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Monday, September 21, 2015

Are We Sure About Essure as a Permanent Contraceptive?

Essure is the only nonsurgical, permanent birth control method that the US Food and Drug Administration has ever approved. and it did this back in 2002. A story today on NPR indicates that the FDA is about to convene a panel to assess its overall safety. Essure is a small coiled device that a physician places in the fallopian tubes, where it causes scarring that blocks sperm from reaching eggs. Since there is no surgery, there are no potential surgical complications, but there apparently are other complications experienced by at least some women, not to mention that the method may actually fail among at least 10% of women.
After their third son was born, Tisha Scott and her husband decided they were done having kids. So Scott, 34, of Drakesville, Iowa, decided to get her tubes tied. "As old married people, neither of us was really interested in using condoms for the rest of our life," Scott says. "So that was the decision that we made because we knew that our family was complete."
But instead of undergoing surgical sterilization, Scott's doctor urged her to try something called Essure — the only available, nonsurgical permanent birth control option approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Essure is a device comprising two tiny coils made of nickel-titanium alloy. Scott's doctor inserted one into each of her fallopian tubes to permanently block them. Since Essure doesn't require surgery, he said it would be a lot easier, quicker and safer.
But almost immediately after the procedure Scott started getting an excruciating burning pain in her back and pelvis. "All of a sudden it hurt to have to move my body to get out of bed, to do anything," she says. The pain got worse and spread all over her body. Despite two operations and many tests and exams, Scott says she still lives in constant pain.
Now, what struck me about this story is that Tisha Scott's husband apparently never considered having a vasectomy. It is a quick and easy procedure and millions of men all over the world have done this. So, that scenario looks decidedly sexist. Then, I noticed that the Vice President for Women's Health Care of the Bayer Company, which makes Essure, is a man! What? Come on--the Germans know better than that.

1 comment:


    For your interest.