Back in 2017, I was a guest on Katie Wells’ (Wellness Mama’s) Healthy Moms Podcast talking all about why hormonal birth control messes with our hormones, and what to do instead.
After the episode aired, I got flooded with questions about the pill, the IUD and natural birth control options. I’ve talked pretty extensively about the pill’s side effects here, here, and here, but I have never written specifically about the Paragard aka the copper IUD.
Before I jump in, I wanna say that I fully believe all women and menstruators should choose the birth control they want to use, but that the decision should be based on fully informed consent.
Meaning, a medical doctor should be explaining ALL of the potential benefits, risks, and ALTERNATIVES involved in a medical treatment.
Currently that is not the case for most women – they are not offered all the birth control options, nor are they told all the risks (in many cases) which means they are not 100% informed.
What is a copper IUD?
An IUD is a small T-shaped device that is inserted into the uterus. There are 2 options for IUDs. The copper IUD (ParaGard) releases copper which is toxic to live sperm and the Mirena, Kyleena, Liletta or Skyla which release varying amounts of progestin (depending on which one you choose) to prevent ovulation. The Paragard is effective for up to 10 years and the hormonal options are effective for anywhere between 3-7 years.
This is the definition of the Paragard IUD from their website…
Paragard is a small, hormone-free IUD made of soft, flexible plastic wrapped with a thin layer of copper. It’s placed in your uterus by a healthcare provider during an office visit in just a few minutes.
How it works
The copper in Paragard impairs sperm motility (ability to move), thus preventing sperm from reaching the egg and fertilizing it. It may also prevent implantation of a fertilized egg.
What is the effectiveness of a copper IUD?
The Paragard is 99.2% effective versus the Mirena, which is 99.8% effective.
Disclaimer on the Paragard website. If you have an IUD, were you aware of all this when you had it inserted?
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
- Do not use PARAGARD if you have a pelvic infection, get infections easily or have certain cancers. Less than 1% of users get a serious infection called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
- If you miss a period, have persistent abdominal pain, or if PARAGARD comes out, tell your healthcare provider (HCP). If it comes out, use back-up birth control.
- This is what it said in 2019 on their site. They’ve softened the language today – Occasionally, PARAGARD may attach to or in rare cases may go through the uterine wall and may also cause other problems. In some cases, surgical removal may be necessary. Although uncommon, pregnancy while using PARAGARD can be life threatening and may result in loss of pregnancy or infertility.
- Bleeding or spotting may increase at first but should decrease in 2 to 3 months.
- PARAGARD does not protect against HIV/AIDS or sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Other important facts you should know:
You can’t use the copper IUD if you have an allergy to copper or have Wilson’s disease, which causes your body to store too much copper.
I am curious if women who are getting the copper IUD are tested for an allergy, or Wilson’s disease before having it inserted? Let me know!
My thoughts on the Paragard
A copper IUD is a good option for a number of reasons. It is a long-lasting and very effective form of birth control and, on the whole, has some of the highest satisfaction and continuation rates among users.
However, there are a few factors to consider along with some side effects, both while you have it in and after it is removed that you should be aware of…
It’s important to know how it actually works!
Keep in mind, as mentioned above, the copper IUD does not stop your body from ovulating.
Here is what they say on their website:
“The copper in Paragard works to prevent sperm from reaching the egg and fertilizing it and may also prevent implantation.”
It would be good for them to explain how that works, but maybe it’s just me who wants ALL the answers all the time. ♀️
Mayo Clinic says:
The T-shaped plastic frame has copper wire coiled around the stem and two copper sleeves along the arms that continuously release copper to bathe the lining of the uterus. ParaGard produces an inflammatory reaction in the uterus that is toxic to sperm, which helps prevent fertilization.
Not loving this whole ”inflammatory response in the uterus” thing.
This IUD prevents fertilization by damaging or killing sperm and making the mucus in the cervix thick and sticky, so sperm can’t get through to the uterus.
Bottom line is this…
The copper IUD creates an inflammatory response in the uterus, which impairs implantation.
This means that sometimes the copper IUD is effective post-fertilization, and this is why it can be placed after unprotected sex to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. So basically, it can be used as emergency contraception.
Note: Localized inflammation in the uterus and cervix isn’t a problem for all women, but for others it is – causing severe period pain.
Additionally, the copper is toxic to sperm, which impairs its motility, and copper concentration in the cervical mucus is higher which also leads to an inhibition of sperm motility.
All of this totally makes sense, but I would love for it to be said on the Paragard website so we know what we’re getting rather than having to dig.
A few side effects to consider…
Maybe because of the nature of my work I hear ALL the bad stories, but seriously, why do we have to put up with any birth control side effects ever? Are women’s bodies just collateral damage??
#1 Movement or perforation of the uterus – The possibility of the IUD becoming dislodged and either coming out, or perforating the uterus and/or getting stuck and having to be surgically removed is very real.
#2 Increased menstrual pain – Additionally, MANY women experience increased cramps (I’ve heard they can be debilitating cramps), and extremely heavy bleeding. It tapers off for some women after about 3-6 months, but not everyone. This is the number one reason women have it removed. If you already have painful and/or heavy periods, this might not be the best form of birth control for you.
#3 Excessive bleeding – Plus, spotting for up to ten days leading up to a period, menstrual blood clots and very long periods are very common too. Ultimately you have to decide what is best for you but I strongly recommend weighing the pros and cons carefully.
#4 Bacterial disruption – all IUD’s are placed in the uterus and their strings hang down through the cervix into the vaginal canal. The composition of the microbiota in the uterus versus the vagina are different, and the string creates a “line of communication” between these two areas which would otherwise not happen.
This can change the microbial balance in the vagina, and increase the likelihood of vaginal infections.
Excess copper and “copper toxicity” from using an IUD
I get A LOT of pushback when I mention it, because I’m basing this on anecdotal evidence. There is no actual scientific study proving that excess copper or copper toxicity is a “thing”….yet.
But does that mean it doesn’t exist? Hell no.
There were no studies in 1990 proving that fat didn’t cause high cholesterol, and look how that turned out. Why wait for science to catch up with something that is so clearly happening? And you can bet your bottom dollar that the manufacturer of the copper IUD is not interested in scientific proof that their product sucks anyways, so we might be waiting awhile for that.
Copper excess, estrogen, progesterone, thyroid & adrenals
While there may not be any proven direct correlation, there is a ton of evidence linking excess copper to all kinds of problems related to our menstrual cycle and fertility. Copper levels are significantly higher in women with infertility, and there is a correlation between both the hormonal and copper IUD, and infertility. On the flip side, low copper is often linked to miscarriages.
Copper has an affinity for estrogen – when one rises, so does the other. This is why women tend to have more copper in their bodies, and subsequently more problems with copper imbalance than men. Additionally, this is why the oral contraceptive pill contributes to higher copper levels – the synthetic estrogens raise copper. Also good to know – low copper is associated with low estrogen.
Copper is an antagonist for zinc, meaning they compete for absorption. Adequate zinc supports ovulation and raises progesterone, so when copper is too high compared to zinc, we tend to run into problems with ovulation, which will lower progesterone and lead to menstrual cycle and fertility abnormalities. Excess copper also impairs thyroid function, which further impacts our menstrual cycle and fertility.
Increased estrogen, lower progesterone and lowered thyroid function are the reasons I think copper IUD’s make periods heavier and more painful.
