Local Women Determined to Help Get Controversial Birth Control ‘Essure’ Off the Market

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SACRAMENTO --

April Hicks was a health mother of three, but for five years she suffered.

"I had chronic pain. It was chronic and it was in my back," Hicks said.

Her pain was physical and emotional.

"My hair started coming out in handfuls, just clumps of hair were coming out fatigue I was extremely tired," Hicks told FOX40.

She says doctors didn't know what was wrong, but she eventually figured her serious health issues were side effects from Essure, a permanent birth control device,

The metal coils are implanted into the Fallopian tubes to stop pregnancy.

"I would not want this pain on anybody. Nobody should have to go through that," said Hicks.

Hicks learned tens of thousands of women shared a similar struggle after getting Essure.

"I felt like I was dying. I could sleep for 14 hours and then go back to bed," said Angela Lynch, "Migraines and fatigue and you name it I had it," Lynch added.

"Constant heart palpitations I was making multiple trips to the ER," Stephanie Bogan said.

Lynch is one of the administrators of the Facebook group 'Essure Problems."

With close to 30,000 members, what started as a support group has morphed into a movement; a fight against the FDA and Bayer to get Essure off the market.

"Im really angry. The FDA's job is to look out for me. thats their job," said Elizabeth Cox.

These women feel their stories of how the birth control turned their lives upside down should be enough proof.

"This product is not safe its not effective and I have a one year old and a hysterectomy to prove it," said Cox.

A small victory came in late February when the FDA announced it will be adding a box warning and patient checklist on Essure.

It also ordered Bayer to conduct additional studies on the risks of the device.

Bayer told FOX40 the company sympathized with those who had problems and will work with the FDA.

"We see the FDA's actions today as an opportunity and a path forward to continue to gather important data about assure and to provide physicians additional tools for patient counseling," said Dr. Patricia Carney, Director of US Affairs for Women's Health at Bayer.

The FDA acknowledges some women experience very serious and sometimes debilitating problems after getting Essure, but insists the product is safe and effective for many women.

It adds that a ban on Essure would "limit the options available to physicians and patients."

"They need to wake up and realize that this is not – there’s gotta be something different," said Lynch.

Lynch and the other women struggle to understand why the FDA didn't do more. They say the agency failed them and is putting more women at risk with a device they consider dangerous.

For them, getting their uteruses surgically removed was the only way to get relief.

They realize this is an uphill battle.

"Were fighting two big entities," Lynch said.

But they vow to keep going, so women like April Hicks won't have to spend years trying to heal from unnecessary pain, surgeries and stress.