Female sterilization can be described as permanent contraception. Read on to know more about the different options for the same.
With numerous birth control options, it may get difficult to choose the best method. However, there is less scope for confusion, if you are opting for sterilization methods. These methods are available for both men and women and are considered to be almost permanent in nature. Even though, reversing a sterilization procedure is possible, its effectiveness may vary.
Female Sterilization Methods
As a medical term, sterilization can be defined as the procedure of making a male or female infertile. While men undergo the procedure of vasectomy for sterilization purposes, in case of women it is tubal ligation, which is also referred to as tubal occlusion or tubal sterilization.
Apart from tubal ligation, female sterilization can be achieved through use of ‘Essure’, which is a latest entrant in this field. Sterilization is usually opted by those women, who do not wish to have any more kids or by those, for whom pregnancy may prove fatal. Even those with certain medical conditions, like genetic disorders, are advised to get sterilized, so as to avoid pregnancy.
The basic concept behind the working of this sterilization option is to block the sperm from meeting the ovum. This is achieved by blocking the passage of the ovum to the uterus. It is the fallopian tubes that carry ova from the ovaries to the uterus. These tubes are found on either sides of the uterus.
In tubal ligation, these tubes are blocked with clips or rings, so that the ova fail to travel to the uterus and the sperms fail to reach the ova. In some cases, the fallopian tubes may be burned or cauterized, for achieving the same purpose. Nowadays, this type of female sterilization is often done as laparoscopic procedures. It is said that the effectiveness of this method is around 99.5%.
While tubal ligation is a surgical method of female sterilization, there is one new non surgical method, which has been approved by the FDA during 2002. It is a spiral coil-like device that is used for blocking the fallopian tubes. Unlike the tubal ligation method that required incisions, this device is inserted through the vagina.
This is done with the help of a device called hysteroscope (a viewing instrument), which is passed through the vagina and up into the fallopian tube. The spring-like device is inserted into the fallopian tube, where it expands with time. Within three months, scar tissues form around the device, thereby blocking the fallopian tube completely.
This procedure can be done in the doctor’s office, under local anesthesia. It is found to take around 30 to 40 minutes for an experienced doctor to complete this procedure. However, follow ups are needed to ensure the effectiveness of this method. In most cases, complete blockage of the fallopian tube is confirmed after three months with special X-ray techniques. Till then, the woman will be advised to use other birth control methods. It is said that this method is 99.74% effective in preventing pregnancy.
The above said are the common female sterilization options. In some rare cases, hysterectomy or removal of uterus serves the purpose of sterilization, though this procedure is not done for the same. Hysterectomy is usually done in extreme cases, as those with uterine cancer. So, this method is not a female sterilization option.
This HerHaleness article is only for informational purposes and should not used as replacement for expert medical advice. So, it is always better to contact your gynecologist and clear your doubts with regard to sterilization and birth control. Discuss with the doctor and choose the method that is best suited for you.