A tubal ligation — also known as having your tubes tied or tubal sterilization — is a type of permanent birth control. During a tubal ligation, the fallopian tubes are cut or blocked to permanently prevent pregnancy.
A tubal ligation disrupts the movement of the egg to the uterus for fertilization and blocks sperm from traveling up the fallopian tubes to the egg. A tubal ligation doesn’t affect your menstrual cycle.
A tubal ligation can be done at any time, including after childbirth or in combination with another abdominal surgical procedure, such as a C-section. It’s possible to reverse a tubal ligation — but reversal requires major surgery and isn’t always effective.
During the procedure
If you have an interval tubal ligation as an outpatient procedure, either a needle is inserted or an incision is made through your navel so your abdomen can be inflated with gas (carbon dioxide or nitrous oxide). Then a laparoscope is inserted into your abdomen.
In most cases, your doctor will make a second small incision to insert special instruments. Using instruments passed through the abdominal wall, your doctor seals the fallopian tubes by destroying segments of the tubes or blocking them with plastic rings or clips.
If you have a tubal ligation after vaginal childbirth, your doctor will likely make a small incision under your navel, providing easy access to your still-enlarged uterus and fallopian tubes. If you have a tubal ligation during a C-section, your health care provider will use the incision that was made to deliver the baby.
After the procedure
If your abdomen was inflated with gas during the interval tubal procedure, the gas will be withdrawn. You may be allowed to go home several hours after the procedure. If you have the procedure in combination with childbirth, the tubal ligation isn’t likely to prolong your hospital stay.
You’ll have some discomfort at the incision site. You might also experience:
- Abdominal pain or cramping
- Gassiness or bloating
- Shoulder pain
You may take acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) for pain relief, but avoid using aspirin, since it may increase bleeding. You may bathe 48 hours after the procedure, but avoid straining or rubbing the incision for one week. Carefully dry the incision after bathing.
Avoid strenuous lifting and sex for one to two weeks. Resume your normal activities gradually as you begin to feel better. Your stitches will dissolve and won’t require removal. Check with Dr. Howell or Dr. Pevoto to see if you need a follow-up appointment.
*information from Mayo Clinic.