Dr. Charles Montieth has heard his share of horror stories from women who have suffered side effects from the nonsurgical, permanent birth control method Essure. Now he’s helping convince the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to pull the device off the market.
Dr. Montieth is the medical director of A Personal Choice in Religh, N.C., where he exclusively specializes in reversal of tubal ligation and corrective tubal surgery for tubal blockage caused by other gynecological conditions. He understands the Essure side effects women have suffered from because he has performed more than 200 removals of the device. Last month, he and dozens of women who claim to have suffered ill effects from the device testified to a panel of experts and urged that the device be removed from the market.
Approved in 2002, Essure remains the only nonsurgical permanent birth control method in the United States. Essure is a coil that is inserted into each of the fallopian tubes. Over time, scar tissue builds up around the coil, causing a permanent barrier that prevents sperm from reaching the egg, thus preventing pregnancy.
Essure complications came to light after a Facebook group, consisting of more than 17,000 women who claim to have suffered injuries from the device, began posting about their adverse reactions. The FDA agreed to listen to testimony as part of an investigation into the safety of the birth control device.
Dr. Montieth says that many Essure problems are overlooked, and often it is because the symptoms seem random. Some women say they were diagnosed with autoimmune problems or developed migraines, rashes and hives. Sandra Diaz says she experienced so much pain and numbness that she asked Dr. Montieth to remove the coils. Melissa Marchetta is still waiting to have her device removed. Until then, she says, she feels like something foreign has invated her body. She suffers from regular migraines and stomach pains.
Other women have more horrific stories, such as the device migrating to other parts of the body, embedding into tissue or protruding into organs. Few doctors know how to safely remove the coils, leaving some women to undergo hysterectomies in order to find relief.
The FDA panel recommended that stronger warnings be placed on packaging with the Essure contraceptive, and that more studies be conducted to identify risks.
Bayer Healthcare, manufacturer of Essure, is facing a growing number of lawsuits from women who claim they were injured by the contraceptive device.
Source: Local 10