Finally, adrenal function dictates how much copper is circulating at any given time. This is because the adrenals tell the liver to produce ceruloplasmin, the principal copper binding agent in the body. When the adrenals are chronically overloaded, their message to the liver is interrupted and we produce less of the copper binding agent – and copper levels go up! So, as per usual, you gotta step up your stress management game 🙂
Keep in mind that we are all physiologically different, so a copper IUD might be fine in one person and not in another. I say this all the time – conventional medicine’s biggest flaw is their blanket approach to our health. Each of us have different genes, diets, stress, gut health etc, and we can’t expect something to work the same for everyone across the board.
I read some interesting research by Dr. Lawrence Wilson about fast oxidizers vs slow oxidizers – fast oxidizers need more copper, and slow oxidizers need less copper. It’s way too involved for this post, but you can check it out here.
Copper excess/zinc deficiency results in a fair amount of physical and emotional symptoms
Severe anxiety and panic attacks, depression, ADHD, acne (caused by lowered zinc in relation to copper), eczema, psoriasis, hair loss, anemia, increased anger and rage, brain fog, spaciness, paranoia, fatigue (like tired all the time), low libido in women and men, estrogen dominance, PMS, and postpartum depression to name a few.
These symptoms tend to happen most often in the presence of zinc deficiency, because as I just said, these two trace elements compete with each other for absorption. In other words, copper and zinc balance each other out, so an excess of one or the other can cause issues.
Are you on the copper IUD and experiencing any of these symptoms? If so it might make sense to have your copper levels tested. Well, really you should have a complete mineral test done, and if your copper/zinc ratio is off, talk to your doctor about another birth control option.
What I’ve heard from women who have used an IUD
I want to reiterate that everyone should choose whatever birth control feels best for them. While I don’t have an issue with the copper IUD necessarily, and think it definitely works for plenty of women, I can’t ignore what people have said to me. And you can’t afford to either.
These are just a few of MANY positive and negative opinions in my Facebook group.
Ultimately, I don’t really recommend IUD’s because in my opinion it’s unnecessary to have a foreign object inserted into our uterus to protect us from the 2 days a month we are actually fertile.
At the same time, I also believe that everyone has different needs and circumstances and we should make the decision about our birth control that feels right to each of us. So do your research, speak to your doctor and always go with your gut.
I personally prefer the fertility awareness method using a basal thermometer and an app like Kindara, or the Daysy Fertility Monitor. These methods ensure that you have complete control over your menstrual cycle and fertility, rather than depending on a device that needs to be inserted and removed by a doctor. Again, just my opinion! You do you!
I highly recommend the educational books The Fifth Vital Sign by Lisa Hendrickson Jack, Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler, and Honoring Our Cycles by Katie Singer so you can learn about your own fertility and menstrual cycle patterns.
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Information in this post and on this web site is provided for informational purposes only. The information is a result of practice experience and research by the author. This information is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Do not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing medication or other treatment. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional, herbal or homeopathic supplement, or using any treatment for a health problem.
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Books and websites to check out:
Sweetening the Pill by Holly Grigg Spall
The AntiAnxiety Food Solution by Trudy Scott
https://liveto110.com/copper-toxicity-syndrome/ – Wendy Myers talks extensively about mineral deficiencies and copper toxicity
http://www.drlwilson.com/articles/copper_toxicity_syndrome.htm#IMPSYMPTOMS – Dr. Lawrence Wilson explains the effects of copper on the female reproductive system
Period Party podcast episodes on the topic:
76 thoughts on “Can the copper IUD harm your health & fertility?”
Hi, I’m 26 and here’s my experience with (4) copper IUDs:
TL;DR My uterus is way too tiny for the Paragard so I had multiple displacements and an expulsion; smaller IUDs in other countries have worked way better for me. I am in the rare 1% who got PID as a complication of insertion; after infection, I still believe it has been worth it to have the copper IUD and the extreme stress it takes away from me being terrified of getting pregnant.
The longer story:
First, there are actually way more copper IUDs out there than the Paragard – unfortunately, only the Paragard is approved in the United States because of bad memories remaining from the Dalkon Shield and the thousands of women permanently injured by it in the ’70s and ’80s. In Canada and here in Europe, there is a wide range of options available; even a frameless IUD that is a string with copper beads! If your fundus is thick enough (unfortunately, mine isn’t), this can be placed and can reduce cramping a lot since you don’t have a hard plastic frame working against your uterine contractions when you menstruate.
I’m an American, so my first 2 copper IUDs were Paragards. The first displaced within 2.5 months of placement which I noticed after having painful sex. I was lucky to be at the doctor’s office the very next day for a completely different reason when they confirmed it was “sitting low” in my uterus and it started expelling! I had a new one placed but sure enough, within 2 months, that displaced too. I had an episode of EXTREME stomach/pelvic pain and then about a month of on and off bleeding and pain before another ultrasound confirmed it was “sitting low.” Out it went and back on the Pill for me… (eye roll)
After moving to the UK, I knew I had way more options and I was done being on synthetic hormones masking symptoms like acne I had originally been given hormonal birth control to manage. Multiple doctors here have emphasized I have a very(!!) tiny uterus, and the Paragard was WAY too big for me! Okay, so that made sense why 2 displaced in a row. I got fitted with a mini TT380 slimline which was a way better shape and size for me. I knew the placement would be painful (they are particularly painful for me, even with a cervical block), but after a week, the pain continued and I knew something was wrong.
Fast forward past weeks of doctors ignoring my pain (even a visit to the ER and they turned me away after waiting for 9 hours to be seen) and finally, one suspected I might be in the rare 1% and have PID, despite all my pre-IUD insertion infection checks coming back clean. I was given antibiotics that luckily cleared things up beautifully for me. However, I didn’t know at the time that they didn’t give me the right instructions for the antibiotics: I needed to stop having sex during treatment, and my partner needed to be treated as well, neither of which they instructed me to do.
So, as you might expect, the infection came back. This time, antibiotics did little for my pain. I had about 2 more months of this before having the IUD taken out to see if it helped things settle. Finally, it did. I had another one placed a couple of months later and so far, so good – no pain! I’m loving it.
I continue to have debilitating mid-cycle pain (which continued even for the 2.5 months without the IUD), acne, fatigue etc. which I’m going to be working with a naturopath on starting next week as I think it’s pretty clear something else is going on too. So I guess I’ll find out if these things are related to the copper IUD/PID complications or not.
Hi, I am on my second Paraguard, 12 years. In the past 2 years my hair has been falling out, my thyroid has gone a bit crazy, my skin is peeling off my hands, and my cycles are irregular. I am not sure if it’s my age or the copper. Free zinc levels on bloodwork was in range. Not sure what to do now – have it out?
Thank you for all your comments ladies! It’s nice to know I’m not the only one struggling. I had my Copper IUD placed in July 2018, so It’s been almost 3 yrs now. The first 2 years were good. Cycles stayed around 26 days long, but bleeding time went from 5-7 days to 10-12 days. No crazy cramps, but I would get very low moods almost straight up depressed for a day or two each month. But I knew it was due to my cycle and I’d feel better so I never worried about it much. I did have BV 3x (1st time was really bad right after insertion) , but I figured out how to keep it a bay with probiotics, even found a great probiotic vaginal suppository. Last 6 months though, I’m losing my hair, struggling with my energy levels, more and more cramping with each new cycle, and spotting for days after my period ends. Also can’t have bath or sex too frequently without causing a BV flare up! I have an appointment with an ND in May and I’m getting blood work done too. Pretty sure I’m going to get this thing removed!
I had the copper IUD for 9 days, that’s it! I couldn’t handle the cramping. Also, the pain during insertion was the most painful thing I have ever physically experienced, I always wonder if it was supposed to hurt that bad or if that doctor messed me up. I got pregnant 2 months later and just had a miscarriage at 11 weeks. I can’t help but feel like my miscarriage is correlated with having the Paragard.. I hope I will be able to have a successful pregnancy in the future.
