Female sterilization is the second most popular method of birth control, right after contraceptives. Over 25.1% of women undergo the surgery to become permanently sterilized.
There are many reasons why a woman might choose to undergo this procedure. For one, they might be done having kids. Some women may not even want children and therefore will use the most permanent means to make sure pregnancy never happens.
No matter the reason, the amount of sterilization surgeries is quickly rising. We have compiled the top five questions patients ask before undergoing the surgery.
Is there more than one sterilization method?
Yes. There are two methods. There is the tubal ligation method which seals the fallopian tubes. The doctor will seal the tubes by cutting and folding, removing entire sections of the tube, or blocking the tube with clips. This method usually involves surgery and will require the patient to undergo anesthesia.
The second method is a nonsurgical method. For this procedure, two metal coils are inserted through the vagina and the cervix so that the coils can reach the fallopian tubes. The coils latch onto the tubes. Soon, scar tissue forms around the tubes and will block the tubes. The scar tissue that blocks the tubes can take up to three months to form, so during this time, make sure that you are using another method of birth control until the tubes are blocked.
No matter what procedure you choose, both procedures are equally effective.
Can I reverse the procedure?
For the most part, no. Female sterilization is a permanent surgery. However, in some cases the procedure may be reversed in some women, depending on how much of a fallopian tube they have left.
Does the sterilization procedure hurt?
There is a little pain. Women who undergo the surgery are typically put under local anesthesia. In other words, they are awake for the procedure but will not be able to feel the procedure. After the surgery, some women may feel weak and sore for a few days up to a few weeks but will soon return to normal.
Will sterilization cause a loss in sex drive?
Sterilization does not cause a loss in sex drive.
Do sterilized women have to worry about getting pregnant again?
While female sterilization is intended to be a permanent surgery, nothing is 100%. About 5 in 1000 women who receive the surgery end up getting pregnant a year after the surgery.
Despite some risk of pregnancy happening, the effectiveness of sterilization is about 99.5%. When compared to other birth control methods, sterilization in considered to be the most effective. Some contraception methods such as the pill or Nuva ring are only 92% effective. Condom use is even lower with only a 79-85% rate of effectiveness.
The decision to become sterilized is a very serious step in family planning. Be sure to talk to your doctor and your partner about all family planning options, and choose the path that is right for you.