Country music icon Naomi Judd opens up about her history with hepatitis C — and her crusade to help others with the disease. Plus, hear her secrets to managing severe anxiety. Then, shocking side effects of a popular permanent birth control procedure! Plus, the latest news on a potentially deadly saltwater bacteria. And, a family who survived a cruise ship disaster shares their harrowing story!
Potential Risks of Permanent Birth Control Procedure
Famed consumer advocate Erin Brockovich joins The Doctors to raise awareness about the potentially dangerous side effects of a popular permanent birth control procedure. Thousands of women across the U.S. are complaining of mysterious symptoms, including excruciating pelvic pain, back pain, abdominal cramping, nausea and vomiting, that may be linked to the Essure procedure. The nonsurgical method — which claims to be more effective than tubal ligation — involves inserting nickel coils into the fallopian tubes. Scar tissue then forms around the coils, sealing the fallopian tubes and preventing pregnancy. More than 700,000 women and their doctors trust Essure as one of the most effective permanent birth control methods, although a small percentage of women are experiencing the adverse reactions.
Erin launched a website about the potential complications from Essure, due to the number of complaints she received from women around the country. “In some instances, the doctors aren’t sure what to do, because once the device is in, it’s pretty difficult to get it out,” Erin says. “There are reports [that] when the doctors do remove them, they’re breaking. It’s now gone to where this device is moving in the body."
"Any time that you’re getting an implant of any sort in your body, there is a process that can happen where your body rejects the implant,” explains family physician and clinical sexologist Dr. Rachael Ross.
“There are going to be people who have a good result, and I’m very thankful for them, but I think it’s very important that we look at those who are having that adverse reaction, so the next woman is more educated," Erin adds. "She’s not rendered defenseless or helpless, and she can make a better choice for herself before she has the procedure done."
• Click here to read the official statement from Bayer — the manufacturer of the Essure device.
Deadly Water-Borne Bacteria
Health officials have issued a warning about a potentially lethal strain of water-borne bacteria, known as vibrio vulnificus. The dangerous bacteria thrives in warm saltwater, particularly brackish water estuaries where fresh water and saltwater combine. "[Vibrio vulnificus] is in the same family of bacteria that causes cholera, but it's actually a very different type of infection," explains Dr. Brad Spellberg, an infectious disease specialist at UCLA Medical Center. "It's not an intestinal infection. It can be acquired via the intestine by eating undercooked or raw shellfish — particularly oysters — and it can also be acquired directly through an open cut or wound."
This year alone, 31 people in Florida have been infected with the dangerous strain of bacteria, 10 of which have died. One of the victims, 59-year-old Henry Konietzky, unknowingly contracted the infection while crab fishing — a pastime he had been enjoying for years.
"We came home that night and in the morning, he woke up with this lesion on his ankle," Henry's widow, Patty, explains. "We thought it was a spider bite, and so we just decided to watch it that day. It just kept getting worse, and so we finally took him to the emergency room."
Henry was admitted into the ICU, but by that point, the infection had already progressed too far, and he died from acute liver and kidney failure — approximately 60 hours after being in the water. Henry's family is now fighting to have advisory signs posted in affected areas to prevent further tragedies.
Naomi Judd's Health Confessions
Singer and songwriter Naomi Judd is best known as the senior half of country music’s most successful mother-daughter duo: The Judds. Since being signed to RCA Records in 1983, Naomi and her daughter, Wynonna, have garnered more than 60 country music industry awards and have had 15 Billboard-topping hits.
In 1991, Naomi’s life was forever changed when she was diagnosed with hepatitis C, a chronic and potentially fatal liver disease. Before her music career took off, Naomi was a nurse, and she speculates that she contracted hepatitis C through a needle prick during that time.
Hepatitis C is the most common blood-borne illness in the U.S., affecting an estimated 3 million people. In an effort to raise awareness and find a cure for hepatitis C, Naomi became the spokesperson for the American Liver Foundation. However, following her diagnosis of hepatitis C, Naomi began suffering from another health condition that affects more than 6 million Americans — panic attacks.
Naomi explains that her panic attacks began in the early '90s and would typically strike in the middle of the night, causing her to suddenly wake up with severe anxiety. "I just really felt like I was going crazy, hallucinating," she says. "Your heart's pounding, you're hyperventilating. If it goes on, you can get a little tingly in your fingertips. You can get get some blurry vision, and you feel slightly nauseous, and you really think that you're going to just die."
Anti-anxiety medications are often prescribed to help control panic attacks. Other treatments include psychotherapy techniques, such as EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) and DBT (Direct Behavioral Therapy), which help patients retrain how their brain processes a traumatic memory.
"Medicines tend to mask the anxiety, but they don't necessarily treat the cause of the panic attacks," Dr. Travis adds. "You have to get to the cause of the panic attacks to truly treat the disorder."
Surviving a Cruise Ship Catastrophe
The Ananias family, who was on board the catastrophic cruise, recounts how they barely survived the horrific ordeal.
In the hope of teaching other would-be cruise ship travelers how to stay safe on their next voyage, the family decided to share their harrowing experience and what they learned from it in a new book entitled SOS: Spirit of Survival, which will be available in bookstores nationwide on October 29, 2013.
SOS: Spirit of Survival is published by Bird Street Books, Inc., which is owned by The Doctors' executive producer.
Cooking with Sunny Anderson
Download Sunny's Recipes:
• Crunchy-Sweet Brussels Sprout Salad
• Sunny's Kale Llaloo
• Tasty Tomato and Pesto Tart
• Zucchini and Tomatillo Soup