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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

86 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

  31. Amber permalink

    So i just went in 4 days ago and had my iud removed after having it for 5 years never had a problem with it until i go for an ablation and to have a tubal ligation after doing my ablation and removing my iud i wake up from the anesthesia and was told they couldnt get my tubal ligation done because it was like cellophane and he couldnt get ahold of them could this be from the iud? I do not go back for another week to see my doctor.

  32. Natasha permalink

    Hi Dr Gangemi,
    I have taken your article to my manipulation therapist as we were both interested in what you had to say. I live in the UK. I had the coil removed 4 weeks ago. My skin allergies and soft tissue problems appeared to have cleared up. The joint problems remain an issue though I have only had one treatment post removal. I have been researching all of this to try and find a solution. I did not believe I could go from feeling 40 to 70 years of age in the space of one year. From what I have found I suspect the joint problems will take a long time, if ever, to subside. My GP has had X-rays taken and they are all clear, no blood work done. So we believe it is definitely a mechanical issue with the joints. In your article you don’t mention the affects of silicone, which the Mirena coil is made of. Do you have any info on this? I see the side effects listed describe everything I have had. I worry that an auto immune reaction has been triggered in my body. I hope not and remain positive about the next year ahead. Thankyou.

  33. Chrissy permalink

    Dr. Gangemi,

    I’m so glad I found this article! I had the mirena for 6 years and during that time my health started winding down. I did not realize it was caused by the IUD. I was diagnosed with celiac, had tmj and unexplained neck muscle spasms for which I took Xanax daily. I got the mirena removed in January or this year and decided to get the paragard instead because I thought the progestin was the problem. After 6 months of intense sugar cravings, brain fog and rapid weight gain, I pulled the paragard out myself. Since then I have continued to have severe water retention, bouts of hair loss and numerous symptoms of hypothyroidism. I am currently on 180mg of armour which has helped some of my symptoms, but my skin is still tight with fluid and it drives me crazy because it affects how well I can move. My question is if so many women have healed after getting the mirena out, why am I still struggling? Thank you.

    • I’d suggest you find a holistic doc who can help you figure this out. I’m also happy to do a consult.

  34. Hi Dr. Gangemi,

    Thank you for your article. I currently do not have an IUD but my PCP wants me to consider it. I am 31 now and I started having very heavy bleeding when I was 28. I started seeing an Acupuncturist after this because I didn’t want to take birth control. My Acupuncturist was able to get my periods to a manageable place but wasn’t able to help with the pain. My OBGYN suggesting an ultra sound which showed that my endometrial lining was very thick. My OBGYN suggested a Laprocospy to check for Endometriosis and a Biopsy to make sure there were no cancerous issues. After the surgery my periods got worse, my hemoglobin dropped to 6 over the course of 4 months and I had to get a blood transfusion. Following that I have to get an iron infusions every week for a few months. I started doing my own research and found a natural supplement called DSM. It has worked but I still have one heavy day and still need to get iron infusions every other week. I have also changed my diet, started juicing and started I am working on decreasing meat and dairy. Though my periods are better they are still heavy and it’s weighing on my body. I am so tired of the Drs only suggesting birth control, and I am not sure what to do at this point. I know you’re not in my area but I could really use some guidance. I live in MD, and I hope you can help me.

  35. Brandi permalink

    Thanks for this article. I have been doing some of my own research on the iud and it is nice to hear from a doctor who tells negative too , not only positive. I’m 39 and pregnant and have other children, and it’s not likely that me and my partner would want more. But even if we did since this is his first child it wouldn’t be for a couple years anyway. My OB/GYN recommended iud medina bc I had had bad symptoms on my seen ties from birth control pills. I told him I don’t want hormones at all so it irritates me that he still pushes more a bc even though it is very low, it is still a hormone. So I found out about the copper iud and thought maybe that could be an effective alternative. But now after reading your article and some other studies about both iud types and copper toxicity and iuds attaching to the uterus and hip and back pains, it doesn’t look so good. Especially when I already have a hard time with my hips hurting sometimes from an old car accident with hip fractures and sacrum fractures. When I’m not pregnant and Excercise my back is manageable. But these iud side effects sound unappealing and it does Semmelweis to make sense that a foreign metal object would irritate the uterus and cause other problems bc the body is all interconnected. But I don’t know what to use. Condoms suck, foams are not very effective, anything hormonal for me is not going to happen and now the para guard seems to have things happen that I don’t want to deal with, especially while taking care of a new born. And I saw you you seem to be against tubal ligation and vasectomy. I am Leary about it too just bc I don’t like being cut open and organs altered unless it is life threatening. But what are the sside effects that have occurred from them for men and women?
    Thanks

