Permanent birth control methods are very reliable and usually nonreversible. For women who are sure they do not want to have children in the future, these methods can alleviate the worry of having to use other methods of birth control, or an unplanned pregnancy.
If you are thinking about permanent birth control, following are the most common methods and what you should know about each one:
- Sterilization implants: Commonly known by the brand name Essure®, this is a small coil-shaped device that is placed in each of the fallopian tubes. The implants are placed through the vagina during a procedure that is typically done in your gynecologist’s office without anesthesia. Some women experience cramping afterward, but there is minimal downtime. Once the implants are placed, it takes about three months for your fallopian tubes to completely close around the implant, effectively preventing pregnancy. You’ll need to use a backup method of birth control until you’ve gotten confirmation from your gynecologist that your tubes are blocked.
- Surgical sterilization or tubal ligation: This is an older, but still reliable way to block the fallopian tubes surgically. The tubes may be cut, sealed, or tied by your gynecologic surgeon. This method does require surgery and anesthesia, but it can sometimes be done while a woman is having a cesarean section, avoiding a future surgery. Alternatively, a woman can undergo surgical sterilization with laparoscopic surgery, which requires one or two small incisions. You will need to rest for a day or two following surgery, but most women are back to normal activities within a week.
- Surgical sterilization for men (vasectomy): Don’t forget, men have a permanent sterilization option too. A vasectomy is an outpatient surgery procedure done by a urologist, typically with local anesthesia. You must use a backup method of birth control after a vasectomy until your partner’s physician confirms that the sperm has been completely cleared from his semen. This takes several weeks to three months.
These methods can sometimes be reversed, but it’s often unsuccessful. Be sure you and your partner do not want to have children in the future before you decide on any of these procedures.
It’s important to remember that these methods do not prevent sexually transmitted diseases, so they should only be used for couples in monogamous relationships who do not have any STDs. The most effective way to prevent STDs is with a male latex condom.
Birth control is a very personal choice for each woman. Whether you use barrier methods such as condoms, prefer hormonal methods such as the pill, or are considering permanent birth control, you have many factors to consider when making your decision. No one method is right for everyone, so discuss your birth control needs with your gynecologist to find the best choice.
CarePoint Health Women’s Services
With the help of a skilled gynecologist at CarePoint Health, you can optimize your health and prevent many common women’s health issues throughout your life. For more information about the comprehensive women’s services we provide, please contact us.
Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.