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The IUD: Intrauterine Damage

by drgangemi on February 4, 2014

IUD:Intrauterine DeviceI’ve been meaning for several years to write about intrauterine devices (IUDs) since it’s a very important and neglected topic. After all, over 200 million women worldwide use an IUD. In my practice I treat a lot of women for hormonal issues such as PMS, menopausal symptoms, problems with conception, as well as a host of thyroid and adrenal gland related disorders. I am not a fan of “the Pill” due to the unnatural hormonal influence it has on a woman’s body, and therefore only a few of my female patients use it as a form of contraception. These women would be extremely distraught if they got pregnant, so I yield and help them deal with the negative effects of the hormones. But I am adamantly against IUDs. Actually I will not treat a woman more than once, if at all, if she is using an IUD because it’s a certainty that it’s causing some, if not all of, her problems. I haven’t seen an exception yet.

The purpose of this article is inform women, based off my clinical experience as well as current research, regarding the prevalent problems associated with IUDs. You, or someone you know, may love your/their IUD and think it’s the safest, easiest, and most effective form of birth control. Hey, Mirena’s slogan is “Birth control for busy moms.” I’d agree with you that it is both very easy and effective. But safe it is not; actually it’s far from safe. It’s often not a question whether your IUD is causing some health problem but how much of a problem it is causing.

Types of  IUDs and Their Mechanism of Action

paraguardThe intrauterine device is the most effective type of reversible birth control, (reversible being a key word here). Simply put, an IUD is a ‘T’ shaped device that is inserted into the uterus as a form of long acting (5-10 years) contraception. Let’s first talk about the main types of IUDs and how they work.

Basically there are two main types of IUDs. There’s a hormonal type which is most commonly sold as Mirena and a lesser-used device sold under the brand name Skyla. Then there is a copper IUD which is sold under the brand name Paraguard. Some countries outside the US, UK, Canada, and China still use an inert IUD made of stainless steel but it’s not as effective as the copper or hormonal IUD.

Mirena releases a continuous low amount of synthetic progesterone which acts to thicken the cervical mucus to keep sperm from penetrating the ovum. As there is some hormonal influence with Mirena, some women use it to help with heavy menstrual bleeding. It’s effective for up to five years.

Paraguard uses copper wire around the stem of the ‘T’-shaped IUD which basically acts as a spermicide. This also increases copper ions in the cervical mucus as copper is being continuously released, and therefore there is evidence of some women having issues with too much copper causing health problems. I will discuss this more in a bit. To lessen the copper exposure, some countries are starting to use gold or silver wrapped around the copper wire. Another “advantage” of the copper IUD is that it can provide emergency contraception if inserted within five days after possible conception. While Mirena can help with menstrual bleeding, Paraguard has been linked with heavier periods and painful cramps. It is slightly less effective than Mirena but it can remain in for up to twice as long – ten years.

The Problems with an IUD

IUD PlacementYes, IUDs are very effective and they’re very user-friendly. If you don’t want to get pregnant then they sure beat having to chart your cycle, use condoms, or refrain from sex. But their problems, in my opinion, are far underestimated, reported, and realized. There is some evidence to support this, and I will share this with you. But there is much more clinical experience on my part, having seen many women with IUDs over my sixteen years in practice. It’s not a matter of if you will have a problem with your IUD, but when. And you might not even be realizing that you’re having such a problem. Typically when I explain to a woman the link between her health problem and her IUD she responds, “Oh, that makes sense now.”

An IUD is a foreign device in the body. Though the drug companies, researchers, and physicians say that the most common side effect is expulsion, (sometimes because of improper insertion by the doctor), a woman’s body is not meant to have a piece of metal constantly irritating her uterus – especially for five, if not ten years. Think about walking around with a small pebble in your shoe 24 hours a day. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) incidence is a risk factor as is infection and other complications. The IUD can literally implant itself in the uterine wall which can also become a problem during removal. Unfortunately, some women do die from this. A patient of a colleague of mine had a sibling die from such a complication. Many women experience “normal” discomfort, irregular bleedings, loss of libido, or mysterious pains which are never linked back to the IUD itself.

Excess Copper…

With Paraguard, copper is being continuously released. Some women can respond in strange ways to copper since although it is a necessary mineral it can also act as a heavy metal, much like iron. Although most studies point to only risk factors in women with Wilson’s Disease, (a genetic disease of copper overload), copper acts similarly as any other metal (mineral) when it is out of balance in the body. Copper is a main component of bile salts and therefore too much copper can greatly impact the health of the gallbladder as well as the liver. I discuss this more in my articles on the gallbladder and below I note a case history of how this can affect a woman’s gallbladder. Copper also influences estrogen and therefore as copper increases it is said that similarly estrogen does too. Estrogen excess is involved with a host of problems such as PMS, excess bodyfat, and certain cancers. There is also a fine balance between copper and zinc. Copper-zinc imbalances are implicated in hormonal problems especially those related to blood sugar handling issues. Finally, some note that the copper can erode, which obviously would be a major problem, if not an emergency, and there is evidence pointing to copper oxidizing and causing damage to the cervix and uterus. This is why some countries are starting to use other metals around the copper wire for added protection.