  36. Jolly permalink

    I came apun this site after searching what to expect after having removed the IUD. (My apt is today). First I have to say I’m scared to death from all this reports. Hope I won’t have any complication after removal.
    And another question dr. What birth control do u recommend to avoid pregnancy ?

  37. Rach permalink

    I had the paraguard in for about 4.5 months and I was miserable and in so much pain … Got it out 2 years ago this feb and still have pain In my lower abdomain constantly .. Chronic uti and have to pee a lot and my uterus area kills after I do …. Is there anything I can do now

  38. Rhoda permalink

    I have had a copper IUD since AUGUST 2014. All was ok except a metallic smelly discharge that everyone says is normal. This has yet to go and the only time i do not experience it is during my period. The period is a lot heavier but i have managed to retain my usual 21day cycle very timely.

    Over christmas i had my period and ever since i have thsi itch that just will not go. Any manner of pressure on my skin is causing pink bumps and lumps. Worse if i scratch. They are so lumpy sometimes, it feels like i got hit by a golfball at max speed.

    Anyway, i am considering it having it removed. Mainly because the discharge is really affecting my esteem. I am on pantyliners all day everyday i am not on my period. My vaginal area has become so sensitive – probably due to overusing liners, that i twitch while peeing, showering..etc.

    I also experience some irritation during sex. what would you advise?

  39. Celina permalink

    Hello i loved this article it really helped,but i still have some questions. I was fifteen when i got Paragaurd. The instant i got it my lower back was in utter shear pain. As bad as i wanted the doctor to take it right back out i kept it because the doctor said the pinch was normal. My periods were awful the cramps so painful. After three years i was having reallybad pains in my lower abdomin i was in and out of the er for three months at one time they said it was a cysc and gave me meds well one night i sat on the toilet and felt like i was having a baby! But i was pushing out clots of blood so i was rushed to the er() my mom was horrified. The er doctor said it sounded like contractions. So the doctor layed mye down i told him about the cysc he got all my paper work faxed and said no thats no cysc and opened me up and it was black blobs it relieved all the pressure but i was so scared! He said it could have been a misscarriage but it was too late to tell. I hadthe paragaurd removed the next dayi still dont know what happened. But its been two years and im still having back pain and horrible cramps. What do i do?

    • Cases like this ideally need to be figured out with a doc who understands these types of issues.

  40. beth permalink

    Dr. Gangemi,
    I was wondering if you know of any good doctors near salem oregon, I realize it’s a long shot since you are in the east coast area. or Do you have any suggestions on how to find a holistic doctor. I have been having health issues some probably related to the iud which will be getting removed, and some that may be unrelated.
    Thanks for your time and your knowledgeable post.

  41. jayne permalink

    Can you please expand on the Turok et al, 2013 article wrt iron overload and the IUD. Is there a way to get access to the full article that you cited?
    thanks much….i think this has some relevance to my daughter’s current health issues.

  42. I’ve had the IUD for about 4 1/2 months now. I got it in the middle of October and my gynecologist told me that I would bleed for about three months straight. So I blead for literally three months straight. I would get slight cramps about everyday, but they would come and go. I stopped bleeding in the middle of December. After that I had absolutely no problems. For about a week now I started bleeding again. But I’ve never blead this bad. And I have cramps that are so bad they will stop me in my tracks and I can not do anything. I will be in class at school and get these cramps so bad that they make me cry. They come and go all the time. I will probably get them no longer than 5 minutes and only about 10 minutes apart. I don’t understand why this is though? Because I was told that after my three months of bleeding I would be done for three years until my IUD is up to remove. So I was wondering if you had any suggestion on what this could be.

