Some types of tubal ligation use an incision (a cut in your skin), but Essure doesn’t. You’ll get medicine to help with pain, and you can usually go home the same day.
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How does tubal ligation feel?
Your doctor will help make your sterilization procedure as comfortable as possible. You may get local anesthesia (a small numbing shot). Your doctor may also give you medicine to help you relax and feel more comfortable. With conscious sedation, you’re awake but super relaxed. With general anesthesia, you sleep through the procedure. Your treatment depends on the type of sterilization you’re getting. Local anesthesia is much safer than general anesthesia.
There are a few different types of tubal ligation. Some use an incision (a cut in your skin) in your belly to block your fallopian tubes. Essure sterilization is done through your vagina and cervix, and doesn’t require an incision.
When you have an Essure procedure, a doctor puts a tiny coil into each of your fallopian tubes. Over time, your body naturally grows tissue around the coils and blocks off your fallopian tubes.
First your doctor numbs your cervix with local anesthesia and may also give you medicine to help you be more comfortable. Next your doctor will put a small tube called a hysteroscope in your vagina and through your cervix. The coils are placed into the openings of your fallopian tubes through the hysteroscope. You may feel some pain or cramping when the coils are going in.
It takes time for your body to grow tissue around the coils, so Essure won’t start preventing pregnancy for at least 3 months. So you’ll need to use another method of birth control in the meantime. Your doctor will give you a test to make sure your tubes are blocked and you're protected from pregnancy after 3 months. You shouldn’t have sex without another method of birth control until your doctor says it’s safe.
There’s a small chance your fallopian tubes might not be totally blocked after 3 months. And you may need to have another procedure if your tubes don’t eventually get blocked — but this is rare.
Essure has advantages over other types of sterilization in certain ways:
It's safer than procedures that use an incision (a small cut).
The recovery time is short — many people can get back to their normal lives the same day.
You don't need general anesthesia.
There’s no incision so you won’t have any visible scars.
What happens during incision sterilizations?
There are a few different types of tubal ligation that use an incision (cut in your skin).
Laparoscopy is one of the most common procedures. You get local anesthesia (numbing medicine), and you may also have general anesthesia to put you to sleep. The doctor pumps gas into your belly so they can see your organs. They make 1 or 2 small cuts near your belly button and use a laparoscope (a tool with a light and a lens) to find your fallopian tubes. Then they close off your tubes through the laparoscope or a second cut. The whole thing takes about 20-30 minutes, and you can usually go home the same day. There’s very little scarring.
Another common procedure is a minilaparotomy. It’s often done right after childbirth. You get local anesthesia and your doctor makes a small cut near your belly button. The doctor brings the tubes up through the cut, then blocks the tubes with clips or by removing a short section. It usually only takes a few days to recover.
How will I feel after sterilization?
How you’ll feel after sterilization depends on your general health, the type of procedure you had, and how well you deal with pain.
You may feel tired and your belly might hurt a little. You can sometimes feel dizzy, nauseous, crampy, or have belly pain. People who get Essure may have vaginal discharge that’s like a light menstrual period.
Most symptoms only last a short time. But call your doctor immediately if you:
bleed a lot from an incision (the cut from your procedure)
get a rash or fever
have difficulty breathing
have severe, continuous pain in your belly
have unusual discharge or odor from your vagina
How long will it take me to recover after my sterilization?
Your recovery depends on your general health, lifestyle, and the type of sterilization you got.
Recovery from sterilization with Essure is the fastest — most people return to their regular activities the same day. Rarely, people have back/belly pain in the first year after getting Essure.
You can usually recover from minilaparotomy and laparoscopy within a couple of days. But it’s a good idea to take it easy for the next week or so, and you should avoid lifting anything heavy for about a week.
How soon can I have sex after sterilization?
Talk with your doctor about when it's safe to start having sex again. In general, you should wait 1-2 weeks to have sex after sterilization. Rarely, people may have pain during sex the first year after getting Essure.
Some types of sterilization start preventing pregnancy right away, but Essure takes at least a few months to work. If you got Essure, use another method of birth control until your doctor says your tubes are blocked and you can’t get pregnant.