The subject of female sterilisation is surrounded by myths and misconceptions which can discourage some women from coming forward to ask about having the procedure done. One of the questions we are frequently asked is – ‘does sterilisation stop periods?’

To answer this question, let us explain a little about how sterilisation works.

Facts about sterilisation

Sterilisation is carried out to prevent a pregnancy from occurring and is to be considered a permanent solution. The operation is done under general anaesthetic or local anaesthetic, depending on the method used, and this will always be determined and explained prior to you having the operation done. It can be done at any stage of your menstrual cycle.

During the operation, the fallopian tubes are either blocked or sealed in order to prevent the passage of eggs into the womb, thus stopping fertilisation. Eggs will still be released from the ovaries every month, and these will be absorbed naturally back into the body.

Hormone levels are not affected, and the womb will still, every month, prepare itself for pregnancy by shedding the lining. In other words, your monthly periods will continue as normal until menopause. There have been no differences reported in the age of reaching menopause in women who have undergone sterilisation.

The sterilisation procedure itself is done under a light anaesthetic in most cases. The surgeon will make a small incision in the abdomen through which a tiny camera locates the fallopian tubes, which are then sealed, cut or clipped. Most women will be able to return home the same day with painkillers and advice on returning to normal activities.

Occasionally, where blocking of the fallopian tubes has failed, they may be removed altogether.

Is it right for you?

Sterilisation is normally only offered to those who are absolutely certain that they do not want children or who are confident they have completed their family. Occasionally, we hear of women who feel that they were coerced into being sterilised by an ex-partner. It is a big decision to make, and your doctor may recommend counselling before you decide to go ahead. Take the chance to discuss any doubts or worries you have and ask as many questions as you need in order to make your decision.

If you decide to go ahead with the sterilisation procedure, you will be advised that you need to continue using your usual contraception right up to the day of the operation and beyond to the next period post-surgery. You will also be given a pregnancy test to make sure you are not pregnant because of the risk of pregnancy becoming ectopic after sterilisation.

Whichever sterilisation method you have, remember that you will still have monthly periods, so if you suffer from heavy or erratic periods, you may benefit from discussing treatment options with your doctor.

The pros and cons of sterilisation

Sterilisation, commonly known as having the tubes tied, is at least 99% effective in stopping you from becoming pregnant, but as we said earlier, continue using contraception until the first period after the operation.

  • You will continue to have periods every month as normal because hormone levels are not affected.
  • Sterilisation will not affect your libido or interfere with sex.
  • It does not protect you against STIs, so you may need to continue using condoms.
  • In rare cases, the procedure can fail over time, and there is an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy.
  • As with any surgical procedure, there are risks of complications, but these will be explained to you by your surgeon.

Finally, sterilisation can be reversed, but the decision to have the procedure is not to be taken lightly as there are many factors such as the cost of surgery or the chance of success (as no surgery is 100% effective), so take this into account before deciding whether it is right for you.

If you are reading this and are considering reversing your sterilisation, then please contact us today. We have helped hundreds of women become fertile again by reversing their sterilisation and we will have the answers to any questions that you may have.