I had the usual issues of heavier and more painful uterine cleanses, but it was when I started to lose weight and my immunity went in the toilet that I considered the copper IUD could be a real problem. I was tested for everything under the sun and no doctor even hinted that it could be related. One night I started to get strange raised bruises all over my legs and so I went and had it taken out the next day. The bruises were noticeably better later that same day. (I can’t remember the medical term, but it is an immune response that can happen). I immediately gained back the 15 or so pounds I had lost (unaffordably) and was no longer catching every flu or cold I came in contact with. Now a year later I have had 2 early pregnancy loses in 6 months. I believe the Paraguard is at least partially to blame. I would not recommend this to anyone as in my experience (I also had two other PAraguards in the past) it has a negative impact on the immune system and is more trouble than it is worth.
Hey Nicole, I’m curious about the link between estrogen and copper after copper IUD removal. I’ve noticed very long cycles and short periods in the 3 months since removal of mine. While having the copper IUD I also developed hypothyroidism and PCOS and not a single practitioner (functional, obstetrician or acupuncturist) linked them. Any thoughts?
Thanks for sharing the details about copper IUDs! I was planning to insert IUD, and looking for information regarding Copper IUDs and its benefits.
Love it. easy and less tension at all, I’d experience using hormonal pills,patches and natural way.. I had my loop for me for 5 years, Bleeding normal. heavy but in the same count of days, cramps is still normal for having monthly menstruation period. manageable.
For 3 years I had stomach pain and digestive issues. I had at least 2 days a week where I would have to get into bed and lay down during the day because I had migraines,,, Duribg the 3 years I went to see a gynaecologist and a gastroenterologist and neither of them made the connection that it was my copper coil. Eventually my hair started falling out. I had made an appointment to have a massage and the woman cancelled saying she wouldn’t do it because of my coil. I googled side effects and hair loss was there. I went to my Gp to ask to have it removed and they said that there was no way it was my coil causing these symptoms. I said I would like it out anyway thanks. As soon as I walked out of the door of the GPS office after it had been taken out I immediately noticed that the pinching cramp pain in my stomach had disappeared. The migraines stopped. I 100% know it was my copper coil. I was so annoyed with myself that I didn’t make the connection sooner. It would have saved me a lot of pain and heart ache!
My body rejected Paragard after 1.5 years. It took me about 4 months to “adjust” to it when I got it, and I experienced insanely heavy bleeding, sharp pains, and nearly constant, heavy cramping. When my body began expelling it, I got an appointment the next day to have it removed. It’s been just under a month since I’ve had it removed and HOLY CRAP. My hormones are going insane! I’m hyper emotional, no sex drive and am super tired all the time. I’m starting my first period since its removal and I’ve never experienced cramping that’s this bad. I can’t work or eat. I’m wondering if the damage caused by inflammation is what’s making my life hell right now. Glad I might have an answer about why my hormones have been messed up. My OB told me I was imagining these symptoms. Also glad my body knew to get rid of the IUD when I didn’t.
I had the Copper IUD for 1 1/2 years. Had it removed due to extreme heavy bleeding, anemia and cramps. I never had those before the IUD. OBGyn was hesitant to remove it but I insisted. Right after removal periods were normal and painless. Then, few months afterwards, a roller coaster of problems started: awful PMS, paralyzing cramping, at a point that it started to disrupting work and daily life. Re-started integrative medicine with tons of supplements and natural progesterone pills. Slight improvements in some areas after months and thousand of dollars, but cramping was still there. Got ultrasound done by recommendation of Naturopath Dr (not the OBGyn of course, they just ignored me) and surprise, I had a small fibroid. Another OBGyn recommended to insert the Mirena IUD (progestine only), so I did, thinking that it will make all this nightmare to disappear. But no. Not I a still dealing with issues that I did not have before the IUD Copper. I feel very incapacitated while on my period. Doing accupunture now. My intuition is telling me something went very wrong during that 1 1/2 year I had the Copper IUD. Now, 2 years later, I am not sure how to put my body back on track and be normal again.
Paragard was the worst decision I ever made. I became toxic. Suffered bleeding constantly, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and chronic migraines. What they don’t tell you, is that this is an abortifacient. It doesn’t stop you from becoming pregnant, it just kills the baby because it can’t implant in the toxic environment in the uterus.
I am having great trouble being able to have another baby. I’ve had one pregnant make it since, and it barely made it.
I do not recommend this iud, at all. Not ever.
Just wondering if you could link us to the peer reviewed studies which show links to the hormonal changes (increase estrogen, lowered progesterone and altered thyroid function) associated with the copper IUD?
It would be nice to see the evidence behind what you think.
Hi Georgina! There just isn’t a lot of research on this topic, unfortunately. If you take a look at the “References” section at the bottom of my post, there are 6 articles that you may find helpful.
I didn’t have any cramps or increased bleeding, so physiologically I’d hardly know it was there. Not sure about the anxiety – I did have several very severe episodes but can’t be certain it was related to IUD, as I’ve had experiences with anxiety before. I also noticed a certain decrease in my libido, but just put down to the relationship going stale.
About 1.5 years post insertion I started noticing weight gain around my stomach that I couldn’t seem to shed. What makes me VERY VERY angry is that I have seen this problem raised by a large number of women with copper IUDs in other forums only to be countered with responses like “you’re imagining it!”, “it’s not possible with copper!”, “it’s probably because you’re getting older!”. So I attributed my own weight gain to bad lifestyle choices, because after all, it’s copper, not hormonal, so it can’t be the cause. And yet I’ve always watched what I eat, and generally don’t eat much. When I started on very intense exercise program the weight still wouldn’t go away. In a span of a year I couldn’t fit into any of my old clothes, looked pregnant even on an empty stomach, and became hugely depressed.
Then one morning I felt a large hard mass in the middle of my stomach and finally decided to see a doctor. The first GP I saw tried to convince me that I was at least 4 months pregnant, which was impossible but which still shocked me. The subsequent ultrasound revealed two fibroids – 10 and 6 centimeters (for a petite person it’s quite a lot), the horizontal bars of the IUD imbedded in the myometrium, and ovarian cysts. I will be seeing a gynaecologist at the end of next month and hope to god they can get all this garbage out of me. I really feel that with more honest information about the potential risks of IUDs – however potential, even in a small percentage of women, I would have consulted someone sooner instead of thinking all along that I was just getting fat.
I had my first Paragard IUD placed in 2002 when I was 38. After a few months of very heavy bleeding, i loved it! I was subsequently diagnosed in 2005 with Hashitmotos Chronic Thyroiditis and put on Synthroid generic.
(Levothyroxine). I was later diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia, migraine with and without aura, hypertension, asthma, and gained over 60 pounds in the 17 years. I had the IUD replaced in 2012. I experience bloating, brain fog, aches and pains through my body. I’ve seen a few intergrative medical doctors but my insurance doesn’t cover it, so I just use my chiropractor and massage for pain relief. I had no idea until last week that all of this could be due to this stupid IUD! I am nearly menopausal so I don’t really need it any longer and I will be having it removed ASAP! I really hope that this is the cause of many of my ailments. Thank you for your sharing your knowledge.
I also experience significant anxiety with panic attack. Heart palpitations. Depression.
Thank you for this! I’ve had the Paragard in for 5 years. While I initally LOVED the non-hormonal “set it and forget it” bcoption, more recently I’ve been strongly considering removal. My body has felt “off” for awhile, but
copper and hormone levels have been normal at every six-month check (which I had to fight me doctors for).
