The market is flooded with different methods of birth control but there’s very little emphasis on educating the user about the side effects of each one. One major advantage of a copper IUD is ease of use. After a doctor implants your IUD, there’s no daily upkeep to do and it lasts for years.
The downside is that you may experience common side effects like:
- Menstrual pain and heavy bleeding
- Spotting between periods
More rare side effects can be even more severe. You may need to speak with your doctor about the different forms of birth control to decide which one is right for you. You may decide that the benefits of a copper IUD outweigh the potential negatives but you should know all the risks before making a decision.
How Does a Copper IUD Work?
While there are multiple brands of hormone IUDs, there is currently only one brand of non-hormonal IUD: ParaGard IUD. Similar to hormone IUDs, the copper IUD requires a doctor’s visit. It can be inserted by an OB/GYN or a nurse practitioner. Instead of releasing hormones, the copper IUD releases trace amounts of copper which acts as a spermicide. ParaGard’s copper IUD is more than 99% effective.
What’s special about the copper IUD is that it offers longer protection from unwanted pregnancy. While a hormone IUD may last between three to five years, a copper IUD can last for up to 10 years.
Is the Copper IUD Safe?
Generally, IUDs are considered to be safe. They’re especially beneficial for women who are discouraged from taking birth control pills because of medical conditions like high blood pressure. An IUD is also easy to remove with another’s doctor’s visit if your plans change.
Instead of hormones, the ParaGard IUD releases small amounts of copper. Copper is naturally present in the body and it’s found in foods such as grains, vegetables, fish, and nuts. The copper released by the IUD is less than the amount consumed in a typical diet.
A copper IUD will not significantly increase the overall level of copper found in your body. The copper IUD was approved by the FDA in 1984 and has been available in the US since 1988.
What Are the Possible Side Effects of a ParaGard IUD?
Even though the copper IUD has been deemed safe for women of any childbearing age to prevent pregnancy, you may be one of the unlucky few who experience adverse side effects. Mild side effects include spotting and temporary pain after insertion. Moderate side effects like cramping and heavy periods can persist for three to six months.
More severe side effects can include:
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
Any one of these side effects could be severe if left untreated. If an over the counter pain medication doesn’t ease your symptoms, you might be experiencing a serious condition.
It’s possible for your ParaGard IUD to be expelled from your uterus. You might not feel it if expulsion occurs. The reason why this is troubling is because even partial expulsion of an IUD will disrupt its effectiveness to prevent pregnancy. You’re more likely to experience IUD expulsion if you have never been pregnant or if you had your IUD inserted immediately after giving birth.
Follow up with your doctor if you can’t check your IUD’s placement by feeling the string. Failing to do so could result in unwanted pregnancy.
Though rare, it’s still possible to become pregnant with an IUD. Because IUDs are so effective at preventing pregnancies, if a pregnancy does occur, there’s a higher chance that it developed outside the uterus. When a fertilized egg implants in a fallopian tube instead of the uterus, this is known as an ectopic pregnancy.
This rare occurrence poses serious health risks and can be life-threatening. If a fertilized egg continues to grow in the fallopian tube, it can cause it to rupture. This will likely cause heavy bleeding inside the abdomen. Symptoms include shoulder pain, fainting, and shock. Women need to seek care from an OB/GYN to reduce the risk of serious complications.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection of the female reproductive organs. It most often occurs when sexually transmitted bacteria is left untreated and spreads from the vagina to the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries. The cervix normally creates a barrier that keeps this from happening. However, a 1992 study linking the risk of PID to IUD use suggests that bacteria can enter the reproductive tract during the insertion and removal of an IUD.
Symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease include abdominal pain, fever, and painful urination. If left untreated, pelvic inflammatory disease could cause scar tissue and pockets of abscesses to develop. These can cause permanent damage and infertility.
Call Us Today to Get Help
If you suffered an IUD expulsion or think your copper IUD is responsible for causing health complications, call us today at 1-888-494-0430 for a free consultation. Our team of experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine will review your case and help you obtain compensation for your losses as a result of using a copper IUD.