Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Essure birth control - miracle or not?
Listen to the ads on Essure (and read the website) and it sounds really great - a one time non surgical procedure which takes care of birth control forever.
The devil, as they say, is in the details. They call it "non surgical" because although it involves a procedure which has to be done in the doctor's office, there is no incision but in another way, it could be considered surgical because it's invasive - it's just that they go in through an opening already there - that's why no incision. And also, they are inserting a foreign medal object (two of them) into your body in order to cause an irritation in the tubes which go from the ovaries to the uterus in order to force your body to create scar tissue in the tubes and thus, in theory, block the tubes.
The way that is said delicately on the website is "your body forms natural barrier around the micro-inserts that prevents sperm from reaching the eggs". Well, yes, scar tissue is a natural reaction but the irritation which caused it is not natural at all and can be a health risk!
And if you are still ovulating, blocking your fallopian tubes like this can raise the risk for ectopic pregnancy, a condition which can be life threatening for the mother.
That is, it doesn't take very much for a sperm to sneak through the scar tissue if it isn't really a super strong barrier. (Sperm are very small).
Also, it must be causing some other problems because the side effects are listed as heavy bleeding during periods, dizziness and more, which according to not happy campers, continue long after the procedure. We are not told why it's causing these side effects but a page on FaceBook where unhappy Essure patients hang out, confirms that at least a percentage of women get these uncomfortable side effects. The cramps the Essure folks warn can happen are described by some as "stabbing pains in the abdomen"
The women who are not happy with the procedure (posting on the complaint site), all say they are sorry they ever had it done and since it's permanent and the only fallopian tubes they will ever have, have been ruined, unlike something like "tubal ligation", Essure cannot be undone. The nice doctors who performed the procedure in the first place (there are 150 of them in my area for example) apparently, according to these women, are not any help when they are suffering side effects and some complain that the fatigue, nausea and dizziness, heavy bleeding etc, are pretty disabling.
On one site, there are more complaints about Essure.
Another side effect which doesn't seem to be listed in the Essure material but which many complain about, is weight gain.
On the website, they admit that the claim of rendering a woman safe from pregnancy was made from tests of less than one year.
This procedure doesn't sound like a real good idea to me. Sold on the premises Americans love, of "fast and easy", it sounds like if your body objects, it can be difficult and painful.
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