However, I’ve been working with an integrative physician for 3 months and we just completed a more extensive (and expensive) 24-hour saliva test which showed that, at age 30, I have zero progesterone, high estrogen relative to progesterone, low testosterone, low DHEAS and irregular cortisol fluctuations across the day. Not good!
Mine is a tricky case to tease apart because I contracted valley fever around the time of insertion, and the fungal infection is known to both stress the adrenals and alter human DNA. Tests are hiniting at autoimmune disease, severe food allegies, HPA axis dysfucntion, mineral deficiencies (though normal copper). Reagrdless of the cause of my symptoms, I’m certain that the IUD isn’t helping anything. I thought I was doing a good thing avoiding hormonal bc, but I’m now feeling like I was duped.
I’m really drawn to the idea of simply paying attention to my body and tracking its fluctuations, though I’m nervous about uploading my personal data into an app. It’s a shame there aren’t more non-hormonal options for those us hoping to avoid pregnancy without doign harm to our bodies.
For anyone who has concerns about the effects of the IUD on their hormones, mineral levels or adreanal function and whose routine blood draw test show as normal, I’d recommend hormone saliva test and/or saving up to see an integrative physican (MD + holistic). After years of frustration, I finally feel like I’m making progress.
I am a mother if 3 children, i have never been on birth control prior to having them and never had issues. i had the paragaurd in for 3 and a half years and took it out because i want one more baby. the month after i removed in april 2018 i had my first ever chemical pregnancy, i got pregnant in june 2018 and lost the baby boy at 16 weeks, something was just not right with him, genetically he was normal but he hardly ever moved and was always in the same position and the placenta was abnormal also. i got pregnant in dec of 18 and had a chemical pregnancy,i am now pregnant in feb 2019 with a blighted ovum . i am suppose to 7w 1 day but the sac is measuring 6 weeks. no fetal pole ever developed. i mean something is terribly wrong. i wonder if the copper has destroyed my egg quality and hindering embryo formation and development. i am very hurt from all the loss. the copper iud was pushed on my by my doctors. i did not read about it and just had wet with what the doctors say. i am taking a break and will remover a fibroid and try for a baby in about a year. when i had the copper iud in i lost so much hair, i gained alot of weight and especially grew a tire gut on my abdomen. my hormones were super crazy, when ever i got my period i would angry nd crazy, i even got arrested becuase i couldnt control myself. after i took it i felt so much better, my gut dissapeared and my hair grew back. but now i cant stay pregnant. i lost a baby boy and i am heart broken . how can i sue, i believe paragaurd is responsible for my losses and these people need to be held responsible . any advice would appreciated.
Hi Nora – Wow. I am so sorry you’ve been through this, it is absolutely heart breaking. I would recommend you work with a functional medicine doctor to address all of your health concerns before trying to get pregnant again. If you would, email us to let us know where you are, and I’ll be happy to make a recommendation. In the meantime, I’d encourage you to look into the work of Wendy Myers, she’s fantastic.
As far as legal recourse, you should definitely check with an attorney on the best course of action.
We had no luck getting pregnant for over 12 years ….. Before my husband saw comments on Parents, referred us to marvelspelltemple @gmail. com We liked Dr Muna right away with his straight forward personality and positivity. Earlier before we met with Dr Muna I had endometriosis. Endometriosis had damaged my ovaries/eggs. We did surgery for my endometriosis and were not successful getting pregnant with IVF, however miscarried due to a chromosomal abnormality. After a couple more tries at egg retrieval, we decided to go with Dr. Muna Infertility Spell that made us conceived our first child. We decided to go for another Dr. Muna Infertility Spell, we got pregnant again and on July 6th, 2018, our second child was born! Marvel Spell Temple were so helpful during our times together. Dr. Muna always made an emotionally difficult situation a little easier with the care and support we received. Dr. Muna has a great sense of humor which lightens the tough times of infertility spell and is extremely caring. We could not of found a better spell caster. We felt very fortunate to have been directed to marvelspelltemple @g mail. com to help us through the difficulties and then success of making our little family.
My experience with the copper IUD is absolutely identical to Sarah’s. Absolutely horrible. The one thing that seems to be affecting me the most is bloating, and I feel quite alone with it as I have only read about one other experience that was identical to mine. I have read quite a few times that it causes some women to bloat their abdomen, kind of as if they were getting their period, etc. However mine is about 5x this, and is the main reason I had it taken out. I had mine in for 11 months, and noticed a small amount of bloat at the beginning but was hopeful that it would disappear within 6 months the way the rest of the symptoms were supposed to (none of them did). I had mine removed over three months ago and to this day I walk around looking as though I am in my second trimester. And that is even after my cycle has ended (when the uterine wall thickens right before my period, I am actually so beyond bloated that I have to sleep on my back, can’t hunch over, I haven’t worn any of my favourite clothes in a year, etc. I am 110 lbs and cannot ever see my feet). So even at the time of my cycle when I am supposed to be at my flattest, it is extremely uncomfortable – and if there were reason to be concerned, I would have taken multiple pregnancy tests already. Has anyone had any kind of experience like this?? I was so hopefully that having it removed would get rid of this bloating but I am extremely concerned about the fact that it was not at all affected and actually feels as if it is getting even worse, as it did during the time I had the IUD in. And the bloat began to grow IMMEDIATELY after I had that thing inserted, so it is no coincidence. I am wondering if the inflammatory response has caused build-up of scar tissue. It feels as though my uterine lining is not shedding at all, yet all ultrasounds come back normal. Blood tests show drastic hormone imbalances (estrogen levels 30 units below the lower end of the normal range). This is my first time posting on something I’ve read like this.. I don’t know how much longer I can deal with this, and wish I could go back in time to tell myself NEVER to even consider an IUD.
I had my copper coil removed exactly 4 weeks ago after having it in for 8 months. I suffer from a lot of the copper toxicity symptoms. I had no idea it could be the coil causing it till things became scary. Fist 3 months I got thrush infections and told myself the 4th time I’d get it out. Unlucky me the thrush never came back. At 6 months in I began having intense heart palpatations, 3 times I called an ambulance I was so sure I was having a heart attack. Through research I found many other women had been suffering a lot of the same things. Hair loss, panic attacks, depression, suicidal thoughts, nerve pain in legs/arms, severe headaches, dizziness, the list is endless. Doctors ignored my concerns. Everyone said I had anxiety. Well 4 weeks it’s been gone and funnily enough my heart palpatations have almost completely disappeared, dizziness and headaches were gone as soon as it was removed. No more panic attacks, feel happier again, still loosing hair more than normal but not as much as before and the nerve pain in my legs (mainly the left one) also still there. The iud changed my normal 29 day cycle to 26 days, shortened my luteal phase from 14 days to 10-12 days with spotting right through luteal phase till period and then a few days after menstruation too. In August I had 8 days of no bleeding! I’m currently on cycle day 30 and still waiting for my first period since removal, still researching and worrying about what it’s done to my body. I’d advice any woman to really consider the risks of using a copper “non homonal” iud. Just because it doesn’t contain hormones doesn’t mean it can’t mess them up! And if you choose to use one please please listen to your body as soon as it tries to tell you it doesn’t like it. I wish I had!
I had coil fitted about a year ago. Went back few weeks later with pain in right side of pelvis and cervis. They said probably infection. Antibiotics given but tests say it’s not infection. Barrels of tests done ultrasound and camera up “there”. But still no answers. Not knowing what’s wrong is torture. Next appointment is gynaecologist.
