Should You Consider Permanent Contraception?

Female sterilization is a permanent contraception method for women who are certain they never want children or have completed their families. Permanent contraception is especially common among women aged 35 and older, and there are both surgical and nonsurgical means of performing female sterilization.

Determining whether you're ready for permanent contraception requires a lot of thought, as well as a great deal of information; therefore, it's important to consult with a qualified OB/GYN. At Capital Women's Care in Arlington and McLean, Virginia, our team takes the time to help you understand your options once you've made the decision to stop having children.

Here are a few things you should know before considering permanent contraception.

The difference between surgical and nonsurgical sterilization

Surgical sterilization, or tubal ligation, is performed in an outpatient clinic or hospital while you’re under general anesthesia. It can often be performed laparoscopically through just one or a few tiny incisions, rather than one large incision. Laparoscopic surgery has fewer risks and offers a faster recovery than traditional open surgery.

The tubal ligation is often referred to as “getting your tubes tied,” because the surgeon seals off your fallopian tubes, often by literally tying them off.

We can perform the tubal ligation after childbirth by making a small incision near your navel or during a cesarean delivery. An estimated 700,000 American women choose this method annually, making it the most common mode of contraception in the United States.

At Capital Women's Care, we also offer Essure, a nonsurgical method of female sterilization in which we insert small devices into the fallopian tubes to seal them off. Our experienced OB/GYN can implant the Essure devices during a brief on-site appointment.

How does Essure work?

During a simple procedure, your surgeon inserts small, flexible plugs comfortably into the fallopian tubes. Over the subsequent months, the plugs work with your body to produce a natural kind of wall within your fallopian tubes, preventing sperm from even reaching an egg.

After implantation, we encourage our patients to maintain their present birth control until we complete a follow-up appointment and can confirm that the fallopian tubes have been fully sealed. This follow-up usually takes place about three months after the initial procedure.

Why should I choose permanent contraception?

At Capital Women’s Care, we are proud to offer Essure as an alternative to other birth control methods that may be less reliable, difficult to use, or temporary.

While most forms of birth control have an efficacy rate well over 90% when used correctly, female sterilization is 99.9% effective; plus, you once you’ve had the procedure, you don’t have to worry about a thing. It’s easy to forget to take a pill or to use a diaphragm or condom incorrectly, but with Essure or a tubal ligation, sperm can’t enter the fallopian tubes to fertilize an egg.

With permanent contraception, you also won’t have to worry about the hormonal changes that can occur as the result of using certain birth control pills or IUDs.


If you've decided that it's time to consider permanent contraception but want to know more about your options, contact us by phone or online to schedule a consultation.

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