Tie 'Em Up, Take 'Em Out - Female Sterilization
July 10, 2018 5:29 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking into female sterilization and have an appointment made with my healthcare provider. I'd like to hear from people who have done this - what kind did you do? when did you do it? what were the side effects? how long was your recovery? any advice?

I'm nearly 40, have one kid, will not be having another. Ever. I've done IUDs and don't want another; I'm sick of hormones and Paraguard made me bleed forever. I want to protect myself from getting pregnant, especially in these fucked up times.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (17 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
One of my best friends had a tubal ligation after the birth of her second child. She absolutely loved it. No complications, recovery was quick and easy. She was 38 at the time. She recommends it to anyone who will listen.
posted by cooker girl at 5:32 AM on July 10, 2018

Tubal ligation day surgery at 30. 2 weeks recovery (seriously). Yeah, I liked it. Hystectomy more painful, longer recovery but no periods (50ish).
posted by b33j at 6:06 AM on July 10, 2018

I had a tubal ligation when I was 28. No kids. It was almost 20 years ago so all I can really remember is it was...super easy? I mean, it’s general anesthesia so that’s nothing to sneeze at, but it was quick, checked in very early and out of the hospital before noon. Recovery was neglible (I did sleep a lot that afternoon, because of the anesthesia). I had no pain that I remember and no side effects that I’m aware of. There is only the tiniest of scars. It was one of the best things I ever did for myself.
posted by acanthous at 6:07 AM on July 10, 2018 [4 favorites]

I had Adiana in 2011; the manufacturer stopped making it (for money reasons, not medical, it seems), but Essure is still available and is the same thing. It's non-surgical; they insert tiny pellets that stop up your tubes as scar tissue grows around them.

Getting it done was super super easy. They prescribed me a Valium to take that morning (which I had never taken before and I was higher than a kite, I did not enjoy that part). They did it in office, and it wasn't much more invasive than a regular Pap smear, and took about half an hour all together (it only took that long because she was having trouble finding my left tube). Afterwards, I got cleaned up like a regular exam and went home. She prescribed painkillers, but I didn't need them (but I have a high pain tolerance, your mileage may vary). Recovery time was zero - seriously, it was just little having a regular pap.

I had to use my normal birth control for three months while my tubes scarred up. Then I had to go in for a nuclear medicine test (the same test they use when people are having trouble conceiving, which was a little odd, since I was hoping for the opposite result!) They ran my xrays, showed me that my tubes were good and stopped up, and sent me on my way.

Overall, super easy, super painless, A+ would do again.
posted by joycehealy at 6:46 AM on July 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

I had a tubal ligation in '97, at 37. Best damn decision I ever made. Super easy laparoscopic surgery, outpatient. Done on a Friday, back at work on Monday. No complications. I like kids but never wanted any of my own and quite honestly, the experience of going to the gynecologist to schedule the surgery felt like the first time anyone ever really heard me say that and didn't brush it off as a phase.

I had heavy periods and cramps for a few years afterwards, which I always thought was just what my periods must be like when not being interfered with by IUDs or the pill, but a friend suggested that the ligation may have also had a hand in it, so maybe ask your doctor about that. It certainly didn't make me regret the ligation.
posted by janey47 at 7:53 AM on July 10, 2018

I have seen MAJOR complaints and issues about Essure including lawsuits and need of future surgery. (Drugwatch summary - FDA restricted its sale .gov link

Do the tubal ligation. (In my case my husband got a vasectomy but I fully considered a tubal before I met him and we talked about it.)
posted by Crystalinne at 8:00 AM on July 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

I am a cautionary tale for Essure. Feel free to memail me if you want specifics. But while the surgery itself was fairly simple (although a LOT more blood than I was expecting), one of them did not expand as much as it should have, and so therefore doesn’t work. They’re sitting there in my body, but not functioning as birth control. In addition, Essure can migrate in the body and puncture other organs. ( there’s a class action suit currently being run by Erin Brockovich!) It may be what has caused my abnormal bleeding for 4 years. ( feel free to check out my own recent asks to see some of my nightmare medical situation) I may have to have surgery to get them removed.

