Thinking About Getting Your Tubes Tied? Here’s What to Consider

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If you’re finished having children, there’s a birth control option that may be able to give you the permanence, convenience and effectiveness you’re looking for. It’s called a “tubal ligation,” commonly called “getting your tubes tied.”

Shawn Gorden, MD, an OB/GYN at AdventHealth Manchester, formerly Manchester Memorial Hospital, says a tubal ligation has the following benefits:

  • It’s permanent —After a tubal ligation, you won’t need to do anything more. For many women, that can bring peace of mind.
  • It’s effective— Partly because a tubal ligation is a one-and-done procedure, studies have shown that it’s more than 99% effective.
  • It’s non-hormonal — A tubal ligation shouldn’t affect your hormones, meaning your periods should be unchanged.
  • It’s convenient— This is a same-day procedure, meaning you come in during the morning and leave later that day. Down time can be a few weeks, but some patients can return to work after a few days.

Before you learn whether a tubal ligation is right for you, your doctor will tell you about how it works.

What Tubes Are Being Tied?

As you might expect, a tubal ligation works by preventing an egg from entering the uterus. Eggs are made in the ovaries, but before they can end up in the uterus they have to travel through the fallopian tubes.

By interrupting eggs before they can get to the uterus, a tubal ligation can reliably prevent pregnancy. Though the fallopian tubes can be literally tied closed, other methods are more common.

Usually, the tubes are clamped shut, often with clips, Dr. Gorden says. The egg is just a single, microscopic cell, so if it’s blocked it’s reabsorbed by the body just like other cells.

In some cases, the fallopian tubes can be removed entirely instead of just blocked. This procedure has the added benefit of significantly decreasing a woman’s risk of getting ovarian cancer.

When Is the Best Time to Get One?

Many women get tubal ligations during or shortly after they give birth, though that’s not your only option. There are generally three circumstances under which women receive tubal ligations. They are:

  • At the end of a C-section. During this procedure, the patient’s abdomen is already opened, so the surgeon can use that incision to close the fallopian tubes. It does not lengthen your hospital stay or add to your pain.
  • After a vaginal delivery. A tubal ligation can be completed either the day of delivery or the following day. It is typically performed using small, 1.5-inch incisions. It should not increase your hospital stay, and pain is usually minimal and controllable by over-the-counter medication.
  • Unrelated to pregnancy. A tubal ligation can be performed at just about any time, not only after you’ve given birth. In this case, it is also done using minimally invasive surgery.

Overall, statistics show that about 8 or 9 percent of births in the United States are followed by a tubal ligation.

One of the biggest benefits of getting your tubes tied — its permanency — makes it important to think about its long-term effects.

Is a Tubal Ligation Right for You?

The procedure’s common name can lead some people to think their tubes can be untied as easily as they’re tied. But it’s not that simple. Even when a surgeon can reconnect the fallopian tubes, they can’t say for sure that they’ll work well enough to result in a pregnancy.

For this reason, Dr. Gorden doesn’t call it “getting your tubes tied;” he calls it “surgical sterilization,” a term that leaves no doubt about its finality. It’s not, in other words, a decision to make lightly.

As part of informing women about their options for birth control, Dr. Gorden also tells them about other long-term and effective — but easily reversible — forms of birth control. The decision about which to choose is, of course, up to each woman.

Hundreds of thousands of American women receive tubal ligations each year. And if you’re looking for a permanent, one-time form of contraception, it may be right for you.

AdventHealth believes family planning is a crucial part of a woman’s whole health. We arm you with the information you need to make the choices that fit in your life and your family’s life.

To learn more about getting a tubal ligation at AdventHealth Manchester, visit our website or call Call606-599-4080.

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