Tubal ligation is a type of permanent birth control method
It takes about 4 weeks for complete recovery after tubal ligation. During this period, complete internal healing also occurs. After surgery, you can expect the following things:
- You can return home a few hours after the surgery.
- Wait 48 hours to take a bath or shower.
- Don’t rub or scrub the operated area for at least a week. Pat your skin dry carefully after your bath or shower.
- You may have some discomfort around the incision site.
- You may experience abdominal pain or cramps, fatigue, mild vaginal bleeding, dizziness, or a sore throat due to the anesthesia.
- You may experience some bloating when the physician uses gas to blow up the abdomen, which resolves in a couple of days.
- You can return to your daily activities in a few days, but avoid lifting anything heavy until the doctor says so.
- You can resume sexual activities a week after the tubal ligation.
- Tubal ligation does not protect from sexually transmitted diseases; hence, using condoms is desirable.
- Tubal ligation may or may not be reversed with surgery. The reversal surgery depends on several factors and is uncertain.
- If you get pregnant after a tubal ligation, it would be mostly pregnancy outside the uterus.
What is tubal ligation?
Tubal ligation is a type of permanent birth control method that involves tying off the tubes. During the tubal ligation, the fallopian tubes are cut, tied, or blocked to prevent pregnancy. Blocking the fallopian tubes may prevent traveling of the eggs from the ovaries to the uterus and traveling of sperm up the fallopian tubes to the eggs.
Tubal ligation doesn’t affect the menstruation cycle. A woman can choose to get tubal ligation at any time, especially after childbirth or after cesarean delivery.
When is tubal ligation indicated?
Tubal ligation is indicated if:
- The woman desires permanent sterilization
- The woman has completed her childbearing age
- The woman has health risk with pregnancy
- The woman has the risk of ovarian cancer
Tubal ligation is avoided when:
- The decision of sterilization was not voluntary
- There are gynecological conditions that require a hysterectomy or bilateral oophorectomy
- Concurrent desired pregnancy
- The woman has severe heart or lung disease or dysfunction
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What to expect during a tubal ligation?
Before the procedure:
Discuss with the physician about your need for sterilization. The physician may instruct you to:
- Stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), clopidogrel (Plavix), and other blood thinners
- Tell about the drugs that you can continue till the day of surgery
- Inform about any bleeding disorders or other medical conditions
- Give blood samples for blood transfusion
- Avoid smoking to help you recover quickly
During the procedure:
Tubal ligation can be performed in an outpatient setting. The physician may give general anesthesia to make you sleep throughout the procedure. The physician makes a cut or two in the abdomen and inflates it with gas. The physician then inserts a long tube or laparoscope through the incision to view the pelvic organs. After identifying the fallopian tubes, the physician with other instruments closes off the fallopian tubes. Finally, the physician closes the cut with sutures. The whole procedure takes about 20-30 minutes.
What are the complications of tubal ligation?
The risks of tubal ligation include:
- Ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy found outside the uterus)
- Post-tubal ligation syndrome (rapid decline in progesterone and estrogen)
- Damage to the nearby organs
- Failure of the tubal ligation resulting in an unwanted pregnancy
- Pain, bleeding, or infection at the site of the cut/incision
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Medically Reviewed on 11/6/2020