…Or Excess Synthetic Hormone

With Mirena, a slight amount of synthetic progesterone (levonorgestrel) is being released continuously at a rate of 20 mcg per day. As with birth control pills, this alone can be a problem as it suppresses a woman’s natural hormonal secretion and her natural monthly rhythm. After all, it is normal to have varying amounts of progesterone (and estrogen) secreted throughout the month – it’s not a constant level every day. Additionally, levonorgestrel is a synthetic hormone – it’s not the same type of progesterone the body naturally makes.

In my practice I use manual muscle testing as a form of biofeedback which helps me assess what is going on with the patient. The muscles of the pelvis – specifically the gluteus muscles, (maximus, medius, and minimus), the piriformis, and some of the adductors – are related to the health and function of the uterus, (as well as the ovaries). Therefore, anything which negatively affects the uterus will have a similar effect on those muscles. Essentially, an IUD causes a general inhibition (fatigue/weakness) in these muscles, which can result in back pain, hip pain, abdominal/core weakness, or essentially any weakness associated with pelvic instability. Since the pelvis is so vital in supporting the spine and everything below (legs/feet), then any instability in the pelvis can cause problems elsewhere too. Yes, I’m saying that an IUD can cause knee, foot, ankle, and even neck problems. It’s a lot more common than you may think.

IUD Clinical Case Histories

IUD ProblemsI’d like to share some of my more notable experiences I’ve had treating women with IUDs. I don’t get to see too many anymore, maybe just a few a year at most, as I won’t treat a woman with one in. If I see a woman with an IUD, then it is only for one appointment as it needs to be removed for me to help her with her presenting problems. Typically women coming to my practice have already had the IUD removed or never put one in the first place as they know my position on the matter.

Here are several memorable and significant cases I’ve seen with IUD use.

  • A college student I had previously seen in years past suddenly was having extreme bouts of depression during her fall semester. She had to drop three of her four classes by November. Upon discussing her situation, she revealed that her mood changed just a week or so after she had Mirena inserted in early September. She had the IUD removed and her depression resolved 100% over the next two weeks. There is a new study discussing Mirena affecting menstrual bleeding (the lack of) resulting in iron overload and depression. (Turok et al, 2013)
  • A woman presented in my office with right-sided hip and lower back pain that was much worse when she slept at night. Though she had her IUD in for many years, the pain was more recent. Upon removal, her pain resolved 100% after one treatment session. She also noticed that other “nagging” aches that she previously never thought much of were resolved too. It’s not uncommon for women to slowly develop health issues due to the IUD that are passed off as normal or age-related issues.
  • A woman came to my office complaining of lower back, hip, and left ankle pain which was worse when she ran. Many muscles in those same areas were not functioning properly and I suspected, due to the type of assessment I employ, that they were an issue because of her IUD. Although seemingly healthy, she had her gallbladder removed several years earlier at age 25 for unexplained trouble with the organ. Interestingly, she had Paraguard inserted just about six months before the gallbladder troubles began. Nobody had ever made the connection.
  • I recently consulted with a woman who was experience debilitating and unexplained pain in her entire abdomen, pelvis, and thigh areas. On her history forms she did not mention any use of birth control. I suspected an IUD to be the cause and rather surprised her when I asked such a direct question. She had Paraguard inserted two years prior, but the pain was more recent in the last six to seven months. She had the IUD removed immediately and surprisingly learned that it had dropped down towards her cervix – meaning it wasn’t even in the correct place and she was lucky as to not have become pregnant. Upon discussing her history she noted excessive bleeding problems ever since the IUD was inserted, (she was told this was normal), and problems with her libido.
  • A woman complaining of jaw pain (TMJ dysfunction) presented in my office. We discussed her history and the time at which it occurred which didn’t seem to correlate with her IUD. Though she did note intermittent bouts of lower back pain and significant cramping at certain times throughout the month, but she just took NSAIDs for the problems and didn’t think too much of them. I explained to her the connection between the sacroiliac (SI) joints to the jaw joints and the relevance of SI area to the uterus and therefore the IUD. Once the IUD was removed the TMJ problem resolved completely as did most of her monthly hormonal problems, (which were also dietary related).

Other Contraception Alternatives

contraceptivesUnfortunately, there are not many alternatives to contraception that are both safe and effective. Charting daily temperatures and noting signs such as cervical mucus as in the Rhythm Method can be effective, yet there are other factors that can influence these parameters and the window of time for truly safe, unprotected sex is narrow. Condoms, when used correctly, provide 98% protection, (Paraguard is 99.2% and Mirena is 99.8% – both though only within their first year of use), though many don’t like the feeling of condoms, may react to the material (including synthetic lubricants on most brands), or simply just don’t want to deal with the trouble of going that route. Of course, condoms provide some protection against sexually transmitted diseases whereas IUDs do not. Tubal ligation for a woman or a vasectomy for a man can come with side-effects and are rarely reversible.

Ultimately, it is up to the woman, not her doctor, if she wants to remove her IUD. Most doctors, in my experience, don’t want to remove the IUD unless she is having definite symptomatic problems (such as pain), with it in. Though I recently saw a woman who, upon talking to her OBGYN about removing it and how we felt it was causing some of her hip pain, mentioned that her doctor commented that she wasn’t very surprised that it was giving her trouble as it’s more common than what she felt was reported.