I had the copper iud after I had my son back in 2007. 5 years into it I had it removed. My son is now 11 going on 12. I still suffer from copper toxicity. I have to eat a lower intake of veggies because the amount of copper in them has such a dramatic affect. Depression anxiety with panic attacks several times a day. And I have not been able to bear another child since. I could increase my zinc and magnesium to push out the excess copper but it could send my body and mental emotional state into a hyper drive. Or shut my body down. Ive done a lot research because the copper toxicity was causing my nerves to shut down and there were days I could not use my legs. I had to change doctors to have it removed because the first doctor refused! And even the doctor who did remove it scoffed at me when i told her I was 90% sure it was causing copper toxicity and all these other issues. Well since having it removed I haven’t lost the feeling in my legs. The nerve jerks have minimalized a lot. I dont have crippling migraines as often. I dont have 9 day periods with cramps so bad I couldn’t move only howl in pain. Just a note that thing was bright Copper when it was placed and it was black when it was removed. Copper toxicity is very real and any doctor who says it isn’t is full of crap. It’s messed with my life and limited me for a healthy diet. Ive not taken a birth control since or had any more implants of any kind.
So I stumbled on this site today since I got my copper iud taken out for the 3rd time. So a little history, I’m 27 and I’ve been on birth control pills since I was 18 years old. When I turned 24, I decided to try out the copper Iud. The first year I didn’t notice any crazy changes… only heavy periods and cramping. The following year, my periods got heavier to the point that I was changing my heavy pads every half hour. I called my doctor and they were able to see me right away. The iud had moved. So they took it out and inserted a new one with an ultrasound. So a couple of months went by and I noticed my moods changing, anger, rage, depression and that feeling of feeling empty and not wanting to get out of bed. I’ve been dealing with it for the past year. Last month I was experiencing really bad cramping and my iud came out again and it was slanted, they made me take a pregnancy test and it was negative. They inserted a new one because I wasn’t educated on other forms of birth control. The doctor recommended Mirena since it’s smaller. I told her no, that I wanted the copper because I didn’t want hormones. She inserted the copper iud. It’s been 6 weeks since the insertion and I needed to go for my f/u appt and it turns out I’m pregnant. I got it out today and I’m never putting another one In. This site has helped me realized the harmful symptoms of the copper iud. This whole time I thought it was all in my head and that’s maybe i was just dealing with a lot of stress. But I was wrong! Ladies please educate yourselves to other alternative bc!
I recently (as in 3 weeks ago) had my Paragard removed after 10 years of having it. IT BROKE!! Now I have to have surgery (scheduled for next week) to have the arm fragment removed since there is a risk of it migrating or going through my cervix wall and puncturing my bladder. To make matters worse, I have to pay $2,000 out of pocket to cover what insurance does not pay. I am a single mother of 2 on a budget and Christmas is fast approaching.
Hey Nicole, Thank you for writing this. I was always the “chill one” in my family and had never been to a therapist office in my life. I got this iud inserted in 2016 and then 2 months later what started out as a racing heart turned into full blown paranoia and mania that caused me to loose my friends and my relationship. I’m 3000 miles away from family and was alone healing myself. Moving on without the support of the guy was hard. I had issues with hard partying from college before inserting this iud and has no idea that my adrenals where in such poor condition prior to insertion. I ended up paranoid to the point where I was asking people bizzare questions, crying daily, shaking, racing dark thoughts that ran on their own, and eventually having heart murmurs before I realized I should take out my iud. Year post removal and on a lower copper diet, zinc, and and I’m fine. Sadly I lost so much of myself but I’m looking on the bright side. I started over a new career after loosing my job for crying every day with the thing. I had my gyno remove it and she rolled her eyes and told me to “stay in therapy”. My therapist confirmed copper toxicity, ass well as a couple of different naturopaths and a primary care physician who had heard of it happening to women. Worst idea of my life and all because condoms didn’t “feel good” for the guy.
It’s so refreshing i’m not the only woman going through these problems. I actually removed my copper IUD myself. It didn’t hurt, was super easy and came out fully intact. I wouldn’t recommend this for all women but I’m kinda hands on when it comes to my body. I took the Copper IUD out because I started experiencing random anxiety attacks, crazy mood swings, and insane sugar cravings. I took it out 9/18/18 I was actually due for my period around that time and had some spotting. So I was about 3-4 weeks before that that I had my last period. It’s coming up on about 6 weeks since I’ve had a period and I’m freaking out. No pregnancy symptoms at all. I will have to take a HPT in a few weeks to make sure me and my bf aren’t having a little surprise but I already have one son so I know what it feels like to have typical early pregnancy symptoms. I was never told this could cause infertility, also it seems a lot of women end up getting PCOS after having the copper IUD removed. I will say one thing, I no longer have any of the symptoms I previously had with the copper IUD in. (Thankfully) Now i’m thinking black cohosh and a lot of parsley tea along with maybe using yoni pearls will help bring my period down again. I do get cramping when I drink the parsley tea because it promotes blood flow and contractions in the uterus but still no period. It must be cleansing though because when I use it *WARNING TMI* I notice my discharge becomes thicker, whiter and much more abundant. Have any other Women notice no period after the Copper IUD removal, or it taking a while for cycles to become regular again. I’m very angry with my Dr. and I think they are lying to us saying cycles start up right away again! They don’t! Maybe due to the uterus being constantly inflamed. Imagine the kind of damage that causes to the lining of the uterus. When you have an infection in the body they do everything to reduce inflammation and clear the infection. How is it safe for the uterus to be constantly inflamed? I think this actually causes damage to the lining, maybe even scarring who knows.
Hi, I have been having the exact same thoughts about scar tissue!! I have been dealing with extreme bloating since having it put in, and throughout the 11 months I had it in the blosting got progressively worse. It was the whole reason I had it taken out, hopeful that this blosting would go down. But it hasn’t one bit .. did you have any issues with bloating? I walk around looking as if I am in my second trimester, and that is no exaggeration. It has been months now and is unbelievably uncomfortable.
Thank you for sharing this post! Wanted to share my copper IUD experience in case it’s useful to any other women who read this blog…
Some background: I used birth control pills for nine years without issue. In my mid-20s, I started experiencing some annoying new symptoms like acne and breakthrough bleeding. My doctor tried switching my pill a couple times, but that didn’t help. Eventually, he recommended I take a short break from the pill to allow my natural hormone levels to normalize. So, I went off the pill and my period never returned. After three long years and countless acupuncture sessions, I finally had a period again.
In January of 2017, after having had one normal period, my next period was late. This obviously wasn’t unusual for me. I took a home test though and, to my shock, discovered I was pregnant. Unfortunately, my husband and I agreed it was not the right time for us, and we made the difficult decision to terminate. The day of my procedure I felt ashamed that I had gotten into this situation, and I felt desperate to never be in it again. I wanted to do everything I could to prevent pregnancy but maintain a healthy period so I could become pregnant again when my husband and I were ready. I’m in my 30s now, and I know that by the time we decide to start trying, I won’t have 3+ period-less years to waste.
So right there on the table at the clinic, I opted to have the Paragard inserted. I had done what I thought was a lot of research, and it seemed like the perfect option for someone like me who had a negative history with the pill. A reliable, non-hormonal form of BC that was immediately reversible. I already knew its side effects were heavier bleeding and cramps, but the doctor reassured me that should lessen over time. I was fine with it, and felt like the trade off would be worth it.
