I was 26 years old, married, and a mother to 5 children under the age of 6, including a set of twins when I had a tubal ligation. I had always had a problem with various forms of contraception. I am a migraine sufferer and birth control pills just did not agree with me. The depo injection gave me one of the worst migraines I’d ever experienced, so that was not an option. I tried having a coil IUD fitted, but I was assaulted by my doctor. I left with it half hanging out of my cervix. I was later told that it released the same hormones as the pill and so again, not an option. I was left with the use of a contraceptive diaphragm. This was not great either. I would also like to add up until this point, I was very fertile. I had regular, painless periods and a very healthy reproductive system.
After the birth of my twins, I was again approached about birth control by a doctor. I explained all the problems I had with previous methods and was advised that the best option would be a tubal ligation; a form of female sterilization. Tubal ligation meant no more pills, no more diaphragm or condoms or trying to avoid sex during ovulation. I thought the tubal ligation would mean no more worrying. I was sold immediately. I was told it was a simple procedure performed via keyhole surgery. I would be in and out the same day. My Fallopian tubes would be cut burned and folded back on themselves. The only long term side effect that I was informed about was I would no longer be able to have children.
A few days after my consultation, I had my appointment for surgery booked. Besides the expected soreness after the operation, everything went well. I was fully recovered within a week or so. I was happy that I no longer had to worry about falling pregnant. I could now get on with my life and enjoy my beautiful children. It was not long after that my nightmare began and it is only now, 15 years later, that I discovered the term that explains all of the health issues that came up after my surgery. It is called: Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome or PTLS.
Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome
The first thing I noticed after my surgery were the mood swings. I became depressed, aggressive, and tearful. I was just not myself. I thought maybe it was the emotional impact of no longer being able to reproduce, somehow feeling less of a woman. I thought it would pass. It didn’t. I have suffered with these symptoms for the past 15 years: depression, anxiety, anger, and tiredness, none of which I had before the tubal ligation. I am no longer the same person. My hormones were, and still are, all over the place. My marriage broke down and I lost friends. I was diagnosed with depression and given anti-depression tablets. They never really helped and so I stopped taking them and just learnt to live with it.
The physical symptoms began soon after as well. I developed heavy, painful, and irregular periods. Sometimes I would bleed for as long as 6 weeks at a time and I always spotted between periods. I was given norethisterone tablets to try and stop the bleeding, which I couldn’t take because of the migraines, and iron tablets to cope with the blood loss. I have not had a regular period since the surgery. I had so many tests but nothing could be found. I was told I was normal and no one could explain why I bled all the time it was just one of those things. Before the surgery, I had regular, painless periods.
Fast forward 15 years and I have since been diagnosed with uterine polyps, endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic depression and had a severe case of pelvic inflammatory disease that could have killed me. I suffer with constant pelvic pain, back pain, bleeding, weight gain, hair loss, and acne. The list is endless but mention the words post tubal ligation syndrome to a doctor and you are immediately dismissed. No such thing they say. I’m sorry but I do believe there is such a thing. My health declined rapidly after the surgery and there are thousands of women with similar stories to mine. Some have been lucky enough to undergo a tubal litigation reversal and their symptoms have all but gone. It is about time the medical profession woke up and researched this issue properly. Women deserve to know the truth so they can at least make an informed decision before destroying their body unknowingly. PTLS is real. It is out there and thousands are suffering as a result.
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