The euphemistic term “tying your tubes,” actually means the tubes are surgically and permanently severed or scarred to prevent the passage of an egg. That is after all, the goal. Tubal ligation methods may differ in their effectiveness for preventing pregnancy and in the risk of damaging the blood supply to the ovaries. Many women don’t understand that a tubal ligation may cause them to go through perimenopause prematurely. There are structures in the tubes, such as nerves and blood vessels feeding the ovaries, which can be damaged in the procedure. Damage to blood supply can affect the function of the ovaries. At the very least, after tubal ligation, some women begin having heavy bleeding with their periods and they may also develop symptoms akin to perimenopause. Rarely, tubal ligation can lead to premature menopause.
Should a young woman become perimenopausal or menopausal after a tubal ligation, it is easily treated, provided the condition is recognized. I have made this diagnosis in women in their thirties who had a tubal ligation months to years prior. They were suffering from a treatable condition but had previously been told, “Don’t be silly. You’re too young to be going through perimenopause.” Overall, tubal ligations are a safe, effective method of sterilization, but it’s important to be aware of the risks and to consider the questions with your gynecologist when you’re making your decision.
Understand that tubal ligation usually results in permanent sterilization. Study the different types of tubal ligation and discuss with your gynecologist which one is best for you. If you develop symptoms of perimenopause after a tubal ligation, have your estradiol, progesterone AND FSH levels checked on day 21 of your menstrual cycle. FSH, the blood test for menopause, is OFTEN normal.