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NO MORE KIDS!!! Current information on vasectomy, tubal otherwise known as “The big snip”

I had a question about the difference between vasectomy and a tubal ligation on this week’s Love and Lipstick show (Sundays and Monday’s on EZ Rock). Every woman I know has had the Oh-My-God worry when their period was late unexpectedly. And when you already have kids (and have just gone through the craziness of March Break and the thought of more is terrifying) you may be thinking that the current birth control methods may not be cutting the mustard.

When you are looking to eliminate the worry of contraception permanently (get yourself fixed) you have three options:

Tubal (AKA getting your tubes tied)
Vasectomy
Essure

No matter what you choose, you have to assume that the decision is permanent. If you try to get either vasectomy or tubal revered the results are iffy at best, very painful and cost $5000 to $10,000.
Ask yourself the questions of:
1.Are you absolutely sure?
2. Is there other forms of birth control that might work for you?
3. Is this decision mutual?
Many doctors won’t do the procedure if you are under 35, but if you are adamant that this is what you want then find the local specialist in your area. In Ottawa Dr. Ron Weiss has done thousands of non-scapel snips and teaches the procedure. I would always recommend a specialist for your boys.

Here’s what happens in a “no-scalpel” vasectomy, done usually in a doctor’s office or clinic.
A tool called a hemostat punctures a small hole in the scrotum. The vas defrens (the tubes bringing sperm up and out) are teased out and then clipped, blocked or cauterized. In traditional vasectomy a scalpel cuts the scrotum and the same thing is done to the wayward tubes. I am told that a day off, no lifting for 2 weeks, and the medicinal combination of Jack Daniels and a bag of frozen peas on your nuts keeps the swelling down. I am told some of the worse part of the procedure is the shaving the doctor does before he/she starts. Oh, and you can resume crazy sex after 2 weeks but your plumbing needs 15 ejaculations to clear the tube. As a sex therapist some of the downsides I see after a vasectomy is a lowering of libido. The literature is inconclusive, but I see a correlation. So if you are the less horny one in your relationship, you might want to ponder the option more closely.

The tubal is a little more complicated. I had one done 10 years and 150 heavier and my doctor said it was far more difficult on heavier women. However I knew I didn’t want any more children and believe it’s easier to stop one egg a month than 100 million sperm a day. Either the doctor goes through your belly button (In my case though the pelvic wall) and pumps your abdomen full of gas so that your tubes are exposed. A numbing spray on the tubes helps with the after pain (which was significant). The tubes are them cauterized or blocked. I am still very happy with my decision.

Finally, the new procedure called Essure is where two, tiny spring-like coils are inserted into the fallopian tubes through the vagina. With only a day recovery period and no post surgery complications to think about it’s a good option. After 3 months a follow up appointment happens to make sure the coils are in the right place.

Given that there are no perfect methods of birth control, sterilization is as fool-proof as it gets. With an almost non-existent failure rate it’s so much sexier not to be dealing with the hassles of birth control. Smile.