IUD: Is the Health Risk worth the Benefits?

Jan 31, 2013 by

Women's Health

In good old THK fashion, today we are going to dive straight into the controversial topic of sexual health. With the overwhelming response to my birth control post, I have received an even more staggering amount of questions on what to use as a replacement. While each and every women’s journey is unique, it seems as though the most interest has lied in the IUD, also known as an intrauterine device, because really, do people actually use diaphragms anymore? Therefore, I put on my Nancy Drew shoes and got digging.

The following is an overview of the health risks and benefits of the IUD, so that you as a powerful, kick-ass woman can take control of your health and make the best, and informed, decision for YOU. So let’s get started with the basics…

Is an IUD right for you?

What is an IUD?

An IUD is a tiny, T-shaped polyethylene device that is wrapped in copper, or contains hormones. It inserted by a doctor directly into the uterus without sedation or anesthesia although some women may feel faint, nauseated or dizzy for a few minutes during, or immediately after, placement. IUDs can be removed either at the end of its life-span or sooner if the patient wishes to discontinue contraception. The cost of an IUD typically ranges from $500 to $1,500.

There are two types of IUDs available for you to choose from:

  1. ParaGuard: a copper IUD that is effective for 12 years unless removed
  2. Mirena: a hormonal IUD that releases levonorgestrel a synthetic progestin and is effective for 5 years unless removed

For removal of IUD the doctor applies gentle traction on the threads of IUD extending outside the cervix, in which the arms of the IUD folds upward and the device slides out of uterine cavity.

IUD by blisstree

How does it Work?

Since the copper IUD and hormone IUD work differently, let’s examine each separately.

ParaGuard Copper IUD: it works primarily by preventing the sperm from reaching and fertilizing the egg. If sperm cannot join with an egg, pregnancy cannot happen. This sterile foreign body reacts with the uterus causing biochemical and cellular changes that may be toxic to the sperm. Secondly, copper is released in the uterus, which acts as a spermicidal or cytotoxin (a substance toxic to cells).

Mirena Hormone IUD: it works by releasing small amounts of levonorgestrel, a progestin hormone found in many birth control pills, locally into your uterus at a slow and steady rate. Mirena may stop the release of your egg from your ovary, but this is not the way it works in most cases. In addition, it MAY:

  • Thicken cervical mucus to prevent sperm from entering your uterus
  • Inhibit sperm from reaching or fertilizing your egg
  • Make the lining of your uterus thin; endometrial suppression, decreased thickness and secretions

How effective is it?

The IUD is 99.8% effective against pregnancy, but it does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases. With perfect use (in which the user checks the strings regularly to detect expulsion), the probability of pregnancy in the first year is 0.6%; with typical use, the first-year pregnancy rate is 0.5 to 0.8%. After prolonged continuous use, the cumulative pregnancy rate is 1.6% at seven years, and 2.2% at 8 to 12 years. Overall, the failure rate is substantially less than one per 100 women per year, except in women under age 25 who experience a slightly higher failure rate, most likely because they are more fertile than older women.

Photo: Follow your art

What are the Contraindications?

IUD Contraindications

The following is a list of contraindications for the use of an IUD:

  • Uterus distortion
  • Active pelvic infection
  • Known or suspected pregnancy
  • Wilson’s disease or copper allergy
  • Undiagnosed abnormal uterine bleeding
  • Current or previous breast cancer
  • Dysmenorrhea or menorrhagia (for copper IUD only)
  • Have a bleeding disorder or take blood thinners
  • Have had a STD

The Benefits of the IUD

  • Provides flexible birth control that you do not have to take everyday
  • *May reduce heavy periods
  • Extremely effective at preventing pregnancy
  • Long term contraception
  • May reduce the risk of endometrial cancer

* hormonal IUD

The Health Risks and Side Effects of the IUD

  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease – a bacterial infection (bacteria can be from a STD or from a bacteria naturally occurring in the vagina) that may cause infertility, ectopic pregnancy or constant pelvic pain. In serious cases a hysterectomy is needed.
  • May cause ovarian cysts which may go away on their own or may need to be surgically removed.
  • Sepsis – in rare cases sepsis, a life-threatening infection may occur.
  • Embedment – this is when the IUD attaches to the uterine wall. Surgery may be needed for removal.
  • Perforation – the IUD may go through the uterine wall. This may cause scarring, infection or damage to other organs.
  • Ectopic pregnancy – this is where the fertilized egg implants on the fallopian tubes when the IUD fails.
  • Expulsion – about 10 out of 100 IUDs are pushed out (expelled). This requires frequent checking of the device to ensure its placement and therefore protection from pregnancy.

IUD Implant

Mirena Hormonal IUD Specific Risks/Side Effects:

  • Irregular bleeding or periods, or absence of period
    Vaginal dryness, flushing, headache, nausea and acne
  • Weight change, hirsutism (male pattern hair growth), mood changes, skin discoloration and breast tenderness
  • Decreased sex drive and ability to orgasm
  • Lower back pain
  • Arthritic type pain in the legs and joints
  • Fatigue
  • Vaginal odor
  • Migraines
  • Hair loss
  • Depression
  • Chest pain
  • Panic attacks

ParaGuard Copper IUD Specific Risks/Side Effects:

  • Heavier periods (50% increase in blood loss) – anemia risk
  • Increase in menstrual cramps
  • Discomfort/pain during intercourse
  • Extended PMS
  • May cause weight gain, acne and breast tenderness

History of Contraception

Copper Toxicity and the ParaGaurd IUD

While this is a very controversial topic, as western medicine claims that the copper exposure from the IUD is innocuous, there has been accounts of copper toxicity from IUD use. The risk is most likely determined by your overall exposure since copper also occurs in copper plumbing, beer, swimming pools, cookware, inorganic mineral supplements, and dental crowns. In addition, copper is naturally found in a variety of foods.

While copper is an essential element need by all tissues of the body, in excess it can result in problems such as bone/joint and connective tissue disturbances, cardiovascular degeneration, abnormal electrocardiogram, accelerated aging, depigmentation and dermititis, anemia and neurologic impairment. Proper balance of copper with zinc is also necessary, since an imbalance influences cardiovascular and immune function. Finally, copper in excess happens to be among the most powerful producers of free radicals, chemically reactive particles that lead to cell death.

Other ways copper interacts in the body:

  • lowers iron and zinc
  • increases vitamin A
  • can aggravate B vitamin metabolism
  • copper cause an increase estrogen levels and vice versa

* for more information about copper toxicity, please go HERE.

Effects of Copper

The Bottom Line

The bottom line seems to be that you have a chance of having a relatively good experience with an IUD, but there is always a risk of side effects. In addition, even small changes in our hormone balance can lead to symptoms, which unfortunately are oftentimes not attributed to the IUD. As for the copper IUD, the leaching of the copper into the body system can cause imbalances that are very hard to link back to the IUD, therefore, setting yourself up for problems that go undetected.

But, hands down the one thing that makes me the MOST weary about the IUD, is that fact that all the research and articles from credible universities and doctors, not to mention the websites for the devices themselves, all state that they are not exactly sure WHY the IUD prevents pregnancy. Like I mentioned before, on the Mirena website under “How does it work?” it states “Mirena may stop the release of your egg from your ovary, but this is not the way it works in most cases. Most likely, these actions work together to prevent pregnancy.” If there is not clear understanding of how the device works, how can they be certain of its safety?

History of Contraception

As for my personal choice, after having such a terrible experience with birth control pills, symptoms of which I am still trying to completely iron out, I have no desire to take any risks with either hormones or toxicity. I am at the stage in my health journey of trying to completely eliminate my toxic load while finding the perfect hormones balance, which just does not seem to jive with an IUD. But in the end, everyone has to make a decision that best suits their lifestyle and health goals, whether that is with or without an IUD.

If you have had any experience with an IUD, we would love to hear it. Please share your story below.

 

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♥,

THK

 

Resources:

Stanford University: “Teens advised to consider benefits of IUD use for birth control” http://med.stanford.edu/ism/2010/june/iud-0621.html

Textbook of Natural Medicine. Pizzorno and Murray.

Mirena Side Effects: http://www.steadyhealth.com/Mirena_IUD_Side_Effects_t133005.html?page=15

“Not Your Mother’s IUD: Benefits and Risks of Modern IUDs”  Women’s Health Activist Newsletter

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/106614.php

Women’s Health and Education Center http://www.health.com/health/article/0,,20412230,00.html

Women’s Health: http://www.womens-health.co.uk/risks-of-intrauterine-devices.html

World Health Organization Long-term safety and effectiveness of copper-releasing intrauterine devices: a case-study

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Update on intrauterine devices (IUD) and pelvic infection

National Institutes of Health (NIH) Contraception

World contraceptive use 2001. United Nations Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, New York, 2002

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156 Comments

  1. Kate

    Thank you for this! I recently quit the pill after 10 years due to period loss and wanting to figure out where my cycle should be naturally. I’ve been considering an IUD once I regulated, but I have my doubts about it as well – the potential side effects sound unpleasant and I’d prefer to avoid synthetic hormones all together. This is good information to mull over as we decide how to go about more natural family planning.

    • I am 54 and post menopausal. I had my first cooper IUD at the age of 19 after trying several different pill options and could not tolerate the hormones. I was very happy with the IUD. I had it removed after getting married and had no problems getting pregnant. After my second child was born I used the cooper IUD again for many years. My husband eventually got a vacectomy and I removed the IUD. For me it was a perfect form of birth contol. My daughter (now 22) has tried the pill with terrible side effects from the hormones. We just ordered her the paraguard IUD. If you are someone who does not do well on the pill, I would recommend at least giving the copper paraguard IUD a try. I personnally believe adding hormones via the pill or other means is not healthy for most women.

      • lauren

        Hi Cindy, Thank you so much for your input! It is always so great to hear positive stories about birth control methods. It is such a difficult decision, and while everyone is different, it is nice to know there is hope :)

        • Leah

          Lauren, I agree! Thank you Cindy! I’m 34 and no children. I’m considering Paragard because I don’t want anything with the hormones. I was on the pill for years and gained so much weight! I’ve recently lost alot(100lbs) and have been off the pill. The last thing I want to do is gain it all back again. I’ve been researching for days and have only found the down side with Paragard! It was getting frustrating :/ You’ve given me a lil hope! Thank you!

          • lauren

            Hi Leah, Yes I know it is so difficult to find something that works, but the upside is that we get to hear others experiences before trying it on ourselves :)

          • Lauren

            Only one problem… you have to have been through one pregnancy to get the IUD. It’s only an option for women with children, or who have experienced a pregnancy to completion at some point. Sorry to be a raincloud.

          • perez

            I have never tried an IUD but after using Implanon for a year. I say hell no to hormones. I was considering giving the Copper IUD a try but all this side effects keep me from trying. I have recently decided to use Standard Days Method-natural contraception. Which is basically keeping track of your fertile days in a calendar and watching out for fertility symptoms. ( you must have regular periods for this method to work.. and be very very organized..LOL) If it lands on a fertile day that we want to have intercourse we use vaginal film ( spermicide). It has worked for me. Implanon was by far the worst decision- horrible side effects and weight gain. and at the time of removal since fat from weight gained had formed around the lil rod.. It was so painful to get it removed from my arm. It even broke in two and the doctor was giving up calling for a more formal removal- surgery. not just an office visit. But finally she yanked it out. So I can only imagine what will happened if the IUD is not properly inserted… or after so many years in the uterus what if it implants?. I also tried nuvaring but it kept on falling every time I pushed when going #2.. so I gave it up. Ugh.. but good luck.. just venting out and sharing my experience.

          • Rebecca

            Lauren replied that you must have been through a pregnancy in order to get an IUD. That is no longer true! I have never been pregnant and I was able to get my IUD over a year ago. My doctor said that they used to only offer them after pregnancy but studies now showed that they could work for everyone.

          • tyra

            I have no children and had an IUD (Paragard) inserted today so those rules have changed apparently. The girl who did the information with me was young with no children either and stated she had hers in for a month.

          • Summer

            I was on the pill when I was younger and gaind so much weight and was so depressed I thought I’d never be happy again- but I didn’t realise it was the pill I just thought it was leaving home etc… after coming off the pill I lost five kilos without even trying. But since being in a new relationship I have tried two new pills and keep just gaining weight! It is like I have absolutely zero control over the food that goes in my mouth it is so stressful… I really want to try the copper IUD and this has really helped me decide! I hope it works.

        • Lynne

          I’ve never been thru a pregnancy but I’ve had the iud for 6-7years now. Whomever gave you that info was incorrect, sorry. Feel free to ask me any questions- I love having the iud and have had excellent results :)

  2. Morgan

    Just wondering if those costs include the insertion? In Canada (where the insertion is paid by the provincial health care system), a copper IUD is about $30 while the Mirena is about $400.

    • steph

      About to have mine done in Toronto and it will cost $50 for the copper IUD including insertion

    • Kahlin

      Hi! Reporting from Canada. I have a Mirena IUD. It cost me under $40 to purchase and then I brought it to my GP who did the procedure.

  3. Morgan

    I had the Mirena between my last baby and my current pregnancy and loved it. I did have a lot of spotting for about 6 months but this was nothing compared to my extremely heavy, painful, long lasting periods before getting the Mirena. Also, the insertion was only mildly uncomfortable (nothing compared to my painful periods and certainly not comparable to natural childbirth like some people said online). I also got pregnant the month after it was removed so it didn’t seem to have any effect on fertility for me.

  4. Personally, I have a copper IUD and I love it. So far, I have had no problems with it. My moon cycle lasts slightly longer, and is a bit heavier because of it. But, it was light before the IUD so it’s been no problem. I really only recommend the IUD to women who don’t get yeast infections often and who are with a stable, long-term, trustworthy partner. I also recommend being very clear with one’s partner about the repercussions for the woman if the man potentially contracts an STD from an outside partner. Because the consequences of contracting an STD while using an IUD, as far as I have read, can be life-changing, or deadly.

    So yes, that’s scary… BUT if you’re in a stable, committed relationship the IUD is AMAAAAAZING. It allows total sexual spontaneity and is cheaper over a lifetime. Mine, with insurance, cost me $250 in Virginia. And I have a friend who got hers for free in California; i believe its a state-sponsered birth control initiative.

    It’s too bad so many people focus on the potential negatives of the IUD, because the positives are worth the risk, in my opinion. And it seems to me that very few woman who choose the IUD have negative experiences, if properly inserted.

    GO IUD!

    • lauren

      Hi Renee, thank you for writing in! Everyone’s experience is so valuable to those trying to make the decision and its great to hear it has been working out for you so well!