  43. Jade permalink

    Dr gangemi
    Thank you for this article. Im having a few problems at the moment and I’m not sure if its normal or not if I should be concerned or not,
    I had a mirena coil fitted about 6 months ago I’d previously had a copper coil my Dr knows I’ve pollycistic overys had PID also have sacrolilitus I was advised to change to the mirena as I suffer from acnie and was told this would help reducev it .
    I started getting a bad smelling discharge and sore uncomfortable feeling.on checking strings I noticed the tip of coil pressing out . booked to see my Dr .nexed day had long fleshie bits hanging out me , so I pulled it away and attached to the end was my coil coverd with flash I assume , i was checked at the drs by nurses an told all is OK . then a day or two later the bleeding started and smelled like rotting meat I had a course of antibiotics and tablets to stop the bleeding . well the bleeding never stopped I’m getting clots falling out every day its been over a month of heavy bleeding and I fill exhorsted cold and at times my head fills giddie how long do you think this will last for is this normal and should I be concerned about the bleeding?
    Sorry if my speling is rubish i cant help that.
    Thankyou

  44. britt permalink

    I have had my mirena for 6 months now I had my gall bladder removed 4 weeks ago I’ve been have serious issues with cramps abdominal pain along with bloating and feeling deprived and depressed I have also passed clots and have a urinary track infection every time I turn around I bled for almost 5 months straight I’m curious is this what is really wrong with me I feel like it is but not sure I’m suppose to have it removed Thursday any advice please thank you!

  45. carlotta campbell permalink

    I have had paraguard for a year and i had no issues until a few weeks ago. I ended up in the er due to sever cramping to the point that breastfeeding my daughter became too painful due to contracting. And once again my periods are heavy as in a super plus tampon can not control it this month. And my body overdoses on the added hormones in pills and any other birth control that contains hormones. My pms is horrible and the depression gets crushing around my period
    ive never had these issues until a year of paraguard being put in.

  46. Ursula permalink

    Hi Doc, last night I had severe cramps that was traveling from my stomach to my back down to my butt. It hurt so bad it woke me up out my sleep and I could barely walk to the bathroom. I had the IUD (mirena) inserted in April after the birth of my second child. Sometimes I have stomach pains but I do like the IUD because we don’t have to worry about pregnancy. We’ve (my husband and I) had two babies in two years. I would hate to believe this is what causing this pain. I mean I really felt like I was about to push a baby out last night it was so painful. Your opinion is needed. If I remove it what is the next best thing. I don’t know if I want more children or not. But I do like the idea that I could if I decided to try again.

  47. Mimmi permalink

    Hi Dr. Gangemi,

    Thank you so much for writing and publishing this article! I come from Sweden, and here no/very few of the side effects of the copper IUD are known/acknowledged. I had a copper IUD for 2.5 years and suffered from various side effects, many of them mentioned above. When I consulted health care with my problems I was ignored and treated as “another hysterical woman”, and when I approached the question if the IUD could be involved with my troublesome symptomes I was almost laughed upon, and got the answer that I had to understand that a copper IUD has no hormones and could not possibly affect my hormones, my PMS, give me depression of mood swings, nor could it make my head dizzy or give me “brain fog”. No, I was silly to even suspect such a thing.

    Thank you for publishing this article!
    / Mimmi

  48. Sandra permalink

    Hi Dr Ganemi

    I have just come across your website & thought I’d let you know that you may well have saved another Gallbladder! I am having an ultrasound scan on Thursday to see why I have a swollen Gallbladder? My story’s long but I’ll try as briefly as I can to fill you in. For the last 2 yrs I’ve been experiencing a lot of pain in my hands, I’ve had Carpel Tunnel release on both to no avail, I’ve had one thumb joint replacement which has now got a trapped nerve that needs removing, (the other needs doing) a Nerve release Op on my cervical spine, to no avail & steroid injections at the base of both thumbs, brilliant for 4 days got all my Xmas Decs up, kissed my hands every 2 mins cause no pain for the 1st time in 2 yrs but it was just the anaesthetic

  49. Sandra permalink

    Sorry only half finished..

