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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, 5 kg, 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 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 provider if your incisions are red or swollen, become painful, or there is a discharge coming from them.

Alternative Names

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


Isley MM, Katz VL. Postpartum care and long-term health considerations. In: Gabbe SG, Niebyl JR, Simpson JL, et al, eds. Obstetrics: Normal and Problem Pregnancies. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 23.

Jensen JT, Mishell DR. 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.

Newkirk GR. Permanent femal sterilization (tubal ligation). In: Pfenninger JL, Fowler GC, eds. Pfenninger and Fowler's Procedures for Primary Care. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Mosby; 2011:chap 152.

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Review Date 5/16/2016

Updated by: Irina Burd, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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