      • Lynne

        I’ve had the Mirena IUD for 6-7years now and had NOT been pregnant or had a child prior. Not sure where that info came from but….just wanted to set that fact straight.

    • Jen

      I’ve loved my Paragards over 2 decades, but now I think I’m experiencing copper toxicity. I’m so sad that I may have to give it up.

  5. Heather

    I had the Paraguard for 9 years; from age 20 to 29. It was the best alternative for me since I do not do well with added hormones in my body. Hormones from the pill caused me to have aggressive mood swings and actually altered my personality in severe ways. Insertion of the IUD was relatively painless, although I did experience some uterine contractions which is to be expected with a foreign object going into the uterus. My periods were relatively regular…more regular than I have ever been. In all of the 9 years i had the IUD, I never experienced it falling out or any of the side affects that are mentioned above…although i have heard of the side affects being possible. My husband and I decided to try for a baby and I had the IUD removed June of 2011. (The removal was over in less than 5 seconds and I felt nothing, no cramping or pulling at all. ) I was not sure how quickly I would become pregnant because I had the IUD for so long, but to our surprise I was pregnant by the end of July! My son is now 9 month old today. All in all I could not recommend the Paraguard more, it was amazing. I am getting it inserted again in a couple of weeks. We are good with one baby for now! :)

    • lauren

      Hi Heather! Congrats on your son! Thank you so much for sharing your experience as it is invaluable to those looking to make the big decision. It’s great to see women who find a form of birth control that works for them :)

  6. Amanda Crawford

    Hi, I had Mirena inserted approximately 5 years ago. I thought it was going to be a great solution to the pill which sent my moods swinging like crazy! I only had Mirena for a year as due to problems that arose. Instead of receiving my period each month I got thrush each month. Not Fun! 5 years on I am still batteling to get my reproductive system back in check. I have suffered from chronic thrush for years since having the Mirena in. I just wanted to share my story as it has been a loong journey trying to get well after the damage that the Mirena has caused. I would hate for anybody else to have to go through this. I have completely switched to the Natural Fertility method. This has taught me so much about what my cycles involve. I know myself better that I ever have as a woman. I don’t want to scare anybody just share my experience. Thanks so much for this post Lauren:)

    • lauren

      Hi Amanda, thank you so very much for posting. It is so helpful for people to share their story as each person has quite a different experience with birth control. I would agree that hormonal based birth control can really cause lasting issues that take years to get back in balance. Hopefully you have been able to figure out a way to regain control of your hormones. Any tips that helped you?

  7. Andrea

    What about a femcap? I haven’t tried it but i think it seems like the perfect choice : http://www.femcap.com/. Hormone free, leave it in for 48 hours, cheap, what’s not to love?

    • lauren

      Hi Andrea, I have never had any experience with the FemCap, but does seem like it could be a good alternative to condoms. Although compared to an IUD, it does have a higher risk of pregnancy, since it is 92% effective. On the other hand, condoms have can have a similar range. 2% with perfect use and up to 10% with not perfect use.

  8. Diana

    I have not had direct experience with either type of IUD, but I do work in the field of Women’s Healthcare. A trend I have noticed is an increase in migraine and cervical (one side of the head/neck) headaches after insertion. Interestingly, these women also underwent food allergy testing to get to the source of the headaches, and all of them had gluten sensitivity as well. Eating gluten free helped slightly, but removal of the IUD gave them immediate relief. I have not done any formal research on this, but thought passing along the information would be important! I hope this helps in your decision.

    • lauren

      Hi Diana, that is so very interesting!! I am definitely going to look into this to see what the connection may be. Was this a result of both types of IUDs?

    • Lauren

      Oh wow… that’s me!!! I’m having my Paraguard removed next week because I’ve been experiencing monthly “migraines” for the last two years and we can’t find anything else that may be causing it. I experience periods of severe fatigue, with disorientation and muscles weakness. We recently realized that I’m having severe drops in blood pressure during these attacks. Dr. checked my hormone levels, they were normal. I was recently diagnosed with a gluten intolerance, but going gluten free hasn’t removed these weird symptoms. They checked me for about everything, MS etc., and nothing found. Finally, I’m just going to take the silly thing out because it’s the only relatively simply change left we could make. Wish me luck!

    • Kimberly

      Hello. I had a Mirena IUD for three years. I also experienced a severe increase in migraine and cervicogenic headaches. I went on a gluten free diet (actual Paleo) to help with fertility and the headaches. Headaches got much better. Had the Mirena removed, conceived successfully within six months and then resumed my gluten consumption. I’ve NOT had a recurrence of the migraines with the addition of gluten, however I am still pregnant. So that makes a difference. I find it very interesting to hear about the correlation of gluten sensitivity with migraines that occur with Mirena. I assumed I had just become gluten sensitive randomly, which makes no sense considering I’m in my 30′s and never had problems before. Thanks for sharing Diana! We’re planning on trying the copper IUD after this child.

      • lauren

        Hi Kimberly, eliminating gluten also tends to reduce the total carbohydrates you are consuming which directly affects your blood sugar. Blood sugar imbalance has a strong correlation to hormone balance and so oftentimes people find that balancing blood sugar is key to balancing the hormones. That is also why the paleo diet is so helpful because it also eliminates sugars. Thanks for the share!

  9. Heather M.

    It is too bad there are not better alternatives for women. We have the brains and technology to go to the moon, amazing telescopes and satellites, nano technology, but safe birth control for women? Hah! It is also distressing how unwilling men often are to do their part, wear condoms, or have vasectomies if they are adamant about never having children. I do think that if you are in a solid marriage or relationship with someone and you’ve either had kids or do not plan on having them, I have come to realize that it would be brave and honourable for the male to have a vasectomy. As women we’ve had to deal with toxic birth control pills, allergic reactions to latex, rubbers and the like, taken on the risk of IUD’s, pregnancies, child birth etc.. A bargain in comparison.
    I have an IUD, am on my second. They are good for ten years, but doctors like it to be replaced every 5 or so just in case. They are better than the alternatives, and almost embarrassed that I didn’t really know about them until my mid 30′s! To think it was never suggested! I unexpectedly had a rather chaste life, few boyfriends so never felt the need to have a diaphram thing or be on the pill. For an IUD, you do need to be in a monogamous relationship and know your husband or boyfriend is not going to cheat. Get screened first. Doctors really like the Minera one, you have to insist on the copper one.
    When I was in my early twenties I tried the ‘natural’ method of monitoring my cycle with measuring my temperature every morning etc which was a disaster. I didn’t know that my body temperature is below average, so that didn’t go well. My boyfriend at the time wanted it all natural, did not want kids EVER, but refused to do his bit. Years later….. My husband who has children did offer to have a vasectomy, but we were still unsure if we would have kids together. He does feel bad I have to have the thing in me and in hindsight as I get older, maybe we should have gone that route.
    Yes the risks are scary, but my doctor insisted IUD’s are very safe, such risks very rare, and many many many women use them. I was on the pill for a short period years ago and too scared to keep taking it after reading all the literature, and as you know, countless women are dealing with the consequences of birth control pills.
    My experience with the IUD has been pretty good. I had some issues with long bleeding periods, but not exactly heavy, just dragged out and unexpected spotting when I wasn’t wearing the ‘period panties’. I had some issues of my cycle going wonky when it’s always been stable, and having spotting, possibly periods every two weeks and was getting frustrated. I still chose to have another IUD. My second IUD is much much better than the first and my cycle is back to normal. A different brand, can’t remember, but it was cheap, all I could afford. I know the desire to be natural and avoid toxicity is strong, but for the sake of practicality, effectiveness and the knowledge you can have it taken out and will likely get pregnant immediately if that is the goal, the IUD is great for women.

    • lauren

      Thank you Heather for sharing your experience. I think it will really resonate with all the women out there who have been struggling with all the forms of birth control. And YES, we can go to the moon and back and STILL are dealing with the issue of birth control! Ughhh

  10. Nat

    I never comment on blogs, but I felt compelled to share my BC/IUD experience on here.

    Got on the pill at 17 years old , horrible side effects (weight gain, extreme anxiety, insomnia, no sex drive, etc.) Stayed on about a year before giving up. Went on for 3 years using only condoms until I entered a new relationship.

    I was afraid of hormones at this point and I had heard good things about the Paragard copper IUD so I had it inserted. All was good at first… super heavy and painful periods, nothing I couldn’t deal with, until… I developed a chronic bacterial infection (BV) that I had treated (seriously) at least 12 times in 2 years. After about 2 years with the Paragard, I eventually got really fed up when I started bleeding (like REAL heavy periods) for 2 months straight.

    I decided to try out the Mirena instead because I really did like the ease of use and effectiveness the IUD provided me. I was super scared that I would have a reaction to the hormones, but I did a ton of research using my college’s online database library and decided to give it a try.

    I had it inserted about 7 months ago, and although I will say that I had an initial acne breakout from it, and I have a period that is almost non-existent, it’s great so far. That’s all I can really say. I don’t have a serious problems, and it is the best I have used so far. P.s. I’m 24 years old now.

    Bye!

    • lauren

      Thank you so much for sharing! This is so extremely helpful to those making a decision to choose the right type of birth control, and its experiences like these that are never really shared, and yet are so vital to making the correct choice. I am so happy to hear that you have found a method that has worked for you, and look forward to hearing how it goes. Thanks again!

  11. Katie

    I’ve just removed my copper (non hormone) iud myself as I was so worried about hoe it was effecting my health. I had it put in 3.5 weeks ago. I have a constant watering mouth and have put on 10lbs. I’m a vegan yogi and thought a copper I’d was the perfect solution, but didn’t do my homework. I was on the combined pill for nearly 20 years, followed by a 5 year break, followed by the iud. I had no symptoms on the pill at all and although an iud might be great for 80% of women I’d advise checking out side effects, and the cost of removal, before committing to it.

    • lauren

      Thank you Katie so much for sharing! What a powerful experience you had, 10 lbs in 3 weeks…. definitely not something that most women would want to go through. The good news is that you had not been on it for so long so I imagine you will be able to get back on track relatively quickly.

  12. Phoebe

    Wow, I found this blog entry in such a random way. I’ll share my experiences as well. I took the Pill for two years in college, then just condoms for the next few years. I got pregnant on the Patch (I was 24).

    Next, I had the Mirena iud between my children and it was a total bust. I bled the entire first month of having it, then continuously spotted between periods (which were always two weeks), gained weight and became a hormonal wreck. After I got it taken out, it took a year for us to get pregnant. Now I’ve had a Paragard for 2 ½ years. I got it for free at Planned Parenthood (since I don’t have insurance and they have a sliding scale fee). I had short periods (when not on hbc), I now have periods that last a week and are so heavy I can’t leave the house for three days. When I asked the doctor about it, she told me that heavy bleeding is just a side effect (I can’t wear tampons anymore—I soak through an ultra ob in twenty minutes!). The doctor(@ PP) refuses to take it out. The strings are so short that I have a very hard time finding them. I thought the IUD had fallen out last fall, but actually it had migrated – Eep. :(

    Right now I can’t afford to get it taken out, but I plan to switch to the diaphragm. If my husband doesn’t like it, he can get that vasectomy he’s always talking about. ;)

    In conclusion, IUDs are a reasonable option, but they’re not for me.

    • lauren

      Thank you so much Phoebe for sharing your story! This is truly invaluable for all of us looking to alternative BC methods. Hopefully you will be able to remove the IUD and work with contraceptives. Good Luck and thank you again!

  13. Veronica

    I had the copper IUD inserted this past February. It has been a nightmare. My doctor insisted I get it stating that because of my chronic migraines I had no other option. Hormone therapy of any kind would be out of the question for me. I have gained 20 lbs since I have had it. My doctor insists that the weight gain is not related. I am active (I’m a dancer) and eat relatively well. I have not chaned anything about my eating or activies since insertion. I look like I’m pregnant as most of my weight gain is in my belly & face. I have random shooting pain and cramps I’m my uterus almost daily regardless of whether or not I’m on my period. When it was first inserted I bleed for almost a month, and had such severe cramping I had to call in to my job because I couldn’t get out of bed.
    Each time I see my doctor about this the doctor says my body just needs to adjust and it can take up to 6 months for m body to adjust. I am miserable most of the time, my periods last over a week and I’ve been having then 2 weeks apart. They are painful. It has been almost 5 months with no signs of improvement. It’s the worst decision I made especially be size my migraines have not gotten better. The whole purpose of the switch was to be able to get improvement with my migraines and I’m just as bad off as I was before the switch. I know everyone is different, but the more I read online the more I find I’m not unique in my experience.
    Good luck.
    Veronica

    • lauren

      Thank you so much for sharing Veronica. Your story is very inspirational for us all, especially since the doctors promote the side effects being very rare. Hopefully you are able to find an alternative form of birth control that works with your body better. Best of Luck!

    • Kim

      Migraines are often related to gluten sensitivity. As read above, gluten sensitive people may have issues with these contraptions since they exacerbate zinc, etc. depletion which many gluten sensitive individuals often suffer from.

      I had very heavy periods until I got rid of gluten. Six months of eating no grains stabilized everything. I have been over 10 years gluten free and would never go back. I never have migraines anymore.

      If you want something removed from your body that the doctor inserted, there should be no issue in having it removed!

    • Katie

      Hello, Veronica. I had no intention of commenting on a blog, but as a person in the health industry, I simply must write in the hopes of empowering you to insist to have this device removed, if you feel it is best for you. Your doctor can NOT determine whether or not you keep it in or have it removed. You are the patient, and it is YOUR right! Please always do what you feel is best for you — a doctor is an aide, not a decision-maker. Healing energy towards your health and well being!

