Deciding to seek permanent birth control
is a major decision. Women can choose between a tubal ligation
-- surgery that closes off the fallopian tubes (also known as having your tubes tied) or Essure
, a non-surgical permanent birth control procedure. If you’ve already decided that permanent sterilization is the way to go, the Essure procedure may be the right choice for you.
The Essure Procedure:
FDA-approved in 2002, the Essure permanent birth control procedure consists of the insertion of two small metal springs (known as micro-inserts). There are no incisions as the micro-inserts are placed in each fallopian tube through the cervix. Scar tissue will then grow around the coil implants -- it takes about three months for the scar tissue to permanently block the tubes. The Essure procedure is performed in a doctor’s office, without surgery or general anesthesia, and doesn’t require an overnight stay. After three months, a hysterosalpingogram test
will be performed by your doctor to confirm that the micro-inserts are properly placed and that the fallopian tubes are fully blocked (so you will need to use a back-up birth control method
during this time).
Making the Decision to Seek Essure:
Reading about other women’s stories as well as their decision-making process can assist you in clarifying your own thoughts about seeking Essure
. Celebrities like US Olympic skier, Picabo Street
had the Essure procedure in December 2009; and the original Bachelorette, Trista Sutter underwent the Essure procedure on July 29, 2009. Since deciding upon this method of permanent sterilization, Trista has been openly discussing her Essure decision – this way, more women can be informed about this non-surgical, permanent birth control option.
Trista Sutter Announces Her Essure Decision:
Trista Sutter is one of reality television’s most memorable stars. First, we all watched as she got her heart broken, coming in second place, on the first episode of The Bachelor. She recovered and came back to try her luck in love again as the original Bachelorette. This is where we watched her and Ryan Sutter meet and fall in love, and then we got to witness their marriage on TV in 2003. On July 26, 2007, Trista and Ryan welcomed their first child, Maxwell Alston Sutter. They were blessed again when Trista gave birth to Blakesley Grace on April 3, 2009. Later that month, Trista decided to publicly announce her decision to seek the Essure permanent birth control method.
How Trista’s Essure Decision Began:
Trista and Ryan Sutter had both decided that their family would be complete after the arrival of their second child. Trista knew that she no longer wanted to use the pill
and didn’t want to worry about an unplanned pregnancy
. She explains, "I took the pill for a very long time, but now with baby brain and mommy brain, I can’t even imagine having to take a pill
everyday. That, in itself, scared me."
During her pregnancy with Blakesley, Trista expressed to her doctor that she was thinking about undergoing a tubal ligation after the delivery. Trista thought that this would be a good time to undergo a tubal because she was planning to deliver her second baby via Cesarean section. Often times, a laparotomy procedure (open tubal ligation) is performed right after some other type of unrelated abdominal surgery (like a C-section). Yet, after discussing her possible birth control options with her doctor, Trista decided that the Essure procedure was an even better solution for her.
Trista’s Decision to Seek a Permanent Birth Control Method:
According to Trista, "Before Ryan and I got married, we talked about how many kids we wanted and two just seemed like a good number for us." Trista had endured years of infertility, so she was thrilled to become pregnant with Max and was ecstatic when Blakesley made her début. Though she is extremely thankful for her children, Trista felt that “two is enough.” Trista and Ryan’s decision that their family was complete was also based in part on the notion that Trista was an only child and Ryan is one of two, so having two children just "seemed like a good fit."
Trista also explains that she had tough pregnancies, "I was nauseous for months, had preeclampsia, dehydration... and [was about to] turn 37 in a month, and I don’t want to push my luck." So, Trista shares, "Now that we have the two healthy children we always dreamed of, Ryan and I have decided that our family is the perfect size, and we want to devote our time and energy to them."
It is important that a woman discuss this decision with her partner as Essure cannot be reversed. Like Trista, you need to carefully consider whether or not permanent sterilization is the best method for you. Unfortunately, some women who decide to have this procedure end up regretting their decision later on. It may be helpful to know that you may be more likely to regret having Essure (or a tubal ligation) if you undergo the procedure:
If you have few or no children
- When you are young
- If you sought permanent sterilization because your partner wanted you to
- If you decided on Essure/having your tubes tied because you thought it would help fix problems in your relationship and/or solve money issues
Trista’s Decides on Essure:
After discussing her birth control options with her doctor and Ryan, Trista knew that she didn’t want to take birth control pills
for the rest of her life and that Ryan didn’t want to undergo surgery by having a vasectomy
. She explains that "Ryan and I knew our family was complete," and she didn’t want "to worry about birth control
or an unplanned pregnancy."
Though she originally was planning to seek a tubal ligation, she figured out that "it’s a longer recovery time and more expensive than Essure." After talking wit her doctor, Trista also realized that by choosing the Essure procedure, she will avoid the additional pain and recovery time of getting her tubes tied immediately after her planned C-section. Trista also knew that she wanted a highly effective method of birth control. "After looking at all my options," says Trista, "I realized that Essure is the best fit for me and my lifestyle. I like it because the procedure can be performed in my doctor’s office without general anesthesia, and the quick recovery means I can get back to my life and my family right away."
Trista’s Essure Procedure:
Trista Sutter underwent the Essure procedure on July 29, 2009. She shares that the procedure went well, and that the entire Essure procedure took about the same amount of time as a routine OB/GYN exam. Trista adds, "The Essure procedure was just what I expected, minimally invasive and easy, and it was performed in my doctor’s office."
In fact, on the day of her scheduled procedure, Trista sent out Twitter message stating, "Today’s the big day...heading to the doctor’s to get Essure.com done. Hope it goes well!!" After undergoing the Essure procedure, she sent out another Tweet stating, "our family is complete and even though Essure is permanent...still at the doctor’s office. Will be worry free soon."
Possible Essure Side Effects:
Though Trista’s Essure procedure went smoothly (as most do) the manufacturer of Essure still cautions of the potential risk that not all women will achieve successful placement of both inserts.
Plus, symptoms reported during or immediately after the Essure procedure could include:
- Mild to moderate pain or cramping (could last a few days following the procedure)
- Bleeding/spotting (caused by the movement of the uterus during the procedure)
- Temporary changes to the menstrual cycles (heavier or longer than normal periods, bleeding or spotting between periods)
On Trista’s Decision to Go Public with Her Essure Choice:
Trista Sutter explains that so many women readily accept the option of a surgical tubal ligation or are quick to have their husbands seek a vasectomy. She feels that this may not be the case if women realize that Essure is "such a simpler, safer and more effective" option. As per Trista, "I want more women to know about all their options; as an advocate for women’s health, I believe it’s important for women to make informed decisions, and avoid undergoing surgery needlessly when other options exist."
Conceptus Inc. Essure Website. Accessed March 1, 2010. www.essure.com