I had my Paragard for almost two years. Not only did the symptoms not improve, they got worse over time. I had excessive discharge for a week around ovulation, so much that I had wear a pad. During every period, the cramps came in waves and were so intense I felt like I was in labor. I’ve never had a child, but occasionally my body had this instinctual urge to push… like I was going to deliver the IUD! The pain was sharp, and was typically localized on my left side. It radiated into my hips and back. The bleeding lasted 9-12 days every month, and was so heavy I used a tampon every hour. I also had constant “accidents”, bleeding through my clothing while sleeping or at work. And these are just the physical symptoms they warned me about…
Now that I’ve started reading so many other women’s experiences and researching copper toxicity, I realize other issues I’ve faced, ones I never attributed to my Paragard, could very well be related to it. Like other Paragard users have reported, I’ve gained 10-15 pounds since having it inserted for seemingly no reason. I’ve always eaten healthily and exercised 6-7 days a week but despite my efforts, over the last couple years, my weight has continued to creep up. Other issues include painful breast tenderness that lasts all month, chronic insomnia, unexplained tooth decay that led to 16 hours of dental work under sedation earlier this year, and the sudden onset of intense seasonal allergies/hayfever symptoms that are unaffected by medication. My blood pressure is also chronically low, usually sitting around 90/60 or under.
These symptoms are ultimately what led me to have my copper IUD removed. At my last checkup several months ago, when I started to voice some concerns, my doctor told me nothing I was experiencing could be related to the IUD since it was hormone free. She said my pain was so localized because my uterus is likely tilted to the left, she prescribed a clotting medication (often used to treat hemophilia) to help control my bleeding, and she urged me to wait it out. She took it out without objection yesterday, although she was generally dismissive of my overall health concerns. The removal was fast and almost painless. It’s only been a day, so I can’t say whether or not I’m seeing improvements. Time will tell!
Whether there’s scientific evidence to prove that the copper IUD has an indirect negative effect on hormone levels or not, I can personally say that based on my experience, it does.
I’m so sorry you had that experience. I noticed at the end symptoms started to worsen. I had mine in for almost 8 years. I’m heartbroken because i’m only 28 and I want to have another child. I will sue paraguard if i’m infertile.
Thank you for all the information!! Considering trying this method of birth control and wanted both the pros and cons to make an educated decision! I currently have an almost 2 year old son that I am still nursing. I have tried natural methods of birth control but I can’t seem to stop getting pregnant! My hormones are usually all over the place and hormonal birth control does not work for me at all. I’ve had 1 miscarriage and 2 abortions, all unplanned and based on my ovulation date being incorrect. At this point, I just need something reliable because me attempting to track my fertility naturally is doing more harm than good. I even brought one of the fertility trackers for $300 that also told me I was most fertile one day but my cervical mucus said otherwise. I wish there were more non hormonal options.
Hi! Thank you for your article! I’d like to share my current experience. I had copper iud placed right after giving birth to my daughter in 2010. I did have heavy cramping and bleeding and tried to have the IUD removed however the doctor thaught me into leaving it by telling me the pain would go away in a couple of months. A year later, I separated from my baby’s daddy and ended a single mom. I am now happily married and currently waiting surgery to check on my falopian tubes and see if they were damaged. According to the doctors (I already went to 3) the copper IUD I had for 5 years made an infection move up into the falopian tubes and now that seems to be the reason for my infertility. We have been trying to conceive for almost 3 years now with no luck and Im currently awaiting laparoscopic surgery, as well as a biopsy, and also they might need to remove my fallopian tubes if they look too damaged to .. Im hoping for the best but it doesnt look very promising! I wish I was told that copper iuds were not a good option if you had often pelvic pain or infections. I feel like I wasnt given enough information and at the time thought I was making the best decision for birth control but now I often regret it.
Omg! They don’t tell you anything and it really isn’t fair. There are some herbs that I heard stop pregnancy naturally if I ever get my period back I will try those and return to this thread with results. I’m so sorry you had this experience it seems Doctors everywhere are dropping the ball or are simply being misinformed, I’ve read so many stories online from women who are suffering because of the paraguard. I wish you a speedy recovery and I encourage you to seek out a naturopath or a natural healer in your area with a good reputation and actual medical schooling. There are ways to heal, our bodies are amazing.
I have 2 teenaged daughters who have expressed an interest in sex… one will be going away to college soon. They have both approached me about taking birth control pills and I am extremely reluctant. We have talked at length about making good choices and even abstinence etc., but at the end of the day, it is their choice and they will make it on their own, whether I or anybody else agrees with it or not. While the FPM sounds like a great method for a responsible, mature individual, I just don’t know if impulsive teenagers could or would use it successfully. Any suggestions? Just a note, my youngest daughter has severe cramping the first day of her period (she has to miss school/activities). I have appointments scheduled for them with a gynecologist to discuss all of their options (which will most likely be limited to birth control pills or IUDs).
Thank you for this blog as I was very concern about the safety of copper IUDs
but this blog has helped me with my all queries.
Thank you was a great blog to read
Hi there just want to say this resource is amazing <3 for me, I'm awake very late starting to worry what the copper implant is doing to my body, and although I'm not necessarily reassured by the comment section it has encouraged me to go back to talk to the doctor. It has been 7 months since I got the non-hormonal IUD and I think something is up. So just thank you that there's somewhere to read so many opinions! Xox
Hi Olivia, thanks for your kind words. I am so glad you are trusting your intuition around the IUD and going back to your doctor with your concerns. Big hug!
I had paragard IUD on for 13months during when I experienced heavy bleeding for the first three months and it became normal, then I experienced fontal headache, dizziness and loss of memory which my doctor did not linked to d IUD but all ds symptom disappeared when I removed it cos I wanted another baby. Three cycles gone with my menses just flow one day and stop now I feel so dry couldn’t recognize ovulation. Guess the IUD have affected my ovulation. Any advice pls.
I currently have the paragard and I’m almost positive I’m allergic to some component of it. I’m very worried about what it could be doing to my insides while it’s causing problems with my skin on the outside. I deal with a lot of depressive symptoms and bad cramps for about three weeks out of the month, but taking a zinc supplement every week seems to help immensely with the horrible depression and suicidal ideation. I’m 17 (almost 18, so I can do something soon) and not able to make an appointment by myself to get any of this checked out yet, but I feel confused and I’m not sure what to do about it. One of my classmates is telling me to see a doctor and I’m sure I should but I thought I should get some opinions from more learned individuals.
Edit: I’ve had it since September 2017
Erin, thank you for your comment and being proactive with your health. I urge you to make an appointment as soon as possible to address the symptoms you are describing in your comment above. Horrible depression and suicidal thoughts are very concerning to me, and not anything anyone should have to suffer through. There are a lot of stories of women and girls who are dealing with what you’re dealing with, so please get help as soon as you can. Can your mom make a doc’s appt for you? Also, perhaps you want to check out this Facebook page for more information – https://www.facebook.com/Paragard-Dont-GET-ONE-Women-helping-women-to-be-informed-183953164966198/
There are other forms of non-hormonal birth control that you can try. I recommend the Daysy Fertility Monitor – you can read about it here: https://nicolejardim.com/daysy-fertility-monitor/
Please feel free to reach out to email@example.com if you need anymore help. xo
The copper IUD caused me to have daily infections, inflammation, pain, and those are only the physical symptoms.
It set off a depressive episode where I couldn’t hold my moods, I was sobbing everyday, enraged, anxious to the point of paranoia. I couldn’t get out of bed, I felt like a didn’t deserve to be alive- I have NEVER been like that in all my life.
I had it removed by the head of gynecology at NY Presbyterian Who told me the string not only kills sperm, it also kills all the good bacteria in your vagina. I had to see a therapist and psychiatrist just to stabilize after I had it taken out. It took me almost a year to feel like myself again.
I know now that I had copper toxicity and/or a severe allergic reaction. I don’t recommend this to anyone!
OMG Leila! I cannot believe things got so bad for you. I am SOOO glad you finally had the IUD removed, and you’re feeling better now. Thank you for telling your story here. Big love.
