There have been various options for female sterilization offered throughout the years for women desiring permanent birth control. Previously, women could only get their fallopian tubes tied, cut, burned or clipped through a procedure requiring anesthesia, abdominal incisions, and surgery in the abdominal cavity. This required time off from work and involved the risk of major surgery.
Now there is the option of a sterilization procedure that is easier for women than a vasectomy is for a man. For a vasectomy, an incision is made under local anesthesia into the scrotum and the vas deferens, the tube that transports sperm is cut. With the Essure procedure, women can have permanent sterilization in their Ob/Gyn office under a light anesthesia and without any “cutting’. Using a camera to look into the uterus, small metal devices are placed in the opening of each Fallopian tube. These will cause a natural scarring which will eventually block the tube and prevent pregnancy,. With this procedure, women avoid the hospital or surgicenter copayment, and can walk out of office, relatively pain free, minutes after the procedure.
Essure, like the older female sterilization procedures, is permanent and for women who are sure that they never ever want to get pregnant again. It doesn’t affect their periods or their hormones either. However, some women who use hormonal methods for birth control prior to sterilization notice that their “natural” periods are heavier when they go off of the pill, IUD or shot and lose that benefit. For women that don’t ever want to worry about birth control again, Essure is a wonderful option. A 10 minute office procedure provides permanent contraception and is incision- free.
Is there a down side to Essure? It does require being on a back up method of birth control for 3 months after the procedure, while the device is scarring into the Fallopian tubes and causing the permanent blockage that will prevent pregnancy. This is still less than the waiting period after a vasectomy.
If you are considering a permanent birth control solution to prevent pregnancy and tired of waiting for your husband to do the task, please contact my Mesa Ob/Gyn practice to schedule an appointment.
Tamar Gottfried is a Board Certified Obstetrician/ gynecologist practicing general Ob/gyn in Mesa Arizona and affiliated with Banner Desert and Banner Gateway Medical Centers. She can be contacted at 480-545-0059. This is a general interest article only and is not intended to be medical advice. See a medical professional before making medical decisions