Tubal Ligation: Important information and what to expect

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Have you been considering a tubal ligation? Here's what you need to know to help make the decision easier.

Tubal ligation, or what is also known as female sterilization, is a surgical procedure and a form of birth control. In tubal ligation, a woman's fallopian tubes are cut or blocked to keep egg cells from meeting sperm cells.

Those who are certain they don't want to have more children for a variety of reasons. For instance, if pregnancy could be dangerous for them.

How is Tubal ligation done?

Tubal ligation can be done laparoscopically, or through a small incision made on the belly button. Through this incision, your fallopian tubes can be clipped, cut, or sealed. The procedure is done after you are placed on general anesthesia.

Another method is hysteroscopic sterilization. During this procedure, a hysteroscope is inserted through the vagina and cervix until it reaches the uterus. Once there, the hysteroscope places small devices to block the opening of the fallopian tubes, keeping sperm from entering it.

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Are there complications?

Once you get your tubes tied, you may experience abdominal pain, cramping, dizziness, fatigue, shoulder pain or discomfort at the surgical site. It's important to call your doctor if you develop a fever or your incision starts to bleed. Severe stomach pain and fainting spells are also causes for concern.

Recovery usually takes 2 to 3 days, but it's best to avoid strenuous activity or heavy lifting for one week. Don't resume sexual intercourse until you're comfortable with it. Consult your doctor for any concerns you may have.

After the procedure, menstruation still occurs until menopause. It's important to note that tubal ligation doesn't cause weight gain, excessive hair growth, or decreased sexual pleasure and libido.

Can you still get pregnant after the procedure?

Yes. If a woman's tubes grow back together. It's been found that the younger a woman is when she has this done, the greater the risk that pregnancy will occur.  In some cases, a woman can already be pregnant without her knowledge prior to having the procedure done. For this reason, many opt to have a tubal ligation while already pregnant, after giving birth, or after their menstrual period.

Can it be reversed?

Yes, but your doctor will take certain things into consideration, like your age, the type of surgery you had and your overall reproductive health. You also need to be sure before undergoing this surgery because, although reversal is possible, it would be a complicated procedure.

Be open with your doctor about your concerns, as this is an important decision you will be making.

sources: Healthline, Family Doctor, Department of Health, WebMD

READ: 5 Common birth control myths that can lead to pregnancy