Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. This is not medical advice. I cannot give medical advice and don’t claim to have all the answers. I am simply a woman telling the story of her experience after tubal ligation.
If you are considering having a tubal ligation, PLEASE do thorough research. Get your doctor to openly talk about what they’ve heard about post tubal menstral flow and what it does to hormones after the blood supply is cut off to the ovaries. In some women, this appears to cause major problems, including me.
A part of me wishes no one had ever come up with a name for what can happen after a woman has a tubal ligation. (Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome, or PTLS.) Calling the symptoms anything that sounds medical makes doctors roll their eyes because it’s not in a diagnostic book of any kind. There aren’t medical studies done to prove its existence and therefore the medical community denies PTLS. And yet, when I take the time to look at where people are coming from when they end up on this blog, I see that the majority still come here after searching symptoms they are having after a tubal ligation on Google. I receive several emails from women who have done just that every single day.
I keep these emails in a separate folder in my gmail. There are hundreds. Lately, the questions remain the same and the stories are very similar, but the difference is that because two years have gone by, many are asking me if I’m still interested in talking about this, since the posts are so old. Then they ask if I’ve found any answers.
Yes, I’m still interested in hearing your stories.
No, I haven’t exactly found the answers.
BUT, I do want to bring some hope to those that are landing here because they have gotten fed up with their symptoms and finally googled any possible link to tubal ligation. They feel so anxious and depressed and they had a gut feeling they should look up any correlations. Or for the woman that can no longer leave the house during her period because of how terribly heavy it is.
Friend, I know you’re so tired and so confused about what’s happening to you. Please read my first post about all of my symptoms and the next follow up post. What you are reading now is the latest post about PTLS.
What’s happening for me now?
I continue to meet doctors who shrug off the confidence I have that having a tubal ligation was a mistake for me. I continue to have no doubt that my symptoms, including anxiety, increased depression, skin changes, very heavy periods, digestive changes, etc. are due to my hormones changing after my tubal ligation. Basically, having a tubal put me into early (and total) menopause. Just as different women respond to menopause differently, different women respond to the hormonal changes a tubal ligation causes differently. Some women don’t notice much of a change, but many do.
I continue to manage my anxiety and depression with low doses of medication. It helps, but it’s kind of like taking one Ibuprofen for a really bad toothache. It only takes the edge off. Aside from that, here are some things I’ve heard have worked or things I have tried myself and found some relief:
Tubal reversal – I have not had a reversal, but some women report great relief after a reversal. Other women have this (expensive) procedure done and find it doesn’t help as much as they’d hoped. There are not a lot of doctors who will do reversals. Many do not believe it will help.
Uteran Ablation - This procedure is used to treat dysfunctional or abnormal uterine bleeding.
Hysterectomy – a partial or total hysterectomy often helps some women’s hormones to become more balanced. For other women, it makes the imbalance worse. (I know, so tricky!)
Natural remedies – Heading to the natural health store for hormone creams or supplements that help regulate hormones has helped many women.
Hormone replacement – many women report that using Hormone Replacement Therapy has been helpful. This can be done with oral supplements or creams/lotions.
Dietary Changes – overall health changes can improve the symptoms of PTLS. Many women who have changed to a healthy diet report lessening symptoms of anxiety and depression, less fatigue, etc. Just like any other condition, it helps to be as healthy as possible to feel the best you can. The same goes for exercise, of course.
NovaSure – this is a relatively new procedure. Women are reporting excellent results with their previous heavy periods. It’s an option for ablation that is said to be fast and easy. *Updated to add: I’ve heard that there are some issues with this procedure. At least one study is being done. I can’t speak for anyone else and don’t know exactly what the problems have been.
Coming to terms – It helps me to simply take a deep breath, forgive myself for not doing more research ahead of time and then to let it go. This sounds impossible, I know. But it gets easier with time. I can’t go back to change my decision. I can’t change that the doctor didn’t tell me any of this was possible. Now, because I can’t do anything medical about this at this time, I accept my symptoms and do my best to live with them in peace. It’s hard. Taking medication for anxiety and depression is hard. Having itchy skin and other random hormone-induced issues is hard. It’s cliche to say it, but it could be worse. So I have my hard days and I ask for help. I take better care of myself. I talk to people who care about me and I simply keep moving forward. It helps a lot to keep other women informed, and so I do.
Sadly, having negative symptoms after a tubal ligation is not taken seriously by many in the medical community. Therefore, most doctors feel no need to warn women of what so many other women are reporting after having one.
I understand that there are no studies proving these correlations and I know that for many women, frustration with symptoms after tubal ligation can be related to many other conditions, or due to a psychological trigger connected to regretting having had a tubal ligation.
BUT, for many of us, who feel good about our decision to not have more children and have no other conditions, women who know our bodies, have good insight and understanding of why this is possible (hormone changes), PTLS is real. That said, it’s real for anyone who is struggling. It actually doesn’t really matter if there’s scientific proof. If there are SO many women reporting these exact same problems, it’s my hope that the medical community will start to get honest with women considering tubal ligation.
The honest truth, after a woman asks, What are the possible side effects?
Here’s a response to that that would really help women:
Well, the only thing we know for sure through studies is that having a tubal can make your periods heavier, and there’s still a very small chance of pregnancy. Other than that, many women do report an increase of anxiety and/or depression, possibly due to hormonal changes after the blood supply to the ovaries is cut off. The medical community still believes that tubal ligation is safe and effective and most women don’t have trouble with hormone changes, but since some women feel strongly that they became pre-menopausal after having one, I thought I should tell you. Please remember, you can’t believe everything you read on the Internet. It is not all accurate, but I’m happy to talk with you about any research you do on your own.
INFORMED decision, huh? Wouldn’t that have been nice?
I wish you all the best, and if you’re here because you’re struggling, I’m truly sorry. If you’re here because you are considering tubal ligation, I am not here to tell you NOT to have it done. As I said, I’m not a medical professional. I’m a woman telling the truth about her experience and I hope it helps you like it would if you heard this over coffee with a friend.
COMMENTS ARE NOW CLOSED ON THIS POST. FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE SEARCH “THE NEW PTLS GROUP” ON FACEBOOK.