Of course, though it should go without saying, I don’t want you to remove your IUD and get pregnant. So if you decided to have it removed, you should do so based upon your own research and your individual health and situation. Most all doctors think IUDs are perfectly safe, and even a newer “improved” version of the IUD may soon be available, an IUB – intrauterine ball. Alternative forms of contraception should be used and your cycle could take some time to normalize once you removed your IUD; it’s impossible to say how long or what the scenario is for each woman. I’ve also seen some women remove their IUD and not experience noticeable relief immediately because of the way it was impacting their body for so long. It’s almost like if a circuit was tripped in the body, much like a circuit breaker in a fuse box providing power to your house. Even once the power is back on, the circuit stays off until someone goes and resets it. This can be the case for some women and can often be corrected through various body therapies, (ie: deep tissue release, acupuncture, chiropractic). In the case of hormonal imbalances caused by Mirena or copper toxicity or mineral imbalance problems caused by Paraguard, some hormonal, nutritional, or visceral (organ) therapies may be warranted.

I typically don’t provide references when I write articles, (“blog posts”), for my site but for this one I decided to due to the both the sensitive and very important nature of the subject. Below are several studies I referenced. Please feel free to leave a comment as I always reply, though I am unable to provide you with individualized advice in such a manner.

References

Haliloglu B, Celik A, Ilter E, Bozkurt S, Ozekici U. Comparison of uterine artery blood flow with levonorgestrel intrauterine system and copper intrauterine device. Contraception. 2011 Jun;83(6):578-81.

Beltran-Garcia MJ, Espinosa A, Herrera N, Perez-Zapata AJ, Beltran-Garcia C, Ogura T. Formation of copper oxychloride and reactive oxygen species as causes of uterine injury during copper oxidation of Cu-IUD. Contraception. 2000 Feb;61(2):99-103.

Arnal N, de Alaniz MJ, Marra CA. Alterations in copper homeostasis and oxidative stress biomarkers in women using the intrauterine device TCu380A. Toxicol Lett. 2010 Feb 15;192(3):373-8.

Patai K, Berényi M, Sipos M, Noszál B. Characterization of calcified deposits on contraceptive intrauterine devices. Contraception. 1998 Nov;58(5):305-8.

Imani S, Moghaddam-Banaem L, Roudbar-Mohammadi S, Asghari-Jafarabadi M. Changes in copper and zinc serum levels in women wearing a copper TCu-380A intrauterine device. Eur J Contracept Reprod Health Care. 2013 Dec 5.

Turok DK, Jacobson JC, Dermish AI, Simonsen SE, Gurtcheff S, McFadden M, Murphy PA. Emergency contraception with a copper IUD or oral levonorgestrel: an observational study of 1-year pregnancy rates. Contraception. 2013 Nov 22. pii: S0010-7824(13)00732-4.

Baram I, Weinstein A, Trussell J. The IUB, a newly invented IUD: a brief report. Contraception. 2014 Feb;89(2):139-41.

From → Health Concerns

45 Comments

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  1. Kerry permalink

    Hi Dr. Gangemi,

    Thanks for posting this article. This is timely for my wife and I– she’s just had her Mirena IUD removed. We’re deciding what to use in the future.

    Interestingly, she developed and is being treated for hyperthyroid (not hypo-). After reading the article, I’d have to suspect a corollary, if not direct causality– diet, stress, and exercise are largely under control, following SockDoc and Maffetone principals.

    We’re considering vasectomy because we do not desire children; I’m 45, she’s 36, so I consider this a reasonable choice. I’d be curious to hear your perspective on the possible unanticipated side effects of vasectomy and tubal ligation.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks for all your work on this site, as well as the SockDoc site. I refer to them both constantly.

    Kind Regards,
    Kerry

    • Thanks Kerry. I have unfortunately heard several horror stories from women who have had tubal ligation, (a few of them recently posted on my FB page under the IUD post). Personally, my wife and I think it’s too risky to go that route.

      I’m also still a bit skittish on the vasectomy procedure. There is a case for immune issues as your body will want to kill off old sperm after some time; so some say this could provoke an autoimmune disease or a compromised immune system. I’ve also seen a couple guys who have had complications from vasectomies (constant pain).

      So for right now, we stick with condoms and cycle charting.

      • Kerry permalink

        Thanks for the reply, Doc! I’m thinking we’ll avoid the surgical procedures, stick to something that’s not likely to tax the autoimmune system. Thank you for sharing the method you and your wife use– that’s probably the route we’ll use too.

        Kind Regards,
        Kerry

  2. Clare permalink

    Thank you for taking the time to share your observations and expertise. I am so grateful for the thorough explanation and references provided. Incidentally, I have had chronic issues with my right tensor fasciae latae (in addition to the “normal” IUD side effects)- seems like you have plenty of evidence, but here’s one more case in support of conclusions. I also wanted to recommend “Taking Charge of Your Fertiltiy” by Toni Weschler (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060881909/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1). This book has been a great source of information to me. Thanks again!

