Tubal ligation is a common form of sterilization for women that do not wish to become pregnant or have completed their family. Tubal ligation works to protect against pregnancy because the fallopian tubes are closed, which stops the eggs from reaching the uterus and also prevents sperm from entering the fallopian tube to fertilize a mature egg. Tubal ligation is 99.5% effective against pregnancy but does not offer any protection from STD's, HIV or AIDS. Average costs for the surgery range from $1,000 to $3,000.
The procedure is generally performed in a doctor's office or hospital under local or general anesthesia. The most common type of tubal ligation is through laparoscopic surgery. A small instrument is inserted into a small incision under the belly button. To close the fallopian tube, the fallopain tubes are cut or burned. With this mehtod of sterilization, the results are immediate. A non-surgical mehtod is also available, which involves having a small coil placed into the fallopian tube to create a barrier. The drawback to this form of tubal ligation, called Essure, is that it takes between three to six months for the procedure to become effective. Although some surgeries are performed on an outpatient basis, others will require a one night stay in the hospital for monitoring.
Because the procedure is not 100% effective against pregnancy, there is still a small chance that a woman can become pregnant after she has had a tubal ligation. If pregnancy does occur, there is an increased risk of it being ectopic, which is very dangerous and will need to be terminated. After the surgery, some women may experience bladder infections, irregular menstrual periods, pain during the menstrual cycle, bleeding in between periods or no period at all.
It is important to consider all options when thinking of birth control. Although the surgery can be reversed, tubal ligation is considered permanent. For young women or women that do not have children, it may be hard to find a provider to perform the surgery. Tubal ligation reversals are very expensive and are not always successful.
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