    I’ve also had continuous urine infections & have a scan on Thursday for a swollen Gallbladder! I’ve just read your article’s on some of the side effects of the mirana coil & having too much copper in your system can cause! I have all of these symptoms baring peeling palms although I do have it underfoot. I read only the other day that painful hands could be down to hormones, I am 55 next month & have the mirana coil but I’m experiencing symptoms of peri menopause except I still have a regular monthly cycle, so decided to have the coil removed at the end of this week. After reading your information I am convinced that the Mirana coil is the cause of all my problems but hopefully hasn’t caused any permanent damage, if this is the case can I keep you posted as I’d like to share this with as many people as possible as this has not just had an impact on my health but my whole life. sincerely Grateful, Sandra

  50. Jessica permalink

    I thankfully just came across this web site. I am 45, 4 kids and had the Merina inserted about 3 years ago. All was great – no periods, no weight gain and I felt fine. BUT almost 2 years ago I had to stop jogging because my right leg became extremely heavy after running for 10 minutes or walking 40 minutes. It was the strangest thing. I could hardly lift it but there is no pain. It is affecting my tennis and skiing too. I thought maybe it was from too many spin classes (5 a week) and not enough stretching. My glutes and quads – specially the right side were/are SO tight. I’m having IMS on them. I’ve stopped my spin classes (which makes me so sad) and I’ve gone to a chiroprator, physio, massage, and an osteopath. I’m feeling like i am 90 not 45. I have just made an appointment to remove the IUD. Sure hope it solves my problems. DR. – thanks very much for posting this article.

  51. Maneesha Sharma permalink

    Hi Dr. Gangemi,
    Very illuminating to read your views on the IUD. My doctor had me get one to treat the extra thick (17 mm ) lining on my uterine wall. But I have been in tears for the past week. Pain in my lower back on the left and in my left thigh and leg has left me almost unable to function. Just started to explore the possibility and came across your article. Thank you very much. Any suggestions on my condition? Other options my gynecologist suggested were Novasure and Hysterescopy. The former is quite scary, and unsure about the latter.

  52. amandadonahue permalink

    Thanks for posting this article. I learned alot. I do have some other questions though. I had my Paraguard in for approx 5 years before removal. (I’d have to check my medical records,) Anyway – I would say I had it removed in March of 2014 (ish). In June, I had a very early miscarriage. What I thought was a heavy period became alot of tissue and a warning to go see my Dr. They advised me to take a pregnancy test, which showed an HCG level of only 14. After some blood tests and some time, it went back down to normal levels. Fast forward to around Christmas 2014, and I had another heavy period and extra paid that led me to believe I was miscarrying again, but I never got a positive pregnancy test. (Those things are pricy!) Now – It’s February 6, and I used an ovulation kit to try to conceive. My husband and I had sex for three days around the correct timing. I know there is a chance I’m pregnant and am trying to do what I can to be “healthy” in hopes my body won’t miscarry. If I do however – would now be a good time to have my Dr. check me out to see if pregnancy is possible? Also – before, when I miscarried and again when I suspected my second miscarriage, there was large sheaths of tissue rather than just a heavy blood flow. What was that? Why? Is it possible my uterine lining is just getting rid of residual copper from the IUD? If so, how long is that going to take?

  53. Dr. GANGEMI, you are a rare gem!! I am desperate for your thoughts regarding sexual function and copper iud. I have researched for yrs only now to have my thoughts possibly affirmed. I have had suspicions about my copper IUD for the past 2 years, and have nott had it removed because several ob/gyns have confidently told me it is not the problem and is in perfect position as well.I had one for 10 years with no loud symptoms. Had a second one put in and the procedure was very difficult and painful. Since then I have had brand new symptoms that never occurred with the first I u d. My OBGYN has examined me and said everything seems normal, but I have gone from 18 yrs of normal and enjoyable sex life with my husband, to much less sensitivity, feeling and tightness it seems as though collagen and muscle tone has been affected with no other causes. I was toned and snug even after 2 vaginal deliveries. Why the big change now. I m only 37 and in shape. I wanted to believe it was the IUD so that symptoms may improve upon taking it out, but all three doctors have said it wouldn’t cause this and have also told me the pelvic area appears normal to them. I know that I know that I know that things are so different despite what they say. My main question for you is, in your professional position and experience, how strongly do you feel that the presence of a paraguard IUD could cause pelvic and vaginal muscle tone loss???? In all my research I have never seen it to be true, except in researching dairy cows that have ovarian cysts, lose tone. This could be a connection. My symptoms kind of coincided with the finding of a 3 cm ovarian cyst which quite possibly came about because of the iud and perhaps some confusion in the reproductive system. To summarize, I am just asking you how you feel a copper I u d could affect muscle tone and tightness in the whole vaginal area? Second question is do you think the ovarian cyst is the culprit to the changes I have experienced. Much thanks!