  3. Very thought provoking post.

    It alway seemed to me that the basic principle of how the IUD works (chronic irritation to the body) was not such a great idea.

    Perhaps those that really want to use IUDs should do 2 yrs on / 2 yrs off (e.g.) rather than continuously year after year.

  4. Megan permalink

    Great article! I’ve been reading your other articles with special interest in the ones on the gallbladder. I started having chest pains 4 months ago and during these episodes my whole body seemed out of whack (they would come and go all day long). Long story short, after tons of tests the dr’s ruled out heart problems, muscular skeletal problems, and the only GI problem found was from a HIDA scan showing my gallbladder at 10% but no gall stones. I had a baby that was 6 months old at the time and had the Mirena inserted after he was born. I was the one that thought my problems might be due to the Mirena even though my OBG said it wasn’t but I insisted on having it taken out.

    After the IUD was removed a lot of the weird side effects disappeared but I still have the chest pains and a pain in the center of my back which the dr said was from anxiety. I’m a low stress, easy going person on no medications. I asked if it could be from my IUD and gallbladder but he said no. I get burping and I feel hormonal with it still as well so I’m wondering if you’ve seen a similar story to mine? And if so do I just need to wait until my body normalizes after having the IUD out? (it’s been 2 months) and is it possible that my gallbladder will go back to functioning normally? Could the chest pain be from my gallbladder and hormonal interactions? I know you can’t answer specifically but my other Dr doesn’t seem to know and I think it is right up this alley with IUD’s. Thanks!

    • I’d say your situation is more than common. Of course, the general MD isn’t going to associate problems together – they’re trained to focus on one area and not figure out how one organ influences another which in turn, another. Of course I can’t say what is going on with you w/o seeing you, but as I note in this IUD article and the gb articles, hormones have a huge affect on the gb. And they (the MDs) love to scare their patients with the HIDA scan results. If you figure out what is causing the gb problem then it’s irrelevant whether it’s at 5%, 10% or 30% or whatever the number.

  5. Iris permalink

    Thank you for posting this on IUDs. I insisted on having the non-hormonal one removed after 4 months of constant infections and pain since the insertion. Unfortunately, prior to that i was on birth control pills for over 10 years and the depo-provera shot for 5 years. It has been 4 years since I stopped using birth control, and my husband and I have been having trouble holding a pregnancy. I still have faith that in using diet, excercise, and natural remedies and allowing my body more time to heal, we will have our baby. Thanks again.

  6. Karen permalink

    Hi,

    I’m considering getting the Mirena IUD removed. I’ve had it for 2.5 years now. I believe it to be causing the slight iron overload recently in my blood work results. It was suggested that I go on Mirena because I had iron deficient anemia caused by heavy, long and frequent periods and I had refused “the pill” because of extreme moodiness that it caused fights so bad we were going to divorce. I hadn’t thought Mirena could be causing any problems. I also have a right knee that hurts sometimes like arthritis might (it runs in my family though). The iron overload and Rosacea that I have does not run in my family. I would not be surprised that the Rosacea is caused by Mirena or the iron overload due to Mirena (periods are reduced to next to nothing these days, which is nice to deal with but not if I will suffer from complications of the iron overload). The removal of the Mirena sounds scary too. I also do not know what to do about the heavy periods and the iron deficiency anemia when it comes back. What are some suggestions? I’d gotten my results back from my GP and have not called him yet to discuss that it’s due to the Mirena. He sent a requisition to repeat blood work and additionally to test for hemachromatosis in 3 months. If I get the a Mirena removed, I’d also want a good solution for the original problems that the a Mirena was supposed to be a “patch” for – the iron deficiency and bad periods (also hoping the Rosacea would disappear completely – is Rosacea caused by blood and iron problems? I know when I have facial flushing it is blood that rushes up and causes the “beet red” face coloring). Thanks for any suggestions!!

    • With hormonal problems like you’re having it’s best to find a holistic doc who can help you sort through the problem and find a solution best for you. Here are a few other docs I have trained: http://sock-doc.com/sock-doc-trained-docs/

    • Felicia permalink

      I’m late to the party, but I have to second the Doc’s suggestion here. Bio-identical hormone replacement is a life saver but something you have to see a Natural-path doctor about. I had some period issues in my 20’s and went on the pill, not knowing any better. Things still got worse and when I went off the pill to try an conceive, things got a LOT worse. Bio-identical progesterone has changed my life. Well worth looking into.

  7. Carolina permalink

    Such an excellent and timely read! I had a copper iud inserted a year ago, and over the last few months have had numerous body issues. Right side low back pain, extremely heavy periods, and what feels like a uti but my urine culture comes back clean for bacteria.

    Have you had any women complain of bladder issues with a uti? Do you think copper iud’s could cause bladder irritation?

    • I personally have not but wouldn’t be surprised as copper toxicity can cause many other issues.

  8. Kaylin permalink

    Hi
    I’d be interested to know your thoughts on the the new IUB developed by Ocon which has just started instigating sales in Europe.
    It is still a copper-based device so any possible physiological contra-indications I may have linked from having a copper IUD may or may not be ‘solved’ through choosing this new ball device.
    I’ve had pain down my left leg (almost like sciatic pain), pelvic area and lower back area for 18 months. I’m going through physio now to strengthen the core muscles. All issues you have addressed in your article and case studies.
    I’d be interested in your thoughts.
    Many thanks in advance.

