My name is Andrea, and I’m a 31 year-old home schooling mother to four children.
I’m married to my partner in Christ, Jeff, who is 36. Jeff has his own CPA practice here near our home. We live in beautiful Coeur d’ Alene Idaho, where we are a very close knit Christian family.
In 2005, against the advice of my doctor and with my husband cautioning against it, I had a Filshie clip tubal ligation at the planned c-section birth of my daughter. My doctor used clips because of my age at the time of tubal ligation, as well as the fact that he believed I would want more kids based on my nature.
Soon after the birth of my daughter, I began experiencing symptoms that independently wouldn’t have been alarming, but when gathered together, had me very worried and feeling terrible. Early after the birth, I felt very sad about not having more children. At times I thought the symptoms were just because I was sad about ending my fertility. Now I know they are separate, as well as the desire to continue to have more children, even if you already have “more than normal”, is a God given desire, and NOT something BAD.As my symptoms began to mount, I began a journal of NEW symptoms for me. While one or two of these may not be abnormal, each one of these was new for me, and together made a host of symptoms.
· Period returned 3 weeks after post-partum bleeding, despite breastfeeding full time. The earliest I had a period while breastfeeding before was 8 months!
· Cyclical migraines or cluster headaches. Typically, one in the week before my period, one upon my period leaving, and one mid-cycle. Each took up to 4 days to clear completely, and each required prescription medication. Nausea and vomiting would accompany without treatment.
· First time I couldn’t lose my baby weight through breastfeeding, diet and exercise.
· Highly emotional, and easily brought to tears or sadness.
· Extremely dry skin.
· Mid-cycle cramping and breast tenderness.
· Terrible cramping for 1-2 days of menstruation, with moderate cramping before bleeding starts, with light cramping entire period. I’m a very active woman with high pain tolerance. This cramping was enough to nearly bring me to tears.
· Bleeding so severely, I would soak a pad in an hour. My doctor suspected menstrual anemia.
· Bleeding sometimes mid-cycle. Spotting would begin on CD 23-24 and continue through 28 when heavy period would start. Bleeding would last 7 full days, with spotting another 2-3 at the end.
· Persistent yeast infections, presumably from being “damp” due to having to wear pads much of the month to catch unexpected flow.
When looking at this journal, I sought the advice of my OB/Gyn and family physician. Both doctors acknowledged tubal ligation can and often does cause painful and heavy periods. However, my family physician went a step further. She conveyed that she had heard numerous cases of women having severe problems following tubal ligation, and was fully on board in my seeking a reversal. She did hormone screening and other blood work, and my OB/Gyn performed a pelvic ultrasound to rule out endometriosis, infections, fibroids, cancers and cysts. Both doctors gave me a clean bill of health, with no other cause for my new problems. Both doctors wrote to my insurance company, requesting payment for a tubal reversal on the sole basis of Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome (PTLS).
The insurance company, a national and well-known provider, wrote back these words:
“Although a tubal ligation reversal is medically necessary for the health of the insured, tubal reversals are not covered as the code falls under fertility treatment which is excluded. *Named insurance company* will authorize payment for treatments of hormone therapy, ablation, D&C and hysterectomy.”
Obviously, at 29 years old and also seriously mourning the loss of my fertility, these were not acceptable treatments for the physical manifestations of my tubal ligation.
We began the process of searching out the best doctor to perform a tubal ligation reversal, and saving the funds to do so. Some local physician’s, including my own, perform tubal ligation reversal. However, I was unable to feel satisfied about the outcome since none maintained accurate PTLS relief and pregnancy statistics based on their own work. Doctor’s in the Seattle area also do tubal ligation reversal, as well as many other cities in the nation. The local doctor’s were going to cost us about $12,000. Even with travel from Northern Idaho, Chapel Hill Tubal Reversal Center was a more affordable, and a more highly skilled facility.
Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome Series
This is the ninth article in our fourteen part series on PTLS and associated medical conditions. The first article, Pain After Tubes Tied: A Symptom of Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome?, introduces the most common symptoms some women attribute to their tubal ligation.
Readers can also read Andrea’s after surgery follow-up story: Andrea After Tubal Ligation Reversal Surgery. In addition to telling us how she has done after her tubal ligation reversal, she also has some exciting news to share!
Our next several articles will present personal stories of some of our patients who have suffered from worsening menstrual, physical, and emotional symptoms after surgical sterilization procedures ( women who had their tubes tied).
We invite readers to join our Tubal Reversal Message board and discuss and share personal experiences with tubal ligation. We also have a dedicated PTLS forum for readers to share experiences of worsening symptoms after tubal ligation procedures.