Australian women join contraceptive class action
AUSTRALIAN women who've suffered severe complications from the contraceptive implant Essure are joining a class action against pharmaceutical giant Bayer which manufactured the device.
Dozens of women have contacted law firm Slater and Gordon, which hopes to take the case to court before Christmas.
The device was recalled by Bayer in May 2017 after many women suffered severe side effects including irregular periods, hair loss, pelvic or abdominal pain, reduced libido, and pain during intercourse.
Lawyer Ebony Birchall said hundreds of women are thought to have been affected and all are being urged to join the class action.
"A lot of women have said to us that they suffered for years and didn't realise it was the Essure device was the problem," she told AAP on Monday.
"Many of their symptoms have gone away after they had the product removed.
"Unfortunately though the only way to remove the product seems to be having a hysterectomy."
The implant, which has been recalled from sale around the world, features a metal coil which expands to anchor the device in the fallopian tube. However, it corroded inside some women, exposing them to nickel poisoning and causing problems with their uterus and other organs.
Ms Birchall said some women had developed nickel toxicity as a result of the implant, while others had discovered the device had migrated into their uterus.
It's not known how many Australian women were fitted with the implants, but there is speculation that it could be up to 5000.
A Bayer spokeswoman said the company would not reveal how many Australian women were fitted with the device, saying the information was "commercial in confidence".
Tanya Davidson, a stay-at-home mother of four young children, says she's battled "eight years of hell" after receiving the implant.
She suffered severe side effects including hair loss, severe menstrual bleeding, chronic fatigue and stabbing ovarian pain before being diagnosed with a nickel allergy.
The Victorian woman had the implant removed in early 2016, but because the device broke during the procedure she needed to have a hysterectomy six months later because of the damage caused by implant fragments.
"For years doctors told me that the symptoms were in my head and that they couldn't be related to the device," Ms Davidson said. "I know there must be other women out there who are in the same boat and I want them to know they are not alone."
Slater and Gordon said the class action was open to all women who have suffered complications as a result of an Essure implant.
Other legal cases involving the Essure implants are underway in Canada, Britain and the United States.