  14. Cheri

    Graphic and maybe a little TMI, but would like to share for women concidering paragard/copper IUD. I was getting headaches and leg pains from birth control pills and really wanted off the hormones. My Dr. recommended the paragard. I had it put in in July. It was pretty crampy and I felt it for several weeks, but not entirely an unpleasant experience. The first few months, I had cramping, something I was not use to, but dealt with it- used a heating pad. Periods were heavier as I was told they would be-lasted a full 7 days. My guy was not thrilled about the little strings, said he could feel them, but he got use to them. He had to be careful that he did not hit my cervix…the pain was unbeivable..shooting pain into my ribs. So it did require a little adjustment for us. Then it happened. I got my period over Christmas, and I didn’t stop until Jan 10. Dr’s office assured me that this happens. A week later I start again this time it lasted 10 days. The one week and 10-13 day period cycle continued until March when I had cramps so bad one night, I didn’t think I was going to be able to finish my drive home. Since the beginning of the year I had noticed that my hair was thinning,dry and dull, my nails were craking/peeling,my skin was erupting like nothing I had ever had in my life, I had chest pain so bad one day, I went to the Dr. in fear of a heart attack- it was determined to be stress. Possibly, frankly couldn’t take the insanely heavy bleeding (literally had to wear an ultra tampon and a maxi pad incase I got called into a meeting and couldn’t get to the bathroom every 1.5 hr., I was like that for 2 days and nights!!! I convinced my Dr.’s office that I needed to be seen, and during that visit demanded that they remove the IUD. I have been bleeding for 2 months nonstop since it’s removal. I have had numberous pregnancy tests. I have had biopsies, ultra sounds, blood work and more blood work…The benefit to all this is I am about as healthy as a person can get, with one small fiboid that is just over a centimeter. The frustration is being told I have disfunctional uterine bleeding, and they want to put me on birth control pills to try and regulate it. Birth control, the exact thing I wanted away from that started this whole mess. The Dr. dismissed me when I asked about copper toxicity “because that’s so rare” I started doing a lot of my own research and there are horror stories of paragard, many just like mine. I came across this page searching for information on copper toxicity and wanted to share my story for women concidering a copper IUD. Things to concider, I have a tilted uterus (may have conributed to the horrible cramping) My only allergies are antibiotics. I have no dental fillings or other dental work that may have increased my copper levels. I have an auto-immune disease rhumatoid factor (inflamation) but unsure which it is, most likely arthritis that hasn’t been found yet. I take no medications. I eat a very balanced diet, and took a zinc supplement the entire time I had the IUD because I had read about that prior to getting it. As I said, maybe TMI, but if you are concidering it, and have any of the the issues I mentioned have a very serious talk with your Dr. we are all human, but we are all a little different. Listen to your body, you know yourself best.

  15. sheilagh

    Interesting reading- really enjoy how you’re open to pros & cons of iuds. I had a copper IUD after the birth of my first child and loved it. After the birth of my second child I opted for another IUD, but this experience seems quite different. I feel so tired and low on energy, my periods have become much heavier, longer, & more frequent, I’ve had some periods of extreme forgetfulness, for the first time ever I feel as though I’m suffering from intense pre & post menstrual syndrom. I had chalked most of this up to perhaps being a bit low on iron or tired from having two children. But my youngest is 3 now and I feel like I have achieved a good work/life balance, but without any lessening of the fatigue. After reading these posts I am going to call my doctor and have the IUD removed. I can’t understand why my experiences would be so different. But, my first experience with the copper IUD was so wonderful that I would encourage women to try it, so long as you have the means to have it removed should it not work out. Thanks.

    • lauren

      Thank you so much for sharing!! I know this will be so helpful to those making the decision.

  16. Melissa

    Hi. I’ve had both the mirena and copper iud. I had the mirena for 5 years without complication and then moved on to the copper iud. I had the copper iud removed yesterday and I’m already noticing huge improvements after a year of severe cramping, skin discoloration, severe pain during sex, a rash that would cover my entire jaw and horrible mood swings. I can honestly say that after 1 day I feel so much better. If it doesn’t feel right, I say have it removed!

  17. M

    Hi.
    I´m from Sweden and I developed severe side effects from using a Nova T380 (works like Paragard.) There is a support group for all copper IUD sufferers around the world: PLEASE JOIN US if you share the same experiences…

    http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/copperiuddetox/

    I would not recommend a copper coil to anyone. It is NOT worth the risks! I have suffered A LOT… This is my story:

    “This is such a long story I really don´t know where to start. I got my IUD in January 2013 (this was 3 months post partum), and life went on just like it used to. About 2-3 monts later I started feeling sort of… weak – and often felt like I was going to pass out or something. Just a very odd feeling! I initially suspected I might be low of iron, but that eventually showed to be not the case… I started taking supplements though – a not such a good idea considering the amounts of copper in the multis… I also started losing hair. (Which could well be a normal hair loss after having a baby last fall.) But the hair loss just continued. That ”odd” feeling came back more often than before. I began to feel tired. Really, really, tired! I started having, should I call it, seizures of anxiety?!! That was so NOT me! The ”seizures” would come pretty much out of the blue, but often there was some kind of stress involved. Then one day in April, I experienced my first panic attack, and it was horrible! The attack hit me one hour after exercising, so I thought it had to do with that… (But I know now, it was my IUD.) I was scared to death, my heart raced and I felt like I was getting not enough oxygen… I really, really panicked. Now I really started asking myself. What the h—l is wrong with me? My symptoms were so odd… and by now – quite severe! In the beginning of May (4 moths after getting my IUD) I had my second panic attack – even though I then thought it was a heart attack… this made me end up in the ER – but EKG showed absolutely nothing. Doctors told me, it was probably a reaction to stress. What stress…? Symptoms would come and go, but they would begin to show more often… I would also consume a lot of chocolate, coke and coffee during this time… Soon I began to feel as if someone had scared me. A weird, shaky/vibrating feeling inside of me. I really felt like a wreck, I felt scared, nervous – for no particular reason! A this point, I had developed most of the ”copper related” symptoms, such as melasma, extreme fatigue, dizzyness, loss of appetite/weight loss, brain fog, heart palpitations, major sensitivity to stress/sounds, and I began to think: ”Something must be terribly wrong. But what?” In May, I was more dead than living, spending most of the day in bed or on the couch. I visited my local doctor and told him about my experiences. When mentioning my panic attacks, he agreed, it certainly seemed like I had been experienced two awful panic attacks. He prescribed some medications and told me to give some blood samples. Blood tests came back completely normal…meanwhile, I was thinking ”I must be going crazy”. But then…… By the end of that month (May 2013) I read about copper toxicity and decided to get rid of that copper IUD a.s.a.p… I also started talking some extra zink and vitamin C at the same time. Symptoms would fade to non existent within one week. Then I had some major set backs during detox though… (e.g. anxiety, sensitivity, fatigue, awful joint pain in fingers, feet and knees) I don´t know where this all will lead me, but I am so glad to have found friends like you who share these terrible experiences. I had the coil (Nova T380) for 4 moths only, but it most certainly ruined my life during that time. Please spread the word, spread this link. And continue to share your stories! You are not alone!”

    • Kasia

      Dear, i also have a Nova T380 and since 1,5 years (from the insertion till now) i am having a constant thrush and many urine tract infections. I am scheduled to remove it tomorrow (i was just now making my last research now, although i am 100% sure i want to remove it-that’s how i happened to be on this blog). The thing that got me scared in the first place is that the copper is an excellent conducting material… And you have it in your body. Doctors claim it’s safe, but think about it? How could it be? I am almost 24 hours a day in places with wifi/microvawes/i use my cell phone a lot… Ladies, do your homework and remember that many dr hasn’t done their homework…
      Ps. Sorry for my english (non a native speaker).

  18. OB

    I have just had my paraguard IUD removed after suffering with many side effects since its insertion 7 months ago. I was forewarned that my period would be heavier, but my gynocologist assured me that i should settle into it after a couple of months. I have always eaten organic food, mainly vegetarian, i juice daily. My health has always been good, i exercise regularly, however my health started to deteriorate about four months ago. My husband and I racked our brains with why I suddenly had terrible allergies ( never ever had an allergy to anything) why my throat would swell up, my nails were brittle, why i had gained weight on my stomach, why I had debilitating headaches, chronic fatigue, why I suddenly had a brain fog forgetting words! It wasn’t unil one night when I had the worst pm cramps that i decided to google side effects of copper iud. I was astounded by what I found on forums. I decided that because I don’t eat red meat I was maybe having some sort of copper overload, so I decided I would beef up my vitamin intake and include zinc.
    I set up a date to see my gynocologist and told her why I needed the iud removed, she had initially told me that the paraguard was amazing, no one really knew how it worked but it was like kryptonite to sperm, at the appointment she told me the paraguard is not for everyone and didn’t sound like it was working for me. However she really didn’t want to know about all these side effects I had been feeling. I was in and out and had the bill to prove it. It worried me that she just wasnt interested in the negatives. I have decided to go with a naturopathic gynocologist for the future, someone who will listen to me as a person who is quite in tune with her body. ( i also had the paraguard fitted because i have never taken the pill, and the idea of taking hormones makes me uncomefortable) I am pleased that the paraguard iud works out for the majority of women, but it would be helpful to have had an objective gynocologist who had an understanding of copper toxicity and other side effects before I had it implanted. Regardless I am extremely pleased to have it out, and to start rebalancing my body. I urge anyone looking into having the copper IUD to research thoroughly yourself and not rely on the word of your gynocologist however sweet she or he is, although it does not contain hormones, it’s not to say that there will not be hormonal changes in your body when you have it, as something which makes a toxic enough environment in your uterus to not get pregnant there has to be a knock on effect for that. Good luck ladies.

  19. Sabrina

    I was just doing some research and stumbled upon this page. Good article, and very interesting reading some of the comments. I just got my copper IUD inserted today (it’s a Liberte Short)… the experience wasn’t as bad as some people online describe… so I went in totally freaked out and really, the cramping was not worse than bad period cramps I experience usually anyway. Regarding BC pills… I will briefly share my story as I’ve been through a lot in the past couple years and it may be helpful to some women looking for answers.

    I started taking BC pills when I was around 20. It was great at first, then I started spotting, had to switch pills a few times. Anyway, throughout my experimenting with different types of BC pills, I went through a horrible back/shoulder acne phase… and then I got on one that seemed to work fine. Then, I started to completely lose my desire for sex. I couldn’t even get wet anymore during foreplay, etc. I was in a committed relationship at the time and it was so unfortunate… really did a number on our relationship. THEN…. I had a vacation planned for Hawaii and decided to use the pills to skip my period so I could enjoy my vacay. So I went straight from one pack of pills to the next. Then, while in Hawaii, I got a UTI (bladder infection). It is important to note that taking hormones increases your susceptibility to bacterial infections and yeast infections. The hormones change the natural ph balance and GOOD bacteria that lives in your vagina can’t flourish, thereby giving more opportunity to BAD bacteria to grow. Anyway, this bladder infection lasted for 9 months. I tried about 7 or 8 different antibiotics. Finally, I stayed on Nitrofurantoin for 3 months straight and kicked the infection. At the time, I stopped taking BC pills and will never take them again.

    I’ve been just using condoms for a couple years now and since I never want kids I feel it’s the responsible thing for me to use a more reliable BC method. My plan is to try out this copper IUD… I really hope it works out well for me. After 5 years with this thing, I will get my tubes tied. OR let whoever I end up marrying get snipped. I am 27 and doctors are very reluctant to tie my tubes now, but in 5 years it should be no problem since I’ll be in my 30s and people will be more convinced that I will never have kids.

    Anyway, that’s my story. It’s been a long road with that 9-month infection during which time it seemed no doctor could help me. If it weren’t for all the research I did ON MY OWN (with my friend Google)… who knows where I’d be at this point.
    Long story short- no more hormones for me. IUD is my first choice… if it results in too much cramping/bleeding then it’s back to condoms until I can get my tubes tied.

  20. P.M.

    I am in the process of trying to decide if the copper IUD is right for me. I was doing research and found this site. My story is that I tried the pill in high school and I am unable to take a vitamin everyday let alone the pill. I tried the depo-provera progesterone shot because the time between shots suited my lack of timeliness. I was on it for several years and I gained a lot of weight using it. When I left for college I discontinued using it and lost the weight and for four years I have been using just condoms when needed. I am 22 and have been in an incredibly stable relationship for about two years. Neither of us want kids right now but I am not positive we never will so I am not looking for a permanent solution like a vasectomy. I am not fond of hormones as I don’t want the weight back. I like the length and simplicity of an IUD but I have a few concerns.

    1) I have heard some say it was great, and others say it was painful with concern to intercourse. My boyfriend and I have pretty regular sex and he certainly bumps my cervix frequently, especially when I am on top. I wonder if anyone out there has any advice on this issue or stories good or bad. I just look at the diagram of it and think it would have to hurt both of us being the shape it is.
    2) My doctor said that because I have never been pregnant, there is a chance that it won’t fit or might be forced out. The risk of it stabbing through my cervix or embedding itself in the lining is really scary.

    If anyone has any helpful information on these matters please respond. Thanks =)

    • catherine

      Hi, thought i would mention that i havent been pregnant, and i had it fitted ok.
      Sex isnt painful for me and my husband becuase i had the strings cut shorter and they tuck in nicely around the curve of my cervix.

      the person who fitted it said that they almost didnt because i had a ‘long’ cervix however it went in fine! i havent had many problems (see my post below) however i think it is clear from this thread that everyone responds differently to the IUD,

      i will say though that my body has never really cared to get upset about things such as any piercings i had, or like the time when my family had violent food poisoning and i was only mildly affected…some people are more sensitive to foreign objects in the body than others i think

    • tyra

      I just had a copper IUD placed today. My doctor left the strings kind of longer because she stated when they are cut short they can stab your partner, but when left longer they curl back and aren’t as noticeable.

    • IUD User

      Honestly, the IUD is really made for people who have had children before. I really recommend you not get it until you have had children. I really enjoyed the NuvaRing. Yes it can be a bit annoying but isnt all birth control?

      • Katie

        The notion that you have to have had children to have an iud fitted in complete myth.

  21. Juni

    Just wanted to say I’m glad I found this blog. I’m currently trying to figure out what my options are going forward. I’ve had the flexi-300 (the smallest and most flexible of the copper IUDs) for the last 4 years. My doc, who is very respectful at listening to concerns and fully believes the patient know her body best suggested not waiting the full 5 years to get it removed as it looses efficacy. He also made me do my own research before I agreed to it. He also said that the ease with which it is inserted affects the overall relationship your body has with the IUD for the duration of it’s insertion, particularly if you’ve never been pregnant (like myself).

    The insertion was crampy but not much more than a period cramp. I spotted and cramped quite a bit for about a week after but have been fine ever since. In the last 2-3 years I have put on a little weight in the ‘donut’ area around the belly button – not enough to change dress size but enough to notice a change. I can’t specifically attribute this to the IUD as many of my friends have gone through similar changes in their late 20′s (I’m 27)without being on an IUD or birth control. So maybe it’s just age. I’ve decided to start running and see if that helps shift the wee buddah belly.

