Essure® was celebrated as a doctor’s office solution for women wanting permanent birth control. The procedure was called hysteroscopic sterilization, and referred to as the “female vasectomy.”
At first, women and gynecologists rejoiced that women, like men, could take control of their fertility with a permanent solution without the risks of undergoing general anesthesia. The news about Essure has changed, however, and Dr. Darin Swainston at his Darin Swainston, MD, gynecology practice in Las Vegas wants you to know your options if you have the Essure coil implants.
Essure worked by inserting a soft, flexible device into each of a woman’s fallopian tubes via the vagina. The body then produced scar tissue around the devices, blocking the fallopian tubes and preventing an egg from reaching the uterus.
After about three months, a woman’s fertility was permanently ended, and she didn’t need to go under the surgeon’s knife or take time out from work or home life.
Then the complaints flooded in. Despite its FDA approval in 2002, Essure doesn’t seem to be the answer to women’s demand for permanent contraception after all. Essure’s manufacturer, Bayer, voluntarily removed the product from the market last fall, due to declining sales. This has left many women who underwent the procedure concerned about the safety of the device.
A variety of short- and long-term risks to women's health have been linked with Essure implants.
Many women complained of mild to moderate pain during the insertion procedure and after. There were also reports of cramping, pelvic and lower back pain, and vaginal bleeding, which are to be expected given the nature of the procedure. However, many women also experienced nausea and vomiting, and even dizziness and fainting.
More alarming, there are many reported long-term complications associated with Essure.
Some women have experienced long-term abdominal, pelvic and back pain. Also, some women, particularly those with a common nickel allergy, have dealt with allergic reactions to the coil implants, resulting in pain and inflammation. There have even been cases of autoimmune reactions linked to the Essure device.
Rarely, the Essure device has sliced through the fallopian tubes and perforated the uterus, or has migrated into the wrong place within the pelvis or abdomen. Some women also suffer from prolonged disturbances to their periods and irregular vaginal bleeding.
Other reactions, according to reports that were sent to the FDA, include unexplained fatigue, mood disorders like depression, hair loss, headaches, and weight changes. These reactions are thought to be related to polyethylene terephthalate (PET) polymer fibers surrounding the Essure device.
Dr. Swainston has helped many women in the Las Vegas area to reduce or end their pain and uncomfortable symptoms by expertly removing their Essure device. If you had the Essure devices fitted and haven’t felt well since their insertion, Dr. Swainston can examine you to rule out other gynecological disorders that might be responsible for your symptoms.
If together you decide that removing your Essure coils is the best way to proceed, Dr. Swainston prepares you for surgery and explains the procedure to you in detail.
Even though your Essure inserts were probably fitted in a doctor’s office without anesthesia, you need a general anesthetic for its removal, and you have a small bikini line incision so Dr. Swainston can access the device.
During the surgery, Dr. Swainston uses robot-assisted techniques to remove the device and any scar tissue that has formed in your fallopian tubes. This won’t restore your fertility, but it does stand a good chance of resolving your symptoms.
Studies show that 87.5% of women who undergo Essure removal surgery experience an improvement in all their symptoms, though for some women removal can only partially reverse the damage.
Recovery from the surgery is usually quick; you should be back to your normal activities within a week.
If you’re concerned about whether your Essure may be harmful, especially if you’re experiencing symptoms that worry you, don’t delay in making an appointment with Dr. Swainston at his Las Vegas office to discuss whether removing the Essure inserts could work for you.