  54. Kirsten Henry permalink

    Hi Dr. Gangemi! Thanks for all the great info! I have had the Mirena for about a year and a half now and I am suspecting that it’s causing some immune suppression problems for me. Since I got the mirena I’ve had to have two sinus surgeries and a tonsilectomy to “cure” my illnessness. However, I still get sick all the time, despite eating an extremely healthy diet of mosty vegetables and cutting out sugar and grains, and taking a lot of naturopathic immune supplements. I know that by know the antibiotics I took also compromised my immune system, but I am starting to wonder if it all started with getting the Mirena. I never had problems before recovering from colds or flus, now they last two months minumum if I’m lucky. I also have started to get sharp lower back if I am sedentary a lot, which seems kind of normal? But I never had this in any of my office jobs before. Have you heard of cases of the hormones in the Mirena causing immune problems?

  55. Natalie permalink

    Thankyou for sharing your stance on this particular contraceptive .I had the copper coil fitted last year , since then I have had problem after problem , thrush at least twice a month , heavy bleeding , stomach cramps and bv. Whatever happened to the oath of first do no harm !! Clearly the medics that fit these coils must know of possible side effects yet failed to tell me when I asked.. furious is not the word.

  56. Allison Dooley permalink

    Dr. Gangemi,
    Thank you so much for speaking this truth regarding the harmfulness of IUDS AND HORMONAL BIRTH CONTROL. The medical community at large has failed women horribly in this regard. I find it ironic that many women care very much about eating organic fruits and vegetables and animal products raised without the use of hormones or antibiotics yet they use high levels of artificial hormones daily for family planning. There are natural options available that are very reliable. The local organization in NC that trains women and couples in a natural methodology is fertilitycarenc.org. You should check it out. There are OB/GYNS at UNC Chapel Hill, Winston-Salem, Shelby and Raleigh that are trained in this methodology and support its use 100%. Woman deserve better!

  57. Deb permalink

    This is my 2nd mirena and since the insertion 12/2014 and I’ve been having these issues… Pain on my left side(ovaries) and bloating. It only lasts for a few hours and comes and goes– sometimes once a week. I’ve also been having pain right below my chest and back pains– once a month. A week after the insertion, I also had this weird rash all over my stomach. It finally went away but my left side puzzles me. I didn’t have any side effects before w minera. Why is my body rejecting it this time? I’m 44 divorced and don’t want anymore kids. I’ve been on the pill til my kids were born and a little afterwards then IUDS. I don’t like my period and don’t want anymore kids. What can I do to protect myself? Another side note – my mom has stage 4 ovarian cancer but not a carrier of the gene. Thank you.

  58. Doc
    I had the mirena removed on dec 10 i had lost mobility of my legs my knees and ankles hurt. Ironically recently thyroid nodules showed up. My legs sloely get better but i still feel off although much better than in december. How long to see results also is there a nutrition diet you recomnend? I notice my symptoms when i ovulate each month? Any advice would be greatly appreciated

  59. steph permalink

    I had the Mirena iud put in Jan 26. 3 weeks later I started having feelings of anxiety and panic out of no where with chest pain. I went to the hospital where they couldnt find the problem. This lasted about 5 days. I went and had the iud removed even though I was told that it couldn’t be the problem. The same day of removal I felt sick and chest hurt bad. Could this just be the iud hormone coming out of my system?

  60. Irina permalink

    I had Skyla inserted in November and I just had to remove it two days ago. I’d gone through cramping that got more and more common until I would be in pretty intense pain every second day or so. I finally had to remove it when the cramps got so intense I couldn’t really get up and walk properly. I think it would have fallen out on its own (the strings were over an inch longer than usually), but I just couldn’t really take it any more.

