Tubal ligation refers to surgery that involves blocking a woman’s fallopian tubes. This surgery is a permanent method of birth control, and after it has been done, an egg cannot move from the ovary through the fallopian tubes and finally to the uterus. Also, sperm can’t reach the egg in the tubes after ovulation (releasing an egg from the ovary), preventing pregnancy.
Tubal ligation is formerly known as a bilateral tubal ligation (BTL) but is commonly referred to as having your tubes tied. But what are the pros and cons of the family planning process, and are there any risks involved? If you’re thinking about getting tubal ligation done, it’s critical to understand the process and the pros and cons before making a decision. Here’s everything you need to know about tubal ligation.
The Actual Tubal Ligation Procedure
After a C-Section
According to Kansas City OBGYN, tubal ligation surgery is relatively simple. It can be performed at any time, including immediately after delivery, and many women prefer to have the procedure done as part of a C-section procedure. Doctors administer either a spinal block or general anesthesia during a standard tubal ligation.
Procedure Not Part of C-Section
If the operation isn’t part of a C-section, the surgeon creates two tiny abdominal incisions and inserts a miniature camera mounted on the end of a tube known as a laparoscope. Then, the abdomen is inflated with gas, allowing enhanced access and visibility. Next, the surgeon will cut or cauterize each fallopian tube and tie or clamp them off.
Another kind of tubal ligation is a “hysteroscopic tubal occlusion procedure,” which requires no anesthesia and can be performed in an outpatient hospital. This type of procedure is done through the cervix and involves putting coils inside the fallopian tubes rather than cauterizing or cutting them.
Healing After A Tubal Ligation
According to E-medicine health, Most women feel well enough to return home within a couple of hours after the procedure. The doctor may prescribe analgesic drugs for managing post-operative pain. Patients often experience some localized abdominal pain close to the incisions for which a health care professional may prescribe painkillers, while some women might experience dizziness, cramping, gassiness, bloating, fatigue, or shoulder pain.
Also, you may need help from a family member or friend with driving and getting settled at home due to the effects of the anesthesia. But you can expect to resume normal activities, including work, in several days, although some women may be advised against exercising for a short time.
You should reach your doctor if you have a temperature higher than 100.4°F, if you feel pain and/or bleed or have discharge from the incision area that persists or increases 12 hours post-operation, or if you have fainting spells.
Also, avoid sexual intercourse and heavy lifting until two- or three weeks post-operation to ensure you’re fully recovered.
If the laparoscopic method was used to tie the tubes, you don’t need further tests to ensure effectiveness, and women can immediately stop other birth control types.
However, if a hysteroscopic tubal occlusion was performed, you should continue using contraceptives for 12 weeks, after which a hysterosalpingogram is performed to confirm the procedure was effective.
Pros & Cons Of Tubal Ligation
Pros of Tubal Ligation
- It’s permanent – This is a big plus if you’re not interested in ever having kids or are done having them.
- It’s effective – According to WebMDonly about one in 200 women get pregnant after getting their tubes tied (less than 1%).
- You do not have to remember to do anything – No need to take a pill put in a diaphragm, use a condom, manually count days, or use an app to avoid pregnancy, making you feel more relaxed about sex.
- Does not affect your hormones– It won’t affect your periods or cause menopause and doesn’t cause the side effects linked to birth control pills, such as weight gain, headaches, mood swings, or those sometimes caused by IUDs such as heavier periods, cramps, or spotting .
- May lower ovarian cancer chances – Scientists aren’t sure exactly why it happens, but studies have shown that tubal ligation can significantly reduce a woman’s chances of this type of cancer.
Cons of Tubal Ligation
- It’s permanent – While a tubal ligation can sometimes be reversed with surgery, this isn’t always the case. Only approximately 50% of women who do a reversal are able to become pregnant. So don’t have a tubal ligation unless you’re 100% sure you’re not interested in getting pregnant.
- It does not protect against STDsso you’ll have to use condoms to prevent them.
- It may cause an ectopic pregnancy – While pregnancy is rare, there’s a slight chance of getting pregnant. And when you do get pregnant, you’re more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy, which may cause the fallopian tube to burst, leading to severe bleeding.
- Risks involved during surgery – While rare, there may be problems caused by this type of surgery, including bleeding and damage to your bladder, bowel, or major blood vessels.
- Post-tubal ligation syndrome (PTLS) – This is when women experience a rapid decline in the hormone progesterone and estrogen after the surgery. Symptoms are similar to menopause, including mood swings, hot flashes, a dry vagina, night sweats, reduced sex drive, irregular periods, trouble sleeping, and heavy, painful periods.
- The cut from your surgery may get an infectionor you may react to anesthesia, and there’s also a minimal chance of lingering belly pain.
Sources: E-medicine health, Kansas City OBGYN, WebMD,
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