If you had a tubal ligation and are having side effects then you are not alone.
Tubal ligation is a common procedure. In fact, tubal ligation is one of the top three surgical procedure performed in the United States. Most women who have their tubes tied (tubal ligation) will not experience side effects… most will not have any problems what-so-ever… but most does not mean all!
A few women will their tubes tied and will gradually begin to experience problems.
Some will have heavier periods or more uterine cramping but a few will develop a multitude of systemic problems. This condition…having multiple body system problems after a tubal ligation is called Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome, which is also known as PTLS.
The actual existence of Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome is hotly debated and contested.
Some doctors believe no such thing as PTLS exists. A few knowledgable doctors will acknowledge tubal ligation side effects are possible for a small group of women.
Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome
What is Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome?
The multitude of symptoms some women experience after tubal ligation is often referred to as Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome.
Some women will have a tubal ligation and will develop painful periods, heavy bleeding, joint pain, skin rashes, hair loss, memory problems…sometimes referred to as brain fog… teeth problems, anxiety, and depression. For some women the list goes on and on.
Many of these women will see many different doctors and ultimately be told it is all in ‘their head’ or they are ‘just getting older.’ Some sympathetic doctors will acknowledge that the tubal ligation alone could be the cause of the problem.
PTLS: A Controversial Subject
The existence of PTLS is highly controversial and refuted by many medical experts. Why?
In the past, some women would complain about problems they began experiencing after getting their tubes tied. Their doctors would observe these problems and write up small research case reports to publish in the medical literature.
The problem with these early research papers were they were not well written…these research papers were not well done and only examined small groups of women. Many medical experts began to doubt the credibility of these early research papers based on the study of small groups of women.
We have previously published an extensive blog series describing the side effects reported by women after tubal ligation, the symptoms reported in tubal ligation syndrome, the controversy over PTLS syndrome, and the experiences of patients who have reported symptoms after tubal ligation.
Readers who want more information and have the time to read through the extensive series of articles can do so with the first article:
After reading this series of PTLS articles you will have more information about the controversial nature of PTLS.
On the main section of our tubal reversal website, we have published more information about the problems our patients sometime see after tubal ligation: Tubal Ligation Symptoms: Our Experience
Side Effects Of Tubal Ligation
Many women will experience side effects of tubal ligation and see changes to their bodies… but many of these women WILL NOT HAVE PTLS!
Why do women see changes after tubal ligation?
The vast majority of women who experience problems after getting their tubes tied are really observing unnoticed changes that were gradually happening to their bodies BEFORE they had their tubes tied.
These changes are not always noticed either because many of these women were previously pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking hormonal birth control for the most of the reproductive lives.
If you pregnant or breastfeeding bodies then you don’t have periods and you don’t have much cramping.
If you were taking hormonal birth control then this would also decrease menstrual bleeding and cramping. Hormonal birth control can even mask many of the symptoms that were developing as you became older.
When a woman is pregnant or breastfeeding then she does not have a menstrual cycle. If she does not have a menstrual cycle then does not have any of the problems typically associated with menstruation. You can’t have heavy bleeding or bad cramps if you are not having a period!
When a woman is on hormonal birth control then often her bleeding and cramping are also under good control because the birth control pill (or any hormonal medication) decrease bleeding with your period and helps with uterine cramping.
When a woman has a tubal ligation then she stops becoming pregnant and she stops hormonal birth control.
Also during the childbirth years many women will have gradually gained weight, which can also contribute to abnormal menstrual patterns.
Many women will then experience side effects that were previously unnoticed because they were masked by prior events. They often mistakenly contribute their symptoms to their tubal ligation procedure.
Often these side effects are not due to the tubal ligation but due to the masking of these abnormal symptoms which have been gradually developing unnoticed over the previous years.
Tubal Ligation Symptoms or Just Normal Stuff: Helpful Analogy
Are you having problems from your tubal ligation or are you having just normal stuff? The above explanation can be complicated for some to understand…so here is a helpful easy to understand analogy.
Imagine you are living in an apartment next to busy highway.
There are cars, trucks, and emergency vehicles going up and down the highway all day. This is what life is like when you are younger, pregnant, raising children, and breast feeding or taking hormonal birth control. Life…just like the noise in your apartment… is loud, confusing, and, at times, challenging to deal with.
Now imagine there is an earthquake and the highway is temporarily closed…. there are no more cars or trucks.
The earthquake is a major event…and this is just like getting a tubal ligation. After the earthquake, they closed the highway temporarily to inspect the bridges. There are no more cars and it is very peaceful and quiet. This is just like getting a tubal ligation. Your body gets a break from pregnancy, breastfeeding, and birth control.
After the earthquake things are much quieter now…but now all you hear the quiet of your apartment. Now you hear the steady drip of water from a leaky faucet…it is annoying, it won’t stop and it is really bugging you.
Now…did the earthquake cause the leaky faucet…or was it there all along and…because of the quiet you are now just noticing it?
Some women will tell us they never took birth control and the really know their bodies. They did not have any problems at all until they got their tubes tied. Once their tubes were tied…things went downhill quickly.
If your symptoms started soon after tubal ligation…and no other causes can be identified then perhaps a tubal ligation reversal could help?
Can You Have Side Effects From Tubal Ligation? Does PTLS Exist?
PTLS does exist for some women.
At A Personal Choice Reversal Center in Raleigh NC we exclusively specialize in tubal repair and tubal reversal surgery and we do see many women who have side effects caused exclusively by their tubal ligation.
Many of these women will tell us they never took hormonal birth control and never had any problems. Immediately after their tubal ligation (weeks to months) they start to feel symptoms that gradually become worse. They feel like they are ‘going to hell in a hand basket’ and they can’t find a doctor who either believes them or is willing to work with them.
We commonly will see scar tissue formation and endometriosis of the fallopian tubes in many of our reversal patients who complain of problems after their tubes have been tied.
Endometriosis involving the fallopian tube is not common but we do see this uncommon condition with regularity in our tubal reversal practice.
Most women do not have side effects from their tubal ligation and most women will not have PTLS; however, we do see some women who have all of the symptoms, no explainable cause, and they report marked improvement after tubal reversal.
Many of our patients do have unexplained tubal ligation side effects that cannot easily be explained and many of these women will see rapid improvement after having reversal surgery at our center.