What Are the Common Side Effects of a Tubal Ligation?

Meshell Powell

Tubal ligation is a surgical procedure that provides for permanent female sterilization. The surgeon cuts, ties, or burns the ends of the fallopian tubes so that eggs cannot pass through for fertilization. While this is considered to be a very safe and effective surgical procedure, side effects of a tubal ligation are possible. Some potential side effects include ectopic pregnancy, menstrual irregularities, and other gynecological problems.

A diagram of the female reproductive system, including the fallopian tubes.
A diagram of the female reproductive system, including the fallopian tubes.

It is important for any woman considering tubal ligation surgery to realize that this method of birth control is considered permanent. The patient needs to be absolutely certain that she does not want to have more children. In the rare instances that a pregnancy does develop after the surgery, the risk of it being an ectopic pregnancy is quite high. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg implants somewhere outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube. There is no possible way for this pregnancy to be viable, and emergency surgery is needed before the fallopian tube ruptures, causing a potentially life-threatening medical emergency.

Undergoing a tubal ligation procedure increases a woman's chances of having an ectopic pregnancy.
Undergoing a tubal ligation procedure increases a woman's chances of having an ectopic pregnancy.

Some possible side effects of a tubal ligation may occur as a result of the process of surgery. For instance, some patients may develop an allergic reaction to medications used for anesthesia. In other situations, surrounding organs, including the uterus or intestines, could be damaged during the surgery. A small percentage of women actually die as a result of a tubal ligation, and anyone considering this type of surgery should be made aware of this fact.

Obstetrician-gynecologists can perform tubal ligations to prevent pregnancy.
Obstetrician-gynecologists can perform tubal ligations to prevent pregnancy.

Severe PMS is one of the most commonly reported side effects of a tubal ligation. This may include very painful menstrual cramps as well as a variety of mood disorders. Hormone imbalance may be responsible for increased PMS symptoms. Many women report anger, irritability, and extreme mood swings just before the onset of the menstrual period. In fact, many women are forced to start taking prescription medications in order to cope with these new symptoms.

Heavy periods may occur after having a tubal ligation.
Heavy periods may occur after having a tubal ligation.

Pelvic pain can be one of the most debilitating side effects of a tubal ligation. This pain may come and go or may be permanent. It is not known why this symptom can become so severe in some women. Of all the possible side effects of a tubal ligation, this pain is the leading cause for a woman to seek surgical relief. For women who suffer severe chronic pelvic pain following tubal ligation surgery, a surgical reversal of the procedure may be the only way to resolve the problem.

Although tubal ligation may prevent pregnancy, condoms should be worn to prevent sexually transmitted disease.
Although tubal ligation may prevent pregnancy, condoms should be worn to prevent sexually transmitted disease.
A tubal ligation is typically performed immediately after a woman has given birth.
A tubal ligation is typically performed immediately after a woman has given birth.
Severe PMS with painful menstrual cramps is a common side effect of tubal ligation.
Severe PMS with painful menstrual cramps is a common side effect of tubal ligation.
Many women experience anger, irritability, and mood swings prior to their menstrual period as a result of tubal ligation.
Many women experience anger, irritability, and mood swings prior to their menstrual period as a result of tubal ligation.
Women should avoid heavy lifting for approximately three weeks following a tubal ligation.
Women should avoid heavy lifting for approximately three weeks following a tubal ligation.

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