I had the copper iud for 3 yrs already and besides the heavy and long periods that I get every month me and my family have notice that I have lost hair I have looked 3 yrs back in some of my pic and def seen a change in the volume of my hair I have less hair then I did 3 yrs back before I decided to had the iud inserted I am thinking of getting it removed
Thanks for sharing your experience with the copper IUD Yoana. Hopefully you’ve been able to have it removed, and that has helped your hair loss.
Let me preface this by saying I FULLY subscribe to the theory that excess copper is a HUGE problem in women. Ladies! Love your livers and adrenals and support them! I had a copper IUD for 3 years; at my recent annual exam, back in July, my Dr. noticed my uterus was enlarged. An u/s showed my IUD was out of place and Dr. said it needed to come out before something happens (perforation). Normally, removal is simple; my removal was not easy, there was a lot of yanking, cramping and she had to use instruments in the office to finally get it out. Dr. believes it was attached to my uterine wall. The IUD was knocked out of place because the u/s also showed a 7 cm, intramural FIBROID I developed as well as a nickel-sized uterine polyp. Fibroids are listed as a possible side effect of IUDs. I understand fibroids are very common in women, but I firmly believe copper is my culprit. I kept up with my annual exams and there were never any issues noticed until July, after I’d had the IUD for 3 years. When I first had the IUD inserted, I began experiencing digestive issues that lead to SIBO which can be caused by COPPER BUILD UP, I didn’t know what was going on prior to the diagnosis of SIBO, but I suspected something with my liver. We know the liver is where we breakdown hormones. The liver is also the first place excess copper will accumulate. If my liver was overloaded with copper, it couldn’t do it’s job effectively. The constipation I was dealing with (due to SIBO, due to copper) at the time was causing my body to recycle the waste hormones/bad estrogen I should have pooped out. I believe this created an estrogen dominant environment. Copper can also elevate estrogen levels. Fibroids are theorized to thrive and grow with estrogen. There’s another angle to this too- Inflammation. From what I understand, the copper IUD works by causing inflammation to the uterine lining, so a fertilized egg cannot implant/attach. Copper is an inflammatory oxidant and excess copper can lead to a whole lot more health issues…there are theories that cancer is linked to inflammation. Thing is, aside from my SIBO nightmare and my now fibroid nightmare the IUD was convenient for me. I was fortunate that it didn’t make my periods heavier (my sister had her copper IUD removed because she bled so much on her period she became anemic) and I barely experienced cramps. Now, the trade-off of SIBO, the polyp and the fibroid aren’t worth it by any means!! Especially now that I know this may affect my fertility. The polyp was removed last Thursday, now I tackle this fibroid. My fibroid was asymptomatic and somehow went 3 years before detection. It’s no longer asymptomatic, grew to 9 cm and my uterus now sits where it would as if I am 14 wks pregnant. I’m working on detoxing the excess copper from my body, but copper is also an essential mineral our bodies need in the proper amounts, so it’s about finding that balance. My gut is telling me all these problems started with COPPER from the IUD-I had all the symptoms of excess copper! Dr.s will tell you that the copper IUD can’t cause copper build up, but seeing as how everyone’s body processes are unique and so many women report this same issue, I call BS!! Copper in excess is not good, period; it has been linked to mental illness as well. It sucks that women seem to be the ones who have to deal with the side effects of being responsible (birth control) when we are not the only ones capable of creating…we just so happen to also provide the “housing”. I refuse to put artificial hormones in my body and I refuse to put another IUD in my body. There are no side effects with condoms and my bf may not like it, but I’m done abusing my body for birth control and I’ve made that clear to him. He is very caring, so he understands. I’m done bearing what feels like the sole responsibility of birth control. My body is going through enough right now, it needs to heal.
Kat, thank you for your informative and heartfelt comment! I so appreciate you contributing to the conversation on here, and go you for taking a stand for yourself sista! It’s high time that we share birth control responsibility equally with men.
I just have to say – your post is SO relatable to what I am experiencing right now due to my copper IUD!! What caught my attention the most was the fibroids and your uterus sitting as if you are 14 weeks pregnant. Does this mean you experience extreme bloating as well?? (Or if you have since had your concerns corrected, was this a symptom of yours?). Throughout the time I had my IUD in (about 11 months, I noticed my bloating getting progressively worse. It started immediately after I had it put in, anout one month after. I was hopeful that things would balance out and that it would stop along with the other symptoms that were supposed to go away in 6 months time (which none of them did whatsoever). It got to the point where I now look pregnant on a daily basis, even when laying on my back and first thing in the morning when you’re supposed to be at your flattest. When I get my period, I know bloating is natural but the amount of bloat I get now compared to what I was used to before is SO beyond unnatural. I can’t wear over half of the clothes I used to wear, I cover it up with baggy clothes constantly, I can’t sleep or sit in certain positions.. I actually look as though I am in my second trimester of pregnancy. Do you mind me asking what steps you took to get the results you did? Confirmation of fibroids, etc. This is the first post I have read after spending months reading multiple articles and forums that I can actually relate to. And if you have had removal of fibroids and other masses, has this helped any of your symptoms, particularly those of the bloating type? Thank you so much, and I hope to hear from you. I admire that you listened to your body and pushed to find a solution!! I too am very much in a position where I am no longer obligated to make things any easier on men in any shape or form. They have it easy enough already lol. Thanks for reading 🙂
I have identical symptoms to yours, though they took a bit longer to set in. Of all my clothes I can only wear 3-4 things now, and trying on new ones just makes me cry. Sitting in certain positions makes me feel like my stomach is pushing up into my ribcage, which made me initially think I had digestive problems or a hiatal hernia. I was a bit perplexed that the swelling was in the lower region of my stomach rather than the middle, but hey what do I know… I really sympathise with you – before finding out the cause I was in absolute despair.
And before the ultrasound, which showed a number of things, a DOCTOR tried to convince me I was at least 4 months pregnant. It took me that long to go and see anyone because most of the reports on Paragard (coper IUD) will emphatically tell you that it _does not_ make you put on weight. I noticed in your other post you mentioned your hormonal tests showed imballance. I’m suspecting the same in my case though can’t confirm it yet, but have felt some odd changes in the last year – like I’m getting kind of softer and less competitive, hard to explain, I guess like I’m a little bit pregnant lol. I have read that this could be linked to certain types of cysts which are hormone-secreting, and PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome) can also cause metabolic issues, which can lead to weight gain. I would really recommend an ultrasound.
(what mine showed was two large (10cm and 6cm) fibroids, ovarian cysts and the bars of the IUD imbedded in myometrium, grrrr 🙁 )
I had fine periods prior to getting one of these. But it interfered with my life so badly, bringing on knee-buckling cramps and cold sweats. After 7 months of this, I’d had enough and when my doc couldn’t see me soon enough to remove it, I removed it myself. Never again!
I had someone else tell me they got so desperate that they removed it themselves as well! That is very scary, but I understand that desperate times call for desperate measures!! So sorry you had to go through that 🙁
Love them for myself and for clients. NO hormones, so natural fertility cycles, not like hormonal which basically stop ovulation which suppresses the female response and desire for coitus.
If you request a practitioner to place it WITHOUT using a TENACULUM the process is much less painful. The initial response of cramping and bleeding slowly gives way to the body adjusting to it and from then on it is easy! A big dose of Ibuprophen is recommended prior for 24 hrs and 3 days after to avoid inflamatory reaction.
I had mine 15 yrs. Didn’t want it removed prior to menopause so just kept it the whole time.
They have a program where if you work in the healthcare field you can get them for free! 10 yrs protection, free…what’s the problem!?