    I’m curious if there are any women here going on their second IUDs? I’m considering another 5 year in case I decide to have kids mid 30-s and the copper level is lower on shorter term ones.

    to PM’s questions
    This may be rather graphic but here it goes (really hope it’s ok – I had to find these things out the hard way). Yes being poked in the cervix with an IUD hurts quite a lot. Both of you. Your mate can scratch his junior bits with the string as well. For me it feels like a sudden period cramp X about 3. It usually only lasts a few seconds. If it does last longer then a few minutes/hours you should see a doctor. However there are loads of ways to work around this. My boyfriend is fairly large so we had to work out positions that works best. Being on top gives you control over how deep he can go and you can use your legs to push him down if he thrusts. Missionary is also fine, as is from behind but only if you keep your legs together – otherwise it can be quite painful as it allows him to go further. Bottom line is communicate with your partner about what works for you. Make sure you go slow the first few times and be completely honest about how it feels. Hope that helps.

  22. Kimmy

    My story with the Paragaurd copper IUD is a complete nightmare. I had it put in 8 years ago shortly after the birth of my first child. I am now at a point in my life where my marriage is almost over because for the past 8 years I have had the worst pms and mood swings for 2 weeks out of every month. Then Aug of 2012 I had a major health crisis that affected my nervous system to the point of me not being able to walk properly, could not deal with stress, my entire body was shaking internally and my digestion shut down. My MD thinks it was due to a virus and I sought help from a naturopathic dr. Who is certain I had something else going on in my body. Could it be the copper IUD? After many IV’s of vitamin C I finally started to be able to function (about 4 months into it) and one day I decided to research the side affects of the IUD. I had it removed the following day because I had read so many bad stories including it causes bad pms. When it was removed it broke because one of the T arms was imbedded in my cervix. That’s when I learned the IUD can become imbedded. It also can pass through the uterus wall and migrate in your body and become imbedded in other parts of your body. The X-ray tech had seen several scans of “lost” IUDs and 1 she saw in the colon area. Luckily I found a Dr who had had 3 other cases identical to mine and was able to get it out(under anesthesia, a $10,000 process in outpatient surgery) because the 3 other dr’s I went to left me feeling hopeless and 1 told me I would have to get a hysterectomy after trying to get it out. This alone is enough reason to avoid an IUD altogether. But my nervous system is still not 100%, my energy is low and I have bad pms although at times it is better, and brain fog. It is worse 1-2 weeks befor my period. All my blood tests look good and I have had both CT and MRIs of my brain done when my nervous system was at it’s worst. Drs cannot tell me this is from the IUD and neither can I. I only can go off of the 100s of other stories I have read claiming symptoms arose after the Copper IUD was placed and the stories sound similar to mine.. I believed it has ruined my life and only time will tell if my life can be repaired. Please do not use an IUD.

  23. catherine

    hi there, i am reading lots of either positive or negative comments out there so i thought i would share my experiences

    since the age of 15 i was convinced to go onto hormonal contraception as a preventative measure.
    i tried the combined pill but felt very moody on that, so it was changed to the progesterone only. this one was ok for me however over time i slipped back into my moods and i kept forgetting to take them…

    i then changed to the implant, the WORST mistake EVER – i had excessive bleeding, pain – it was a good preventative measure as it was impossible to have sex! i bled for about 6 months and got very depressed so i had it removed.

    Then came the Nuvaring, which is popular in european countries. i loved this one as it went in, i could forget about it for three weeks then have a normal period, the hormone dose was so low as it was in a localised position however i had a few problems with it eventually. my libido gradually disappeard and my partner was convinced he could feel it, also as a long term sufferer of constipation it occasionally fell out and this put me on a few morning after pills over time!I was so upset when i was told that it wasnt working for me as it was the best one i had tried at the time!

    Eventually, after turning my nose up at the idea of a IUS or IUD for a long time, i decided to go hormone free as i was convinced this was my problem. to be honest i also think i had ran out of contraceptives to try!
    I was very sceptical about it and the fitting was uncomfortable, however over the coming weeks i started to feel a personality and mood that i hadnt felt since i was 15…

    at the present i am two years into its use, it has not expelled and it is easy to check its place, my periods are very normal and not too heavy, it only extended them by about a day which is not problem for me.

    My only worry is that recently i suffered a heamorragic cyst, i am told this is something many women go through, however a piece of doubt lingers around the possibility of a connection to the IUD.

    I will continue it regardless as it is the best contraceptive i have had (in agreement is my now husband who had noticed i am much more laid back now and my libido has returned!)

    what i want to say is sometimes even the contraceptives which you disregard in the beginning are the ones that you end up getting along with. the IUD was the last thing i would have had back when i was 15, and ironically, it has become just that!

  24. Kristen

    I have had a copper iUD for about 2 years and it has only been recently that I pieced together that it was the IUD causing me so many problems.
    Basically I started suffering from PMDD rather than just PMS. I was always prone to PMS mood swings and depression, but over the course of the IUD’s presence I have gone from what were my normal levels to nearly insanity. I get so angry so quickly for 10 days out of the month. I want to end my relationship during this time because he suddenly becomes so annoying I can’t stand it. I send myself crazy at work because I get so agitated with the children I work with. I come home over hyped and frustrated and it swells over into my personal relationships. When my period starts it goes back to better levels and I can function relatively normally.
    I started seeing a naturopath as traditional western medicine doesn’t seem to work for me. I have had terrible experiences with the pill and implanon. I thought I was just suffering my weird hormone levels and depression etc. After 2 months, we realised the IUD was the major culprit and wasn’t letting me normalise my already skewed hormones and neurotransmitters. Althought it says it doesn’t interfere with these, the copper toxicity does, especially if you are already prone to hormone imbalances. I am oestrogen dominant and whatever the IUD was interacting with, lead to severe reactions and dramatic PMDD.
    Luckily I am aware of how I feel and how my body functions so I was clued on to the moods and stuff fairly quickly but I still didn’t connect it to the IUD until recently. All the research I did lead me to find many other people who suffered the same thing – mood swings, bad sleeping, more frequent illnesses and intolerances, wanting to end their relationships and lethargy to name a few.
    For aNyone considering it, especially if you already have problems with the pill or hormone levels, please consider finding another method. It really does cause so many issues and you don’t always realise it straight away…my job, health and relationship have all suffered since I had it put it. It made me think I was going mad and I have spent a lot of money trying to figure out what was going on, before making the connection….it’s coming out next week and both my naturopath/ nutritional medicine doctor and I know that this is the missing link in why my PMS became PMDD and why I suffer from insane anger spats and irritability.
    Please go for other options!

    • Melicent

      I can’t believe I found this!!!! Our stories are almost identical and I am just now realizing the IUD connection! Thank you

  25. HW

    Hi Lauren,

    Thanks for the article. I enjoyed reading all the comments too.

    I’m just like you. I’ve had bad side effects from pills, but I’m also unsure of putting something copper inside my body. So….what are you going to use to prevent pregnancy?? I am very unsure of where to go from here, since I’m not ready for my husband to have a vasectomy.

    Thanks.

    • lauren

      Thanks for writing in! Just like I wrote Alexa, I would say condoms…. not ideal in that most men resist using them and it can reduce pleasure, but I think it is the best choice. If you can both get on board to use them properly and to find one that you both like, it is a safe option without risks of hormones etc.

      • Quinn

        Hey Lauren..

        I started looking into BC again after reading how the lubes on condoms are linked to breast cancer and are generally toxic. I was considering the copper IUD but had some reservations and then found this blog… now I’m really second guessing it.

        However, I really don’t want to continue using condoms as I am afraid of the chemical lubrications. I also find it hard to find non-lubricated condoms ANYWHERE (also.. I feel bad using condoms because they are not bio-degradable).

        I can’t get pregnant. I’m at my wits end. What are the options?

        • Lauren aka The Holy Kale

          HI Quinn, you are right about the lubricants, that is why I suggest using condoms that are free of lubricants. Hope that helps!

  26. Caribette

    I got a copper IUD 6 weeks after the birth of my son. It was the perfect solution for me as I did not want any hormonal BC and it was one of the safest ones. After moderate to severe abdominal pain, I returned to my doctor to get it removed. She did not find it, even after performing an ultrasound and explained that in breastfeeding mothers, the cervix remains softer and somewhat more opened for a longer period of time after birth than in non breastfeeding mothers, due to the relaxin hormone. My abdominal pains were attributed to the ‘afterbirht’ consequences. I dealt with this pain for several months. It eventually became no longer painful but a year after was still uncomfortable.
    A month ago (so 2 yrs after the insertion of the IUD), after a spinal trauma, I got an utrasound of my pelvis and… my doctor found the IUD sitting under my left hip. It never left my body.
    The pain I felt came from the IUD perforating my uterus.
    I’m going through surgery to take it out in September and my (new) doctor will have a look at the scar to make sure it does not pose a risk for a future pregnancy.
    I am one happy woman…

    I know my case is a rare complication of IUD insertion and can still be the right solution for some women and I am perfectly fine with that. I just want to warn new mothers, especially those breastfeeding. They may want to discuss carefully with your doctor and wait for a few months after the birth of your baby before getting it inserted because their uterus remains very soft for some time after the birth of a baby.

  27. Alexa

    Hi there,

    I’ve recently had to quit birth control pills because of health reasons and I just want to say I really appreciate your articles about the risks and the history of these drugs! I really want to try to live in a more healthy way where I don’t put myself at risk for long term issues or diseases. Frankly it scares me very much. After reading this article though I feel like there is still a void, that there is still another question to be answered.. If hormonal pills are bad and if IUDs have so many side effects too, then what IS a good alternative form of birth control? In your opinion what is the best choice? What do you use or have you used in the past that worked out well?

    Thanks!

    • lauren

      Hi Alexa, unfortunately there are not too many options out there but I personally believe in the use of condoms, especially when used correctly and mindfully. While I know many men really resist against their usage, that is more of a conversation that must be had since the women have to deal with all the other side effects of the other forms of BC. Therefore, in my opinion what is lost for men outweighs what is gained for the women, and ultimately for the couple overall.

      • Alexa

        Thank you so much for your insight! :) I really appreciate your advice I agree, when used properly condoms are the best alternative

  28. Katie

    Hi! I had my Paraguard IUD inserted about 10 months ago, the insertion wasn’t too painful and it’s been lovely not having to take a pill every day. My periods are much heavier and more crampy, I was borderline anemic before insertion and i’m curious where my iron levels are now, In the last 10 months I have gained about 10 pounds (very quickly in the first month after insertion) most noticeably around my mid-section as well as skin changes much more breakouts (high sebum production), as well as headaches. I went to a gyno and asked about these changes she said I just needed to eat less and exercise more. I am 31 and very active eat mostly vegetarian and haven’t changed any eating/exercise habits, I am 5’6″ i was 140 and now am 150, I can still fit in the same size clothes things are just more snug. I am having a heavy metal blood test done on friday to see if Im experiencing copper toxicity. I would love to just take the damn thing out but I need to be on some kind of birth control and don’t want to take hormonal pills and am in a committed relationship and am very sexually active and don’t enjoy the use of condoms or anything else that would effect the spontaneity of sex. I will update after my test results come in in about 2/3 weeks.

    • halima

      Hello,

      I wanted to share with you that copper toxicity from the iud is best detected through hair strand analysis. After many years of trying just about every birth control option available, including multiple pills, the ring, and the Mirena, I had a copper iud inserted. My story is identical to many who have posted online. I became weak, anemic, experienced heavy, long, frequent periods, joint pain, difficulty with memory and thinking, etc. After nearly 3 years of Doctor visits and normal blood tests I did my own research and had the iud removed. I noticed great improvement, but 2 years after removal, I am still working to be symptom free. I would recommend you listen to your body, and if it doesn’t seem to be working for you, take it out.

  29. Kristen Cosentino

    I am going on 10 years with my Paraguard Copper IUD. For me, it was the only option because I’d reacted badly to hormone-based birth control methods, and had a family history of blood clots on birth control. I cannot think of one complaint regarding the ease of use, or effectiveness of my IUD over the past 10 years. The side effects- on the other hand- are DEFINITELY worth mentioning for anyone considering this type of birth control method. Prior to “installing” my Copper T, I had the easiest periods /menstrual cycle known to man- errrr… woman. Post Copper T, I actually had the joy of experiencing a mild case of labor each month, accompanied with a whole schloo of menstrual symptoms. The best explanation I can muster is that the IUD affected my hormones in SOME way, regardless of the fact it is considered a “non-hormonal” method. Also, most importantly, around year 7 with my Paraguard IUD, I began feeling a large lump around my abdomen area. After 5 months of excruciating waiting and tests, the docs found a 4 pound tumor on my uterus. Now, I’m not one to jump to conclusions, but I’ve had plenty of time to rack my brain over how a gigantic tumor began growing directly off of the front of my uterus. The final confirmation was all I needed: the OB Gyn who performed my surgery had 25 years in the field, and said, “this tumor is so large, it had to begin growing many years ago. We are not sure what causes tumors like this” sounds strangely familiar to “we are unsure exactly how the IUD prevents pregnancy”. I’ll tell you how: it changes your hormone balance and creates a hostile environment in ‘that area’. I can tell you with the utmost certainty that the IUD caused the tumor. But, given the alternatives, I cannot honestly tell you I wouldn’t go through the medical testing, surgery (tumor removal, somewhat like a c-section), LONG recovery, and excruciating cramps for ten worry-free years of contraception. It’s all what you’re willing to deal with, I suppose. For those considering an IUD, they can be great. Just don’t lie to yourself and ignore the potential risks. When the medical field admits they’re “not sure” how something works, they are refusing to accept responsibility if something goes awry. Ultimately, your health lies in your own hands, and ONLY in your own hands. Never fully trust an organization who stands to profit from the use of their product, medical device, or drug.

  30. Zahrah

    I stopped using the copper IUD in July 2012, due to being fed up with the longer periods (10-12 days), spotting in between periods, and longer pre-menstrual stage. Leaving me with very little time to enjoy post-menstruation and ovulation. So I stopped using it and felt much better! However, soon after, about 3 months, I got pregnant using condoms. My husband needs a refresher on how to use them safely! I’ve just had my 4th child and I’m certain I won’t be having any more, so I’ll be going for tubal blockage in the coming months.

  31. Katelyn

    Hi everyone! I’m glad I came across this forum to share my experience with my IUD.

    About two years ago I went to my gynaecologist to discuss different birth control options. I wanted to have long term contraception that had minimal amounts of hormone. So we discussed all of our options and my doctor was in favour of the copper iud. At first I was really squeamish due to the fact I was only 19 at the time and having something foreign in my body wasn’t favourable. After some consideration and complete trust iny physician it seemed like the best decision.

