a few minutes.
The Pros and Cons
So which procedure is right for you? Let’s take a look.
Both procedures are considered safe and effective forms of sterilization, and many men and women have had successful surgeries. But when it comes to the risks, women may have more trouble with getting their tubes tied.
- Tubal ligation requires a general anesthesia while a vasectomy is done with local anesthesia
- Tubal ligation procedures take longer and are more complex than vasectomies
- Side-effects of tubal ligation include perforation of the intestine, infection, damage to the bowels, and prolonged pelvic or abdominal pain. Side-effects for vasectomy are less severe and include swelling, bruising, and pain
- Tubal ligation can cost $5,000-$8,000 while vasectomies cost $350-$1,000
- Tubal ligation recovery is usually longer than recovery from a vasectomy
When you look at the pros and cons, the scales tip in favor of vasectomies. Despite the facts, tubal ligation is still the more popular method. Maybe it’s because birth control and sterilization are considered the woman’s responsibility.
But as many women will argue, and several guys have agreed with, women’s bodies have gone through plenty of trauma with childbirth, so when it comes to sterilization, it’s time for guys to take one for the team.
Of course, the decision is up to you and your spouse. It’s not the first difficult choice you’ve made, and it certainly won’t be the last.
Making a decision on whether to have a vasectomy is a deeply personal one, but there are certainly many pros and cons to consider.
Many men are worried about having the snip because they believe it will cause problems for them during sexy time. Others are more concerned that they will be less manly and will lose their ability to father children forever. Many just stress out that it’s going to be painful and they don’t have time to take a few days off work to get it done.
Before looking at pros and cons, thanks to the government’s Health Direct website here are some facts about what a vasectomy actually is:
What is a vasectomy?
- It is a surgical procedure that sterilises a man and prevents him fathering children.
- It cuts the vas deferens which are the tubes that carry sperm from the testes to the penis.
- Having one does not change a man’s sexual desire or his ability to reach orgasm.
- It won’t stop the production of semen.
- Sometimes it be reversed but it is generally permanent.
- There will be pain and swelling in the groin or scrotum, and probably some bruising.
- A vasectomy does not work immediately and can take months and up to 20 ejaculations to clear the sperm in the vas deferens after the procedure.
- A very small proportion of vasectomies fail. This is why it is important to use contraception until a semen test is clear.
- A vasectomy takes 20 to 40 minutes and can be carried out under local, light or general anaesthetic.
- After the procedure, a man will still be able to ejaculate but the sperm that are produced will be reabsorbed by the body.
Hint: If there is any chance you may want children later, you can ask to have some sperm frozen. Talk to your doctor before arranging the procedure.
Pros on having a vasectomy
It can positively impact on the sexual satisfaction of couples because the worry of falling pregnant isn’t there. Since vasectomy prevents the release of sperm from the penis but not the release to testosterone, there is no decrease in the libido or sex drive of the man.
Effective birth control.
Studies say in most cases a vasectomy is 99 per cent effective when it comes to birth control which is ideal for couples who agree they don’t want to have any more children.
It’s a minor procedure
Compared to a woman having a tubal ligation a few years after she’s finished having children, a vasectomy can be performed as an out-patient and normal life can be resumed within a few days. It also means women can cease taking other methods of birth control.
Cons of vasectomy
Some men get depressed
Many men who have this procedure reported that they have a feeling of loss after realising a part of their reproductive system has been cut or sliced. Not being able to produce an offspring in the future can emotionally effect men long term.
A vasectomy is generally permanent. Sometimes it is possible to re-join the vas tubes, but this does not guarantee the man will be able to produce another child. The chances of success decrease with time after the procedure.
Some men experience chronic pain in the testicles, immediately or several months after the procedure. There might be pain, swelling and discomfort immediately after the procedure.
Additionally, unlike condoms this form of birth control can’t protect both sexual partners against sexually transmitted diseases.
Want to know why you should consider sexy time tonight, read this. Alternatively, if you and your partners have mismatched libidos read this post.