It’s great that this has been the ideal birth control option for you and your clients Andrea. Unfortunately, as you can see from the post (and the comments below) I’ve had a LOT of clients who haven’t had the same positive experience. In fact, they have had an extremely negative experience, which is why I decided to write about it.
This is such a great post Nicole! I will be sending lots of ladies over to this article- I’m always getting questions about IUDs. Thanks for all of the amazing and well researched info- you rock 🙂
Thank you so so much for reading and commenting Rachel. I always appreciate the support from my apprenticeship sistas. Big hug!
Also in my completely non-medical personal opinion, the reason women bleed and cramp harder/more especially in the first few months after insertion is because the uterus knows something is there that shouldn’t be and tries harder to flush it out. After some time though, maybe six months, it adjusts and “gets used to it”
It may be true that some women adjust. That’s what I believed & that’s why I let myself suffer for 9 months. I kept thinking my body was going to adjust. But if your body is giving you a clear message that something isn’t right (ie that your uterus is really angry!) then I don’t think it’s worth any amount of time being completely miserable. My cramps were debilitating & I gave my body more than enough time to try to adjust.
Interesting theory Laura.
I had a great experience with the paraguard, and I think it is one of the best hormone-free options. I did experience heavier bleeding, but my cramps actually decreased with it and my cycle remained normal and healthy. I was able to get pregnant (my first pregnancy) one week after having it removed and went on to have a healthy pregnancy.
The doctors at my OBGYN clinic though really did not want to give it to me. I spent a lot of time researching and came in knowing that’s what I wanted and they really tried to discourage me and instead push the Skyla IUD on me. They made me doubt my decision and try the Skyla, but as I should have known from trying the pill, hormonal options do not work for me because I can’t live with the intense side effects. After 2 months I had the Skyla removed and was insistent on getting the paraguard. OBGYNS are really pushing IUDs right now, but mainly Skyla and Merena.
I am now 3 months postpartum and plan to get the paraguard again in a few months.
Hi Laura, I always like to hear stories of women finding the birth control solution that works great for them! I appreciate you sharing your story here because it is helpful for other women trying to make a decision. Ultimately, we don’t really know what causes the increased cramping and heavy bleeding in so many women, but your theory makes sense to me 🙂
Hi Nicole, thanks for your article and information. I was successfully using Kindara before getting marriage to avoid pregnancy. I have a history of PCOS and am in my early 30’s. I absolutely hated the pill! After we were married, we fell pregnant really quickly (quicker than I ever thought!) and were very blessed to have a healthy son 6 months ago. My birth however ended with a “crash Caesar” (inverted T incision) and I have been warned by my midwife & Dr not too get pregnant again too quickly. I’m still breastfeeding and haven’t had a period.
My question is, how do I safely avoid pregnancy (we want to have more children, but allow about 2 yrs for my scar to heal) without going on the Pill, or the copper IUD? I don’t feel confident using Kindara until I at least have my first period. I also have a history of zinc defincency.
Could you help? Many many thnanks
Hi Belle! Congratulations on the birth of your son! I don’t feel like I can answer such an in-depth question about birth control on a blog comment (as much as I’d like to). I think you should consult with a fertility awareness practitioner about how to avoid pregnancy until you have your first period. I’d recommend checking out Hannah Ransom (holistichormonalhealth.com) and Katinka Locasio (http://www.earthsky.dreamhosters.com/services-2/), both are amazing women who will be able to guide you accordingly. 🙂
Thanks for this great overview! I had an awful experience with Paraguard after I had my first child: painful cramps beyond anything I had ever experienced (*way* worse than childbirth!), such heavy periods that it was hard to leave the house, spotting that lasted through most of my cycle. Then I had trouble getting pregnant again when we wanted to try & miscarried 3 times. I had no idea that the Paraguard & copper could have contributed to my fertility issues! And my thyroid when down the tubes in the aftermath of my Paraguard experience as well. Really interesting that it might be related. I wish I had known before hand that there were these possible risks. And you make such a great point that healthcare providers should consider testing & body types & the individual woman before recommending a particular type of birth control. Instead, we’re supposed to make the decision without even half of the knowledge required! Thank you for trying to change that!
Awww Nikki, it sounds like you’ve really been through it girl! I’m so sorry to hear you have struggled with your health in this way. And three miscarriages is just devastating. I hope you are starting to feel better??? <3
Thanks so much, Nicole. I’m happy to say that I did end up having a successful pregnancy & now have my rainbow baby. I actually did your seed cycling protocol (plus acupuncture, Whole30, started getting treated for my thyroid & made many other positive changes). It’s been a journey but now that I’ve gotten my postpartum period back it is like I’m a different woman! I don’t think I ever knew what a normal period was before!
Wow congrats!!!! What a wonderful success story!!!
I have had good results with Paragard. I personally have not experienced increased cramping since it’s insertion and I actually don’t cramp at all (counting my blessings). My flow is very heavy on the second day of menstration, but light after. BUT, I do experience heavier mucus discharge during other times of the month. I attribute that to the very method in which this IUD works. For now, I’m dealing with it because I don’t want yet another “thing” (fertility) to keep track of.
If anyone out there wonders, I have two children. I had Mirena after my first and had it removed after five months. I felt the side effects weren’t worth its presence in my body. I chose Paragard this time around and will keep it until I feel ready to monitor my fertility on my own.
Great to hear it is working for you AJ. I love when women find what works for them and feel empowered in their choice! 🙂
I have called them for the research of my book and NOBODY could explain to me why a lot of women have way more period pain and heavier bleeds with this IUD. I asked numerous doctors, gynaecologists and midwives but up until now, NO ONE has the answer. I also mentioned the copper allergies and they said it is the woman’s responsibility..wtf. I am planning on writing more about this academically as well so thank you for this blog article. If I am actually going to dive deeper I will contact you ?
Thanks so much for all the work you do Iris!!! I seriously cannot believe that no one talks about WHY soooo many women experience the massive increase in heavy bleeding and pain. There is so little research out there on all of this stuff. Looking forward to chatting more about everything when the time comes 🙂
Iris add me on Instagram: @sadiepetiford
I’ve done so much research and testimonial scouting for the last two years and the year I was healing from this. I’d love to contribute to your book if I can.
Hi Nicole, I have yet to read this piece in its entirety, but I can say unequivocally that the copper iud set into motion a cascade of ill effects that i continue to struggle with. I had mine removed after 5 months only, but by then I stopped ovulating, developed symptoms of PCOS, and the inflammatory effects of the copper have led me to develop hyperproliferative endometrium and potential hyperplasia…. in short, a perfect storm!! It also aggravated symptoms of endometriosis that had long been dormant. So, perhaps the only good to come out of this is that I ended up having laporoscopic surgery for the endo which was likely going to be necessary down the line at some point. I’m currently on natural progesterone therapy to help me shed my lining as I had TRIED a progestin IUD only to get it lodged in my cervix after 6 months… I am planning to try to conceive soon, and will more than likely require clomid….. In the two years since I had the paragard removed, I have worked very hard with a very skilled acupuncturist and herbalist, and have significantly modified my diet, but let me tell you, this is STUBBORN problem that is frankly a dangerous cancer risk that I now need to control with at minimum a prescription of oral natural progesterone.
Hi TD, oh my goodness it sounds like you have been through quite an ordeal!!! I am so very sorry to hear about all of it, but I am hopeful for you because it sounds like you are getting on the right track with your health. I definitely think you should read through the post and the resources. There is some information in there about how to detox the copper and why progesterone isn’t the exact right fix for copper excess – if that is indeed what’s going on with you. It might not be of course. Sending lots of love to you!