What is Female sterilisation?
Female sterilisation is a method of contraception. It is a procedure carried out to prevent eggs from reaching sperm. The fallopian tubes are blocked or sealed to prevent the eggs from reaching the sperm and becoming fertilised.
The purpose of female sterilization is to permanently prevent pregnancy.
When is Female sterilisation needed?
When women choose not to have children, sterilization can be a good option.
What should you know before undergoing Female sterilisation?
Female sterilization is not for everyone. The procedure may be contraindicated in cases of:
- Known allergy or hypersensitivity to any materials used for procedure.
- Uncertainty about desire to end fertility
- Pregnancy or suspected pregnancy
- Inaccessible, technically difficult uterus and fallopian tubes
- Allergy to contrast medium
What are the complications and side effects?
It’s normal to feel unwell and a little uncomfortable if you’ve had a general anaesthetic, and you may have to rest for a few days.
You may have some slight vaginal bleeding. You may also feel some pain, like period pain – you can take painkillers for this. If the pain or bleeding gets worse, seek medical help.
There are certain risks involved in any medical procedure. Infection and bleeding are rare side effects of tubal ligation. Talk to your doctor about the risks before the procedure.
For sterilization using inserts, there is a small chance that the implants could become dislodged or damage the uterus. In clinical studies, most women reported little to no pain. However, some reports of long-term chronic pelvic pain in women may be related to Essure. In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ordered Essure to make changes to its packaging. A boxed warning is now required along with a checklist of potential risks and benefits. The FDA has also mandated that Essure conduct a clinical study to evaluate the risks among particular women. These studies have not yet been published.
In rare cases, the tubes can spontaneously heal after sterilization. According to Planned Parenthood, if this occurs, there is a one-in-three chance that any pregnancy occurring after sterilization will be ectopic. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fetus implants in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus. It’s a potentially very serious medical problem. If not caught in time, it can be life-threatening.
It is important you understand the precautions and know the possible complication and side effects before having this Female sterilisation. If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor or surgeon for more information.
How do I prepare for Female sterilisation?
Your GP may recommend counselling before referring you for sterilisation. This can involve your partner, if you would like, but it doesn’t have to. Counselling will give you a chance to talk about the operation in detail, and discuss any doubts, worries or questions you might have.
Your GP can refuse to carry out the procedure or refuse to refer you for it if they don’t believe it’s in your best interests.
You’ll need to use contraception until the day of the operation, and right up until your next period after surgery if you’re having your fallopian tubes blocked.
Sterilisation can be performed at any stage in your menstrual cycle.
Before you have the operation, you’ll be given a pregnancy test to make sure you’re not pregnant because, once you’ve been sterilised, there’s a high risk that any pregnancy will become ectopic.
What happens during Female sterilisation?
How long female sterilization takes depends on the specific procedure. Most people will be discharged that same day, normally within two hours.
For a tubal ligation, you will need anesthesia. Your doctor will inflate your abdomen with gas and make a small incision to access your reproductive organs with the laparoscope. Then they will seal your fallopian tubes. The doctor may do this by:
- Cutting and folding the tubes
- Removing sections of the tubes
- Blocking the tubes with bands or clips
Some sterilization procedures require only one instrument and incision, while others require two. Discuss the specific procedure with your doctor in advance.
Currently one device is used for nonsurgical female sterilization. It’s sold under the brand name Essure and is sometimes called fallopian tube occlusion. It consists of two tiny metal coils. One is inserted into each fallopian tube through the vagina and cervix. Eventually, scar tissue forms around the coils and blocks the tubes.
No incisions are necessary, so recovery times may be faster than with surgery. The procedure can be done in a physician’s office using local anesthesia and sedation. It can also be done under general anesthesia in a hospital or surgical center if you require more analgesia.
Nonsurgical sterilization is not effective right away. It takes time for the scar tissue to form and block your fallopian tubes. You will need to return to your doctor after some time to see if the procedure was effective. A special type of X-ray called a hysterosalpingography uses dye to show if your tubes are open.
What happens after Female sterilisation?
After the procedure, you’ll be monitored every fifteen minutes for an hour to make sure that you’re recovering and that there are no complications.
Recovery usually takes between two and five days. Your doctor will likely ask you to return for a follow-up appointment one week after the procedure.
If you have any questions or concerns, please consult with your doctor or surgeon for more information.
What should you do after Female sterilisation?
Depending on your general health and your job, you can normally return to work 5 days after tubal occlusion, but avoid heavy lifting for about a week. Use a sanitary towel rather than a tampon until bleeding stops.
If you had tubal occlusion, you’ll have a wound with stitches where the surgeon made the cut. The stitches would need to be removed at a follow-up appointment unless dissolvable ones were used.
If there’s a dressing over your wound, you can normally remove this the day after your operation. After this, you’ll be able to have a bath or shower.
Your sex drive and sex life shouldn’t be affected. You can have sex as soon as it’s comfortable to do so after the operation.
If you had tubal occlusion, use additional contraception until your first period to protect yourself from pregnancy.
Sterilisation doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so you may need to use condoms.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Choosing a Birth Control Method. http://www.arhp.org/Publications-and-Resources/Quick-Reference-Guide-for-Clinicians/choosing/female-sterilization. Accessed June 28, 2018.
Your contraception guide. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/female-sterilisation/#recovering-after-the-operation. Accessed June 28, 2018.
What Every Woman Should Know About Female Sterilization. https://www.healthline.com/health/birth-control-female-sterilization#effectiveness. Accessed June 28, 2018.
Female Sterilisation. https://patient.info/health/sterilisation/female-sterilisation. Accessed June 28, 2018.
Review Date: September 7, 2018 | Last Modified: September 7, 2018