Women complain about complications with permanent birth control - CBS46 News

Women complain about complications with Essure permanent birth control

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

There's a warning for women in the market for a permanent birth control.

Some women complain about complications from Essure. It's marketed as being cheaper and safer than getting your tubes tied. The women have a well-known name on their side: Erin Brockovich.

April Long picks her kids up from school every day. At 25, the married mom felt her family was complete.

"I had two girls, two boys. I had a good family going," Long said.

So Long began looking for a permanent birth control. She chose Essure over getting her tubes tied or asking her husband for a vasectomy.

"I was thinking no down time for me. My husband has to work and I can go back to normal life stuff," Long said.

Essure is the only non-surgical sterilization available for women. The Essure Patient Video shows it works by placing a micro-coil into a woman's fallopian tubes. Scar tissue builds around it to form a natural barrier to prevent pregnancy.

So far Essure coils have been placed in 750,000 women world-wide. Many are happy with the results, but for a smaller group, the insert produces excruciating pain that doesn't go away.

"Just pains, off and on, non-stop. Like somebody is stabbing you or punching you sometimes," Long said.

The micro coils are still in Long's fallopian tubes. She says the pain affects everything, including intimacy with her husband. Her oldest daughter notices the change in her.

"She used to be more active and now she doesn't feel as good so she's doesn't play with us as much. It's sad to see mommy in pain," Katelyn Long said.

Essure was approved in 2002 by the Food and Drug Administration after 2 and a half years of clinical trials. Because it went through the FDA's most rigorous testing women can't sue over complications.

It caught the attention of well-known consumer advocate Erin Brockovich. She offers women a forum to share their symptoms and frustration.

"My first thought after 'oh my God there's other people out there,' was 'I'm not crazy,'" O'Brian said.

Like April, O'Brian was done having kids when she looked into permanent birth control. And like her, the painful symptoms started right away.

"It hurt to sit. It hurt to stand. It hurt to lay down. I was really looking into committing myself somewhere because the anxiety was so severe," O'Brian said.  

Once she realized the debilitating pain could be linked to Essure, she looked into having it removed.

"My OBGYN said the only way to remove the Essure was by hysterectomy. With that surgery, every symptom I had was gone," O'Brian said.

O'Brian never wanted a hysterectomy and feels Essure robbed her of making a different choice. But just three months later, O'Brian said she has her life back. She can jump on the trampoline with her son again, enjoying the mother son time she had longed for.

"This is 3 years I can't get back. I can move forward, but I can't get them back," O'Brian said. 

Since there's no legal recourse, the women hope their stories will help others and convince the FDA to take Essure off the market.

To see the full FDA statement, click here. To see the statement from Bayer Healthcare, which bought Essure in June, click here.  

To date, 943 women have filed complaints with the FDA. If you've had problems with Essure, we want to hear from you. Send an email to jennifer.mayerle@cbsatlanta.com.

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