Female sterilization is currently one of the methods for preventing unwanted pregnancies. But what can be the consequences of such a procedure?
The purpose of female sterilization
Sterilization is performed in order to prevent the egg from entering the uterine cavity. To do this, the patency of the fallopian tubes is eliminated. Although the woman’s ovaries retain their function afterwards, the eggs created during ovulation remain in the abdominal cavity and thus cannot combine with the sperm.
Reasons for female sterilization
Most often it is the unwillingness to have children. For example, a woman already has children.
The main advantage of “ligation” of the tubes is that no additional methods of protection are required afterwards. It also happens that sterilization is carried out for some medical indications.
Varieties of sterilization
The operation of sterilization is carried out surgically. There are the following varieties of such surgery.
Electrocoagulation. Tubal obstruction is created artificially, using electrocoagulation forceps.
Partial or complete tubal resection. This removes part of the fallopian tube or the tube itself.
Tubal clipping. The tubes are clamped with special clamps made of non-absorbable hypoallergenic materials.
Surgical interventions can be performed by laparotomy (opening of the abdomen) or
endoscopy. In the first case, tubal resection or application of clips is most often performed. In the second, electrocoagulation is performed.
Who is eligible for sterilization?
In Russia women aged over 35 or with two children may undergo sterilization voluntarily. However, in the presence of medical indications for the procedure, all restrictions are removed.
Who is contraindicated to sterilization?
Contraindications for sterilization are pregnancy, inflammatory diseases of the pelvic organs, and various sexually transmitted infections. It is not recommended to go to the procedure for women who are in a state of neurosis or suffering from depression, because they may at this time inadequately assess the situation.
Consequences of sterilization
It is believed that complications after a professionally performed procedure are extremely rare. However, it does happen. For example, there can be complications due to general or local anesthesia; recanalization of the fallopian tubes; pelvic adhesions; ectopic pregnancy.
Foreign scientists have noted an increased risk of gynecological problems in women who have undergone the sterilization procedure. Thus, M.J. Muldoon in his article “Gynecologic Diseases after Sterilization” published in the British Medical Journal on January 8, 1972 reported that of 374 patients who underwent tubal ligation, 43% had to be treated later for menorrhagia and other menstrual disorders, cervical erosions, and ovarian tumors. 18.7% needed a hysterectomy – removal of the uterus. And in some cases, fallopian tube patency was restored and a second surgery was required.
In 1979, a study conducted by British physicians found that after sterilization, women experienced a 40% increase in menstrual blood loss, and 26% of them complained of increased pain during their periods. Among the 489 women with tubal ligation after 3.5 years, the rate of cervical cancer was 3.5 times the average, writes study author James J. Tappan (“American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology”).
But the main negative consequence of sterilization is its irreversibility. In some cases it is possible to restore the patency of the fallopian tubes, but it is an extremely expensive plastic surgery, which does not always yield the desired result. Very often a woman later realizes that she made a mistake by voluntarily, or under pressure from relatives, agreeing to a procedure that deprives her of the ability to procreate. And this most adversely affects her mental state.
It is true that sterilization does not prevent her from undergoing IVF. Under appropriate medical supervision, a sterilized woman is quite capable of artificially conceiving and carrying a child, as the tubes are not involved in the process. However, artificial insemination is not known to give a one hundred percent guarantee of conception.