Sounds great, doesn’t it? No operation, no overnight stay, no general anaesthetic, and you’re on your feet straight away.
So what’s the problem?
Inserting Essure is done by passing the devices, and a small camera, through the vagina, past the cervix, into the womb and then into place in the fallopian tubes.
This means that the cervix required dilation which can be at the very least uncomfortable for some women.
Many women find the procedure very painful, despite local anaesthesia. If the pain is too bad then sometimes the procedure is done under general anaesthetic instead – which rather negates one of the big selling points of Essure.
Lots of women suffer with bleeding and cramping immediately after the procedure.
Some women find that their monthly cycle is disrupted in the months immediately following the procedure.
- The HSG test
To be certain that Essure has properly blocked the tubes, a test is done 3 months after the implants are placed. This involves an x-ray visible dye being flushed into the womb and tubes, whilst an x-ray is taken, to check that no dye goes past the implants. Many women find this test (known as an HSG) painful, and some suffer allergic reactions to the dye.
- Long term side effects
This is where things really get unpleasant.
Many, many women have reported side effects, some of which only emerge several years after Essure was placed. Some of the side effects seem to be directly related to simply having foreign bodies placed internally. Some may be related to the materials that Essure is made of – nickel and PET being the biggest culprits. Some people attribute their side effects to systemic inflammation – in other words, if Essure created local inflammation because that’s how it’s designed, what else can it trigger?
Some women have reported what appear to be auto-immune problems which they attribute to Essure. It’s hard to prove that their problems are linked, but the same side effects seem to appear in so many patients that it’s equally hard to ignore.
A full list of side effects is available here.
If you have experienced ANY kind of problems with Essure (or for that matter, any other medical device) you should complete a Yellow Card report (UK only). Your doctor should be encouraged to do this, but as a patient you are perfectly entitled to do so yourself.
PLEASE DO THIS! It’s the only way that problems are “officially” measured by UK regulatory authorities.