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Tubal ligation - discharge

Alternate Names

Sterilization surgery - female - discharge; Tubal sterilization - discharge; Tube tying - discharge; Tying the tubes - discharge

When You Were in the Hospital

You had tubal ligation (or "tying the tubes") surgery to close your fallopian tubes. These tubes connect the ovaries to the uterus. After tubal ligation a woman is sterile. This means you can no longer get pregnant.

Your surgeon probably made 1 or 2 small cuts in the area around your belly button. Then your surgeon inserted a laparoscope (a narrow tube with a tiny camera on the end) and other instruments into your pelvic area. Your tubes were either cauterized (burned shut) or clamped off with a small clip, a ring, or rubber bands.

What to Expect at Home

You may have many symptoms that last 2 to 4 days. As long as they are not severe, these symptoms are normal:

  • Shoulder pain
  • Scratchy or sore throat
  • Swollen belly (bloated) and crampy
  • Some discharge or bleeding from your vagina

You should be able to do most of your normal activities after 2 or 3 days. But, you should avoid heavy lifting for 3 weeks.

Self-care

Follow these guidelines after your procedure:

  • Keep your incision areas clean, dry, and covered. Change your dressings (bandages) as your doctor or nurse told you to.
  • Do not take baths, soak in a hot tub, or go swimming until your skin has healed.
  • Avoid heavy exercise for several days after the procedure. Try not to lift anything heavier than 10 pounds (about a gallon jug of milk).
  • You can have sexual intercourse as soon as you feel ready. For most women, this is usually within a week.
  • You may be able to return to work within a few days.
  • You may eat your normal foods. If you feel sick to your stomach, try dry toast or crackers with tea.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your doctor or nurse if you have:

  • Severe belly pain, or the pain you're having is getting worse and does not get better with pain medicines
  • Heavy bleeding from your vagina on the first day, or your bleeding does not lessen after the first day
  • Fever higher than 100.5 °F or chills
  • Pain, shortness of breath, feeling faint
  • Nausea or vomiting

Also call your doctor if your incisions are red or swollen, become painful, or there is a discharge coming from them.

References

Mishell DR Jr. Family planning: contraception, sterilization, and pregnancy termination. In: Katz VL, Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007:chap 14.

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Sterlization for men and women. ACOG Education Pamphlet AP011. February 2005. Accessed February 4, 2011.

Updated: 2/28/2011

Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.


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