Permanent birth control could come with more risks than advertis - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Permanent birth control could come with more risks than advertised

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TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

In 2002 a new permanent birth control came on the market claiming to work with the body to create a natural barrier to prevent pregnancy. Now, the device is raising some concerns with women across the country, and one famous name is getting behind the cause.

Toledo native Evelynn McCulloch Owens says her family had grown big enough, so she and her husband made the decision to move forward with Essure-A type of permanent birth control.

Owens was implanted with the device in January of 2011. Shortly after, her life changed.

"I was getting very depressed. It was affecting my ability to be a good mom, a good wife," said Owens.

For Evelynn it was a nearly 3 year nightmare, dealing with painful symptoms every day.

"[I had] extreme pelvic pain, which is the worst of all the symptoms I had," said Owens. "Muscle pain in my calf to the point I was on muscle relaxer just to go to sleep. Fatigue."

According to the Essure website, the device is a series of coils placed in the fallopian tubes which works with the body to create a natural barrier to prevent pregnancy.

"That coil causes a reaction inside the tube, that the tube closes in… so it's a tubal ligation," said ProMedica Physician Dr. Terry Gibbs "It's a permanent way to stopping your ability to have babies."

Dr. Gibbs say he performs anywhere from 50 to 100 of the procedures a year. He says while his patients have been pleased, he's aware of the controversy, including what the coils are made from.

"The coil that's placed in the body is made of titanium and nickel and some people talked about a reaction if you have a bad allergy to nickel. Some people say that you will itch and have some reaction from it. The company really doesn't say that. They've had a lot of complications with people having severe reactions to it," said Gibbs.

Dr. Gibbs believes Essure is safe, and says like anything there is always a risk.

"I would tell you that there is a very low complication rate to it and It's like anything ...Nothing is 100-percent perfect," said Gibbs

The FDA has acknowledged some of the complaints. On its website it says there are reports that describe symptoms "not included in the labeling," such as fatigue, depression and weight gain.

Some of the symptoms same described by Owens.

"I couldn't go through one day without taking a nap," said Owens.      

From November 4, 2002 through October 25, 2013 the FDA has received 943 reports of adverse events related to Essure.

Many of the women affected are taking their fight online. A Facebook group titled "Essure problems" has nearly 3,000 members.

"I found thousands of other women going through the same thing I was going through. I felt such a relief from finding these ladies but I was appalled at the amount of women having these problems," said Owens.  

Well known consumer advocate Erin Brockovich is now getting behind the cause. Back in October she spoke on The Doctors about the hundreds of women who have contacted her.

Bayer, the company who makes Essure, responded to our request with the following statement.

"We are saddened to hear of any serious health condition affecting a patient using one of our products. Regardless of the cause, no form of birth control is without risk or should be considered appropriate for every woman.  It is important that women discuss the risks and benefits of any birth control option with their physicians."

On November 8 Owens made the decision to get the coils removed and undergo a hysterectomy.  She says life is now back to normal.

"I've literally gotten my life back. I feel amazing," said Owens.

Copyright 2013 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.

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