When you feel your childbearing days are in the past or your family is complete, permanent birth control might be the right choice for you. There are currently two popular methods that women choose: Essure or tubal ligation. While both options have high percentages of success, they are quite different.
Essure is a non-surgical procedure in which a doctor places a soft, flexible insert into each of the woman’s fallopian tubes. Because the inserts are placed through the vagina and cervix, no incisions are needed. Once the inserts have been in place for three months, a natural barrier forms around the Essure inserts that prevent the sperm from reaching the eggs.
Because the barrier takes three months to form, a supplemental birth control is recommend to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. After the first three months pass, the doctor will perform a test that uses contract dye and an x-ray to ensure that the procedure has blocked the fallopian tubes as planned, and a pregnancy is unlikely.
In addition to the procedure being nonsurgical, there are additional benefits to Essure. Women can usually go home within less than an hour of the procedure, and are back to their normal everyday activities in day or two. The inserts are also non-hormonal, so they should not alter a woman’s natural balance. Most importantly for those considering permanent birth control, Essure has been proven to be over 99% effective in a five-year clinical study.
The second option is tubal ligation, or in informal language, having your tubes tied. Unlike Essure, this is a surgical procedure where a doctor ties, block, or cuts the fallopian tubes. This prevents the eggs from leaving the ovaries and having the potential of becoming fertilized.
Tubal ligation can use a laparoscopy with one or two small incisions in the abdomen. If a woman chooses to have the procedure following childbirth, the tubes sit higher after delivery and the incision is made below the navel. These procedures are completed using a general anesthetic or a regional anesthetic, like an epidural.
Additionally, the tubal ligation procedure has several benefits of its own. Unlike the implants, no supplemental birth control is needed following the surgery. Additionally, only five in one thousand women experienced pregnancy within a year of choosing this option.
Both permanent birth control methods provide lasting protection against an accidental or unplanned pregnancy. If you have decided the time is right, consult your doctor to see which option is best suited for your body and your life.