    • Kaylin – I mention the new IUBs in the article and I’d recommend staying away from them just like an IUD. Are you saying you have an IUD currently in and are going through PT for your pain? If that’s the case I sincerely hope you consider the possibility of the IUD causing this as noted in the article.

  9. Kaylin permalink

    Yes I have an IUD at the moment and am planning to have it removed in a few weeks when my doctor is back from holiday. Even if it’s not the main contributory factor to my pain,for he it’s a necessary step in the process if elimination of causes. I was just wondering if the IUB was considered by you as a less invasive / safer alternative to the IUD as a longer term option to avoid an unwanted pregnancy whilst in a relationship.
    Many thanks for any advice.

  10. Heather permalink

    Ok, my husband sent me this site. Here is my problem, I’ve had heavy monthly cycles for a while, but after each child it’s gotten heavier..so much I was bleeding out at one point. My tubes are already tied. My mood swings were crazy too. Do I got on a pill to stop my monthly completely. I loved it, no mood swings, heavy flow. I felt great. About 10 months later I had for surgery, 3 weeks after that I ended up having blood clots in my lungs. I was put on blood thinners to help with that. I was told I could no longer take the pill. I freaked, thinking I was going to bleed out for sure now I was on blood thinners too. So the options I was given were partial hysterectomy OR the Mirena iud. I opted for the iud. After a few weeks I had horrible stabbing cramping. It started to go away a month later. But I’ve gained weight, my hair is thinning allot, I get really depressed around that time of the month and have had back acne when I’ve never had pimples hardly ever, and Bloated. I’m off the blood thinners now since they thought it was because of the got surgery and pill together. I’ve had all my tests, mri and ultrasounds to clear me of clots. I felt fantastic before the surgery, lost weight and everything. Now I feel terrible. What do I do? Do I go ahead and do the partial hysterectomy? Leave the ovaries? I’m 38 years old and very frustrated.

  11. Claire permalink

    This was a very helpful article. I have had the IUD for a few weeks now but for the past few days I have had lower back pain, left hip, groin and leg pain and my knees hurt more then normal. This is all worse at night! At first I put it down to my normal back pain but knew it felt different. After a few internet searches I have found lots of evidence to support this. I have my follow up appointment in a few days and a going to discuss all this.

  12. Maree permalink

    Dear Dr Gangemi,
    My friend has died of uncontrollable systemic sclerosis. It became dramatic the day after the removal of the device. The progression of her disease confused specialists so much there is an autopsy.

    I also have autoimmune disease, which became increasingly problematic after I removed my Mirena
    myself. Plagued with uterine inflammation so bad my cervix was permanently shifted I refused to wait eight weeks for an appointment to have it removed. Your article mentions iron overload and I certainly had many of the symptoms, but I could not get doctors to listen. Many of those symptoms are easing – several years later. My autoimmune condition is also mysterious – my specialist says it is a disorder of the elastic tissues. It is currently untreatable due to my drug reactions. My antinuclear antibodies titre is consistently 1:2560.

    My medical history indicates an underlying, preexisting condition well managed through diet and lifestyle. I have this in common with my dead friend, who had previously had trouble with ulcerative colitis. It had been in remission for many years prior to Mirena insertion. Her diet and lifestyle had been developed to ensure it didn’t return.

    I believe these are two cases of underlying conditions aggravated by the Mirena. I asked this question years ago and the response was negative. My friend’s case appears much clearer as her decline was so obvious. My decline is continuing. My theory is the hormones acted as a trigger for our diseases but the diseases were unstoppable once in progress.

    Is this information useful to you, or a current researcher? My friend’s family is distraught. Some answers would be helpful. I am not particularly happy with my own state but I try to remain happy and accept my condition as there appears to be no solution. I am told I am already doing what I can to help myself.

    I think at the very least there should be a warning to doctors about inserting the Mirena into a woman with previous history or indicators of autoimmune disease.

    Interestingly, I was surveyed by a woman on behalf of Mirena manufacturers about twelve to eighteen months after it was inserted. She became bored when I was listing my symptoms, many of which were not listed in the product information leaflet, and she cut the interview short. I think the drug companies know.

    Sincerely,

    Maree

  13. Sue permalink

    I’m a mommy of an autistic son and toddler daughter. I just want to get back to my old self. I enjoyed reading your article.

    I’m on a quest for information because in the past two and half years I’ve had a number of unusual medical issues wrong with me. It all started after I had my second child and decided that the IUD was a great choice for birth control. My OB assured me the IUD was a SAFE practical choice which he highly recommended to mothers like me.