    I returned about a month later to have it inserted. The first few months were fine, my periods were heavier but no other noticeable changes. Things went south very quickly after about the third month.

    I warn you, the next bit might be too much information

    I had noticed a very potent odour, it smelled very metallic and I was experiencing a lot of pelvic pain. My fiance had mentioned he could feel something sharp when we were intimate. I went to my doctor who assured me everything was fine. I knew at that point there was something not quite right. About a month after my visit to the doctor my iud had expelled. Upon looking at it, I noticed around the coil there was a black material and that was the source of the odour I had been noticing. About an hour after expulsion I had very sharp pains in my uterus. I rushed myself into the hospital and they noticed there was blood on my cervix and my white blood cell count was through the roof. They gave me an ultrasound and found a lot of scarring on my uterus as well as a very nasty infection.

    This happened two years ago. Since then I haven’t been on any form of birth control. I now have severe endometriosis and we have had unprotected sex for two years nos and not one pregnancy scare.

    If you’re thinking about getting an iud I urge you to reconsider. I’m only 21 and I wish I had of paid closer attention to the potential consequences of the iud. I wish I had of done my research. I urge you to challenge your doctor with as many questions as you can think of and to consider the potential dangers when making your decision.

  32. Yellowee

    Hi Lauren,
    I’ve just making a research about copper IUD and Your site was really helpful!
    I desperately look for a contraception which not contains hormones cause it’s not good for me at all-I tried pills and implant. That’s why I considered copper IUD but I see know that it could be even worse than hormones. I already use male condoms, and I think about diaphragm or cap-I know they’re not convenient and out-of-date, but maybe most safe for my health.
    You mentioned that hormones harmed You as well, so I have question: what contraception do You use?
    Your blog is very interesting! Thank You so much!

    • lauren

      I actually prefer condoms without spermicides. If used correctly I think they are the best option right now.

  33. Necolebp

    Here’s the deal. I have had two IUD’s. I had Mirena 1st and immediately started having crazy hormonal issues. My testosterone dropped to less then 5. I couldn’t sleep, I was crying all the time and so hot I had to wear a bikini in my house in the winter! I also developed cystic acne everywhere. I have had a hand full of zits my entire life and was all of a sudden covered in boil like knots. One bonus to Mirena was that I had no period. I kept the IUD for 3 years and managed my acne with doxycycline (an oral antibiotic for acne) and my low testosterone with bio identical hormone replacement. I was only 25 years old and taking more medications then many 80 year olds. I finally wised up and had the Mirena removed and went with out any birth control for 8 months (condoms only), and my body was mine again!! No acne no crazy hormones!!
    The 2nd IUD was the Paragaurd and I have had no side affects at all. I do check my serum copper levels every six months just to be sure. HORMONE FREE IS THE WAYTO BE! Go with the Paragaurd. I’m 31 now and Paragaurd is the best choice for me, my life style my age and my body!

  34. Lucy

    Had my copper IUD removed recently after using it for 13 years. I have been having so many problems and just recently found out it could all be due to copper toxicity.Food intolerance, fatigue,fibromyalgia, the list goes on and on and on. I am so angry that I never read anything about it before. Thought it was safe and even recommended it to friends. One of the side effects is that it can give you bone spurs. At the age of 42 I had to have a hip replacement and it was because I had bone spurs on my hip. I have so many problems,spent so much money on so many treatments. Just hope to get better one day and be able to eat normal food again. xx

  35. Melly

    I had Mirena for the full 5 years after my second child was born in 2002.I was the first of my gyno’s patients to have had it for the full 5 yr term. I don’t recall any unpleasant side effects. After about the first year, my periods all but disappeared. I was unable to afford the Mirena again after that, so I switched to the pill-Yaz-after that, for 2 more years. When my new husband and I were ready to have more children, I was able to achieve pregnancy right away. I went back on a different pill than Yaz after the birth of our third, but began to develop painful ovarian cysts and decided to stop using hormonal birth control altogether. I believe the years of hormonal manipulation, possibly including the Mirena IUD, are to blame for the cysts.
    We just had our fourth child, and we DO NOT wish to have any more children. I have purchased the book ‘TAKING CONTROL OF YOUR FERTILITY’ By Toni Weschler, MPH. It is AWESOMELY INFORMATIVE, I recommend it for every woman alive!! I have been in the nursing profession all my life, and have four of my own children! I realized after reading that book that I knew almost nothing about my own female body! It is extremely helpful for those who either want to achieve or prevent pregnancy naturally!
    My husband is asking me to consider the copper iud at this time, which is what I am doing-considering it.

  36. Karima

    I am having my Mirena removed today. I’ve tried the pill, diaphragm, spermicide sponge, rhythm method and I have three children. I don’t hormones that effect my natural balance, even low dose, but I had to stop breeding and the Mirena seemed like the lesser of two evils. Thank you for the information. As I sit here today, I’m contemplating having the paragaurd implanted. But I don’t want to. I feel its my husband’s turn to take on reproductive responsibility.
    What’s interesting is that the IUD that’s suposed to free up couples for a spontaneous sex life may have actually done the oposite by lowering my drive. Which has had a negative effect on my marriage. #irony

  37. Sarah

    Thank you Lauren for creating a space where we can share our experiences. Like many women, I find it a challenge to weigh out the risks vs benefits of all of the BC contenders, though in truth, they are all pretty poor options. I started using the pill from 17 to 25, intermittently, given that the hormones affected my personality (angry, irritable, overly emotional, ungrounded, etc) and my weight. Isn’t it ironic that the goal of the pill (as a function of preventing pregnancy) is to allow a greater, freer expression of our sexual selves, and it ends up making some (most?) of us feel decidedly un-sexy. After one last unsuccessful stint on the pill, I decided to try the copper IUD back in 2006, and I’m so glad that I did. I had it removed yesterday, after 7 years, so I feel I am able to give a good summary of what a positive experience looks like. When I first had it fit, it was expelled within a day or so, and so I had to have a new one installed. The fitting itself was uncomfortable (I strongly recommomend 800mg of ibuprofen about an hour before the procedure, also, if it’s available, it’s worth requesting the topical anaesthetic) and what followed were 2 days of strong cramping and a moderate amount of bleeding. My periods, for the first 6 months, were about 30-50% heavier and I experienced worse cramping than before the IUD, though not so bad as to keep me from doing regular activities. From 6 months onward, it was smooth sailing, the amount of blood lost during my period decreased (still heavier than before, but manageable) and I pretty much just forgot the device was there. I had it removed yesterday, with no pain and had the IUD replaced with little discomfort (due to pain killers taken beforehand and anaesthetic). I hope my experience this time is as positive as was the first. On another note, I was led to this page because I did a search on copper toxicity, and interestingly it appears that there are people that process copper quickly and those that process it more slowly, I wonder whether an individual’s copper metabolism might contribute to whether or not they experience some issues with the device. http://www.drlwilson.com/articles/copper_toxicity_syndrome.htm Wouldn’t it be great to know if invididually we are a good match for a particular BC method, before we take the risk?

    • lauren

      Absolutely!!! Hopefully doctors and gynos will become in tune with what we are looking for and needing from them and help us with these hard decisions… there is most certainly a gap that needs to be filled there.

  38. Zanele

    I just had the copper IUD inserted about two months ago and I already know for sure it is not for me! I have become the meanest angriest person, I can’t remember anything, my skin is unbearable to look at and I have been bleeding non stop for the last 30 days! I became quite concerned and started to research IUD side effects in more detail and I came across your blog. I am making an appointment on Monday to have it removed!

  39. am i crazy? or is it the IUD

    I have had the IUD for two years.
    It has been two years and I don’t want to have sex at all. I never think or even want it. Its not that I don’t love my husband. I think something is wrong.
    I easily experience mood swings even when I am not PMS.
    I never knew what a migraine was until months after getting the IUD placed in.
    I have been dieting on a low fat vegan diet and doing cardio 5x a week and I am not loosing more than 5 lbs. I am very frustrated because I’m doing everything right.
    I have a hard time concentration and I just feel like I get worse and worse and I am pushing my husband away. I don’t mean to but I can’t help it. I just feel like I’m on PMS ALL THE TIME.
    I seriously have been thinking it is this dang IUD. I’ve thought it for over a year now, but I just allow it to get worse cause I’m scared that I’ll take it out and it end up being something else. My marriage is falling apart and I know its because of me and the way I constantly feel. does this sound like the IUD is messing me up and changed me into a monster?

    • Gotta Be the IUD, Right?

      I just love it how people, especially doctors, respond when a (normally)completely healthy woman starts to complain about symptoms that mostly seem to be “psychological”. To be looked at with a “yeah, right” expression and to be told that there is nothing wrong when you KNOW your own body and you KNOW that something is definitely wrong. I am 37 years old and have had the copper IUD in for 5 years now and have spent the last two years feeling very much like a hypochondriac. I’ve always been prone to headaches, but since having the IUD inserted I keep a headache. It is usually very mild and can be easily ignored but on occasion it will become a nuisance…sometimes it becomes a full-blown migraine. Other than the headaches, I only had the usual symptoms the doctors tell you about with IUDs. In the past 2-3 years, though I have had little things go on with my body that I just can’t ignore. I started developing a bacterial vaginosis. Which is a form of yeast infection only it’s symptoms are external and not internal. I suffer from this EVERY month. My doctor calls it cytologic vaginosis and that it is NORMAL. I’ve only ever had 2 yeast infections my entire life and those were during my last pregnancy and afterwards. I’m so emotional I literal cry at the drop of a hat. Usually a quiet person, I now have screaming fits when I get angry (think toddler tantrums!). For a long while now I have suspected copper toxicity due to the IUD, but doctors say this is very rare so I think “Am I crazy? Imagining it?” This past year I’ve started having abnormal periods. I’ve ALWAYS had regular periods…even when the IUD was inserted. They just got heavier but lasted the 7 days I was used to. But now I am on for 7 days…off for a few then back on for 3-4 days. The “second” cycle isn’t heavy but more than “spotting”. I told my doctor about it and she said it was “normal” with the IUD. Why now and not when I had it inserted? They ran some very expensive ultrasound tests and concluded that everything was, yes, normal. When giving me the results of the tests I was told that the bleeding could be caused by the “expulsion of a fertilized product”. What?! That’s an abortion. I said that I understood that the IUD PREVENTED fertilization and she replied that it just prevented implantation. This possibility changed things for my husband and I and we discussed having the IUD removed at my next scheduled visit. However! the bills for all of the tests have appeared and now financially we are unable to afford another visit (though to give my husband credit he is still encouraging me to have it removed anyway, but I fear racking up more medical bills that we can’t afford). Now I am suffering from pain in my left arm and side. It originated with my ring finger and has moved up my arm and down my side. It is very sensitive to the touch and acts like a sunburn only no physical signs. With occasional shooting pains and intense pain when in cold water or ice. I am wondering if this too is from the IUD. Deep down, I know I can’t be going crazy, but sometimes it feels that way. Most of all, I’m tired of people telling me everything is “normal” when for 32 normal years of my life I was nothing like this.

  40. Lacy

    I came accross your blog, I have never read it ebfore but I feel compelled to shar my Mirena story to try and raise awareness. I had used birth control pills off and on since I was a teenager, always with different side effects. I decided to get Mirena when my son was about 18 months old. Insertion wasn’t bad, hardly any cramping and I went straight to work from my appointment. However, the PROS pretty much stop there. Starting from the first week I began to have head aches and a very slight tightness in my chest. I also started to develop acne, which I have never had. I spotted for about the first 5 months straight and then my period stopped. The absolute worst parts, and there are two: Severe mood swings/rage and a PH imbalance in my vagina that felt like I had a bacterial infection 24/7. My doctor said the former was not related to Mirena (which I wholeheartedly disagree with)and had me start taking probiotics for the latter (which didn’t help). Ultimately I got Mirena removed about 8 months in, I couldn’t take the mood swings which were causing problems in my marriage, and I could never have sex because of constantly feeling like I had an infection/ph imblance. I would like to try the copper IUD, but I am afraid of having another imbalance. Luckily, my husband has said he doesn’t want me to be uncomfortable and since we are expecting our second baby next year, we have decided that he will get a vasectomy after teh baby is born.

  41. jkw2110

    I have had murena since I had my son in 2010. Took a long time to get used to it being there. First there was the foreign object feel and smell. Then there was the periods, which were different because I never really got them before being pregnant. But after about a year I have been fine. I only stuck with it because pregnancy, though successful that time, was hard and I dont want to risk another miscarriage. I have been fine until lately. My fiance has been getting cut on this thing! Is that weird?? Nobody spoke on that part…
    So after being so scared to have another failed pregnancy, I too am joining those who choose to have their bodies back. I hope to one day have a normal period and now that my son is old enough I may consider trying for another. Waiting for my appointment to get it removed asap.

  42. jeane

    I had my T copper iud for remove after 8 years and are not pregnant foe 4 years why.

  43. IUD User

    Thank you for writing this! I really should have researched the risks before getting paragaurd inserted. I actually have had both IUDs and I will share the experience I had with both.

    Mirena

    I had the Mirena for a year. And during that year I spotted or bled consistently. My OBGYN kept saying, hang in there it will get better blah blah blah, but it never did. My OBGYN actually prescribed me birth control pills to help “regulate” the bleeding. So basically I was taking birth control to prevent my other birth control from making me bleed. Huh??? After a year of inconsistent and uncontrollable bleeding I decided enough was enough and I had it removed.

    Paragaurd

    Fastfoward some years later, I decided to give the non hormonal IUD a try. I liked the fact that I dont have to pop a pill everyday and my OBGYN recommended that I try it. I got the IUD inserted in February and shortly after I started experiencing heavy periods. Like I would go through a super plus tampon in 2 hours heavy! I knew that was one of the side effects so I decided to tough it out. Meanwhile around May (less than 4 months after insertion) I noticed that my hair was thinning around the edges and my pubic hair was growing back inconsistently. So I went to the dermatologist and she ran a series of test. Come to find out, my iron was so low that I had developed iron deficiency anemia (something that I had never had a problem with prior to the IUD) and she speculated that’s what was causing my hair loss. She recommended that I take these super high dosage iron pills which really helped but it didnt stop my hair from falling out. Fast forward a year and a half and my iron is back to normal but my hair is still thinning…and thinning more rapidly. Basically my hairline is receding. So i decided to do some research and other women have been complaining about losing hair and bald spots while on the copper IUD! Also I was reading that copper toxicity can cause anemia and alopecia (hair loss) just to name a few, which I have or am experiencing. Besides the heavier periods I actually like have the IUD but if its causing my hair to fall out then it has to go! I have an appointment with another dermatologist tomorrow to get her final opinion. But honestly I feel like the proof is in the pudding or in my case, the hair loss.

