Has your body gone ‘haywire’ after having your ‘tubes tied’? Many women report a variety of changes occurring after a tubal ligation. There are various gynecologic conditions that may be the cause and deserve proper evaluation by your doctor.
Problems that can occur after a tubal ligation
Previously, we introduced the topic of Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome (PTLS) as a suspected cause of problems that can occur after a tubal ligation. Women who experience problems after a tubal ligation may not have PTLS. If women have problems after a tubal ligation they commonly have two complaints: changes in their periods (menstrual pattern) and/or more painful periods. If you have had a tubal ligation and are experiencing these complaints, you could be suffering from an undiagnosed medical condition.
To determine if you have an underlying medical condition causing the above symptoms, it is helpful to be aware of the medical terminology for menstrual disorders.
The medical terminology for changes in the frequency or amount of bleeding with your periods are:
• Hypermenorrhea (menorraghia)
Menstrual periods that are infrequent or irregular is termed oligmenorrhea. Periods that are scanty in amount of bleeding is called hypmenorrhea. Periods that are heavier in the amount of bleeding is termed hypermenorrhea or menorraghia (both terms refer to heavier periods).
The medical terminology for painful periods is dysmenorrhea.
Dysmenorrhea is divided into two categories:
• Primary (since puberty)
• Secondary (developed as you became older)
More painful periods developing after a tubal ligation would be categorized as secondary dysmenorrhea.
Medical causes of menstrual disorders
There can be many medical causes for oligomenorrhea, hypomenorrhea, or hypermenorrhea:
Blood abnormalities (platelet disorders)
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome?
Congenital adrenal hyperplasia*
* Marked items are mostly associated with oligomenorrhea
? Marked items can be associated with both oligo and hypermenorrhea
Most women who develop abnormalities in their menstrual cycle after a tubal ligation will not have a serious medical condition. Most will have hormonal abnormalities, uterine fibroids, or anovualtion as the cause for changes in their menstrual cycle. These are common conditions that occur as a person either ages or experiences significant changes in weight.
There can be many medical causes for dysmenorrhea. These are the major causes of secondary dysmenorrhea:
Pelvic inflammatory disease
Congenital obstructive Müllerian malformations
Inflammatory bowel disease
Irritable bowel syndrome
Uteropelvic junction obstruction
Secondary dysmenorrhea can be experienced by many women. The most common causes are endometriosis, adenomyosis, and ovarian cysts. Causes of secondary dysmenorrhea can sometimes be difficult to identify. Sometimes, women may need to be referred to other medical specialists to diagnose the cause of secondary dysmenorrhea.
Changes in one’s menstrual cycle are common and can also occur after a tubal ligation procedure. When a woman has a tubal ligation and then develops any of the symptoms discussed above, it is tempting to attribute them to Post Tubal ligation Syndrome; however, there may be other underlying medical or gynecological conditions responsible for these changes.
The tubal ligation reversal experts at Chapel Hill Tubal Reversal Center recommend you see your medical provider if you develop any of the above symptoms after a tubal ligation. The purpose of your visit will be to diagnose any medical conditions which could the cause of your symptoms. If your doctor is unable to determine any medical explanation or if your symptoms are more extensive than those listed above, the doctor might attribute your symptoms to depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, or regret over your prior decision to have a surgical sterilization.
PTLS Articles on the Tubal Reversal Blog
This is the third article of a fourteen part series about Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome. Our next article is Guilt or Regret About Tubes Tied.
Readers can also view patient submitted stories about their menstrual symptoms, reasons for reversing tubal ligation, and outcomes after reversal reversal surgery. Each patient’s story is listed below:
We invite readers to join the Tubal Reversal Message Board and discuss and share personal experiences with tubal ligation. We also would like patients to join our PTLS Forum and share their personal experiences with worsening physical or mental symptoms noticed after tubal ligation.
Comment by Dr. Berger
The terms introduced in this article – such as oligomenorrhea, hypomenorrhea, hypermenorrhea, and dysmenorrhea – are descriptive medical terms for common menstrual disorders. When they occur, they deserve a thorough medical evaluation. As Dr. Monteith has described, there are many underlying causes or diagnoses for these conditions.
The question that seems to be at issue regarding Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome is this: when symptoms develop after a tubal ligation, are they attributable to the tubal ligation itself or to some other underlying condition? If no other underlying causes are found, then is PTLS the diagnosis remaining by exclusion? If a doctor does not believe in the existence of PTLS and no underlying medical or gynecologic diagnosis is evident, is attributing the symptoms to depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, or sterilization regret reasonable, accurate, or sufficient?