Tubal Ligation Patient Education
Unlike in the past, women are presented with numerous options when it comes to birth control now. Whether a woman is done having children or simply doesn’t want to have any, she has the right to have her tubes tied.
This is what is known as tubal ligation in the medical field and it involves a sterilization process where a woman’s fallopian tubes are blocked or cut to prevent eggs from the ovaries from getting to the uterus for fertilization.
Now, this procedure is not the most common one when it comes to birth control so as you can imagine, there is a lot of misinformation about it.
If you have patients who are considering it, here are some of the things you should let them know about to help them make a more educated decision.
1. The Tubes are not Really Tied
As a medical practitioner, you refer to the procedure as sterilization or tubal ligation but those are not the same terms used by people in everyday life. People often refer to it as “getting the tubes tied.”
This makes it easy for your patients to assume that you will tie their fallopian tubes into a nice bow or knot when the truth is that the procedure is nothing like that.
Tubal ligation involves cutting, blocking, or removing part of or the entire fallopian tubes. It can be done vaginally during a C-section or at other instances by making small incisions on the belly.
2. It is Permanent
How many times have you heard people saying that such procedures are reversible? We bet a few. However, nothing could be further from the truth.
Tubal ligation is a permanent birth-control measure that can be invaluable if you do not intend to get children or if you do not want more. Of course, it can be a downer in case you change your mind.
You want to let your patients know that the results of the procedure are permanent. Sure, it may be reversed surgically in some instances, but that doesn’t mean that it will guarantee conception and pregnancy.
3. Age Matters
Since tubal ligation is a permanent method birth control measure that is not always successfully reversible, you may want to encourage younger patients to wait before getting it.
As a physician that performs the procedure, you need to have a minimum age for your patients. Some doctors will do it only for people over the age of 25while others require their patients to be 30 and over.
4. There is a Risk of Regret
Done of the biggest risks that come with tubal ligation has to be regret and you want to let your patients know that this is a possibility.
Granted, at the time of procuring the procedure, a patient may not want to have kids, but that is subject to change especially as they grow older.
It could be brought about by a new partner or a new outlook on life so you may want to advise your patients to try other long-term contraception methods whose results are not permanent to avoid regrets in the future.
5. It Will not Affect Hormones
Since the procedure involves blocking or cutting of the fallopian tubes, some patients will assume that they will stop getting their periods, which is not the case.
This can be a good or bad thing for them depending on whether they like having their periods or not.
Regardless, let them know that the procedure does not affect their hormones so their body will continue to function normally.
6. They May Have to Wait
Often patients will be yearning to have the procedure over and done with, but usually, they will be required to wait. This is because some health insurance covers require holders to wait at least a month after signing a consent form before such a procedure is done.
6. A Vasectomy is Easier
The truth is that men have it easier when it comes to some things. Since we are talking about permanent contraception, your patients need to know that it would be easier for their partner to get a vasectomy than for them to get a tubal ligation.
This is because vasectomy is cheaper, safer, and comes with fewer complications.
Ultimately deciding to get a tubal ligation is a personal choice, Nevertheless, one needs to have the right information and facts before doing it.
That’s where you as a physician can come in to share your knowledge and recommend a way forward.