Getting Essure was one of the biggest regrets of my life and I should have gotten a tubal ligation. In retrospect, why introduce a foreign material to your body and expect that it’s going to do entirely predictable things?
posted by greermahoney at 8:18 AM on July 10, 2018 [4 favorites]

I had a tubal ligation back in 1986. Even in the Dark Ages, it was very easy. Done on an outpatient basis, the only incision was in my navel. For about a week afterward, my belly was a bit bloated from whatever they used to expand my innards to permit room to work. So I was careful to wear clothes that weren't tight around the waist. That was it - easy peasy.
posted by DrGail at 8:34 AM on July 10, 2018 [1 favorite]

I had Essure several years ago -- it was a pretty simple procedure except that I experienced SEVERE cramping while they were putting the darn things in, painful enough that I probably wouldn't have gone that route had I known ahead of time. Once it was over, however, recovery was a snap and I have had zero problems since then, but I admit I worry a bit about problems down the road. Probably if I had it to do over I would have gone with tubal ligation.
posted by JanetLand at 10:54 AM on July 10, 2018

Had a ligation in 2006 at 30, no kids. It was outpatient at like 6am. I was home by noon. Incisions were laparoscopic and not painful. By far the worst was the gas in my shoulders. it was about 3 days before I was 100%. If I had to do it over, I would have also had the uterine ablation at the same time instead of years later. My chach is recreational use only and I love it that way.
posted by fluttering hellfire at 12:32 PM on July 10, 2018 [2 favorites]

I got the kind that is just little clips on each tube. I was surprised by how minor recovery was. They did it laparoscopically, so it was three tiny incisions. This was about 12 years ago. No negative side effects occurred, which is something I have never been able to say about birth control pills of any kind. A++ would recommend to any interested person without hesitation.

(That wonderful OB/GYN retired immediately afterwards. The next one I saw asked me the first time I saw her how soon "we" could have those clips removed so I could start having kids. I did not see her again.)
posted by heatvision at 12:37 PM on July 10, 2018

After the birth of our last kiddo in 1980, I had laparoscopic tubal ligation. They went in through my navel while my abdomen was still distended from having kiddo. I had 2 tiny, now invisible scars around my navel and no other signs/symptoms of the procedure. Recovery went along simultaneously with recovery from pregnancy, so wasn't really noticeable. Best thing I ever did.
posted by Lynsey at 1:40 PM on July 10, 2018

I also have essure and would not do it again. So far the only side effect has been really heavy periods, but that sucks enough and has required other meds to control. I wanted a tubal ligation, my gyn talked me into essure instead, but if I could go back I would insist on the surgery.

My mother had a tubal ligation back in the dark ages (the 80s) and was very happy with it.
posted by jeoc at 5:57 PM on July 10, 2018

I threw my uterus in the War of 1812, but I've known lots of ladies who had tubal ligations with no issues at all. They used to call it "Band-Aid Surgery."
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:28 PM on July 10, 2018

I had a tubal ligation via filshie clip a couple of months after The Election at age 30. It was a laparoscopic surgery and from start to finish included four doctor's visits over a period of about three months: a consultation, one follow-up consultation during which we scheduled the surgery, the surgery itself and a follow up appointment one week later. My doctor was an OB/GYN with surgical specialty. She was young, probably not much older than me. It was completely free, as part of requirements by the affordable care act that my insurer cover family planning (thanks, Obama!)

It may not be as well covered by the ACA, but bilateral salpingectomy is another term you should look into. Rather than clipping or otherwise occluding the fallopian tubes, the doctor removes a large section of the tube between the ovary and uterus. It has a higher success rate than other methods of female sterilization and is also an effective method of reducing risk for ovarian cancer. The preventative aspect of bilateral salpingectomy could come up with your doctor or insurance company.

Also, recovery was uneventful. Getting my wisdom teeth out was worse. I will note that I have a gyno appointment coming up for heavy menstrual periods that started happening recently. I've been trying not to read horror stories on the internet about floating clips. Did you know they can come loose and migrate through your abdominal wall if your body is unlucky enough?
posted by Donald Trump Sex Nightmare at 2:24 PM on July 11, 2018

Had my tubes tied about 9 years ago when I was in my mid-late 40s. Never looked back. No complications, no worries.
posted by sundrop at 8:20 PM on July 11, 2018

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