Think Twice Before Getting this Permanent Birth Control

If you are considering permanent birth control, it’s†important to make an informed decision. Here’s what you need to know about the Essure and potential Essure problems.

I got the Essure implant†after having my son. It appealed to me for many reasons:

  • It’s†hormone free
  • It’s more than 99 percent effective
  • It’s non-surgical and permanent
  • My health insurance covered a good part of the cost

I wish that I’d known about Essure problems that other women were having back then, because I definitely†would have looked into alternatives.

What is Essure?

Essure is a form of†hormone free, permanent birth control. It’s basically a tiny, flexible coil that your doctor places in your fallopian tubes. The coil is about the size of half a toothpick.

Most women can do the†procedure without any anaesthesia, though†most doctors will recommend that you pop some over-the-counter pain medicine, like ibuprofen, beforehand.

Once the coils are inserted, it takes about three months to become effective, and your doctor will need to do a follow-up appointment to confirm that the procedure was successful. During that†three months, your fallopian tubes will develop scar tissue around the Essure coils, which stops sperm from reaching your eggs.

Bayer, the maker of Essure, says that this method is 99 percent effective, once your doctor confirms success.

Potential Essure Problems

Like many women, I have experienced some Essure side effects. Since†getting Essure, my periods are more painful and heavier. My period cramps now come with a side dish of stabbing pain, and I began spotting†during ovulation, something that never happened in my pre-Essure life. On the upside, my periods are one to two days shorter than they were, so they’re more intense for (thankfully) fewer total days.

I’m not alone in these Essure problems. Both Consumer Reports and Washington Post reported on Essure issues over the summer. Consumer Reports published a Consumer’s Guide to Essure Birth Control†and Washington Post wrote an exposť. These are both worth a read, if you’re considering Essure.

In both reports, journalists†talked to women who were having issues with the Essure implants. Essure side effects that women reported to Consumer Reports and to The Washington Post†include:

  • migraines
  • weight gain
  • a metallic taste in their mouths
  • heavier, more painful periods
  • puncturing of other organs, if the coils move out of the fallopian tubes
  • tooth loss
  • hair loss
  • severe fatigue
  • autoimmune disease

Reading these women’s stories, I’m feeling like I got off pretty easy with my own Essure problems.

In†October 2016, the FDA ordered Bayer to add a boxed disclaimer to Essure packaging. Here is a screenshot of the warning from the Essure†Patient Information Booklet†(pdf):

Essure Problems Warning

The FDA†is†still looking into the Essure’s safety. The page about the ongoing clinical study of its risks says, “The FDA continues to believe that the benefits of the device outweigh its risks, and that Essureís updated labeling helps to assure that women are appropriately informed of the risks.”

Essure Removal

Not every woman who gets the Essure implant experiences negative side effects, but if you do have Essure problems,†removal is usually pretty invasive, unless you change your mind within the first few weeks, before the scar tissue begins to form.

If you change your mind soon enough, your doctor may be able to take the coils†out basically the same way that she inserted†them. Once the scar tissue forms, though, surgery is the only option. The coils will need to be cut out by a doctor who†is familiar with Essure removal.†Consumer†Reports†says that the surgical removal options are, “either cutting open the fallopian tubes to remove the coils, removing the fallopian tubes altogether, or removing the entire uterus (hysterectomy).”

There is no guarantee that your insurance will cover Essure removal, so that’s something you may want to look into beforehand, if you’re considering the implants.

Related at Care2

If you are considering permanent birth control, it's important to make an informed decision. Here's what you need to know about the Essure and potential Essure problems.

Screenshot from Essure. All other images via Thinkstock.

52 comments

Jerome S
Jerome S1 months ago

thanks

SEND
Jerome S
Jerome S1 months ago

thanks

SEND
Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 months ago

thanks for sharing

SEND
Jim Ven
Jim Ven1 months ago

thanks for sharing

SEND
Amanda M
Amanda M2 months ago

Jetana A, when my husband and I decided for a mix of financial and environmental reasons not to have any more kids, I pretty much HAD to be the one getting "fixed" because Medicaid in our state doesn't cover vasectomies for whatever reason. Essure had just come out then, but the OB who did my surgery advised me to go the surgical route because it was faster and she wanted to wait on Essure until more research was done. Fine by me; I got "spayed" in a morning surgery, was home that afternoon, and felt perfectly normal the next day with no post-op pain or problems at all. And yes, that's what I called it-they make you state your name and what you're there for when you go into the OR, and when I told them I was getting "spayed," the whole room cracked up! Laugh all you want, I have no regrets whatsoever! Before the surgery, getting my period meant, "Yay, I'm not pregnant!" Now it means "UGH, how long until menopause?"

SEND
Paulo Reeson
Paulo R2 months ago

ty

SEND
Paulo Reeson
Paulo R2 months ago

ty

SEND
Paulo Reeson
Paulo R2 months ago

ty

SEND
Paulo Reeson
Paulo R2 months ago

ty

SEND
Paulo R
Paulo R2 months ago

ty

SEND