    April of 2012, the IUD was put in. That winter, I ended up getting very sick with a common cold and an ear infection. I was prescribed amoxicillin. No big deal, because I have taken amoxicillin and never had a problem before. But this time after I took the amoxicillin, I felt the sensation of a lump in my throat getting bigger and bigger. I thought I would eventually be suffocated by it. I went to the doctor and he switch my antibiotic which did not heal the sensation. Even long after my sickness had pass I had a lump in my throat. I was scared and saw the doctor three times. He said I had anxiety problems and tried to give me anxiety pills. No thank you! So I changed my diet and exercised more and ignored my throat. Eventually it went away. I thought maybe I was stressed, and a prescription to a healthy lifestyle was the cure.

    However, once again a couple months later, while I was in great health, I was prescribed amoxicillin for a root canal. The throat thing came back with a vengeance! This time the sensation was extreme, and it hurt to eat and to swallow. Certain pitches in my voice could not be reached, yet I was able to talk fine. I saw an ENT and a GI and they both suspected I had gerd, a problem amplified with amoxicillin. An endoscopic exams confirmed my gerd. I was baffled because I didn’t even suffer from indigestion when I was pregnant. My GI told me I must be wrong, and I just did not know it because gerd can be silent. Now I’m taking omeprazole daily. I’m also not suppose to use amoxicillin. Following my gerd, I started to develop an orange film on my tongue. My ENT says I have a probiotic imbalance. Well I drink kefir and eat yogurt daily, and I’m now taking more probiotics. Yet I still have an orange tongue.

    Three months ago, I started having unusual vaginal discharge. It smelled like morning breath. Weird and embarrassing! I tested positive for BV and it was treated with an oral flagyl. YUCK!!! However a month after my treatment the smell came back. They tested me twice for BV and the test were negative. Furthermore, my periods have stopped and I’m cramping. My bladder hurts sometimes, but I don’t have a UTI. In the last three weeks, I have had serious lower back pain. I’ve seen both and OB and Orthopedist who both don’t address my cluster of symptoms as related even though they have appeared somewhat together. So here I am, 31 in physical therapy, riddled with back pain, gerd, and a mysterious orange film on my tongue. Reading your article makes feel maybe some of this could be the IUD. Maybe its not, and its all a coincidence. I’ve wanted to take out my IUD, but I’m afraid of antibiotics like amoxicillin. Maybe I just need to do it. At least I’ll know.

  14. Stacy permalink

    I am 22 years old. I got my paragard in the middle of June 2014 when I was still 21. For the first two to three months I was fine. My period was regular lasting from 4 to 5 days. Then when September came along I was experiencing knee joints and sometimes aches in my feet. About a week prior to my periods, I would feel really bad cramps and very horrible knees, legs, and feet aches throughout the day and even at night. When my period do start, it lasts for a week or even more! I hate this because my periods usually last only 4 or 5 days before I ever got the paragard. On top of the week long period, it is really heavy periods! My usual periods is not heavy. I am so disappointed in Doctors who doesn’t necessarily tell you both the negative and positive outcomes of getting the paragard. I did do some research online before I made the final decision, but there was mostly only advantages instead of disadvantages. I really hope more women use other birth control instead of the paragard or the Mirena even. I hate it, I am so busy with school and work that I don’t have any time for an appointment to remove the paraguard. But because my aches are getting really irritating to the point where I cannot focus during the day or even have a good sleep at night, is really frustrating. I am calling in tomorrow to make an appointment and if I have to miss one class just to remove that darn paragard I would gladly do so.

    Thank You so much for your blog, this was very helpful.

  15. Natasha permalink

    Thankyou for this article. I too am beginning to suspect the Mirena coil as the root of my problems. 2 years ago I had the coil insterted due to heavy bleeding. It caused continual bleeding for 6 months, which on investigation fibroids were found. The coil was removed. A year later an operation to remove the fibroids and reinsertion of the coil. It has certainly worked this time.

  16. Natasha permalink

    …..no periods for a year. But what started as occasional hip pain every month or so, has turned into daily severe pain in the hip joint and over the SI joint. I have had to stop running swimming and now walking is becoming a problem. On a really bad day I can not lie down sit or stand without pain and is had completely changed my life. 2 years ago I was incredibly fit and active. I now struggle to go for a walk. Only recently have I wondered about the coil being the cause. The timing of insertion, the timing of the first onset of pain. I have seen massage and recently a manipulation therapist who has given me feat relief from the pain. But only temporarily has the joint seems to move again and the pain comes back. When I orignally had the coil inserted I had a severe skin reaction too which still returns every month or so and I have become allergic to most skin soaps. (No previously allergies). Is it really possible it could be the coil? I have made an appt with my GP to discuss this with her. I have also contacted my gynaecologist but no reply as yet. I’m hoping that I may have finally found a cause and that it can be reversed. Thankyou

  17. Melinda permalink

    Wow…thank you so much for writing this article Dr Gangemi.
    I have had a Mirena for 2 years and slowly but surely my health has spiraled, extremely fast in the past 6 months. I have been training in Karate for 7 years I was very fit to now basically immobile. The pain that has been shooting down my left side was a 10… My knee just seemed to lose all ability to hold my kneecap, not to mention back pain shoulder pain, fatigue, feeling absolutely miserable. I had been to see just about everyone. Prescribed Celebrex that did nothing. Something on Sunday made me look up Mirena and Side effects regarding bad urine smell I was getting, so unrelated to the joint and muscle pain.
    I found your article, Monday morning I booked in to see a Dr and Within 30 mins had it out.
    4 days on all the pain I was experiencing has gone, my knee is still troubling as I hyperextended it as a result of no muscle control earlier. I’m feeling my old self well on the way now anyway. I am so happy but so angry as I trusted….I want to spread the word! Thank you again.