    The reason I’m writing here is that I found your point about weakness in the muscles of the hip area very interesting. I used to lift heavy weights a lot and recently got back to the gym, only to notice that I’d developed new compensatory mechanisms that weren’t there before. I was surprised to notice that I had a somewhat posterior pelvic tilt and a rather hunched, stretched upper back, whereas when I’d previously taken off with heavy weights, I’d had an anterior pelvic tilt. I also do a lot of hula hooping and I noticed a lot of general core weakness and an annoying poking sensation that accompanied activation in transversus abdominis, and over time I finally I realized I’d been compensating for the pain from the cramps with the hunched over posture and the pelvic tilt. So it was very interesting for me to read about your findings regarding posture and instabilities resulting from IUDs.

    Unfortunately for me, hip alignment issues and abdominal weakness result in difficulties reaching an orgasm, so consequently, my sex life was also not as satisfying as it was before the IUD. I’m happy it came out and I’m already enjoying my old, pain-free life.

  61. chiomz permalink

    Thank you Dr Gangemi. Your article explains a lot . I was eager to avoid Paraguard due to heavy bleeding and choose mirena 5mths ago. Now I have extreme back pain, painful knees and I’m gaining weoght.. taking it out tomorrow

  62. Dawn permalink

    I had the copper IUD in for a few years. First I was on Depo for about 2 years after my son was born (1999, I was 22), then switched to IUD because I wanted the possibility of future kids. (I had a friend on Depo for a few years, when she went off it, took several years to finally get pregnant again). I basically went through a second puberty… restarting period, debilating breast pain. I had the IUD in until late 2008, which I had removed because my finance (now hubby) wanted to try for a kid (we are still “trying” to this day, early 2015).

    While I had the IUD in I started to experience some horrific pain in my uterus area during my periods. So severe I would be cry. It was worse when I had to take a poop… so badly that I was afraid to make a bowel movement. It even hurt at times after peeing. Physical muscle pain, almost directly above and centered above the pelvis bone/vagina area (hope that makes sense).

    When I had the IUD removed, I continued to feel the sharp pain for several months. I still get bad cramps on day one of my period, sometimes bed ridden because I try to avoid medications when I can. If I have to work, I take a few ibprophen, since I’ve discovered a lot of my health issues/aches seemed to be relieved most with iBprophen which targets inflammation.

    A few years ago I did end up pregnant, but miscarried at about 6 weeks. Ultrasounds (external & internal… first internal ever done) revealed 2 embryo sac… one with out a vaible embryo. They also discovered polyps, a few about golf ball sized. Before this, I’ve never had ultra sounds done except when pregnant with my son. I had a D/C years ago at 17 for another miscarriage, but no mention of polyps.

    I often wonder if the IUD cause the polyps to form and if these polyps are the cause of my monthly pain on the first day. I haven’t had them removed do to lack of medical coverage.

    Oh… also while on the IUD, I had several headaches a month, almost daily. Often were migraines that put down for several hours, worse on the last day of my periods. Since removing the IUD, the headaches have subsided, but I can still get that end of period headache or get one from high stress level… but they are all localized on the left side of my head, right behind my ear/eye area… almost like being stabbed with an ice pick. If I feel them coming on and I have the time (no work or school). I can treat it with hot washcloth or submerging my head in hot water in the tub (leaving face above water level), then taking a nap in a dark, quiet, cool room. Sometimes to help the process some ibprophen. These headaches can be so bad, I’m crying. There have been times it was like being punched and dropping me to my knees.

    Before my IUD, my periods where a breeze for me… no wonky PMS, no bad physical issues (I hardly knew when it started). During the IUD I developed lots of physical issues and bipolar like PMS. After, I still have some physical issues and I have to be aware of my moods during PMS (depression, sudden hate, etc).

    So yes, I agree with your assessment. I tell people not get an IUD unless they feel it’s their only resort. Thankfully I’m on no birth control since I’m still married to my husband. I’m 38 years old and hoping years of birth control free life style will help with an easier menopause when the time comes.

  63. Lisa - IUD MIGRAINE permalink

    I had my IUD (Mirena) in for a year, in that time I was chronically ill with insane migraines. I would just lay in bed for days with stroke symptom type migraines, couldn’t even remember how to talk or understand what people were saying during my migraine episodes. I had my Mirena removed 2 months ago and haven’t had any migraines since. It’s been two months since the removal and I can’t get the bleeding to stop….any suggestions?

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