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What You Should Know About Essure Birth Control Complications

Alicia Betz
November 20, 2022

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 65% of women in the United States use some form of birth control. Whether it’s a birth control pill or a form of permanent birth control, no method of birth control is without its side effects and consequences. From 2002 to 2018, hundreds of thousands of women used Essure as a form of permanent birth control. 

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Women and doctors alike were excited about the possibilities offered by Essure. It provided women with a way to take control of their fertility permanently in the way men are able to via a vasectomy. However, after years on the market, it became clear that the side effects the device caused weren’t worth it for many women. 

What Is Essure and How Does It Work? 

Doctor Holding T-Shaped Intrauterine Birth Control Device on Blurred Background, Closeup

Essure was a form of permanent birth control that was taken off the market in 2018 due to declining sales, complaints, and long-term complications. The device wasn’t officially recalled, rather its manufacturer, Bayer, voluntarily took it off the market. 

It was a form of hysteroscopic sterilization sometimes called a female vasectomy. The device was inserted in women’s fallopian tubes via the vagina, which many women and doctors found ideal because it was relatively easy to insert and didn’t require general anesthesia. Similar to a vasectomy, women could be in and out of the doctor’s office in a few hours and within a few months be sterile. 

Once the devices were in each fallopian tube, the body would respond by creating scar tissue in the fallopian tubes. Then, when the woman ovulated, the egg couldn’t get to the uterus because of the scar tissue. It seemed like an ideal solution that could be helpful to many women and couples. 

Complications of Essure Birth Control

While incredibly effective (over 99%), it didn’t take long for women to start noticing undesirable side effects after having the device implanted. Many women only reported short-term and relatively mild side effects, but many others were left with long-term, sometimes crippling side effects. 

In the short term, many women had the following complaints: 

  • Pain during and after the procedure to implant the device 
  • Cramping
  • Pelvic pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting

These short-term issues are unpleasant, but not incredibly surprising. They are similar to complaints women have after having an intrauterine device (IUD) inserted, which is another form of birth control that is inserted through the vagina. IUDs, however, are not permanent birth control. Minimal pain and discomfort are to be expected following any medical procedure of this type. 

More alarming, however, are the long-term complications many women faced after getting Essure birth control. These include: 

  • Abdominal pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Back pain
  • Allergic reactions 
  • Autoimmune reactions 
  • Uterine perforation 
  • Device migration 
  • Menstrual cycle disturbances
  • Irregular vaginal bleeding 
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Hair loss
  • Headaches
  • Weight changes 

Many women who have experienced long-term side effects have gone on to get the device removed. Essure removal is more invasive than insertion, but for many women, it’s worth it for a chance to reduce or eliminate their side effects. 

Can I Get Essure Removed? 

If you have Essure birth control and have experienced complications and dangerous side effects, you have probably considered having the birth control removed. Thankfully, it is possible to have Essure removed, and in many cases, the side effects resolve after removal. It’s important to note, however, that removing the device will not make you fertile again. 

Unfortunately, unlike Essure insertion, Essure removal does require general anesthesia. In some cases, the doctor will create a small incision along your bikini line. Then, he or she will remove the device and the scar tissue surrounding the device. 

Depending on your surgeon’s technique and your individual situation, your surgeon may opt to completely remove your fallopian tubes, known as a salpingectomy. They may also remove your uterus and surrounding organs, known as a salpingectomy. Regardless of the technique your doctor uses, the procedure to remove Essure is typically an outpatient procedure. As with any surgery, it comes with its own set of risks and complications.  

According to a study published in the Journal of Minimally Invasive Gynecology that followed 52 women who had Essure removed, removal can reduce or eliminate Essure side effects. 75% of the women in the study reported that their quality of life was totally or almost totally improved after removal. 

What To Do If You Have Essure Birth Control

Bringing a lawsuit

If you have an Essure birth control implant and it’s working for you, you don’t necessarily need to do anything. The device was not recalled, rather it was removed from the market. Bayer claims that the device had declining sales, though the removal was also likely due to the large number of complaints and long-term side effects. 

For people who are not currently experiencing Essure complications, it might still be worth it to consider Essure removal. It’s possible that you could still experience complications, and it may be better to remove the device before this happens.

If you have experienced long-term side effects due to Essure birth control, you may want to look into having your device removed. You can also join the thousands of other women who have filed lawsuits against Bayer, claiming that the company didn’t adequately warn women of the potential for serious long-term side effects.

Free Case Evaluation

If you or a loved one had Essure IUD removal surgery, we can help you fight for your rights and compensation.


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