What can stay for up to 10 years minus the hormonal side effects?
It’s the Paragard IUD. As the only copper intrauterine device (IUD) available in the United States, Paragard has surely lured several women into its use.
However, some things just don’t go as planned. In the case of Paragard, for instance, its removal has caused the device to break in some women. Once this happens, it can cause women serious injuries and complications.
These can include pelvic infection, infertility, and ectopic pregnancy, to name a few. Paragard was originally manufactured by Teva Pharmaceuticals. However, in 2017, Teva sold the Paragard product line to CooperSurgical Inc. for $1.1 billion.
Now, these two companies are defendants in several Paragard lawsuits filed by injured women.
Read on to learn more about other potential dangers that can happen during Paragard IUD removal.
What To Expect During Paragard Removal
Paragard can stay in place in your uterus for up to ten years. After this period of time, the medical device may not stay as effective as it originally was.
Therefore, if an IUD is left inside your uterus past its expiration date, there might be some serious risks to your health. One of these is infection. The most serious infections can lead to infertility.
An expired IUD also loses its contraceptive abilities. You might want to have your IUD removed at the right time to avoid unwanted pregnancy. There are strings connected to Paragard that extend beyond the cervix into the vagina and allow for an easier IUD removal.
Paragard IUD insertion often takes place in a health care provider’s office. Women shouldn’t try to remove Paragard on their own. Only a nurse or a health care provider should remove the device. The removal procedure should usually be quick and easy, taking only a few minutes and doesn’t usually require anesthesia or surgery.
During IUD removal, the patient will lie down and place her feet on foot rests. Then, the doctor or nurse will use a speculum to keep the vagina open. After locating the IUD strings, the doctor will use a special grasping tool to gently pull the strings. If there are no problems encountered, both of Paragard’s arms will fold up and will easily slide out of your uterus.
In rare instances, however, difficult removals can be a risk with Paragard.
The Risk Of Paragard Breakage During Removal
The Paragard IUD device is supposed to remain intact throughout the removal procedure. However, doctors and patients have reported instances where one or both of Paragard’s arms broke off during the explant procedure.
When this happens, broken pieces of the device left inside the uterus may be difficult to remove. Its fragments may also end up becoming deeply embedded in nearby tissues or organs.
According to the product’s prescribing information, “analgesia, paracervical anesthesia, cervical dilation, alligator forceps or other grasping instrument, or hysteroscopy may assist in removing an embedded Paragard.”
Aside from the birth control device breaking upon removal, there have also been reported cases where Paragard breakage occurred inside the uterus even without the attempt to remove it at all.
Why does it break?
Several plaintiffs who have filed a Paragard IUD lawsuit claim that the device had a defective design. Other suits also allege that the IUD had serious production defects. Both of these have led to the sale of intrauterine devices that were prone to breaking during removal.
The two arms of Paragard are supposed to bend upwards while being removed through the cervix. However, these arms, which are made of flexible polyethylene plastic, can break off due to the plastic becoming brittle. Once this happens, the device will not easily bend like how they were supposed to do.
Moreover, according to recently filed complaints, manufacturers Teva and Cooper were aware of the potential issue of breakage that could arise during Paragard removal. However, the companies failed to warn both doctors and patients about this risk.
As medical device manufacturers, Teva and Cooper have a duty to provide devices that are well-made and functional. However, claims from several Paragard IUD users seem to appear that they may have been neglectful in fulfilling this duty as they have allowed the sale of thousands of devices with arms that can potentially break off.
Complications From Paragard Removal
Once Paragard breaks, its broken pieces may become embedded in the uterine wall or migrate to other surrounding organs. When this happens, the risk of serious complications rise dramatically.
Complications from a broken Paragard IUD include:
- Severe menstrual pain and cramping
- Heavy bleeding during periods
- Pelvic infection
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Uterine perforation
- Organ damage
- Ectopic pregnancy, if the woman becomes pregnant with an IUD
In cases where the broken pieces of Paragard are retrievable, an invasive procedure may be necessary to remove them. In severe cases, some patients even require a full hysterectomy or surgical removal of the uterus, which also causes permanent infertility.
Needless to say, these potential dangers can have devastating physical and psychological consequences in women. The difficulty of dealing with severe pain, additional medical procedures, and surgeries can gravely affect a woman’s health.
Furthermore, the piling medical bills from these procedures add to the victims’ struggles. The physical and emotional trauma that victims of a broken Paragard IUD have to deal with are an insurmountable problem.
Are you in pain after having your IUD removed?
If you’ve recently undergone Paragard removal and are in pain days after the procedure, contact the doctor who removed your IUD. They can run tests to confirm if there are pieces of plastic from your IUD that were left inside your uterus.
Your doctor will be able to determine your course of treatment if there are indeed fractured pieces of Paragard that were lodged in your body.
If you’re considering opting for an IUD as a birth control method, talk to your doctor about possible risks and benefits of the device. You can also ask them for professional medical advice to explore other potential contraceptive options that may be perfect for you.
The Bottom Line
In general, IUDs are known to be more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. However, in rare cases, they may cause serious complications.
Such is the case for the only copper IUD available in the country which is sold under the brand name Paragard. Over the years, Paragard has been the target of many lawsuits filed by women who experienced breakage of the device during its removal.
Once Paragard breaks, it can lead to serious complications such as severe menstrual pain and cramping, pelvic infection, perforation of the uterine wall, organ damage, and infertility, among others.
Furthermore, fragments of the device can become so deeply embedded into a woman’s tissue that a complicated medical procedure may be necessary to remove the broken pieces. One of these major procedures is a hysterectomy, which is the surgical removal of the uterus.
If you’re looking for options on which birth control method you should go for, consult your doctor for medical advice. They will help you determine the risks and benefits of each contraceptive and may be able to identify which one fits you and your lifestyle the most.
What You Can Do
According to some complaints, makers of Paragard were fully aware of the potential dangers that come with Paragard IUD use. However, it seems as if these companies willfully downplayed and ignored these risks as they didn’t properly warn both patients and doctors about these risks.
Despite being a potentially defective device, Paragard is still on the market. In 2019, one batch of the product was recalled due to sterility issues. None of these devices, however, have been recalled due to its breakage issues.
Manufacturers like Teva and Cooper must be held liable for the injuries or complications they caused you or your loved one. Oftentimes, pursuing legal action is the only way to seek justice.
Contact us today if you’ve been negatively affected by Paragard and you want to explore your legal options. We can assist in finding the right Paragard lawyer for you.