  18. Layal permalink

    Firstly, I would like to thank you for taking the time to write an article advising women NOT to use hugely marketed device .
    A very long story short. I am a 36 mother of two who has suffered low back, muscle and body aches since I gave birth to my second child. I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia 2 years ago and have since been taking alternative therapy, homeopathy, Progesterone therapy ( pill form). Coincidently I had the paraguard inserted shortly after my second delivery. Never had and health issues, mechanically. I am told that I am in great shape. I do therapeutic yoga and eat well … But the muscle pain persists. I came across this article And it made me think, could the paraguard be behind l this? Please note, I had it replaced with new one this past summer with doctor removing and replacing on same day? Do u think I should do the mineral hair analysis before I remove it or just go ahead with removing it. ? I do feel like at times, I am hanging by a thread.. It’s so saddening and frustrating to have something affect your life and not have an explanation why?
    Many thanks.

    • Hair analysis won’t necessarily show a problem, (with copper I believe you are specifically asking), and of course there is more to the issue than just copper as I write in the article.

  19. Bronwyn permalink

    Thanks you for writing such an informative article. I had a copper iud insert two years ago and felt I had no issues with it.
    Over the past 4 1/2 months I have had continuous vaginal irritations to the point it is now really driving me nuts!
    It follows a cycle of me being symptom free during my period but as soon as my natural vaginal discharge starts the irritation, stinging and burning comes back to anywhere the discharge touches the vaginal tissues.
    I have had lots of tests with my doctor, all coming back negative! I asked at my most recent visit if the iud cold be causing this only to be told she highly doubted it and taking it out would be a last resort as it is doing its job!!
    As the vaginal mucus discharge naturally comes from inside me I feel there is something in it causing all this irritation possibly the cooper ions being released?
    I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
    Many Thanks

    • I think that’s bold of your MD to think it’s most likely not an issue. Of course it may not be, but you read my article.

  20. Bronnie77 permalink

    Thanks you for writing such an informative article. I had a copper iud insert two years ago and felt I had no issues with it.
    Over the past 4 1/2 months I have had continuous vaginal irritations to the point it is now really driving me nuts!
    It follows a cycle of me being symptom free during my period but as soon as my natural vaginal discharge starts the irritation, stinging and burning comes back to anywhere the discharge touches the vaginal tissues.
    I have had lots of tests with my doctor, all coming back negative! I asked at my most recent visit if the iud cold be causing this only to be told she highly doubted it and taking it out would be a last resort as it is doing its job!!
    As the vaginal mucus discharge naturally comes from inside me I feel there is something in it causing all this irritation possibly the cooper ions being released?
    I would love to hear your thoughts on this.
    Many Thanks

  21. Tina permalink

    I wish I had read this before I got a Mirena. I recently had one installed and only lasted four days with it in before I ended up in the Emergency Room begging them to remove it. From the first hour I had it I experienced cramping, bloating, constant abdominal ache and shooting pains that just wouldn’t let up. I felt immediately better after removal, but still had a feeling of soreness and inflammation in my lower belly. I saw my gyn the next day and he was concerned about potential infection, so he put me on two very strong antibiotics which are usually used to treat pelvic inflammatory disease. This was over a week ago and I still don’t feel right! I ended up back in the ER several days ago, where they took a urine sample, did blood work and ultrasounds (including a transvaginal ultrasound), and said everything was normal and healthy – no elevated white blood cell count, nothing to indicate what is wrong. I was told that perhaps I’d had an infection that the antibiotics had cleared up and to keep taking the antibiotics until they’re done.

    I started to feel slightly better over the weekend, and returned to work on Monday, only to end up feeling worse. I have pain in my right side that radiates to my back – it feels like a “stitch” one would get from running that just won’t go away. I also get sharp twinges of pain in my abdomen that seem to be located in my ovaries. I seem to feel worse when I move around a lot, and in fact if I twist my torso a certain way or sit up too fast I get a sharp pain in my right side/lower back (where the “stitch” feeling is). Last night I couldn’t sleep because my entire lower back was aching so badly.

    I’ve searched around on the internet and I haven’t found anyone with these symptoms after having the Mirena for such a short period of time. I don’t understand what is wrong with my body and why I don’t seem to be healing from whatever trauma it is under. Any advice or recommendations would be very appreciated.

  22. Rosemary permalink

    Hello, I need some advice for my 27 year old daughter who is currently having serious issues with her IUD. She recently went to her doctor with abdominal pain (she has had an IUD for a few years now) tests/ultra sound were ran and it was confirmed that her IUD had lodged itself in her uterine wall. Surgery was scheduled for yesterday morning, they went in thru 3 incisions and could not remove the IUD..it had fused itself in the uterus. The hospital where she was at does not have the means of conducting an operation so they are sending her to a larger hospital in Boise Idaho also advising that she must now have a hysterectomy. The uterus has also fused itself to her abdomen due to her having a C-Section during her last pregnancy. Does this sound true? She is only 27 and told she must have a hysterectomy because of this? Please advise….

