If you're a woman who is done having children, or who does not plan to have any kids, one option for effective birth control is tubal ligation. This refers to any way of altering the fallopian tubes so that an egg from the ovaries can no longer travel into the uterus for fertilization. There are a few different options available now to women, but which one is best?
A relatively new method of blocking the fallopian tubes involves inserting a small metal spring. The method and the presence of the spring encourages scar tissue to form, effectively blocking the tube.
Your obstetrician can usually insert these implants in his or her office, without requiring surgery. The process requires several follow-up visits to see how well the tube is blocked before you can rely on it as an effective form of birth control. Often this is accomplished via X-ray to see where the implants are located and make sure they are completely blocking the tube.
While the implants can be removed, that would typically require surgery and there is no guarantee that the blockage can be reversed. This method, like tying or removing the fallopian tubes, should be considered permanent and is only for women who do not wish to have more children.
The most traditional option of altering the fallopian tubes is to tie them off, blocking passage of the egg. Other options including clipping, banding or cutting and burning the tubes to close them.
Sometimes this surgery can be performed via laparoscopy -- a tiny incision that requires less recovery time than a full operation. Usually two incisions are required (one for each tube). It can usually be done in-office and doesn't require a hospital stay.
Another option is to have this procedure done while undergoing a cesarean section. Once the baby is delivered, the obstetrician can block the tubes.
Removing the fallopian tubes is usually done during full surgery, usually after a cesarean section or other scheduled abdominal surgery. The main benefits are that there is zero chance of any regrowth or a failure to completely become blocked, which exists with tubal implants or even occasionally with tying.
Fallopian tube removal can also reduce your chances of ovarian cancer and is often recommended for women who may be at risk of this. This is because most ovarian cancers actually originate in the fallopian tubes. However, there is no extensive proof that tubal removal is an effective way to prevent cancer. Talk to your obstetrician about whether this surgery is recommended for you.
Your doctor is your best source for expertise on whether you should use sterilization as birth control. Make an appointment with a doctor who specializes in obstetrics to ask your questions and discuss any concerns you have about your birth control options.