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My experience with the copper IUD: 5 reasons why i removed it

I HATE HORMONAL BIRTH CONTROL. There, I said it and im sure you can agree with me that dealing with the side effects of the pill are terrible. Therefore, I got the copper vs hormonal IUD because it is non hormonal. However, there are side effects of copper IUD that I could not handle and thus, I took it out after 6 months. The biggest side effects that drove me to that decision were:

  1. My mood swings were crazy lady level
  2. cramps where incredibly annoying
  3. heavy bleeding
  4. fatigue almost all the time
  5. bloating

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Disclaimer: This is not medical advice and should not be taken as such. I am not a doctor and do not claim to be as these are solely based on my experiences. Please consult your family doctor before considering any recommendations listed in this post. Thanks!

copper vs hormonal IUD

Copper IUD

First off, what is an IUD? IUD stands for intrauterine device and is a small T-shaped device that is inserted into your uterus to prevent pregnancy. I’ll answer your burning question now, yes it hurts to get it inserted but I’ll get to that part later.

There are 2 types of IUDs Copper and hormonal. The copper iud has a copper coiled around it which creates a toxic environment that sperm can not live in. Therefore, they die and cannot fertilize an egg. Women still cycle naturally with the copper IUD and it can last up to 5-7 years being 99% effective. However, there are some warnings the doctor will give you which you may or may not experience like:

  • increased flow
  • more cramping
  • bleeding between periods

Hormonal IUD

On the other hand, there is a choice of a hormonal IUD which works by secreting a low dose of progestin into the uterus to thicken cervical mucus, thin uterine lining, and partially suppress ovulation. Hormonal IUDs are also 99% effective and can last up to 5 years. They come with their own list of side effects that you may or may not experience such as:

  • headaches
  • acne
  • breast tenderness
  • mood swings
  • irregular bleeding
  • pelvic pain
copper vs hormonal IUD side effects of copper iud
IUD: intrauterine device

5 reasons I removed my copper IUD

Firstly, there is minimal studies done to PROVE these side effects are directly caused by the IUD. However, I am a huge advocate for being intuitive and for me, the only thing that changed in my life was this copper IUD. Therefore, that was reason enough for me to believe these issues were caused by it.

reason 1: intense mood changes

Prior to getting the copper IUD, my mood swings were very minimal to non-existent. I would have a little irritability every now and again BUT it was managable. However, a month into having my copper IUD I started to notice I was more anxious and depressed, especially during PMS week. I would cry if I got too overwhelmed at work (nothing had changed though). I would get in a really down mood and want to isolate myself during that time. It was not fun.

Having a week off every month feels like this is very difficult. I hate feeling like crap and im sure you do too. Therefore, the IUD had to come out and after it was out, this side effect of copper iud went with it.

Reason 2: Copper IUD Cramps

One of the biggest differences between the copper iud vs hormonal iud is the effects on cramping. Copper IUDs generally increase cramping which, as a person who never struggled with them in the first place, could handle a little bit of cramps. However, The copper IUD left me hunched over in the fetal position too many times.

I was a mess when my period was in town, couldn’t sleep a wink because it was distracting. I also noticed a weird side effect – my butt would cramp? Let me know if anyone else experienced that as well. Since I had it removed my cramping is non-existent (as it used to be) and the butt cramps went away as well!

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Reason 3: Heavy bleeding side effect on my period

As I mentioned above, The copper IUD increases estrogen levels which causes cramping but can also cause heavier bleeds. Which is what I experienced. I was aware of this side effect when I got it inserted, however, it is one of the reasons I am removing it.

The bleeds were about 30% heavier (as I was warned) what I did not take into consideration is the heavy bleeding at night. I literally slept with a towel wrapped around my waist to be sure no blood got on my covers. This side effect also contributed to my lack of sleep during my period. As you may know, sleep is very important for overall health, mental health, and productivity so my insomnia was defiantly interfering with my day to day tasks.

reason 4: side effect of Fatigue

Fourthly, the fatigue I was feeling was getting the best of me. It is unclear whether the copper IUD was directly causing the fatigue or it was my lack of sleep throughout the weeks that was accumulating. None the less, it was a strong reason to remove my IUD. My workouts were suffering, work seemed difficult to get through, and I had no motivation to do anything but lay on the couch or sleep.

reason 5: Bloating

The bloating my copper IUD caused was the worst I have had, luckily it only occurred during the week leading up to my period and a few days after, but it was uncomfortable. It is very normal for a woman to bloat near her period whether or not she has a copper IUD. However, The bloating is much more mild than the bloat I experienced with the Copper IUD.

Copper iud vs hormonal iud. plus the side effects of copper IUD
Side effects of copper IUD: PMS week bloat taken to another level. I never experienced bloat like this before.

as you can see, my stomach is quite extended. This is likely due to inflammation and yet another reason I removed my copper IUD.

Post Copper IUD thoughts

The insertion process was uncomfortable but nothing traumatic for me! However, everyone has a different pain tolerance so take that into consideration before getting either IUD. The insertion process is the same whether you get the copper vs hormonal IUD. I have had the copper IUD out for a few months now and I can attest – my period has gone back to normal and all is well.

Now, what will I use for birth control if I’m not on hormones and have no IUD inside me? Two words, fertility awareness. I have taken it upon myself to learn about the female cycle and how to prevent pregnancy naturally so I don’t have to endure the side effects that come along with any birth control contraption.

To learn more about fertility awareness and if it is meant for you: check out this post Where I go over the ins and outs!

Many women have experienced the same side effects as I have. Some women love it so please do research and know your cycle before considering the copper IUD. Here is Mikayla Greenwood and her experience on the Copper IUD

fertility awareness method

I will be using the fertility awareness method as my form of birth control. In particular, the sympto-thermal method which you can read more about here. It is about as effective as the pill when used perfectly (98%).

essentially, the sympto-thermal method is charting your cycle and estimating your fertile window (when you ovulate) and avoiding that window or using a barrier method during that time. I am going to do a blog post on this method very soon but in the meantime, you are welcome to check out some of these resources!

Fertility Friday – I love this woman, she has such great info and an amazing podcast

Taking charge of you fertility – This is the Fertility awareness bible, also a great read if you want to learn more about your body.

until next time xx
-Hailee

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