There are so many choices for women when it comes to birth control. For those considering a permanent answer, sterilization may be an option.
There are different types of sterilization. One type, called hysteroscopic sterilization, doesn’t require an incision. The brand names for these types of sterilization are Adiana and Essure.
With these procedures, tiny inserts are put into each of the fallopian tubes. Natural tissue grows around the inserts, blocking the tubes.
During the procedure, the cervix is numbed using local anesthesia. A small, firm, tube-like instrument called a hysteroscope is inserted into the vagina and through the cervix. A slight amount of heat is applied to each fallopian tube. Two tiny rice-size inserts are placed in the areas where the heat was applied.
Typically the entire procedure takes less than 30 minutes and can be performed in a clinic, hospital or medical office. During the procedure, and for a short time after, some women experience pain or cramping, like strong menstrual cramps and mild nausea or vomiting. Women may have a vaginal discharge, like a light menstrual period, for a few days.
Hysteroscopic sterilization is not effective right away. It takes a while for the scar tissue to develop and permanently block the tubes. Another form of contraception must be used for at least three months. After 12 weeks, women return to have a special X-ray to confirm the tubes have closed.
Advantages over other methods of sterilization include not needing general anesthesia and faster recovery. Some women return to normal activities the same day. Others in a day or two. Since no incisions are necessary, there are no visible scars.
There are possible risks with hysteroscopic sterilization. One or both of the inserts may not be placed correctly the first time and need a second procedure. The tubes may not be completely blocked after three months. This may require waiting an additional three months for them to completely close. If they don’t, another procedure may be needed.
Other rare complications include injuring the uterus during the insertion.