Risk and contraception : What women are not told about tubal ligation

http://www.popline.org/docs/1029/091715.html

Lyn Turney*

School of Social Inquiry, Deakin University, Geelong, Vic 3217, Australia
Available online 13 July 2002.

Abstract

Tubal ligation is a commonly used routine procedure for female sterilisation. It is promoted as a very safe and highly effective method of permanently controlling fertility. Yet, since the early 1930s, there have been reports in the medical literature indicating that there are both short-and long-term problems with the procedure. This article reviews the medical and scientific literature in which these problems are reported in an attempt to synthesise and make sense of the results and their implications for women. Contrary to the way it is promoted, tubal ligation is fraught with complications which place at risk the health and well-being of many women. Its sequelae includes many gynaecological problems ranging from torsion, hydrosalpinx, and endometriosis to irreversible interferences with the endocrine system. It is clear that tubal ligation is not the ‘clean cut’ procedure that it purports to be, and, in the interests of women, the myths about safety and efficacy need to be publicly dispelled.

The most common method of fertility control is tubal ligation. Physicians and some women promote tubal sterilization as an extremely safe and very effective method of permanent fertility control. Yet the medical profession has known since 1930 that significant numbers of women suffer serious and irreversible complications from tubal ligations; women have died from tubal ligation. Its mortality rates in Bangladesh, the UK, and US, are 1/5000, 1/10,000, and 1/25,000, respectively. Women experience complications both during and after surgery (e.g., twisting of the tube, sometimes accompanied by gangrene, and accumulation of fluid in a tube). After tubal ligation, many women develop endometriosis. Torsion, hydrosalpinx, and/or endometriosis contribute to increased menstrual pain. Disturbance of the local flora can cause sepsis (e.g., toxic shock syndrome). Some women have a severe inflammatory reaction to the silicone in clips and rings. Tubal ligation may be linked to an increased risk of cervical cancer.

Many sterilized women eventually undergo hysterectomy. Many women experience excessive bleeding during menstruation, but many physicians discount this as women not knowing their own bodies and subjective estimates of blood loss. Impaired ovarian blood supply and altered nerve supply to the tube and/or ovary are possible causes for post-tubal ligation menstruation problems. Many women experience memory loss, general decline in feeling of well-being, lethargy, and loss of libido after tubal ligation, indicating a spontaneous iatrogenic menopause. Yet physicians often attribute these symptoms to psychological problems, thereby denying women knowledge of their own bodies. Tubal ligation-induced problems should not be limited to the medical profession. We need to seriously examine the processes that keep this information from women.

Source: WOMEN’S STUDIES INTERNATIONAL FORUM. 1993 Sep-Oct;16(5):471-86.

Abstract: The most common method of fertility control is tubal ligation. Physicians and some women promote tubal sterilization as an extremely safe and very effective method of permanent fertility control. Yet the medical profession has known since 1930 that significant numbers of women suffer serious and irreversible complications from tubal ligations; women have died from tubal ligation. Its mortality rates in Bangladesh, the UK, and US, are 1/5000, 1/10,000, and 1/25,000, respectively. Women experience complications both during and after surgery (e.g., twisting of the tube, sometimes accompanied by gangrene, and accumulation of fluid in a tube).

After tubal ligation, many women develop endometriosis. Torsion, hydrosalpinx, and/or endometriosis contribute to increased menstrual pain. Disturbance of the local flora can cause sepsis (e.g., toxic shock syndrome). Some women have a severe inflammatory reaction to the silicone in clips and rings. Tubal ligation may be linked to an increased risk of cervical cancer. Many sterilized women eventually undergo hysterectomy. Many women experience excessive bleeding during menstruation, but many physicians discount this as women not knowing their own bodies and subjective estimates of blood loss. Impaired ovarian blood supply and altered nerve supply to the tube and/or ovary are possible causes for post-tubal ligation menstruation problems.

