This image provided by Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals shows the birth control implant Essure. File picture: Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals via AP

Melbourne - Australian women who suffered severe complications from the contraceptive implant device Essure will join a class action suit against its manufacturer, German pharmaceutical giant Bayer, a Melbourne-based law firm said Monday.

A large number of women with serious complications due to the implant had contacted Slater and Gordon, which hopes to take the case to court on their behalf before the end of the year, lawyer Ebony Birchall said.

She said more women are likely to have suffered in silence because they do not know their symptoms are related to the device. 

Essure is a permanent contraceptive implant made of a metal coil which expands to anchor the device in the fallopian tube. It has been known to corrode, exposing women to nickel poisoning.

It has been reported to cause complications including irregular menstrual bleeding, pelvic or abdominal inflammation and pain, pain during intercourse, reduced libido, stiffness and muscle pain, and symptoms including fatigue, hair loss and rashes. 

"For most women, the only solution has been to have a complete hysterectomy," Birschall said in a statement. 

"We are always saddened to hear of anyone experiencing an adverse event with any medical device," a Bayer spokeswoman told Australian broadcaster ABC.

The implant has been recalled from sale around the world. Local media said up to 5,000 Australian women may have received the implant. 

One of the victims is Tanya Davidson, a stay-at-home mother of four young children, who battled what she termed "eight years of hell" after receiving the implant, according to Slater and Gordon. She suffered hair loss, chronic fatigue, severe menstrual bleeding and ovarian pain.

"For years doctors told me that the symptoms were in my head and that they couldn't be related to the device," she said.

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