    My advice, do your research and listen to your body. Doctors only know what they are taught/told by pharmaceutical companies. They just know that this medication helps or prevents this so thats what they recommending. Lets be honest, how many doctors go over all of the potential side effects after prescribing a medication. None! Its not until you complain about a side effect that they even consider it could be the medication. Even when I went to my OBGYN about my hair loss and anemia she still shrugged it off like it couldn’t be the IUD.

    • Ren

      Did you end up having your copper IUD removed? Are you experiencing hair regrowth? I have had the same thing, except not so much thinning as noticeable bald patches as big as a £20 note. I have been diagnosed also with iron deficient anemia. I’m going to get my copper tested.

  44. Montana

    Hi, I’ve had a Paraguard IUD for about 10 years now with no problems in regards my cycle length and bleeding. No discomfort at all. However, I’ve got acne since I put it on and it does not go away with anything. I got it around my chin, jaw line and it going to my neck. I am removing it because I think I’ve develop copper toxicity. My sister has it on too and she has no discomforts and beautiful skin. I’d say give it a try, it you start seeing changes in your skin or develop rashes, then check for copper allergies.

  45. Kat

    I am having my copper iud removed tomorrow after a year. OMW, the weight gain (20 lbs in a year). I have never gained weight like this unless I was prego. I have high blood pressure (there again, never had that). The joint pain and swelling in my legs and hands have caused me to lose sleep. I am always tired and have had problems feeling faint on and off. The constant pain and forget sex! It hurts so bad. I will tell any woman out there DON’T DO It! I will go back to the calender method that I used for 10 years. And really, if I do get prego by chance, it won’t be the end of the world. Much rather have that risk than these horrible side effects!!

    • Lourdes Esparza

      Five years ago, I had the copper IUD and after four months had it removed. it started causeing many horrible symptoms that I am still struggling with after five years. I am always tired, I have IBS, don’t get any sleep, joint pain, muscle pain, and I always feel sick. Might be starting on hormone therapy. My skin looks old and I am going grey very fast. I am only 36 and I had it removed right away. Go figure. One other thing my memory is very foggy and I have vertigo.

  46. Grace

    Hey my name is Grace and I’m 17. I’ve been looking over different kinds of birth control/contraceptives. I’m not a big fan of anything that involves hormones because I don’t like the idea of disrupting the natural hormone balance my body itself produces. With that taken into consideration I don’t have much of an option the Copper IUD seems to be the one to choose. I’ve been reading up on this, and it’s led me here. My friend has one and all has gone well for her, just the typical heavy period and intense cramps on her period or random pains on other random days when she doesn’t have her period.
    I’m a little worried, some websites mention that the percentage of women that have side effects usually have other confounding factors. I don’t have a tipped uterus, I am STD/STI free, I’m in a monogamous relationship, I’m healthy(no anemia/previous cancers), etc. etc. But is it really any different for women younger than 20? They say my age range has a higher likelihood of failure. I’m also worried about the pain during sex, the infections that can occur, or even the embedding of the IUD in my uterus lining.

    Can anyone give me advice, pleaseee it’d be extremely helpful.

  47. Jin

    I have had the iud since the summer of 2011 and I have had a pretty good experience with it over all. Its doing its job , however I do get cramps , tender breasts, but my monthly gift is a lot lighter and last 4 to 6 days so its nice light and easy to deal with. My moon cycle is almost completely normal as well.

  48. Valerie

    Hello all!
    I got a copper IUD (paragard) inserted 3 months ago and have experienced tremendous hair loss.

    Have any of you experienced the same?

    • Erin Phillips

      I haven’t experienced this, but have read that it is a common sign of copper toxicity. If you are breast feeding you may be passing the copper on to the baby as well in the milk. If you google copper toxicity, and click on the link to Dr Wilson’s article on his website, he discusses the symptoms in depth.

      • Ren

        Hi… I have experienced the same….
        See post below.

        I am a healthy and active 31 year old (no kids) who leads a highly stress free and happy life. In Feb 2013 I was fitted with a copper IUD for effective and non hormonal birth control.

        I experienced all the common side effects, heavier periods, cramping, bad skin and sore breasts etc, but after about 5 months it settled down. Then approx 7 to 8 months after insertion I noticed a big bald spot on my scalp behind my ear (actually my partner noticed it). My hair had been falling out and I never noticed. When I pull the hair in the region where it is bald the hair falls out very easily. The remainder of my hair is still in good condition. It may have thinned slightly however this is difficult to determine and could be attributed to my age.

        In November I went to the doctor to get a blood test completed. They ran all the normal tests, thyroid, iron etc but would not test me for copper test as it was non standard in the UK. My iron and hemoglobin came back very low and showed that I had iron deficient anemia. I have been prescribed with supplements and asked to return in 3 months to check my iron levels and my hair.

        I am at a loss at what to think, whilst my hair loss most certainly could be related to my anemia, it is also likely that it could be attributed to an excess of copper in my blood, associated with my copper IUD. Although my Doctor greatly dissuades me from this train of thought, there is also a significant amount of anecdotal evidence on the web of women who are suffering from the same symptoms which cannot be ignored.

        My opinion is that my hair loss is most certainly due to my copper IUD, either directly, as a result of copper toxcicity, or indirectly, as a result of heavier periods leading to iron deficiency anemia.

        I am going to continue with my iron supplements (despite the fact they make me feel ill and make me constipated) and I am also going to get my copper levels tested. If my copper levels are elevated I shall consider removing my copper IUD and hope that my hair grows back.

        I would love to hear from any others who have experienced something similar. Has anyone else who has a copper IUD experienced hair loss similar to this?Did anyone have their copper levels tested before removing the IUD, rather than just assuming that they have copper toxicity?

        Does anyone know what the actual amount of copper is that is held in an IUD? Is it actually enough to cause copper toxicity?

        I will repost again once I have had my copper levels tested. In the interim I can only hope that my hair loss doesn’t increase and get too noticeable. I hope I look more like Natalie Portman and less like like Britney Spears if I have to shave my hair off!

  49. hazel

    Hi i’ve got mirena last 2012, and now its been a year and I still feel these cramps.Before it occurs every morning that i feel like i can’t stand because of the cramps,and until up to this point I still feel the pain and planning to remove it as soon as possible.I’m worried about my health condition and i dont want to take the risk of waitjng 5 more years.Hope everythings fine when i go to my ob.I dont have a baby and yet i decided to insert this thing.

  50. jenn p

    The experience I’ve had with the mirena iud was a nightmare. I had two in my lifetime and now use the nuvaring.
    Both iuds become dislodged and were painful. The havoc on my health was detrimental. I gained weight and suffered fromestrogen dominance, which lead to a battle with adrenal fatigue. I suffered from depression and anxiety, which lead mme to being prescribed antidepressants. Nonetheless, being a registered nurse, I researched all I could and have found tthat the mirena risks far outweigh the benefits. I am now on a steady road to recovery and will never have another iud. The nuvaring has balanced my hormones and made a huge difference in my gynecologic health. I would love to not have to use any birth contr, but I have to be safe, as I have gotten pregnant on other forms (patch). Imo, it’s worth the time to research your options rather than allowing a doctor to recommend a form of treatment. You know your body best, so always go into a situation with options.

  51. Rumella

    Hi :) I had the iud since I was 17 i am currently 19. I have the paragrad iud and it is perfect. Unfortunately I had 2 abortions, but after getting the iud I had no problem, just heavy periods but it’s tolerable. Anywho Goodluck and just wanted to say if you get it done in a doctors office and know all the details you should be fine . Best of luck

  52. Kimberly

    I had the copper IUD (Paraguard) put in about a year ago. About 3 hours after insertion, one of my legs began to feel achy, like it had fallen asleep. I thought that’s all it was and went to bed. The sensation hadnt gone away the next day, and the following day it had spread into my other leg. I called my doctor who siad that didn’t sound like side effects from an IUD. I went in and they were so certain it wasnt the IUD, they wanted to test for MS! I got the testing done for MS, which was negative. In the meantime the sensation had spread to my arm and I also had joint pain and extreme fatigue. I really wanted the IUD to work so I tried to think it wasn’t the cause, but after seeing an article on copper toxicity I had it removed. After about a week, I was feeling more normal than I had in 6 weeks. It took a few weeks to get my energy back. Anyhow, I know everyone reacts differently, but I think we all instinctively know when something isnt right for us, regardless of what anyone else might say. My OBGYN had been certain it wasn’t the IUD….but I’m certain it was.

  53. Melissa

    I just called and made an appointment to have my Mirena removed. I’ve had it in for 3 weeks and I hate it. I’m moody, depressed, always snapping at my husband, and the cramps are intense. I can’t even get through my regular yoga classes or long runs without doubling over in pain. Additionally, I’ve gained 5 pounds. In 3 weeks. When I’ve ran two marathons in the same time period…..WTH?!? I want this thing out right now. If I thought I could do it myself, I’d give it a go.

    I have to say, I’m glad I’m not the only one with these issues.

    • Elizabeth

      Hi melissa, if you dont mind please let me know how it goes and if your obgyn gives you a hard time to remove it. I had mine inserted a month ago and want it out asap. Ever since I have it I have migrains, mood swings and my husband can feel it. I hate it. Bleeding lasted the whole month and I feel uncomfortable at times.

  54. Erin Phillips

    I’m glad I came across this article, because I have been having weird symptoms this year and the only thing I could think that was different was that I had a copper IUD inserted in January. Since then I’ve been gradually getting weird symptoms such as my alcohol tolerance getting lower and lower (the first thing I noticed because it was so drastic). I now cannot even have one drink without feeling really dizzy and sick afterwards (I used to be able to have 8-10 drinks no problem). Once, I even blacked out after a few drinks which has NEVER happened before, and I was violently sick to my stomach all day the next day. I also started noticing getting dizzy randomly occasionally, fatigue, and symptoms of hypo and hyperglycemia. I also have less appetite but have somehow gained weight which is weird. Not only that, I feel more stressed out all the time and seem to have poor memory the last few months. After reading this article and doing more research on the web on this issue, and the fact that these symptoms started soon after I got my copper IUD, I am pretty sure I need to get this thing out of me! The crazy PMS isn’t so lovely either. I see a cute puppy and want to cry days before my period. Ugh. I give up on birth control. I had switched to this method since the pill also gave me blood sugar problems :( guess I have to stick to condoms. I bet the FDA hid this side effect from the public so they can still keep selling them. I believe they are banned in some European countries due to the metal toxicity. Doctors probably don’t even know about it…

    • lauren

      Hi Erin, I am so sorry to hear about this!!! While I cannot say that I have personally experienced these symptoms, you can see from people’s posts, that every one is very different. Listen to your body, and your intuition, and if you believe its from the IUD, take it out. There is no harm seeing how you do without it, plus I always believe in the use of condoms. Good Luck Erin!

  55. Danielle

    Oh wow – there is some serious misinformation here. To address a few – You do not need to have been pregnant to get an IUD as stated in the comments. That is 30 year old information. Copper IUDs do not cause weight gain. Expulsion rates for IUDs are actually 2-10% depending on a number of factors individual to each woman and if an IUD does come out it usually happens in the first 6 weeks, so many women’s clinics offer an ultrasound at 6 weeks to make sure its still in place. Bleeding and cramping with copper IUDs is 20-50% heavier, but often gets better after the first 3 or 4 months. Many of the hormonal side effects you described with the Mirena are quite rare because it has no estrogen and only a small amount of progesterone that has a mostly localized effect. Most of the risks you’ve described are very small and many women’s clinics have ways to decrease them even more. IUDs do not cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease – chlamydia and gonorrhea cause PID.

    Of course not everyone is going to like IUDS just like anything (I had some challenges with mine), but many of us also really don’t want to be pregnant at certain times in our lives and so we need accurate information about what our options are – especially methods that are very effective like IUDs. “Natural methods” like rhythm and withdrawal or even barrier methods have very high failure rates. That doesn’t make them bad either, just challenging in a different way. There are no perfect solutions here – just different tools we can use if we choose and need less misinformation about.

    • Kimmy

      Well think of all the women who have not been included in the studies and don’t become a statistic! I have heard so many stories where the Dr says the problems couldn’t possibly be because of the IUD. I don’t think I am part of the statistic for the IUD migrating, becoming imbedded in my cervix and then breaking upon removal and having to be surgically removed because the little t arm was so little. I don’t believe my story was ever recorded for the studies that report percentages of women with certain complications. My guess is that not many women are part of the literature even when a “side affect” is clearly due to the IUD. Misinformation is what we are getting from the drs because they have no clue! I think the makers of the IUD haven’t revealed all that they know either.

      • Lauren aka The Holy Kale

        Wow Kimmy. Yes, that is true and that is why this community is so precious to others out there looking for answers and alternatives. Hopefully we can become big enough for everyone to have access. Thank you for your story.

  56. Ive had the cooper IUD for 4 months now. I am getting it removed today hopefully. I’ve tried pills, patch, ring, and now this. I’ve experienced severe mood swings especially around my period- depression, rage, crying, etc. and the other part I do not like is sex with the IUD, if my partner goes in too far it hurts, I’m always on guard during sex cause I don’t want to get hurt. Some people love their IUD, birth control with hormones or this cooper IUD don’t work for my body. Best thing I’ve tried and am going back to now is the LadyComp. Check into this. As effective as the pill. Good luck!

  57. Grace Tremblay

    Thnak you for your Blog.
    I would like to share a little bit about my experince with the IUD.

    I had the Mirena inserted after my forst born in Feb 2009. I had it in until Dec 2011 when we chose to have an other baby. I absolutely loved not having a period or cramping… My periods left completely after 4 months of getting it put in. although loving that part there are some down falls, i gained 40lbs and no matter how hard i tried i could not get rid of it. i did have contant headaches that would cause me to cry and loose sleep. i suffered from insomnia constantly. i also suffered from minor arthritis like paints in most of all my joints. i seen many doctors and specialists and tried so many things, not once was the birth control brought up as it being a possibility of the problem so i never looked into it.

    Once having it removed everything got better.. then i was pregnant :) it only took 2 short months for us to get pregnant but those two months i felt so much better.

