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Female surgical sterilization (also called tubal sterilization, tubal ligation, and tubal occlusion) is a low-risk, highly effective one-time procedure that offers lifelong protection against pregnancy. Female sterilization is the second most widely-used form of contraception in the United States (oral contraceptives are the first).
Basics of Female Sterilization
Female surgical sterilization procedures block the fallopian tubes and thereby prevent sperm from reaching and fertilizing the eggs. The ovaries continue to function normally, but the eggs they release break up and are harmlessly absorbed by the body. Tubal sterilization is performed in a hospital or outpatient clinic under local or general anesthesia.
Sterilization does not cause menopause. Menstruation continues as before, with usually very little difference in length, regularity, flow, or cramping. Sterilization does not offer protection against sexually transmitted diseases.
|Click the icon to see an image of tubal ligation.|
Review Date: 09/28/2010
Reviewed By: Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.