After the birth of her second child, Felicia Crossland knew she was finished having children. She opted for the only non-surgical permanent birth control method on the market – Essure. What she didn’t expect is to be left with permanent pain.
Essure seemed like a perfect solution. The Texas woman didn’t like the idea of being put under with anesthesia and the recovery time with traditional tubal ligation. Her doctor told her that the contraceptive Essure would not only be permanent, but would offer much shorter recovery.
Essure, made by Bayer Healthcare, consists of two nickel alloy coils that are implanted in the fallopian tubes where scar tissue builds up around them, creating a natural barrier preventing the sperm from reaching the egg.
But since the birth control method hit the market in 2002, it has been linked to tens of thousands of adverse event reports ranging from pain and infections to autoimmune conditions and allergic reactions. The coils can also migrate from their intended position and puncture the fallopian tube or uterine wall, causing a host of other problems.
Felicia says she lives with constant pain since she was implanted with Essure. “What happens most nights is there’s this incredible pain that builds in my pelvis and works its way down in my legs,” she told NBC4.
Earlier this year, under pressure from advocacy groups and Congress, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted a safety review of Essure and recommended that a black box warning be placed on the product’s label warning women that complications can occur and can result in lifelong problems.
The warning isn’t enough for some women, who continue to press for a ban on Essure. Many who claim they have been injured by the contraceptive device have filed lawsuits against Bayer alleging the company knew Essure could cause problems but failed to adequately warn women of Essure side effects.