Local doctor travels to FDA meeting to testify against Essure birth control


EL PASO, Texas - A local OBGYN is traveling across the country Thursday to testify at Food and Drug Administration's headquarters in opposition of a birth control implant he believes is life-threatening for women.

The Essure implant is marketed as the only non-surgical form of permanent birth control.

It's been on the market for 13 years, but over the last two years, the FDA has received a surge of complaints from women, and is now giving it a closer look.

The Essure device is made up of two metallic coils that are implanted in the fallopian tubes. Scar tissue is then supposed to grow around them to block sperm.

The warning label lists side effects such as short-term pain and bleeding after the device is implanted.

Dr. Julio Novoa, who practices in El Paso, is the main commentator for the "Essure problems" Facebook forum. More than 20,000 members have joined the page.

Novoa said thousands of women are experiencing things like chronic pain, fatigue, weight gain and migraines.

"The Essure device is not everything it's cracked up to be, and in reality, compared to everything else we could be using as birth control and even traditional tubal ligation, it should really be taken off the market," Novoa said.

Lucia Ontiveros, who got the device implanted seven months ago, wishes she would have found out sooner.

"I was sedated. I woke up I had a bad headache. The headache continued for days and days. I also have been menstruating since the day of the implantation. I have not had a break of that. It's been every day continuously. Besides headaches, I have bad migraines. Hair loss, I've lost a lot of my hair. Fatigue, there's days where it's very hard for me to function because of the fatigue," said Ontiveros.

Ontiveros is now contemplating a hysterectomy at the age of 27 as the only option for relief from her side-effects.

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