How to choose between a tubal ligation vs hysterectomy? Choosing the right method of permanent sterilization is a common concern for many. Each procedure has its own benefits and considerations. Let’s explore.

Tubal Ligation vs Hysterectomy

Both are permanent forms of contraception. Tubal ligation is a surgical procedure that involves cutting, clamping or blocking the fallopian tubes to prevent eggs from traveling to the uterus for fertilization. It does not remove the uterus but it can be performed along with a hysterectomy. A hysterectomy, on the other hand, is a surgical removal of the uterus and possibly the cervix. It can be done abdominally or vaginally and may be accompanied by oophorectomy (removal of ovaries) to reduce production of hormones.

Both a tubal ligation and hysterectomy are permanent forms of birth control. Equally important, they are very different procedures with different risks and benefits. A tubal ligation can be more suitable for women who want to keep their uterus intact. Similarly, a hysterectomy may be the best option for women experiencing issues like fibroids or endometriosis.

Tubal Ligation/Sterilization

Tubal ligation is a method of permanent birth control. It involves various techniques, such as Filshie clips, partial salpingectomy, or complete salpingectomy. Regardless of the specific technique, all options are effective. In addition, it has a success rate of over 99% in preventing pregnancy. Tubal ligation can occur during a C-section or soon after vaginal delivery.

Benefits of Tubal Ligation

  • Hormone-free permanent birth control
  • Decreased risk of ovarian cancer

Negatives of Tubal Ligation

  • Outpatient surgery (unless done with a C-section)
  • Surgical risks
  • Requires 1-2 weeks of recovery time
  • Risk of regret (average 12.7%, range 6-20% depending on age)
  • Potential effects on periods


A total hysterectomy is a surgery where both the uterus and cervix are removed. Similarly, it is a procedure that is used to treat various conditions. Issues include heavy or painful periods, fibroids, or certain types of cancer. The surgery can be performed through a cut in the abdomen or through the vagina. After the procedure, a person will no longer have their uterus and cervix.

Benefits of Hysterectomy

  • Permanent cessation of periods
  • If ovaries are preserved, no hormonal changes
  • Opportunity to remove fallopian tubes reducing ovarian cancer risk
  • No negative impacts on sexual function. Potential improvement can actually occur if the uterus causes pain during intercourse.

Negatives of Hysterectomy

  • Invasive surgery
  • Surgical risks
  • 6-week recovery period
  • Sexual activity restrictions for at least six weeks

Things to Consider when deciding between a Tubal Ligation vs Hysterectomy

Deciding on permanent birth control is a big decision. It’s important to think about the pros and cons of each option. First, a tubal ligation gives hormone-free birth control and lowers the risk of ovarian cancer. Equally important, a hysterectomy stops periods completely and can improve sexual function. Lastly, remember to talk to your healthcare professional to understand your own situation. They will help you make the best choice for your situation and your body. 

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