The Menstrual Cycle After Tubal Ligation

Tubal ligation, commonly known as ‘having the tubes tied’ is a type of permanent birth control and is one of the most commonly performed sterilisation procedures. Whilst it is probably the most successful procedure recommended to women who have completed their families it is not without complications, particularly when it comes to periods. Often pre-sterilisation, the question does tubal ligation stop periods is asked which can reflect circulating inaccurate information and a lack of understanding about the role of fallopian tubes on mentruation.

It must be mentioned that tubal ligation is a permanent form of birth control. It must be considered as irreversible so is not advised for women who wish to have more children.

Is the Menstrual Cycle Affected By Tubal Ligation?

Because tubal ligation works by disrupting the function of the fallopian tubes thereby preventing any eggs from meeting with sperm and being fertilised, the menstrual cycle is largely unaffected. This is because it is the ovaries and hormones which regulate the menstrual cycle – the normal 28 day process of the thickening and shedding of the lining of the uterus – carries on as usual.

As a woman ages, her periods can vary in intensity and frequency with a lessening of both as she travels towards menopause. Periods can become lighter and more irregular when approaching this period. The frequency and intensity of monthly periods is not changed after sterilisation by tubal ligation.

The effects of tubal ligation on periods and the menstrual cycle have been the subject of fierce debate among medical professionals for many years. Studies have been produced which show the incidences of menstrual blood loss and period pain among diverse groups of women who had undergone the tubal ligation procedure.

Increases in menstrual disorder – or abnormal bleeding – resulting from tubal ligation, commonly referred to as post tubal ligation syndrome, have been the subject of several studies. All of these appear to have been inconclusive. Menstrual disorders are said to include:

·      Irregular menstrual cycles

·      More frequent periods

·      Menorrhagia (heavier periods than normal)

·      Metrorrhagia (abnormal bleeding between periods)

·      Spotting

·      Dysmenorrhoea (period pain)

·      Oligomenorrhoea (irregular and inconsistent menstrual blood flow)

Whilst inconsistent, some studies offered results which indicated that women who have been sterilised are more likely to experience menstrual disorders and an irregular cycle when compared with women who have not been sterilised. However, other studies have indicated that sterilisation by tubal ligation has no adverse effect on the menstrual cycle. This should definitely be a subject for discussion between a woman considering tubal ligation and her gynaecologist.

Can You Have Periods After Tubal Ligation?

The answer to this question is yes, sterilisation by tubal ligation does not affect your ability to have periods. This is because it does not affect your hormone levels and the endocrine system will still ensure your womb lining performs as normal. The lining will thicken with blood and will then be expelled every 28 days or so, hence normal periods.

However, despite this and despite the high success rate of sterilisation by tubal ligation you will still need to use contraception right up to the date of the operation. Plus, for probably several weeks or months afterwards. Your gynaecologist will discuss this issue with you before your surgery.

It must be noted that if your periods were irregular – whichever type of birth control you were using before having tubal ligation – they will likely be irregular after surgery. You can get advice on whether any medication is available to help with irregular periods.

If you are at all worried about having this permanent sterilisation procedure or about any likely effects on your periods it would be wise to speak to a specialist, before you consider this surgery.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask us. Mandy, PA to Mr Dobson can be contacted here and she will get back to you with information to help you.