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Avoid Pregnancy: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: Jul 20, 2024

What is the treatment?

Pregnancy is a condition that when one or more offspring develops in the womb of a woman either due to sexual intercourse or due to assisted reproductive technology. Sometimes pregnancies can occur even after a woman has taken precautions and it can lead to a lot of complications. However there are a number of ways by which pregnancy can be avoided.

A woman should always record her menstrual cycle as she will be aware of the length and time of the cycle and this will help to prevent pregnancy. A woman can find out which day/s she has the highest risk of getting pregnant and so can avoid indulging in sexual activities during that period. Women can also record their temperature daily as the temperature of the body rises during ovulation.

Other ways to prevent pregnancy include use of barrier methods like condoms, female condoms and diaphragms and hormone control devices like birth control pills, hormonal devices and IUDs. A woman can also avoid getting pregnant by practicing abstinence or by undergoing surgery like female sterilization or vasectomy or by taking an emergency contraceptive after having sex. Birth control pills contain synthetic estrogen and progestin hormones that prevent a woman’s eggs from leaving her ovaries and thus prevent her from getting pregnant. Birth control devices include birth-control shot or Depo-Provera, birth-control patch, birth control ring and birth control implant. The IUD or intra-uterine device is a small device that is inserted into the uterus. On type of IUD works by releasing hormones while the other type is made up of copper and stops the sperm from fertilizing the eggs.

How is the treatment done?

If a woman wants to permanently eliminate the chances of her getting pregnant, she can go for female sterilization. This procedure involves the blocking of the fallopian tubes. There can be two types of sterilizations: surgical and non-surgical. The surgical procedure is called tubal litigation and this procedure requires the cutting or sealing of fallopian tubes. A minimally invasive surgery called laparoscopy is performed in this procedure. Non-surgical sterilization involves the insertion of devices through the vagina and uterus in the fallopian tubes to seal them.

In case of surgical sterilization, a patient is generally given an anesthetic. The abdomen is inflated by gas and a small incision is made to access the reproductive organs by means of a laparoscope. Then the fallopian tubes are sealed. The different methods that are used for doing this are cutting and folding the tubes, blocking the tubes with bands or clips or removing sections of the tubes. In some cases, only one incision is required while two incisions may be required in some other cases.

Nonsurgical sterilization does not require any incision and a person will also recover fast from this procedure.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Female sterilization is good for those who want to permanently remove the chances of getting pregnant. It is safe for almost all women and the procedure is almost always successful. However, a woman who wants to bear children in future can avail the IUD. It can be left in the uterus for a number of years and can also be removed when the woman wants to get pregnant. The fertility of a woman can be restored by removing the IUD. Birth control pills and hormonal devices to control pregnancy can be taken by women but they have some side-effects.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Women who are pregnant should not take birth control pills due to the presence of estrogen in them. This is because these pills can decrease production of breast milk. Women who want to become mothers again are not eligible for female sterilization as this is a permanent procedure. Sometimes, tubal litigations are reversible but in most cases, they are not.

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Are there any side effects?

The birth control pills may decrease libido by reducing the libido-friendly testosterone. Other side-effects of such pills include intermenstrual spotting, tenderness of breath, nausea, headaches, missed periods, mood changes and weight gain. The side-effects of non-surgical sterilization may include cramping, pain, bleeding and spotting on the day of the procedure. If sterilization is done with the help of inserts, a woman may experience some discomfort if the inserts get dislodged or damage the uterus.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

A person who has undergone non-surgical female sterilization will not experience the beneficial effects immediately. This is because the scar tissues take time to form and block the fallopian tubes. So the woman has to go to the doctor after some days to check the effectiveness of the procedure. Doctors may use a special type of X-ray hysterosalpingography to see if the tubes are open. A doctors generally checks on a patient every 15 minutes for an hour to make sure that the patient is recovering well. A person generally takes 2-5 days to recover from the surgical procedure.

How long does it take to recover?

A person takes about 2-5 days from surgical procedure to prevent pregnancy. People who have had birth control pills can experience symptoms like headaches, tenderness of breast, mood swings, water retention and nausea. They may take a few months time to recover from these symptoms.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Female sterilization procedures can cost anywhere between Rs 1,00,000 to Rs 4,00,000. Female condoms are available within a price range of Rs 75 – Rs 300. The cost of female diaphragms vary between Rs 1000 – Rs 3300. Depo Provera or birth-control shots can be purchased from Rs 2500 onwards. Birth control rings can be bought for Rs 2000.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Female sterilization procedures, whether surgical or non-surgical, can permanently help to prevent pregnancy. However, recent studies have shown that a small percentage of women can get pregnant after tubal ligation. Birth control pills and hormonal birth control devices should be taken by a woman regularly to prevent pregnancy. If they are discontinued, their effects slowly wane away and a woman may get pregnant. Intra-uterine devices help a woman to avoid pregnancy for as long the device is implanted.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Parsley is a natural medicine that has been long known by mankind for its beneficial effects in avoiding pregnancy. The roots of the cotton bark stimulate the hormone responsible for mating sperms in ovaries called oxytocin and so help to prevent pregnancy. Other plants/herbs that help to avoid pregnancy include angelica, mugwort, weed leaves, neem leaves and queen anne lace seeds.

References

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Written ByDr. Anand Bhatt MS - Obstetrics and Gynaecolog,PG Diploma in IVF & Reproductive Medicine,Advanced Infertility & ART trainin,MBBS,Diploma in Minimal Access SurgeryGynaecology
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