Many women experience memory loss, general decline in feeling of well-being, lethargy, and loss of libido after tubal ligation, indicating a spontaneous iatrogenic menopause. Yet physicians often attribute these symptoms to psychological problems, thereby denying women knowledge of their own bodies. Tubal ligation-induced problems should not be limited to the medical profession. We need to seriously examine the processes that keep this information from women.

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Comments

This is an important post as even without the wholesale removal of the uterus and/or ovaries – impairement ensues. What does this say about the the surgical procedure hysterectomy and the mythology of retaining ovaries after uterine amputation or removal.

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I had a tubal ligation back in 1999, i have most of the side effects spoken about here & they are side effects that totally ruin your quality of life & your family. I only discovered these side effects were linked to a tubal ligation last year after 13 years of searching for answers. I have heard some women have had reversals & they are 100% recovered from all side effects. I also have debilitating fatigue, night sweats, muscle weakness, I had low milk supply to feed my baby I had after tubal ligation, food allergies, medication allergies, skin break outs, rashes, weight gain that continues all the time, the list goes on. Yet we don’t have the right to just book a doctor to do the reversal surgery, if we are lucky enough to get one it costs thousands of dollars, how is it fair they deny us the chance to have our quality of life back.

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my tubes were tied during a c-section with my 3rd child. i was only 21 years old. i didn’t even know my tubes were tied until 2 days later. its a long story as to how this happened. i never wanted my tubes tied. my husband & i don’t even believe in birth control because of religious reasons. i tried to do something about it but kept getting blowed off by the doctors & even a few lawyers. i was very young & didn’t knew a lot about what i could do at the time. i wish i could go back. i went through a very deep depression after that & have up trying to fight it. a year later i ended up having to have a surgery to remove carcinoma from 95% of my cervix. i have been advised over & over again to have a hysterectomy because of all the problems i now have. i can’t go through with it because i still have high hopes i will one day have another baby. i stool suffer with the depression on a regular basis. it has messed up my whole life. I’ve recently find out more things that will help me in a case against the doctors & the hospital. it was definitely a case of malpractice. my concern is this, it was 6 years ago & i’m worried my time is up to bring a case against them. i wish i knew more about what i could do & then some days i just want to forget it ever happened & leave them be

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I just had an MRI of the knee done the other day (about 25 minutes long) and had really bad gas-like pains in the ovaries all night long! It was almost the same as it was just after my operation! I have had several MRIs before but they were all of the head and spine so didn’t bother the tubal ligation, but this one was quite the killer! Hope it didn’t fly somewhere else in the body. I thought these things were non magnetic!

The worst thing about all of this is that I had asked to have my tubes cut almost 30 years ago and doctors pulled the stunt of trying them instead, which really upset me because I didn’t want garbage in my body. They probably wouldn’t get away with that in the States but this is Canada. I was so upset when they told me a week later that they decided that since I was just getting divorced I might want to change my mind again later, so they made up their own minds for me. After all, what could a stupid idiot like me know about what I would want in the future? I will never forgive them for as long as I live.

Anyway, again, they have been OK up until now, but now they are coming out with stronger magnets. Believe it or not, this was only the Tesla 1.5. I don’t know what would’ve happened if it had been a Tesla 3!

Probably won’t find out for a few years now if anything happened to those tubs in the process that would cause that kind of pain. Hope they won’t be floating around my body. One looks like a microchip and the other looks like a paper clip.

Just a warning to others with clips. The medical profession has, and always will, tell people things are safe until 20 or 30 years later, and then they will usually reverse that decision.

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I had a tubal ligation in October 2011. I have since suffered from extreme menstrual cramps that reduce me to vomiting and bring me to my knees. I had my surgery when my daughter was almost 2 months old. My periods before getting pregnant with her(my 2nd child) were painful but not like this. Each month it becomes worse and worse. I do not want anymore children, I’m 30 yrs old with a boy and a girl. After the Dr performed my surgery, he informed me that he had put a hole in my cervix!! He acted extremely nonchalant about it but I have to wonder now if this is the cause of some of my problems. If anybody has any advice for me I would truly appreciate it.

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