Everything You Need to Know Before Getting a Copper IUD

Everything You Need to Know Before Getting a Copper IUD

If you're considering the copper IUD as a hormonal birth control option, we want to make sure that you've fully researched this option before making the leap. In a sea of information, we understand how complex it can be to try to find the right option that works for us and our bodies. 

The truth is that our bodies are beautiful, unique, and incredibly complex, and they thrive on balance and homeostasis. When they are in this state of homeostasis, everything within us is more likely to function as it is meant to. Unfortunately, one thing that many of us struggle with today is imbalanced hormones. As you see "hot girls walk," healing pilates, and "no coffee before breakfast" taking over, it's because the world is waking up to the power of our hormones! The Copper IUD is actually non-hormonal so you’re 100% forgiven if you think you are making the good, kind choice for your body but it’s not always the best solution. 

Today, we’re excited to bring to light some important areas that need to be considered before choosing the copper IUD as your birth control option. We're delivering this information with love and compassion because we want you to make an informed decision that's right for you and your body. 

There are many ways that the copper IUD can affect our health. Here are some things that I wasn’t always aware of:

Copper Toxicity is a thing

Copper toxicity is a concern for some individuals who use the copper IUD as their form of birth control. The copper in the IUD is designed to prevent pregnancy by damaging and killing sperm. However, in some cases, the body can absorb too much copper, leading to copper toxicity.

Copper overload, which can lead to copper toxicity, is caused by the body's inability to metabolize and eliminate excess copper, often due to hereditary factors. This means that it can be driven by genetics for some people, and this is something we are often not aware of when we are making lifestyle and birth control decisions. Copper overload can have a significant impact on the body's reproductive, nervous, and glandular systems. Mental health can also be affected, with side effects of copper IUDs including severe anxiety, panic attacks, depression, hair loss, anemia, increased anger and rage, brain fog, spaciness, paranoia, fatigue, and increased infections, particularly yeast infections.

Studies have started to look into this and a 1996 study confirmed that the use of a copper IUD may result in significant symptoms of copper allergy, such as inflammation of uterine tissue and the accumulation of fluid in vaginal tissues.

Copper, being a great conductor of energy, can also cause symptoms such as insomnia, racing thoughts, heart palpitations, and dizziness after a copper IUD is inserted for birth control. While copper toxicity is rare, people have definitely experienced it. With over 6,500 members, the Facebook support group for copper toxicity and IUDs could be a helpful resource for you to explore. 

There are lawsuits against IUD manufacturers and providers

The Paragard IUD has led to many lawsuits against it due to serious problems experienced by users, with claims of defective design and manufacturing. Plaintiffs allege that the device can break apart in the uterus, causing complications that require surgical removal. They also claim that the manufacturers did not provide adequate warnings about these risks. Copper toxicity from the copper wiring used in Paragard is also a concern, with some reports of symptoms resembling copper toxicity.

Reactions to the IUD are a real thingAs a foreign object being put into the body, it makes sense that there may be some reactions from the body and I’m sure we have all heard of people’s bodies rejecting the coil.Increased risk of autoantibodies and rheumatoid arthritis

New research suggests that women who use intrauterine devices (IUDs) may have a higher likelihood of developing autoantibodies associated with the risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA is a chronic condition that can cause pain, stiffness, swelling, and restricted movement in multiple joints. While joints are the primary areas affected by RA, inflammation can also occur in other organs. RA is more common in women, affecting them three times as frequently as men, with an estimated 1.3 million Americans currently living with the disease.

Impact on vaginal bacteria and systemic inflammation

Another study discovered that the copper in the IUD can impact vaginal bacteria, leading to inflammation in the body. The study found negative effects on the vaginal environment in women using copper IUDs, which could adversely affect sexual and reproductive health. The release of ionic copper by the IUD may selectively reduce the growth of healthy bacteria, allowing inflammatory bacteria to increase, leading to the production of inflammatory proteins.

Increased menstrual blood loss

Other reactions to the copper IUD can include heavier or longer periods than usual, lower abdominal cramps and discomfort, menstrual cramps that happen even when you’re not having your period, and symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease, such as pain during sex, fatigue, and abnormal discharge from your vagina. 

According to a 2009 study involving approximately 2,000 individuals who used copper IUDs for the first time, the use of copper IUDs can result in a 50 percent increase in menstrual blood loss, potentially leading to side effects such as anemia.

Increase in estrogen dominance

Even though the copper IUD is a non-hormonal method, it can still affect your hormones due to the relationship between copper and estrogen. This is often overlooked because it’s considered to be non-hormonal and therefore more ‘safe’. Excess copper in the body can increase estrogen levels, making it harder for the liver and adrenals to detoxify the copper as it clings to the estrogen molecules. This can create a feedback loop and lead to symptoms such as anxiety, estrogen dominance, painful or heavy periods, irregular periods, and hormonal imbalances. While elevated copper levels may not cause immediate symptoms upon IUD insertion, they can manifest over time. This is something to be aware of and interestingly, in copper-treated animals in the studies, the estrogen/progesterone ratio was significantly higher than that of intact controls. However, in nylon-IUD-fitted rats, the increased ratio was not significantly different from that of the controls.

Zinc / copper imbalance

Copper and zinc have an antagonistic relationship, where an increase in one mineral can cause a decrease in the other, and studies in this area are really important to understand when considering getting the copper IUD. Excess zinc or copper intake can lead to deficiencies in the other mineral due to their competition during absorption and transport within the body. The copper IUD can potentially disrupt this balance, causing zinc deficiency symptoms. Studies have shown an increase in copper serum levels after copper IUD insertion, leading to decreased zinc absorption. This off-balancing can cause various symptoms, making it important to maintain copper-zinc balance, especially for those using a copper IUD or other hormonal birth control methods.

Increase in PMS severity

As well as impacting the balance in the body, the copper levels in the body can have a negative impact on PMS symptoms. Copper competes with essential minerals like magnesium, zinc, and B6, which are crucial for serotonin production and reducing PMS symptoms. When copper levels rise, these essential minerals tend to decrease, which can aggravate PMS symptoms. Additionally, copper increases sodium retention in the body, leading to bloating and weight gain, which are common symptoms of PMS. As estrogen rises during the premenstrual cycle, copper levels rise as well. Many of the emotional symptoms of PMS are also associated with copper, and when estrogen fluctuates during the menstrual cycle, it can further aggravate these symptoms.Studies have shown that adolescent girls with PMS had higher estrogen hormone levels compared to those without PMS, and those with severe PMS had higher estrogen levels than those with mild PMS. The findings suggest that estrogen hormone levels have a significant impact on the severity of PMS. Studies have also shown that during the luteal phase of PMS, there is a deficiency of zinc, which is further exacerbated by the increased copper levels that reduce the availability of zinc as well.

So, if you're considering the copper IUD as a birth control option, we really hope that this article may have helped you to start to understand how you are the one with the power to make an informed decision! And, if you already have the IUD, there is no need to panic. Some of these things may not impact you, and some testing should help provide you with more information on what's going on inside your body. For many women, removing the IUD feels like a safe, natural step, and if that's you, we support you in that decision too. As always, it's worth noting that there are many things we're not taught about our bodies and health, which is why it's important to take the time to learn about these things before making any decisions.

I love how knowledge empowers us to regain control over our health. Knowledge truly is power! I love being able to help you on this journey, woman to woman.