    • Oh wow. I am really sorry to hear that. I hope she gets a second opinion before the hysterectomy. Hopefully there is a doc who can removed the IUD by another method.

  23. Jessica permalink

    I had the copper IUD after never using birth control and it ruined me:( I got it removed after 8 months, when symptoms started and I figured out that is what it was. Raging insomnia, heart palpitations, mood swings, cystic acne to name a few. I have been healing for the last 1.5 years but I am still not right. I feel like Sherlock trying to get to the bottom of my symptoms. I have had adrenal spit tests, hair analysis. I know that my hormones are off. I have read a ton about the copper effects on hormones. I feel like I am estrogen dominant now. I just got a blood draw with a hormone specialist that prescribes bio identical hormones. After reading this article and your replies, it makes more sense. The stress the IUD had on my body shot my cortisol levels up and my body had to use progesterone to make it. Makes sense why I couldnt drink a glass of wine, or even when I eat sugar it triggers insomnia. My question is now that all is said and done, how do I regulate my cortisol after the fact? Is it all hormone now due to the domino affect? Or can I do something about the cortisol? I feel like ANY adrenaline situation triggers symptoms. Strange. I just cant believe Doctors arent taking this more seriously. Bottom line. Women, follow your intuition and listen to your body. Thanks for your article.

  24. aelis permalink

    Hello,

    I had a copper IUD in november 2013, and one month after i started to have frequent urination with no bacteria, and later, symptoms of endometriosis. I never had problems before, so i suspect there is a link.

    So i had my iud removed the 26th of november 2014, but i see no change for the moment (2d of december), and maybe it is a little bit worth.

    So my question is: how long could it take, in your opinion and if the iud was the cause, for recovery?

    Thank you

  25. Kymm permalink

    Hi!
    I had my mirena inserted 1 week ago and ever since I’ve had it inserted I’ve been having left hip pain, only at night or when I’m laying down. I don’t understand why. In your article you mentioned that hip pain slowly developed over time, I’m just wondering why I’m having this pain only having it a week.

    • This is often the connection of the uterus affecting the gluteus medius and other hip muscles. Although I can’t of course say for sure, that is more than likely not a coincidence.

  26. Sarah permalink

    Hello,

    I read this article in its entirety and there is only one part that I did not like. You said every one has a problem with this form of birth control (not verbatim). I had the Mirena inserted at the age of 18 loved it! I had it removed 5 years later at the age of 23. I then went on to have my son and decided to go ahead with the paraguard. I have now had it for 2 years. So far I have no issues with this one. Not to say for sure that I could develop them down the line. I just wanted you to be able to hear from someone that has not had any medical complications from using these devices. I know a few of my friends have had issues leading to removal. I personally love them and think they have been the best decision I have made as a form of birth control. I will be bookmarking this particular article. I plan on keeping the paraguard for the remaining 8 years. I will definitely be posting an update if I start having problems. Thanks again for the article.

  27. mini permalink

    I had my iud removed after5 years and had to be removed surgically as it was embedded.I have hypothyroidism n irregular periods so my doctor kept me on pills to regularize my periods.now post periods I’m on pills and get periods on due date but it only spots for a day.post removal my flow has stopped.pls guide .

  28. shelby permalink

    Hi drgangemi

    So I had the iud for almost two years now. I ‘ve been loving it the first year. The second year I’ve notice alot of changes in me. Depression, Lower back pain, mood changes, lazy, tired, annoyed with e veryone, eating like crazy, and gained weight and crazy cramps. I dont like non of these symptoms but I love that I cant get pregnant. I might give it another year and see how it goes because my mood is no good especially when raising a toddler. Over all I do like the iud just dont like the symptoms I have sometimes. As we speak i am having lower back pains and cramps. Should I continue this iud or have it removed?

  29. Laura permalink

    Dr. Gangemi
    Thank you so much for validating the symptoms that many of us had with the Mirena IUD. There are hundreds of women who are suffering unnecessarily because of these IUD’s. It is so refreshing to hear a medical professional validate our experiences. I went to 2 obgyns and confided in them only to be told that the Mirena was safe and that the hormone did not leave the uterus, the other told me i needed psychological help. Mind you these were people that delivered my three children and who I saw for my annual check- ups. It took 1 1/2 years after removal to start feeling somewhat normal. I am so mad about all the times I went to different doctors only to be given anti-deppresant medications. I like many women are Mirena victim survivors. You can find them on Facebook under Ban Mirena or I hate Mirena private groups.

  30. Mel permalink

    Ive had the mirena on and iff for the past ten years. In sept they removed the device as it expired. I was going to have another inserted yet had to wait till nov 10. I had it inserted and well developed horrific leg pain muscle twitching joint pain and all doctors i have seen say there is absolutely no connection yet i had none of these symotoms before this ordeal started in Sept. Im being tested for autoimmune diseases still waiting on results. Ive been deppressed nervous anxious and i have muscle twitching on my butt. I have no idea what to do. Will this go away do i need to do a detox? I need help. I appreciate any input

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