School Closings & Delays

The Fight Over Essure

Women who have decided they don't want to have children, or they're done having children, have options when it comes to contraception. That's a decision best made with their doctors.

One method has been under fire. Some women claim they're having severe and irreversible issues because of an implant called Essure.

Maura Howley-Mitchell lives in Clarks Summit and is raising young kids. A few years ago, she and her husband decided they were done adding to their family. A doctor suggested a non-hormonal, non-surgical method of contraception called Essure. She was thrilled, until two days after it was implanted.

"I woke up in blinding pain. I've never felt anything like this. I've given birth without meds, and I've had back surgery, and I have never felt this intensity of pain in my life before," she said.

Several years before, Joy Taylor of Hanover Township had a similar experience. Her symptoms took about a year to appear.

"Rashes all over my body, bleeding about 25 days of the month, severe stabbing pains, hot flashes, and dizzy spells that would make me pass out," said Taylor.

She had no idea what was happening until she did a little research.

"(I) found that there were other people having the same symptoms I was having."

Both women are now part of a nationwide group thousands strong. They call themselves E-Sisters. They feel as though their health is now ruined and want to see Essure taken off the market. They found an ally in Congressman Lou Barletta.

"Being the father of four daughters, I get it. I understand. Before we do anything like this, we should know. And obviously, there's problems," said Barletta.

Congressman Barletta is the co-sponsor of a bill seeking to pull Essure's FDA approval.

"I don't think it's real safe considering the fact that there have been 5,000 complaints since this has been administered."

Still, Essure continues to be widely used, even recommended.

Dr. Michael Tedesco is an OB-GYN with Wilkes-Barre's General Hospital, part of Commonwealth Health.

"It's a great method of contraception. It's not difficult to put in. It avoids major surgery. It works quickly. There are some patients that may have issues with it, but the numbers are very, very small."

Dr. Tedesco says Essure has been around for more than a decade. Two metal rods surrounded by coils to keep them in place create scar tissue to form a natural barrier to pregnancy.

Dr. Tedesco notes it's a permanent sterilization method that isn't right for every woman. He says as with any other procedure, patients need to consider the risks.

He believes it is a safe choice in what he called "the right patient population."

Maura and Joy have both been told there are other issues to blame for their continuous pain and respiratory issues, that Essure isn't the cause.

Maura disagrees, and thinks thousands of other women can't be wrong.

We reached out to the FDA. A spokeswoman told us just a few weeks ago, on October 31, they finalized updates to the warnings on the box and the patient checklist when it comes to implants intended for sterilization, such as Essure, making sure women are as educated as they can be about the product.

2 comments

  • Lisa

    I had gotten the Essure procedure done 4 years ago, I went and talked to my doctor about getting my tubes tied and he sent me home with a pamphlet on the Essure procedure and told me to think about it…. I chose the Essure procedure since there was no down time and i could get on with my day…. It has been 4 happy yeas with no pain and no taking these medications that messed with my body…. I feel horrible for these women who didn’t have the results i had. I don’t think taking it off the market is the answer either since it may help someone else.

  • laura

    these types of products have been around for ever – so have their problems. i was young at the time but i remember in the early 80’s the interuteral products being recalled. they are bad news always have been always will be

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