Get the Facts about Female Permanent Birth Control

By Joseph Gauta, MD, FACOG –

Female Permanent Birth ControlWhen a couple has decided their family is complete there are several options for permanent birth control.  Permanent birth control provides protection against pregnancy so that you don’t have to worry about contraception methods such as the pill, IUDs or condoms.  There are currently two permanent birth control options available for women in the United States.
. Tubal Ligation (“getting your tubes tied”)
. The Essure Procedure
No method of permanent birth control is 100% effective and none protect against STDs

Tubal Ligation
Surgery is performed under general anesthesia.  An incision is made in the abdomen to reach the fallopian tubes.  The tubes are then cut, burned or clamped with metal clips or plastic rings that remain in the body.

The surgery time is 20-30 minutes and recovery is 4-6 days.

Benefits
. 98.5% effective (4 years)
. Effective immediately
. Does not affect sex drive or monthly cycles
. Does not utilize hormones

Risks
. Problems associated with general anesthesia
. Swollen abdomen
. Internal organ damage
. Hemorrhage
. Pain in shoulders and neck due to the gas used to
expand abdomen during surgery
. Pain, Cramping and Vaginal bleeding
. Infection and other surgical complications

Essure
Soft, flexible inserts are placed in the fallopian tubes through a hysteroscope (uterine camera) utilizing natural pathways of the body.  Over the next 3 months, the inserts and your body work together to create a permanent barrier against pregnancy.  After 3 months a test is given to confirm that you can rely on Essure for birth control.  This procedure is recommended to be performed in your physician’s office and takes about 10 minutes.  Recovery time is 1-2 days.

Benefits
. 99.80% effective (4 years)
. No hormones
. No slowing down to recover
. Does not affect sex drive or monthly cycles
. No going under general anesthesia, cutting or burning

Risks
. Mild or moderate pain similar to menstrual period
. Nausea or vomiting
. Dizziness/lightheadedness
. Bleeding or spotting
. Small chance of tubal perforation during the placement of micro-inserts

Joseph Gauta M.D.
Board Certified Urogynecologist

Dr. Gauta, board certified in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery as well as OB/Gyn was asked for his opinion on which female permanent birth control method he recommends.  “There is no perfect method and the risks and benefits should be carefully discussed with each patient.  A thorough evaluation needs to be done of each patient to help them decide which method of permanent birth control is best for them.  The opportunity for women to have an office procedure with minimal anesthesia and recovery time motivates most patients to elect Essure over the traditional tubal ligation done under general anesthesia.  The Essure procedure has been performed on over 500,000 women worldwide since 2002 with minimal adverse effects.”

Dr. Gauta, how much does Essure cost?
“Essure when done in the physician’s office is less expensive than the traditional laparoscopic approach done under general anesthesia.  Essure is covered by most insurance carriers and often just costs the patient an office co-payment.”

Dr. Gauta, on the internet there are some negative comments regarding the Essure procedure.  Can you please comment on those?
“With any procedure there are risks.  No one can educate a patient on their potential for adverse effects better than an experienced physician.  Thanks to the internet patients are very well educated and have many good questions when they come to see me.  Patient’s should be cautious about what they read on the internet though.  There may be one very vocal patient that had an adverse reaction for every 1,000 that are living very happily.  Make sure you do your homework on the procedure, and make sure your physician is experienced with the procedure and how to handle any complications. Don’t be afraid to ask a physician about their training, experience and outcomes.  You should always be well educated and confident in your decision before you have any procedure done.”

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