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Birth Control Options: Tubal Ligation Pros and Cons

Birth Control Options: Tubal Ligation Pros and Cons
Birth Control Options: Tubal Ligation Pros and Cons

Tubal ligation is a permanent birth control method. It is also known as tubal sterilization. Thiscontraceptive method consists of cutting, blocking or tying the Fallopian tubes in order to permanentlyprevent pregnancy.Tubal ligation blocks the movement of the egg to the uterus by blocking, cutting or tying theFallopian tubes. This birth control method also blocks the movement of the sperm toward the Fallopiantubes, preventing the fertilization of the egg. Tubal ligation does not interfere with the menstrualcycle. Tubal ligation is a birth control option that can be performed at any time. Usually it is performedduring the C-Section, but it can be performed after childbirth, any other contraception should be used forat least one month before the procedure and continue using it even after the procedure until the nextperiod in order to minimize the chances of getting pregnant. Having this procedure done shortly afterchildbirth, during C-Section, during the menstrual periods or in the time during menstrual periodsand ovulation, reduces the chances of getting pregnant at the time of the procedure.

Risks Associated with Chosen Birth Control Method

Tubal ligation is a reversible procedure. However, the reversal requires majorsurgery and it is not always successful. Like any other medical procedure performed under anesthesia,this birth control option has its own side effects, possible risks and complications.Risks associated with tubal

  • Reaction and side effects due to anesthesia
  • Damage to the bladder, bowel or major blood vessels of the abdomen and
  • Infection of the wound
  • Improper wound healing
  • Prolonged pelvic or abdominal pain.

Some women are at a greater risk for complications after tubal ligation than others. Higher risk rates forcomplications have women who are obese, diabetic, who have had major abdominal surgeries in the past,etc.

What to Expect After the Birth Control Procedure

After the birth control procedure it is normal to have some discomfort at the incision site. Youmight also experience fatigue, nausea, dizziness, abdominal pain and abdominal cramping, bloating,gassiness, shoulder pain, etc. Avoid lifting heavy things and also avoid sexual intercourse for a week ortwo. You should resume to your normal daily activities gradually. Seek medical help immediately in caseswhen after the procedure you are having high fever, abdominal pain and cramping that is getting worseby time, discharge from the incision site, bleeding from the incision site, etc.

Possibility of Tubal Ligation to Fail

Keep in mind that tubal ligation does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.Also keep in mind that there is always a possibility of getting pregnant even after tubal ligation. The ratesare very low, though. The younger you are, the greater is the possibility of tubal ligation to fail. Usually,these pregnancies are ectopic pregnancies (a pregnancy that occurs outside of the uterus, usually into theFallopian tubes) which end into miscarriage. Pregnancy may occur if:

  • The tubes grow back together or recanalization occurs that allows an egg to be fertilized by sperm.
  • The surgery was not done correctly.
  • You were pregnant at the time of surgery.

Keep in mind that reversing tubal ligation requires reconnecting the fallopian tubes. The success rates forreconnecting are very low. If you are considering tubal ligation as a contraceptive method, be aware ofthe fact that you can’t get pregnant and have biologic children in the future.

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About Author

Dr. Dmitry Bronfman

Dmitry Bronfman, MD, is a board-certified gynecologist who specializes in all aspects of contemporary women’s health, preventive medicine, pelvic pain, minimally invasive and robotic surgery, and general, adolescent, and menopausal gynecology.

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