The essure sterilisation procedure, one year on

I say one year on… it’s actually 15 months on, but it’s taken me so long to finish writing this post (as with all posts) that my original draft and actual life timeline are way out of sync.

Anyway, so: the essure procedure. The last time I wrote about it was 3 months post-procedure and I was having a bit of a head wobble about the whole thing. I’d had some heavy bleeding, which at one point put me in A&E with a suspected ectopic pregnancy, and some contact dermatitis caused by a nickel sensitivity. I spent a lot of time googling essure side effects and found some bloody terrifying scare stories.

15 months on this is all but a memory. The random heavy bleeding stopped almost as quickly as it came on (assumed “settling in” / scarring – i.e. part of the process that causes the actual sterility). I have only recently started wearing my watch again after the initial irritation from the strap occurred, but it hasn’t flared up at all. I no longer have issues with painful intercourse or discharge, and other symptoms I’d worried about – weight gain and fatigue – turned out to be mostly related to my drinking (surprise surprise).

My periods are regular as clockwork most months and, most importantly, I’ve not popped out any babies lately. Surprisingly, I’m also yet to experience any feelings of regret either. I occasionally get a bit broody when I see other people’s cute babies online, but mostly I look at how happy and comfortable I am (despite life’s stresses) with how things are, that I wouldn’t want to change anything. I will never not miss baby cuddles, but I know for a fact that I would miss sleep, and flexibility, and freedom, and time with my existing babies more.

With something like this it’s easy to get carried away with panic at the first sign of a problem — as with all things in life, people are quicker to complain when it goes wrong than compliment when it goes right — and with essure there’s no shortage of scare stories to terrify women into avoiding the procedure, but I would have no problems recommending it to anyone wanting a permanent birth control solution.

Essure procedure: 3 months on

Warning: lots of “TMI” in this post, so if you’re a wee sensitive soul you might want to skip this one.

As we approach 3 months to the day since I had the essure procedure done, I should be receiving a letter for my appointment to confirm how successful it was any day now: whether or not I can finally stop taking the pill and rely on my ‘scarred up’ tubes. In the mean time, I thought it would be a good idea to log the changes I’ve noticed since I had the procedure.

Firstly, in the days following the essure, I had significant period-style cramping and some spotting/light bleeding but this was to be expected and settled down quite quickly. In the first period following the essure I started spotting a few days earlier than my period would normally start (bearing in mind they’re regulated by the combined pill still at this point) and then in the first few days of actual menstruation, I would bleed incredibly heavy losing very large clumps, akin to an early miscarriage! The heavy bleeding would last for approx 3 days then stop almost suddenly as it arrived, leaving me spotting for a days or so before finishing completely.

In between periods I experience some minor cramping around the time when I would be ovulating (again, despite the combined pill) and my hormone-related mood swings would peak: anxiety back to pre-prozac levels for a few days before settling down. Then, just before the next bleed, pre-prozac levels of anger and impatience. At this point if it weren’t for the mood stability in between these peaks, I’d be worrying that I’d undone the benefit of starting the prozac for my PMDD!

As well as changes to my periods, I’m now experiencing nickel sensitivities (the coils they insert into your tubes are made with nickel) and can no longer wear my Garmin day to day because of a red, itchy patch of contact dermatitis on my left wrist from the buckle. This is a common complaint after the essure but the official website only states that its a risk if you have existing sensitivities. I’d been wearing my watch for approx 1 year prior to this with no problems.

I also have other new “symptoms” which I cannot pinpoint to the procedure specifically, but are recorded by other women post-essure: joint pain, itching, fatigue, weight gain despite working out at least 4 days a week, painful intercourse, vaginal discharge.

This week I’m battling throbbing / pulsating pain radiating from the location of my right ovary and lower back pain similar to early period cramping as well as excess tiredness and hot flushes. However, I was assaulted in the early hours of Saturday AM (don’t worry, I’m fine) and may have been hit in the lower abdomen. I’m hoping that the pain will go on its own and that the insert on that side hasn’t shifted.

Day to day, I am mostly OK and don’t (yet?) regret having the procedure. I’m trying to bear in mind that I’m still in the early days and my body is likely still producing scar tissue around the implanted coils. We’ll see how it goes from here…