A MUM who claims her uterus was pierced by her contraceptive implant has slammed the device for allegedly ruining her life.
Julie Watts, 50, decided to have the controversial sterilisation device Essure implanted into her fallopian tubes back in 2009.
Since then, however, the mum-of-one claims that her life has become a "living hell".
She says that the device makes her feel "poisoned" every day due to horrific side effects such as severe haemorrhaging, chronic pelvic and back pain, excruciating cramps, fatigue, depression and anxiety - none of which she had before.
Project manager Julie, from Canberra, Australia, even claims that the Essure device may be to blame for the devasting breast cancer diagnosis she received in 2011, which resulted in her undergoing a mastectomy on her left breast.
Last week, doctors confirmed that Julie's implant had migrated from her fallopian tubes and pierced through her uterus - something they claim to have never seen before.
She said: “I wanted a permanent birth control solution, and the Essure implant sounded perfect to me at the time, as the recovery period was far shorter than a tubal ligation.
“I kept asking whether it was safe, but my doctor at the time assured me it was FDA and TGA approved.
"I had faith that everything would be fine, otherwise why would they use it."
But it wasn't until she watched the 2018 documentary "The Bleeding Edge", which explores the potential dangers of the Essure implant, that Julie said she realised the device could be to blame for her decade-long health problems.
She says that she totally forget she even had the implant until watching the documentary.
"I recognised the name straight away, and my jaw dropped to the floor.
“I went to my gynaecologist with this new information. He performed a laparoscopy and discovered that the device had actually migrated from my tubes into my uterus and was piercing both sides of the uterus from the inside.
“We were both horrified. He explained that my uterus would have been trying to expel the toxic implant by contracting, which explains my cramps. But in turn, this caused the device to pierce through."
Julie says that she was lucky that the implant was discovered before it moved to perforate her bowel.
“Looking back, it explains so many things. I’d always been healthy as a horse, but after getting the Essure implant, my health rapidly declined.
“I felt sick all the time and it was like I had been poisoned. I couldn’t understand it.
“Then I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It didn’t make sense to me, because nobody on either side of my family had ever had it. There was absolutely no history and my genes tested negative for the breast cancer gene.
“Then I discovered that there are PET fibres in the implant that cause inflammation in the body and raise oestrogen levels. My breast cancer was oestrogen-positive, meaning high levels likely caused it.
“Although no doctors can confirm it, I look at the timeline and my lack of family history and I can see a link.”
Julie claims that her health problems have damaged her career and have also been the catalyst for the breakdown of her marriage.
Since having the device removed and undergoing a total hysterectomy, Julie says that she feels "healthier and more alive" than she has in over a decade.
Julie said: “The Essure implant has stolen my career, it destroyed my health and my marriage and ruined my life.
“I felt so hopeless and had no joy. I was fatigued all the time and was just always sick.
“But I felt a difference straight away after it was removed from my body. I feel like a new woman. I’m rejuvenated and have my mojo back.
“This never should have happened with a device that was given to women everywhere under the pretence that is safe and won’t do any harm.”
Her gynaecologist, Dr Stephen Robson, says that he's never seen a contraceptive device pierce through a uterus before.
When he was training as a specialist back in the '90s, he says he actually worked with the inventor of the Essure device, Professor John Kerin.
“I was his assistant when he was developing the devices. However, I never really used them because of concerns that I had.
“I placed a few sets of Essures back in the very early 2000s but have not used them since.
“I have to say that now I have increasing concerns about longer-term adverse effects of the devices, including pain.
“As we saw with transvaginal mesh, there is no central register of women who have had Essure devices, so it is very hard to provide an exact estimate of the number of women who might have had a long-term adverse outcome.
“I now have seen a number of women with possible adverse outcomes, so I certainly believe more detailed research needs to be undertaken as a priority.”
Essure has come under increasing fire in recent months, after Aussie law firm Slater and Gordon proposed a class action against the device's manufacturer Bayer in August.
Similar lawsuits have been filed in the US, Canada and Scotland.
The law firm says that they're taking action after receiving an onslaught of complaints from hundreds of Australian women who claim to have suffered adverse side effects.
A spokesperson for Bayer said: “At Bayer we take our social and corporate responsibilities very seriously and we make the health and wellbeing of our patients, and the integrity of all of our products, an absolute priority.
“Patient safety is of the utmost importance to Bayer, and we are always saddened to hear of anyone experiencing an adverse event with any medical device.
“Essure was developed by Conceptus Inc. and placed on the Australian market in compliance with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) requirements.
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“While it was on the market Essure was maintained and updated in accordance with all Health Authority requirements to ensure the label reflected all current safety information and that information was distributed to healthcare professionals in a timely manner.
“Essure is supported by an extensive body of research, including more than 40 published studies involving more than 200,000 patients worldwide over the past 20 years.
“Women who currently have Essure in place may continue to use the device, and Bayer will continue to support healthcare providers in their management of these patients.”
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