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Long Term Side Effects of Having Tubes Tied
Including Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome Information

There are three different causes of side effects after having a tubal ligation, commonly referred to as having the tubes tied. The first side effects involve the physical nature of the surgery and normal things a person would encounter during any surgery.  Secondly, there are the psychological side effects of becoming sterile.  While having the sterilization reversed is possible, it is very expensive often ineffective.  The rate of miscarriages following a tubal ligation reversal is very high.  Finally, there are reported hormonal side effects which can occur that are often referred to as Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome.  These hormonal side effects are the most controversial, and will be discussed in detail.

A tubal ligation requires surgery and general anesthesiology.  Most of the serious risks of general anesthesiology would occur during the tubal ligation, including very rarely heart attacks, strokes or an allergic reaction.  These almost never occur in otherwise healthy individuals.  General anesthesiology requires an endotracheal tube, the insertion of which could result in chipped teeth or a sore throat for a few days after the surgery.  Even though a tubal ligation requires only a very small incision, there will also be pain in the lower abdomen after the surgery along with other post-surgery issues like possible infections or bleeding.

The psychological side effects of a tubal ligation should not be overlooked. Many women experience deep regret after having their tubal ligation which can lead to depression. For this reason, it is important to have many discussions with family members and make sure that time is taken before carrying through with the decision to have the tubal ligation. Reversing the procedure is not nearly as easy as many people believe, and often times can cause frequent miscarriages, which carry their own psychological trauma.

The final category of side effects of a tubal ligation are commonly linked together as hormone related side effects.  The phrase ´post tubal ligation syndrome´ is commonly used to indicate these side effects.  It is important to know that medically, there is no change in hormone levels after a tubal ligation.  The fallopian tubes, which are what are tied and cut, do not produce hormones, nor are they a pathway in which hormones from the ovaries are transported.  Blood tests done after a tubal ligation indicate normal hormone levels in women with ´post tubal ligation syndrome.

These tubal ligation hormonal side effects range from PMS to menopausal type symptoms.  They include things such as fatigue, hot flashes, insomnia, mood swings, weight gain, vaginal dryness, acne and poor skin quality.  The most common symptoms include painful periods, heavy flow periods or a near continuous menstrual cycle.

Although research is not complete, the most probable cause of these hormonal symptoms is not a change in the hormones quantities produced by ovaries, but is instead a reaction to the discontinuation of the birth control pill. Once a tubal ligation is performed, many women stop taking their BCP which had been helping them regulate their menstrual cycle and reduce normal menstruation symptoms. A very effective treatment for post tubal ligation syndrome is simply to begin taking the birth control pill again.

Reviewed: Peter Sedesse, MD

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