Sterilization

Female sterilization is performed through a surgical procedure called tubal occlusion, which prevents pregnancy. It is a permanent form of birth control. The fallopian tubes are blocked so that the egg and the sperm can’t meet.

Since this is a permanent form of birth control and is generally not reversible, it’s important to consider the possibility of divorce and remarriage and your desire for a future pregnancy. Once you choose sterilization, your doctor will ask you to sign a consent form that states that you are aware of the risks involved in the surgery. Although the result is the same, there are various ways of performing the surgery.

LAPAROSCOPY

A local or general anesthesia can be used. A blunt instrument called a cannula is inserted through the vagina to move the uterus into position during the operation.

The doctor inserts a surgical instrument through a small incision in the abdomen just below the naval. A special gas is introduced to puff out your abdomen. Then a laparascope, a telescope-like instrument with a light, is inserted through the incision.sterilization-process-in-woman

Surgical instruments are inserted through the same incision or another just above the pubic hairline. Looking through the laparascope, the doctor can see to block your tubes with a ring, clip or burn method.

After the laparascope is removed, the gas is released from the abdomen and the incision is closed and covered with a sterile adhesive bandage.

MINILAPAROTOMY

Only one 2-4 inch incision is made for a minilaparotomy. The tubes are lifted out of the incision just above the pubic hairline and are ringed, clipped or burned.

VAGINAL STERILIZATION AND TUBAL OCCLUSION AFTER CHILDBIRTH

A less common form of sterilization is vaginal sterilization. With this method, access to the tubes is gained through the vagina, where an incision is made behind the cervix. Tubal occlusion can also be done during a cesarean section when the tubes are already in view or shortly after giving birth while still in the hospital. This is done if the decision to sterilize was made before the birth.

After the operation, recovery takes a few hours. Normal activities can be resumed in a few days. Pads or tampons can be used for any bleeding from the vagina.

Except for the inability to become pregnant, your life should be no different after surgery. Weight gain and sex drive should remain unchanged. Many women report a freeing feeling from not having to worry about birth control.

COMPLICATIONS

Because tubal occlusion is surgery, there are some risks involved. You may experience bleeding, infection, electrical burn from cauterization, injury to the bowel or bladder, a reaction to the anesthesia or failure to prevent pregnancy. If your recovery doesn’t feel the way it should, contact your doctor immediately.

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