The Doctors: Is Permanent Birth Control Causing Health Problems?
Sabrina turned to The Doctors after suffering from chronic pain, hair loss, chronic cough, and extreme fatigue. She’s the mother of four children with a fiance, and after her fourth child, it was decided that she would undergo a sterilization procedure. It was recommended that her undergo a new procedure called Essure. Essure is when metal coils are inserted into her fallopian tubes to create scar tissue, preventing eggs from dropping into her uterus. It’s allegedly 99.9% effective with zero side effects. The procedure took just 30 minutes and she was sent home the same day. She immediately noticed severe cramping and lost control of her bowels.
Daryl, Sabrina’s fiance, can see how much Sabrina is suffering. Sabrina pointed out that she also has difficulty walking and even has some pretty bad scars and marks. She’s constantly bleeding and suffers from constant pressure. She contacted her doctor and was told that her side effects were normal because of her age. She was just 35-years-old but has since put on 80 pounds. About a year after the procedure, clumps of hair started falling out, and knows that having the coils removed could give her her life back.
The Doctors: Possible Side Effects Of Essure
The Doctors were then joined by Sabrina and her fiance to the show. Sabrina believes all her medical symptoms are because of the device because she was healthy and active after her fourth child with no history of medical problems. Dr Jennifer Ashton made a point to say that there is no such thing as “zero risk” in medicine. The Doctors then turned to Dr Rachel Steward, a board-certified OB-GYN who has performed hundreds of Essures and all but very few have been satisfied.
Dr E. Scott Sills, an IVF and fertility specialist, said he sees a lot of women undergo Essure to avoid a hysterectomy. Dr Steward argued that there is quite a bit of data to support Essure, because it’s been FDA-approved for over 13 years. In a 5-year clinical trial, more than 10,000 women were studied using the device. She said there’s no perfect choice for women to make which is why they have to discuss all their options. Dr Steward said personally, Essure would not be her first choice but she doesn’t want a device in her uterus.
Dr Jennifer Ashton said, when you talk about risk/benefit, tubal ligation or being on birth control pills are also considered chem prevention. Birth control is simply not a 5-minute discussion.
The Doctors: Is Essure Safe?
The Doctors then brought in Edio Zampaglione, from Bayer Pharmaceuticals, who said Essure is still a viable option for birth control. He pointed out the “consistent picture” of high efficacy and benefit/risk profile, but knew there’s no fool-proof method. Essure doesn’t contain any hormones, and pointed out that some of the issues Sabrina was experiencing (such as hair loss) were usually hormone-related issues.
Sabrina was sent to see Dr Sills to evaluate her situation. She said her weight gain was instant and Dr Sills showed that they actually found a piece of the implant that had separated inside of Sabrina. The implant could be in the process of separating and Sabrina revealed that when she urinated she actually found a piece of metal that had been passed vaginally. Since the procedure, she had seen six doctors and she refuses to give up hope until she finds relief.
Sabrina underwent an ultrasound which revealed a large cyst on one of her ovaries.
The Doctors: Long-Term Risks Of Essure
Dr Sills explained that the device is supposed to stay in the body for a lifetime, but the amount of long-term data available for the device is maybe 12-18 months, which means we don’t know what happens in those who have the device for longer than that. To remove the coils, it requires careful surgery.
The Doctors: Health Issues From Birth Control
Edio Zampaglione then argued that Dr Sills was incorrect in saying there wasn’t any long term data, because there was a 5-year post-approval follow up study completed around 2007-2008, which found no indication of problems with the device. There was another 2014 study that was a 10-year follow up, showing no problems.
But turning back to Sabrina, she was desperate to have the device removed. Dr Sills knows that Sabrina is a busy mom, so he wanted to provide the removal surgery at no cost for Sabrina. Where do you stand? Do you think more research should be done on Essure or were Sabrina’s problems likely just a result of changing hormones?
Leave a Reply