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Tubal ligation - discharge

You had tubal ligation (or tying the tubes) surgery to close your fallopian tubes. These tubes connect the ovaries to the uterus. After tubal ligation a woman is sterile. This means you can no longer get pregnant.

Your surgeon probably made 1 or 2 small cuts in the area around your belly button. Then your surgeon inserted a laparoscope (a narrow tube with a tiny camera on the end) and other instruments into your pelvic area. Your tubes were either cauterized (burned shut) or clamped off with a small clip, a ring, or rubber bands.

What to Expect at Home

You may have many symptoms that last 2 to 4 days. As long as they are not severe, these symptoms are normal:

  • Shoulder pain
  • Scratchy or sore throat
  • Swollen belly (bloated) and crampy
  • Some discharge or bleeding from your vagina

You should be able to do most of your normal activities after 2 or 3 days. But, you should avoid heavy lifting for 3 weeks.


Follow these self-care steps after your procedure:

  • Keep your incision areas clean, dry, and covered. Change your dressings (bandages) as your health care provider told you to.
  • DO NOT take baths, soak in a hot tub, or go swimming until your skin has healed.
  • Avoid heavy exercise for several days after the procedure. Try not to lift anything heavier than 10 pounds (about a gallon jug of milk).
  • You can have sexual intercourse as soon as you feel ready. For most women, this is usually within a week.
  • You may be able to return to work within a few days.
  • You may eat your normal foods. If you feel sick to your stomach, try dry toast or crackers with tea.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your health care provider if you have:

  • Severe belly pain, or the pain you are having is getting worse and does not get better with pain medicines
  • Heavy bleeding from your vagina on the first day, or your bleeding does not lessen after the first day
  • Fever higher than 100.5°F (38°C) or chills
  • Pain, shortness of breath, feeling faint
  • Nausea or vomiting

Also call your doctor if your incisions are red or swollen, become painful, or there is a discharge coming from them.

Alternate Names

Sterilization surgery - female - discharge; Tubal sterilization - discharge; Tube tying - discharge; Tying the tubes - discharge


Jensen JT, Mishell DR Jr. Family planning: contraception, sterilization, and pregnancy termination. In: Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, Katz VL, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2012:chap 13.

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Update Date 7/28/2014

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