We often view birth control the way we view vitamins: generally harmless to our bodies while delivering the effects we want. This may be true the majority of the time, but itÂ doesn’tÂ change the fact that this is a seriously powerful drug that affects womenâ€™s bodies in profound ways, and many women have suffered serious and permanent injuries from birth control.
Lawsuits Here, There, and Everywhere!
You may have noticed a LOT of lawsuits regarding birth control in the media lately. Hopefully, this is good news. Successful lawsuits are victories for women. It means the companies that manufacture these items are being held accountable, and the expense of such suits should spur them to make safer medications in the future.
The increase in lawsuits is partly due to the large amount of options available now compared to 20 years ago. That means more can go wrong and result in litigation. Yet perhaps more importantly, the high level of competition between companies causes drugs and devices to hit the market with minimal testing. So warnings about side effects are often inadequate, and we hear about problems only after the products hit the shelves.
If youâ€™re currently using birth control that has been involved in settlements, talk to your doctor about risks and potential symptoms to watch out for. You may even want to consider changing your birth control. Both Nuvaring and Yaz (also known as Yasmin and Ocella) have been implicated in recent lawsuits.
The Mirena IUD is also causing serious issues for women. It is particularly problematic because it can break free after being implanted and travel throughout the body, damaging organs and tissue. In one case, it even pierced a womanâ€™s lung. Women often need major surgery to find and remove the device. And still the manufacturer claims it is not unduly dangerous and continues to heavily market the product.
Other contraceptives have been associated with increased risk of ectopic pregnancies and even cancer. The more you know about symptoms and the more you communicate with your doctor, the better equipped you will be to make smart decisions and recognize problems if they arise.
If You Think Something Is Wrong
The better you know your body, the easier it will be to notice if something is wrong. You should know if there is something unusual about your cycle or if youâ€™re feeling ill for no known reason. Birth control is not supposed to hurt, so if youâ€™re feeling pain that you canâ€™t associate with anything other than your birth control, see your doctor immediately.
In fact, if youâ€™re at all suspicious that your birth control is having a negative effect on your body, talk to your doctor. No one can replace your doctor as your primary source of information about any medication or medical device.
If you discover thatÂ you’veÂ developed problems caused by birth control, see a lawyer. In most cases, the legwork has already been done and you simply need to authorize a lawyer to gather medical records and file a suit on your behalf. Itâ€™s that easy.
Depending on how hard a company wants to fight a case, there may be depositions or courtroom appearances later, but this is the exception rather than the rule. Qualified lawyers only take cases where they are confident that the science supports the women they represent; therefore, most of the cases settle well before trial.
If youâ€™re considering a new or different birth control or even ifÂ you’veÂ been happy with your current one, learn as much as you can about the risks involved. Make informed decisions about your well-being to avoid ending up in a lawyerâ€™s office.