Should you get your tubes tied?

January 04, 2018 | by Diana Calero, M.D.
Categories: Healthy Driven Moms

If you’re at a point in your life when you know you don’t want any (more) kids, you may consider getting your tubes tied.

Having your tubes tied, or tubal ligation, is the most popular form of birth control among married couples—and one of the most effective — with 1 in 4 married couples choosing this option.

Also known as female sterilization, a tubal ligation typically involves clipping or cutting and sealing off both fallopian tubes to prevent an egg and sperm from meeting. You’ll continue to ovulate and get your period until menopause naturally occurs.

Another option for sterilization that is gaining popularity is bilateral salpingectomy, which involves removing both fallopian tubes. Research suggests this procedure may also decrease the risk of ovarian cancer, as a significant percentage of these cancers begin in the fallopian tubes.

Sterilization procedures aren’t just for women who are done having babies. You may choose sterilization if you know you don’t want kids, if you have a genetic disorder that you don’t want to pass on, or if pregnancy would put your health in jeopardy.

Since it is a permanent form of birth control, you should only consider sterilization if you're absolutely sure you don't want children.

There are alternatives to sterilization that are reversible — some long-lasting too. Other forms of female birth control that can be discontinued at any time if you want to become pregnant, include:

  • Hormonal methods
    • Birth control pill – every day
    • Vaginal ring – every 3 weeks
    • The patch – every 4 weeks
    • Injection – every 12 weeks
  • Barrier methods (e.g., condom, diaphragm, sponge, cervical cap)
  • Contraceptive implants – lasts 3 years
  • IUDs (intrauterine device) – lasts 3 to 10 years

The advantages of getting your tubes tied is that it doesn’t affect your hormones. You'll still get your period, and it won't affect your mood or sex drive. And since you won’t need birth control anymore, tubal ligation is a one-time expense.

Every woman should think long and hard before undergoing a sterilization procedure. Don’t rush to decide if you’re still uncertain about having kids, during stressful times, or if you’re under pressure from a partner or others. Research shows that women younger than 30 years are more likely than older women to regret having the procedure.

Remember, there is also the option of a vasectomy for a man, which according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is one of the most effective forms of birth control. It is cheaper, faster and safer than many other options.

Learn more about women’s health services at Edward-Elmhurst Health.

Read our blog: Snip, snip: all about vasectomies.

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