Female Sterilisation (Tubal Occlusion)
What is it?
Female sterilisation is a contraception option that requires surgery. Sterilisation involves blocking or sealing the fallopian tubes, where the eggs would typically travel from the ovaries to the womb. The surgery will prevent any female eggs reaching sperm that could fertilise them.
Is female sterilisation right for me?
The sterilisation method has been proven to be 99% effective as a contraceptive method, making it an ideal choice for women who do not want contraception to be a day to day concern and would like to prevent any future pregnancies.
Sterilisation won’t have any effect on your hormone levels, and you will still experience periods after being sterilised. There are rarely any long-terms effects on your sexual health after sterilisation and you will not experience any negative effects on your sex drive.
However, this method will not protect you against STIs, so you will still need to use barrier contraception is you are unsure of the sexual health of your partner.
This surgery is very difficult to reverse, which means that anyone considering the procedure must be entirely confident they do not want any future children. The Baddow Hospital consultant will discuss this with you before your surgery to ensure you are comfortable with your decision.
What our patients say
“I’ve had a wonderful level of care. Nurses, Anaesthetist and consultant have all been fantastic. Surgery went well so I am extremely happy. Receptionists were also very helpful and friendly”
The sterilisation is usually carried out under general anaesthetic, but can also be completed by using local anaesthetic.
Before your tubal occlusion, the surgeon will need examine your fallopian tubes. This is usually done through a laparoscopy or a mini-laparotomy.
For a laparoscopy, a small cut in your abdominal wall will be made, which is where your surgeon will insert the laparoscope. For a mini-laparotomy a small incision will be made just above the pubic hairline. Your surgeon will decide which method will be best.
A second small incision will be made in order to insert the surgical instruments and begin the sterilisation. If you have had a C-section, your surgeon will use the same incision that was used to deliver the baby.
The surgeon will also use the incision to inflate the abdominal area with gas (commonly carbon dioxide or nitrous oxide). This makes using the laparoscope simpler.
There are three ways a tubal occlusion can be completed. Your surgeon may apply plastic or titanium clamps to close the fallopian tubes.
Small loops of the fallopian tube can also be pulled through a silicone ring, which can then be seal the tubes shut.
Alternatively, surgeons will tie and cut the tube, which will destroy around 3-4cm of the tube once the procedure is completed.
After your surgery, any gas used to inflate the abdomen will be withdrawn.
You will not normally be required to stay overnight after your sterilisation, but you will require a friend or family member to pick you up. If you have been under general anaesthetic you should not drive a car for 48 hours afterwards.
If you received stitches where the surgeon made cuts into your stomach, you may have to have some of these removed. Most will dissolve over time, but you will be given a follow-up appointment for any that remain.
Any dressings can typically be removed around 24 hours after your operation. You will be able to shower and bathe as usual after you’ve removed the dressing.
You are likely to feel a little under the weather and uncomfortable for the first few days after the surgery. A few days of rest is recommended and you should be able to return to work five days after your procedure. However, any heavy lifting should be avoided.
It’s likely you will experience some light vaginal bleeding and period pain type symptoms. A sanitary towel is recommended, rather than a tampon. Your consultant may prescribe some painkillers to manage the pain, but if the pain or the bleeding gets worse you are advised to seek medical attention.
You will be able to have sex as soon as you feel comfortable to do so, this will usually be around 1-2 weeks. You may be required to continue using contraception after your surgery. This may be required up until your first period, or for around three months after.
Risks and side effects
As with any surgery, sterilisation includes a small risk of complications, including infections, internal bleeding or damage to other organs. It is also possible for the surgery to be unsuccessful, as fallopian tubes can sometimes re-join making you fertile again. This is incredibly rare and happens to only one in 200 women after sterilisation.
If a pregnancy was to occur after sterilisation, there is a chance is may ectopic. This is when the fertilised egg grows outside of the womb, quite often in the fallopian tubes. If you miss a period after sterilisation you are strongly advised to take a pregnancy test and get in touch with your consultant as soon as possible if the test is positive.