    My daughter was born the end of october 2012 and i had an other iud placed in early december. within a short couple months my headaches came back and the sleeping became very rare. i just kept telling myself that it was because i had a new born! haha

    within a few months my joint pains got 100% worse. i cant function at all like i use to. for being a woman under 30, my body is more like a woman of age 60. I have seen more doctors and more specialists and no one has any answers. my boyfriend then started looking into things on his own. hes watched me cry and suffer and miss out on so many things. for instance, i can barely use my hands after waking uo, they need about 5 minutes before they can function (try feeding a baby in the middle of the night :( ugh). i cant walk for long distances, or do many things. my wrists and ankles are constantly sore. its really been a nightmare.

    so with this resurch we find that i am not alone… there are many woman experiencing similar problems with the iud.

    i am getting mine removed and am excited to see what results will come from it. weve tried so many drugs / methods. no doctor has once mentioned that my birth control might be the problem, but you never know right?

  58. Hi my name us Sylvia back in 2009 I decided to go for the paraguard. Hade it for over two year,was the worst two year for me had heavy bleeding,painful intercourse. Couldn’t sleep at night, over two weeks of PMS. Decided to get it removed in November of 2011. Two months later I got pregnant.. I was thirteen weeks of gestation when I had a miscarriage. One month later I was pregnant again. My daughter Sofia was born in January on of 2012. In March 2013 I was diagnosed with a stage 2a breast cancer. I’ve been through a mastectomy, close to six months of chemotherapy. Its been hard traveling since March. Having to travel to Houston TX. For the last almost eleven months….. So my question is can can the paraguard cause b breast cancer.

    • lauren

      Hi Sylvia, Thank you so much for sharing your story, what a powerful one. As for your question about birth control, I cannot say that there is any studies that I have seen on the direct correlation, but anytime you influence the hormones, that has a potential to lead to imbalances. Breast cancer does have studies linking it to high estrogen levels, especially from BC, hormone therapy and exposure to xeno estrogens from plastics.

  59. Sarah

    I had gotten a Paragard IUD inserted about two years ago. I have never had children, nor do I want any. I am unable to take anything that has hormones in it. It ALLLLL made me REALLY sick. So, my doctor and I decided that Paragard was the best option for me. Insertion was SO painful. I was holding on to the table for dear life. I was sweating bullets. It was AWFUL. For a good week after, I felt awful. I was in pain, and I wouldnt stop bleeding. After a month or so, the pain stopped. For the next two years…I gained 30 pounds! I am a vegan. I eat a pretty decent diet. I also exercise regularly. No matter what I did, I could not loose weight. The weight gain way pretty much just a giant muffin top. My thighs also gained a few inches. I have NEVER had issues with weight gain like that. I literally looked 4 months pregnant. I went for my yearly physical. They did a CBC test. I got a call from my doctor telling me that I needed to get an iron infusion as soon as humanly possible because my iron and ferritin levels were undetectable in my blood. My iron was supposed to be between 60-130…mine was LESS THAN 10. I went an had the iron infusions done. They almost killed me. I was severely allergic to them. I never really even thought that my Paragard was the reason for any of this because my obgyn said there are not any side effects of the Paragard. I said that I dont care what she said, and that it will come out. They fought with me, but I got my way. I had it removed today. I am not even kidding but I felt better as I was walking back to my car. Mind you, it hurt like crazy again. It is not as easy as they said it was going to be. But, I am SO glad. I have mental clarity back!

  60. Nic

    Hello, this is a really great overview of the IUD, thank you. I recently decided to get one inserted, that was in May of 2013 and I have not had any problems with it, and the best part is that it WORKS! Haha. I too disliked the birth control pill and once I was off it I felt so much more feminine again. It could have been in my head but I truly felt more womanly and sexual. Not wanting to lose this feeling I decided on the non-hormonal copper IUD. I have the one that is offered in Canada, not the paraguard but the copper-t. I heard that the insertion of the copper-t is less painful because of how the arms come out after they put it in your uterus, so if you are worried about pain look into the copper-t or flexi-t.

    The IUD is used by many more women in Europe and they have really perfected the IUD with many different kinds being offered to women. In North America it is just catching on.

    I am very grateful that this method worked for me. Birth control is such a hard thing to choose because none don’t come without side-effects, even condoms can give some people yeast infections.

    All the best and good luck ladies.

  61. I don’t even know where to start. I have had my copper IUD in for 3years plus now and haven’t felt any normalcy during this time period. If anything, I have gotten worse and worse. I started bleeding more than usual and thought it was because the IUD was just inserted so it will go away. Well it never did and it I believe the bleeding has gotten worse over the years. I began getting extremely fatigued, extremely warm like I am experiencing my menopause, got tingly in my fingers at one point. I went in to see what was going on and after all the blood works all that came out was that I was border line anemic but other than that, they couldn’t find anything or what was causing the blood loss. After a whole year plus, I am getting worse and worse, still feel extremely tired and ache in the joints as I am typing :( feels tired even after I had slept all night.I had the tingly sensation a few days ago. I am very anemic and tired. Don’t know why I have refused to listen to my body all these years. I don’t want to have another baby, I have three already and that is more than enough. I am going to get an appointment to have it removed this week. Don’t know what else I can do. This is my very first time of using any form of birth control was hoping to have a good experience with it since it doesn’t secret any hormones. It gave me the ease of not worrying about getting pregnant and not sure what else is out there that would be safe enough. Sigh!!

  62. Ren

    I am a healthy and active 31 year old (no kids) who leads a highly stress free and happy life. In Feb 2013 I was fitted with a copper IUD for effective and non hormonal birth control.

    I experienced all the common side effects, heavier periods, cramping, bad skin and sore breasts etc, but after about 5 months it settled down. Then approx 7 to 8 months after insertion I noticed a big bald spot on my scalp behind my ear (actually my partner noticed it). My hair had been falling out and I never noticed. When I pull the hair in the region where it is bald the hair falls out very easily. The remainder of my hair is still in good condition. It may have thinned slightly however this is difficult to determine and could be attributed to my age.

    In November I went to the doctor to get a blood test completed. They ran all the normal tests, thyroid, iron etc but would not test me for copper test as it was non standard in the UK. My iron and hemoglobin came back very low and showed that I had iron deficient anemia. I have been prescribed with supplements and asked to return in 3 months to check my iron levels and my hair.

    I am at a loss at what to think, whilst my hair loss most certainly could be related to my anemia, it is also likely that it could be attributed to an excess of copper in my blood, associated with my copper IUD. Although my Doctor greatly dissuades me from this train of thought, there is also a significant amount of anecdotal evidence on the web of women who are suffering from the same symptoms which cannot be ignored.

    My opinion is that my hair loss is most certainly due to my copper IUD, either directly, as a result of copper toxcicity, or indirectly, as a result of heavier periods leading to iron deficiency anemia.

    I am going to continue with my iron supplements (despite the fact they make me feel ill and make me constipated) and I am also going to get my copper levels tested. If my copper levels are elevated I shall consider removing my copper IUD and hope that my hair grows back.

    I would love to hear from any others who have experienced something similar. Has anyone else who has a copper IUD experienced hair loss similar to this?Did anyone have their copper levels tested before removing the IUD, rather than just assuming that they have copper toxicity?

    Does anyone know what the actual amount of copper is that is held in an IUD? Is it actually enough to cause copper toxicity?

    I will repost again once I have had my copper levels tested. In the interim I can only hope that my hair loss doesn’t increase and get too noticeable. I hope I look more like Natalie Portman and less like like Britney Spears if I have to shave my hair off!

    • all my hair grew back after I had my IUD taken out. Good luck.

    • Ren

      Me again… It is January now….I had my copper blood levels tested in December by two different labs. Both retuned results within normal limits. Therefore my hair loss must be due to the fact that I was anemic for a long time. I am still on iron supplements and am getting my iron tested again in 3 weeks. My hair still isn’t growing back, but it doesn’t appear to have got worse either.

      Overall this is good news because my hair loss cannot be attributed to high copper in my blood due to my IUD. My advice to all those assuming that you have copper toxicity is to go and get your blood tested, and make an informed decision regarding your Copper IUD removal. Knowledge is power. I will post again once I have my iron sorted.

      In my last post I said that the NHS in the UK will not do a blood copper test. I was wrong. Turns out that they can if you request it.

      • Tanya Mize

        I have read that hair analysis is more accurate than blood tests and if you do have your blood levels done, you should also have your zinc tested as the copper/zinc ratio is more important than simply your copper levels.

        • Lauren aka The Holy Kale

          Hair analysis is the most effective, but it is best to do both systems. Zinc and copper are highly influenced by each other so doing both tests is a good idea. Thanks Tanya!

  63. Rachel

    Hey! I’ve used Paragard before I had ANY pregnancies and after. The experiences quite different I have to say! When I got it in before I had a pregnancy… the back pain I experienced during my periods was excruciating!! I finally had it removed after about a year (I was determined what can I say?!). I was finally out of college by then and had been married for about 4 years then. Well, about 9 months later I think I got pregnant with my first and only child, a son who will soon turn 3 in a couple of months :D I decided to try it again to see if I could handle it this time. Now it’s AMAZING! Minimal pain and I found a couple of herbs that help our tremendously as well with PMS and other issues! (Red raspberry leaves and Vitex for anyone wanting to do research.) I had gained wait when I used birth control pills before all of that. I still can’t seem to lose it. However, depression, thyroid problems and obesity run in my family so it could really be a number of factors to consider although I have no doubt that the birth control pills pushed my body over the edge. But all in all, I had both negative and positive experiences with Paragard IUD. Like I said, pain is so much more minimal now (maybe because my uterus got stretched during pregnancy? That’s anyone’s guess!! LOL) When it comes to any type of birth control it’s touch and go, trial and error. There’s no one size fits all (which sucks though sometimes don’t ya think? LOL) Good luck to all you out there and I hope my experiences will help you to experiment a little. It’s not like it’s in there for life and you can always have it removed (I had no pain whatsoever when I had my first one removed and was super quick!!). Kind of the same with birth control pills. You can stop taking them if it’s not working.

    Oh yeah! I’ve had my second one in for almost 3 years now and so far so good! Anyways, good luck to all of you to find out what will work best for you!

  64. got a copper IUD in Oct of 2012. within a month I had no sex drive and was losing hair. by three months, i had copper spots in my irises and constant constipation. I had it taken out in january of 2013. The OBGYN would not admit I had copper toxicity. She acted shocked.
    Today, One year after having it out, I am still experiencing an almost complete loss of sex drive and a lot of fatigue. I don’t recommend the copper IUD.

  65. tiff

    I have had my copper IUD for 7 years. No problems at all. I did have three day periods before insertion 6 days after. Now I noticed after 7 years, my periods are now back to three days. Makes me think, is this thing still working. But other than that no complaints

  66. Crystal

    I had the copper IUD for close to 6 years, with the first 5 being a great experience. However, in the last year I started having odd health issues that were out of the norm for me. Headaches, dizziness, light headed, aches and pains in my whole body, heavy periods and fatigue. When sex became painful I went to the doctor and they suggested it may be fibroids leading to me being anemic. I went in for the ultrasound and while they found that my IUD wasn’t in the optimal position to be effective, everything else was fine. Because the IUD was not located where it should be it has been removed, this was about two weeks ago and to be quite honest, I’m already starting to feel better. I did some research on the issue and I have found that a lot of women, not all, have issues with copper toxicity as a result of the IUD and have had the same symptoms I’ve had. I’m so glad to be getting back to a healthy place and will be much better about researching things in the future.

  67. Twinkle

    I am crying reading these stories. My copper IUD has turned me into a mean, angry person with zero tolerance of anything. I get spots. The cramping for 10 days around ovulation is like labour pain, and I’ve started having regular migraines for the first time in my life. I’ve put on weight on my tummy for the first time ever ( I have 2 kids, I know how to shift weight, but this will not budge). I thought it was the natural choice but it seems it is toxic for me. Thanks xx

    • Lauren aka The Holy Kale

      Thank you for sharing. I hope that this post and community will help you on your path :) Blessings.

  68. Nadi

    Thanks for this article. I have a copper IUD and I have been experiencing a LOT of the side effects listed along with fatigue and getting emotional like I was during pregnancy. I think I will have to rethink this birth control choice. I thought something was wrong with me and to read these other testimonies helps me to know I’m not alone and shows me the culprit!

  69. Amanda

    Hi,

    I got Skyla (the mini version of Mirena, for women who haven’t had children)back in April 2013. Overall, I’ve noticed some small symptoms (odd hair growth on neck, weight gain), but I really love it. I didn’t have problems with oral contraceptive, I took regular and and LoSeasonique (4 periods a year). I stopped having a period in June 2013 and haven’t really had anything since. I was worried about not having a period but I called my doctor and they said I was a lucky one.

  70. Rony

    Hi,
    I’m 29 and i’m having my Mirena IUD removed this week. I have it for 9 months now, the cramping was managable this entire time, but the last 3 weeks my health went down all of the sudden. I have a terrible breast tenderness that i cant even stand clothing, and i think they are a size bigger. I feel my heart is racing all the time,and i actually have a heart pain that doesn’t go away, it scares me so much :( . I can’t breathe normally what puts me very anxious.I cant sleep cuz my breasts hurt in any position. I have pelvic pain, terrible cramping and i feel fatigued.
    Everything scalated in 3 weeks and i know that is the MIRENA, im sure that everything will go away after i have it removed. i can’t wait.
    I have tryed every contraseptive method so far, and this is the last one, it makes my angry that i had to get to this point to realize how to take good care of my health.
    thanx
    Ro

  71. Reading through these posts makes me so excited to get my copper IUD out in less than a week!!! I have only recently realized that I have most of the major symptoms of copper toxicity (although adrenal fatigue and estrogen dominance were issues prior to IUD insertion. The CRAZIEST part is that I got really sick (massive, severe, long-term insomnia, worsened copper toxicity symptoms)when the place that I was working turned on their new large solar array. Since that time (2.5 years ago) I have considered myself electrically sensitive but always wondered WHY. AND… my sleep patterns have not normalized. I am hoping that it is because of the Cu IUD – copper is the best conductor of electricity! The things that have helped me the most are Seriphos (to lower chronically high cortisol), 100 mg Zinc daily before bed, neurotransmitter rebalancing, high-quality Vit C, and L-Glutamine powder and these all help the body detox from Cu. My life got completely de-railed due to electrical sensitivity, but I NOW am pretty sure that it’s actually because of the IUD causing electrical sensitivity! I can’t wait to get this thing out of me!!

