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Open Access Open Badges Research

Psychosocial implications of tubal ligation in a rural health district: A phenomenological study

Prosper M Lutala1*, Jannie F Hugo2 and Levi N Luhiriri3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Family Médecine, Université de Goma, Goma, 2 Avenue Himbi, Congo P.O. Box 204 Goma, Congo

2 Department of Family Medicine, University of Pretoria, PO Box 53, De Wildt 0251, South Africa

3 Département de chirurgie, Université Evangélique d'Afrique, Quartier Panzi, Zone Ibanda BP 3323 Bukavu, Congo

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Reproductive Health 2011, 8:38  doi:10.1186/1742-4755-8-38

Published: 16 December 2011



Tubal ligation is the most popular family planning method worldwide. While its benefits, such as effectiveness in protecting against pregnancies, minimal need for long-term follow-up and low side-effects profile are well documented, it has many reported complications. However, to date, these complications have not been described by residents in Congo. Therefore, the study aimed at exploring the experience of women who had undergone tubal ligation, focusing on perceptions of physical, psychological and contextual experiences of participants.


This qualitative study used a semi-structured questionnaire in a phenomenological paradigm to collect data. Fifteen participants were purposefully selected among sterilized women who had a ligation procedure performed, were aged between 30 and 40 years, and were living within the catchment area of the district hospital. Data were collected by two registered nurses, tape-recorded, and transcribed verbatim. Reading and re-reading cut and paste techniques, and integration were used to establish codes, categories, themes, and description.


Diverse and sometimes opposite changes in somatic symptoms, psychological symptoms, productivity, ecological relationships, doctor-client relationships, ethical issues, and change of life style were the major problem domains.


Clients reported conflicting experiences in several areas of their lives after tubal sterilization. Management, including awareness of the particular features of the client, is needed to decrease the likelihood of psychosocial morbidity and/or to select clients in need of sterilization.

psychosocial implications; tubal sterilization; Congo; tubal sterilization; rural district; mini laparotomy; contraception