Health Watch

Women fight to ban permanent birth control method

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thousands of women across the country are complaining a permanent birth control procedure is causing severe medical complications.

Those women are now taking to social media calling for the FDA to pull the birth control called Essure from the market.

A handful of valley women say they've been injured by the product.

Thousands of women are now part of a Facebook group called Essure Problems. The women all have the same frightening concerns. They're calling for Essure, a permanent, non-surgical, birth control device to be banned from use.

"It was fast, easy, something you could do in 10 minutes, you go back to work the next day, no down time," said Angela Desa. "I was sold and I was implanted."

Desa from Northern California is a mother of three. She opted for Essure when she decided not to have any more children.

According to essure.com, the procedure implants small flexible coils into each fallopian tube. Essure is hormone free and works once tissue grows around the coils and blocks conception.

Desa told Action News through Skype she suffered from Essure side effects for five years because the coils broke after being implanted.

"I ended up with a hysterectomy," Desa said. "And the outside of it was covered with scar tissue, so they're not sure if it had actually perforated or if it was broken inside the tube, but it was broken."

Many women complain of broken or twisted coils. From her home in Miami, Florida Michelle Garcia said she too suffered severe complications.

"On the left side I had a piece of an Essure coil stabbing me from the inside, it pierced my fallopian tube and I was also getting severe pain on the right side from the Essure coil on my right side that was still in my tube," Garcia said.

Not only are the women receiving huge support on social media. Their cause is also being championed by consumer advocate Erin Brockavich. She launched her own website -- where she says Essure is unsafe.

Essure creator Conceptus is based in the Bay Area. The company is now owned by Bayer, which issued this statement to Action News:

At Bayer, we care about patients and take the safety of our products very seriously. We are saddened to hear of any serious health condition affecting a patient using one of our products, irrespective of the cause. Essure was approved by the FDA in 2002, and has a well-documented benefit-risk profile, with over 400 peer-reviewed publications and abstracts supporting Essure's safety, efficacy and cost-effectiveness. Approximately 750,000 women worldwide rely upon the Essure procedure for permanent birth control. A recent practice bulletin issued by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has recognized that hysteroscopic tubal occlusion for sterilization has high efficacy and low procedure-related risk, cost, and resource requirements. No form of birth control is without risk or should be considered appropriate for every woman. It is important that women discuss the risks and benefits of any birth control option with their physicians.

We're not going to stop until this device is off the market," Garcia said.

Essure is listed as having premarket approval by the FDA, so the women have no legal recourse against Bayer.

Because of the partial government shut down the FDA had no one available to make a comment.

RELATED LINKS:

www.essure.com

www.essureprocedure.net

https://www.facebook.com/groups/Essureproblems/

(Copyright ©2014 KFSN-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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