  72. Another paraguard testimony

    I had the paraguard IUD for 9 years. I thought I loved it, but looking back it caused me a lot of pain and
    Suffering. Here are some of my symptoms which began about 2 years in…
    Muscle aches,impaired memory, chronic bacterial vaginitis, headaches, fatigue, feeling hopeless/depressed,
    Racing mind, brain fog,adrenal fatigue, hypoglycemia, frequent UTIs…I’ve now had it out for one year. Detox has been hard. Really hard at times. But I can tell that I’m slowly getting back to normal. I would never get a paraguard if I could do it over again.

  73. essica

    I just want to say,I have paragard & I love it. I tried HBC in my younger years & III had terrible reactions to it. After i conceived my son while taking it & some extensive blood testing, it turns out I have naturally high hormone levels,so I was still ovulating & getting two periods a month. Yuck!so then I charted (basal thermometer, cervical muciuus tracking- the whole deal) that worked for almost 3years! Then I switched work shifts to overnights & we oops ed & conceived our daughter. Then I got paragard— and I COULD NOT be HAPPIER. I loooove it! I’m getting it removed in a few months to try for baby #3 :)

  74. Lola

    Thank you for this informational article. I am 36 years old, mother of four children. I have used the IUD twice, the first time, I took it out for recurring infections and the second time for having so many health issues such as breathing difficulties, chest pain, irregular periods, anemia, excessive yawnings, sudden breakdown, fever, colds, low/high blood pressure, lightheadedness, pain on the left side of my abdomen to mention but a few.

    All these health problems crept in little by little in 2 and half years and I did all kinds of tests thinking I had a hidden health problem e.g cancer, but all the tests came out fine.

    I was already considering writing down my “WILL” in case something happened to me until I first decided to heed the advice of my Mom and of two friends who have all told me to remove the IUD.

    So, I went online to make some research before concluding to either remove or retain it as I did not want to take another chance of getting pregnant as I am considered to be an extremely fertile person.
    After reading a few articles on the gross disadvantages of IUP, I went straight to the gynecologist, feeling sorry for myself for having delayed myself for so long.

    To my surprise, it was so hard to remove, the Doctor had to stop, take another look and asked me questions before trying again. It was almost as painful as childbirth. When she finally brought it out, it had the skin of my uterus wrapped on it as it had eaten deep into my womb, she shooked her head and told me never to use it again as it is generally not good, that I should use the injection method instead. I could feel an almost immediate relief upon removal of the stuff.

    But as for me, I am not going to use anything at the moment, I want to detoxify my body first! Then run away from my husband if he is not willing to help because does not want to use any male anti-contraceptive methods and my body does not tolerate pills, IUD etc and 4 kids is just enough for now.

    Being a woman is not an easy task!!!

  75. Jessica

    I had the copper iud in for about 18 months before strange side effects started appearing. Immediately my periods were worse, but I felt it was worth it to have risk free sex with my partner. The cramping was tremendous and the periods lasted a full seven days. I became use to this and it was okay. At the 18 month mark I started to feel ovulation, and it was painful. I then started to have a strange fishy odour about 6 days after my period would finish. This was also associated with strange discharges. My swab came back fine. I saw my naturopath and had to take a vaginal pro biotic after every period to help with the odour and discharge and bring my ph levels back to their norm. While this was not a permanent fix, I dealt with it for the benefit of risk free ( baby free ) intercourse. It was around the 21 month mark that my periods starting lasting 12 days – 7 days steady , some spotting and then steady again. Then the strange odour. I didn’t want to have sexual intercourse because I was embarassed, and the vaginal probiotic became a chore. During the last five months with the iud I was also seeing a neurologist because I started getting severe headache and vision problems. I asked my doctor aBout a copper imbalance and of course that was not it. It must be stress. Everything is always stress ! My naturopath decided to advise me on removing the iud to see if things would level out and get back to normal. While it has only been three months without the iud, my headaches have seemingly disappeared ( although my vision is still tainted and very sensitive to sunlight ), I feel a little bit better. The strange odour returned as did the bizarre discharge. I also had very severe complications with allesse 21. I believe my body is quite sensitive to any change, otherwise I would recommend it. I always have the worst luck with these things ! What brought me here was my google search for side effects after iud is removed. My cramping is still very bad the first day of my period. I feel immobilized. I was never like this before. I am still working with my naturopath to bring me back to who I was before ! Please note, I am also a young (22) female and have never tested positive for any stis & have remained with the same partner throughout this experience. I am now using condoms which smell terrible but haven’t affected me in any negative way.

  76. Morgan

    I’ve had my IUD for a couple of months now, It has been really amazing except for the fact that I’ve been getting so dizzy to the point where I feel like I am going to pass out. I’m a waitress so i’m always on my feet and talking to people. It gets so bad to the point that I start sweating , look focus , feel unbalanced and confused. I don’t know if it is because of my paragard and the copper it releases .. But I really can’t go on having these problems . It’s starting to interfer with not only my personal life but my work life . I dont want to have it removed because besides me feeling dizzy all of the time , I love it . Is there a vitamin or certian pill I can take to balance out my body to make myself normal ? Hope to hear back . Going to the doctors in the morning to have blood work done .

    • Lauren aka The Holy Kale

      Hi Morgan – this is a hard question to answer without knowing what is going on with your body. It could be because of a bad reaction to the copper, or it could be due to abnormal hormone levels. Either could lead to your symptoms. Let me know what you find with the blood work.

  77. Liberty

    Have been on Paragard for 10 years, I LOVED it!
    My periods actually decreased from 9 very heavy days to a light/medium 3!!!

    Around 9.5 years into it the lining of my uterus was becoming quite thick and would slough off and resemble white tissue almost mistaken as yeast infection discharge (TMI I KNOW!!)
    My doctor ordered an ablation to remove the build up. This was a coming issue in the females in my family.

    In doing so the doctor removed the ParaGard IUD, but replaced it after he was finished with his work. I honestly didn’t realize I was getting the Mirena instead of Paragard until complications started showing up.

    I had my ablation done Good Friday of 2012 (April), by the end of May, early June I was having horrible cystic like acne, severe short term memory loss, mood swings, depression and gained 20 pounds by July 4th, knee pain in my joints. I voluntarily had it removed on January 12, 2013 (9 months after it being placed)
    On January 18th 2013, I was hemorrhaging on January 18, and had a hysterectomy that day with severe blood loss.

    100%- go with Paragard, it’s worth the extra!

    • Lauren aka The Holy Kale

      Wow what a powerful story! Thank you for sharing. I hope all has healed by now.

  78. Nadine

    I got the copper IUD put in last year and the past couple months have been hell. The cramps i get are unbarible come my period. My flow is EXTREMELY heavy, And i swear the copper is making my crazy. Since i have had this put in my life has completely gone down the toilet. Im always moody and snapping, im never happy, my hair is falling out, i GAINED 40 POUNDS, and im constantly having relationship issues.
    Now i dont exactly have proof my iud has caused all this but there have been reports of women having the copper iud and them swearing it mkaes them mentally unstable.
    Im going to the doctors soon to get tested for cooper toxicity

  79. Mandy

    Great website ! Good information and easy to read! I came here because I am researching a link between IUD and autoimmune diseases. I have these mysterious symptoms that I believe are related. I wonder if the body treats the IUD as a foreign object and starts up an inflammation response. I do not want kids so I had a Paraguard IUD inserted. It caused unpleasant side effects so I had it removed. Now I am married and still kid free. I tried hormonal bc and I got very sick. I was not sick when I used it in my college years. Now I have disabling migraines. My gyno told me our hormones change as we age. I recently had a Mirena IUD inserted and I am very satisfied with it. My only side effects are light spotting and mild cramping. I look forward to no more periods. However, I still have the weird symptoms (rash, joint pain, etc). I do not want it removed just yet. I need to gather more information. It is an excellent form of birth control and it is fully covered by my insurance. Also, look up Dr. Jen Gunter, the Canadian American OB-GYN if you would like more info on how contraception works. She has a wonderful blog called Wielding the Lasso of Truth. Have a great week !

  80. Euni

    I just recently got my copper iud removed I have been struggling with weight gain and eczema spreading on my face. In the past two days I’ve lost 3 lbs without changing anything except of course removing the iud. I had mirena after my first pregnancy and I struggled with depression chronic fatigue acne eczema and had a really hard time losing weight. I never connected my eczema with iud till someone mentioned it and it finally dawned on my that’s why my eczema was only getting worse. I found a lot of articles on how it causes autoimmune response due to your body’s inability to get rid of what’s irritating your uterus. I even read some articles on the negative effects that breast implants have had on mAny women due to the toxins in the implants. There are so many things that you are not told because doctors don’t know everything. Anywho that’s my two cents. Also my skin has improved dramatically in the past two days and even my digestion has gotten regular!

  81. Jenna

    Hi Everyone! I have had the paraguard for almost 8 years and have been fortunate enough to have never had any problems. I care a lot about health and was researching the paraguard and some people were worried about copper toxicity. I have a question I was hoping someone could answer. The paraguard iud itself only has ~314 milligrams of copper in it. I have read several sites saying that the body can absorb hundreds of milligrams a year from the iud. But that can’t be possible if it only has 314 milligrams. I guess I believe that the amount released in innocuous. I was just hoping for your thoughts on this. I know there are horrible things that people have gone through with the paraguard, but I don’t understand where the copper toxicity scare is coming from.
    Thanks everyone!!

  82. Hi Laura,

    Thank you for posting this… and while some (and perhaps many) have had positives with the Paragard, I am one of those that had horrible side effects. I chose it purely because I was intimidated by forms of birth control with hormones (one of my friends can’t have children because of it).

    The good news for me is that I am on my way to a healing path, though the process has taken 2 years (and will probably take at least 1 more). I ended up writing a book about it, in hopes to continue to raise awareness so that women can make informed decisions. Because when I researched the Paragard, I didn’t find anything truly awful. And yet, what I experienced, was the worst thing I have ever experienced in my life!

    Surviving the IUD: The Genesis … https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/surviving-the-iud/id867511203?mt=11

    I love your blog!!!

    -Miriam

  83. Molly

    My goodness!
    This article scared me so much! I got only just got the Copper IUD (Multiload) inserted last week, which by the way was very painful, and it all cost me north of $200. I was so certain of my decision. I thought that there were no real risks for the copper IUD, I thought the only risk was the rarely movement of the device and the fact that it might give you heavier more painful periods. But I can not deal with the toxicity thing!
    This really concerns me as I just spent so much money on this thing and endured the pain only to realise it is not the best thing out there. I need something with more security than condoms but I’m not willing to take anything hormonal… my process of elimination lead me to believe that the copper IUD was a safe and effective answer to my problems.
    Then I start searching online and people are talking about hair loss, acne, weight gain and toxicity when I thought they were things only associated with hormonal methods of birth control.
    I must admit though I do feel pressure in my stomach and have been feeling bloated ever since the insertion so after reading this I’m considering getting this device removed at the six week check up.
    Thanks for your article but I hate feeling scared about something inside my body.

    • Molly

      Also what do you ladies suggest is the best form of birth control that is non hormonal? The only thing that I can find without risks to our body (except pregnancy) is condoms. Ah the struggles only us women have to deal with. Maybe I’ll just abstain until I want a child… not haha.

      • Lauren aka The Holy Kale

        Hi Molly…. you are right, condoms. Condoms and tracking your ovulation. The hardest part is having a talk with your husband/boyfriend about it. As long as you are firm about your feelings about birth control, they will follow. They have no choice after all :) Besides, most women have no sex drive while ON birth control, so that is not a better option anyways!

  84. Carrie Richards

    My daughter (age 30) has done well with the IUD for several years but after a recent replacement she has suffered terribly with cystic acne, weight gain, depression and anxiety and now panic attacks that wake her in the middle of the night. She has tried several anxiety meds with the usual nasty side effects and the feeling of being numb to the world, she has been in weekly psychotherapy for several months, and has finally out of desperation decided to have the IUD removed thinking this must be the cause of her sudden onset of known IUD side effects.

    • Lauren aka The Holy Kale

      Hi Carrie, I am so sorry to hear that! Please let us know how she recovers!

  85. Amber

    I am so glad I came across this discussion! I’m having my paraguard IUD removed tomorrow morning after 6 years. I have been experiencing anxiety, depression, cystic acne on my face, neck and back, cervical headaches (constantly for the last 5 weeks) and have been to the hospital twice for abdominal pain that went undiagnosed. Everything my dr’s have told me is that it’s not from the IUD but it’s been slowly progressing ever since i had the IUD put in. I cannot begin to describe how upset I am that I thought I had found the perfect form of birth control only to find out that the copper toxicity has been having such a huge impact on my life!! I urge you to look into copper toxicity before going ahead with paraguard. It didn’t start right away, it’s more of a build up overtime.

  86. Thank you for laying out all the facts so clearly! This post was one of the deciding factors when I decided to have my IUD removed.
    I have the whole story on my blog: http://a-girl-in-love.blogspot.com/2014/06/goodbye-mirena-you-were-not-good-to-me.html

  87. Rita

    Hello, I’d like to add my experience to the thread: I had a copper IUD inserted a couple of months ago (about 10 weeks postpartum). From then on I had a mild, but constant abdominal discomfort and a burning vaginal irritation which made sex rather unenjoyable. A few weeks later an extremely itchy rash came out mostly on my upper thighs, but I had a patch in my elbow bend too (which convinced me that it is not something local, like traces of detergent in my jeans, etc.). Finally I started to have a stiff neck for no reason (cervical headache, as someone called it above). I did some online research, including reading this forum, and I decided to have it taken out asap. This was a week ago, and by now all of the symptoms are gone (the abdominal discomfort disappeared within half an hour, the neck pain by next day and the rash took 5-6 days). I feel relieved (so does my bank account…) and happy that I didn’t wait any longer! And my husband is happy too, because the threads were apparently poking him. :)

    Thanks for sharing your stories and thus helping to make my decision! Good luck to All!

  88. Katie

    Thank you this post and comments are the most helpful piece of information I have found so far online regarding copper toxicity and the IUD. Similar to many of your posts, I am surprised for the first time in my life to be anemic and with too-low levels of all vitamins and minerals.

    I discovered this because within a few months of getting the Paraguard, I became too sensitive to sulfates to eat beer/wine/onions/garlic/soy (chronic IBS-like symptoms with digestion). It turned out that high copper/low zinc has led to increasingly depleted vitamin and trace mineral levels, including Molybdnem which is needed to properly handle sulfates in the body (onion, garlic, etc).

    I am trying to figure out what is healthiest for me and also allow me not to have any more children right now. This is depressing but extremely helpful. Thanks.

    • Lauren aka The Holy Kale

      Thank you Katie for sharing! Great insight about the sulfate sensitivity as well.

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