My Copper IUD experience: Copper IUD, Depression, Anxiety, Fear
I have experienced severe migraines for several years and though I have yet to conclusively pinpoint the trigger for them, several doctors have suggested the Pill (which I have been taking on-and-off over the past 8 years) has been the likely cause. After a terribly violent migraine in July this year, I opted to get off the Pill in order to determine whether the migraines would cease.
Given that I had experienced horrendous side-effects with Implanon (which I had tried a few years earlier) – bloating, overly emotional, fatigue – and needed contraception, my only viable alternative to the Pill was the non-hormonal IUD. I thought that cramping and heavy periods would be a small price to pay every month for 5 years of highly effective contraception. Therefore, I decided to have the Multiload Copper IUD inserted in August this year.
In summary, my copper IUD experience has been hell – especially since I put up with it for 5 weeks until I realised it was causing me all the problems. Within seven days of insertion, I began to experience anxiety, sadness, and fatigue. As the days progressed, my anxiety got worse, even though I had absolutely nothing to be anxious or worried about. Soon thereafter, my mind began to race, and despite feeling constantly exhausted, my brain simply would not stop stressing. I desperately wanted to pull myself out of the way I was feeling but I honestly could not. I'd ask myself what I was stressing about, and I could never come up with an answer. I'd wake up several times throughout the night, never be energised regardless of how long I stayed in bed, and was constantly paranoid with irrational fears. I couldn't concentrate on anything and lost all motivation for everything. I felt like a completely unfamiliar person. I truly thought I was losing my mind. I even took a short relaxing holiday with my partner and nothing could make me calm or relaxed. After a month, I realised something was seriously wrong. I have an amazing job, family, boyfriend, friends, and no matter how much I wanted to be happy and calm, I simply could not burst through the depression. I really thought I'd never be my happy old self again. It was a dark time. The worst part of all was that I was constantly reassuring myself (and everyone around me) it couldn't be the IUD – I had specifically told my gynaecologist that if there was a chance of ANY mood changes I did not want it inserted and she said there was no way it was possible.
Finally, following the insistence of my boyfriend who said he had noticed a change in me as soon as I had the IUD inserted, I googled depression /anxiety and the Copper IUD. Stumbling upon this thread was the help I really needed – thank you so much to everyone who has posted. When I realised that it was possible this 'no side-effects non-hormonal IUD' was creating an imbalance in my body, I looked into copper overload. Though the condition may be rare, the symptoms of it matched everything I had been feeling over the past 5 weeks. If you are unsure what I am talking about, please turn to Ann Louise Gittleman's work on copper overload as a starting point.
Being a vegetarian since the age of 11, it is likely that I already had high copper levels, (or a zinc deficiency) before I had the Copper IUD inserted, and the additional copper in my body was just too much. My gynaecologist gave me absolutely no indication there was a possibility (albeit tiny) of this happening, and for that, I am extremely annoyed. Patients have the right to make informed decisions based on full and frank information, and I certainly wasn't given that. I made the decision to have my Copper IUD removed, but before I could get in to have it removed I began taking zinc supplements. The zinc definitely decreased my anxiety and panic levels, and I wish I had of known to take it at the start as it may have prevented what was to follow. My IUD was taken out this morning by a different gynaecologist under light sedation. I still feel like I have a long way to go to get back to how I felt two months ago (before the IUD was inserted), but I know I'm a lot closer now the IUD is out.
I post this not to scare people, or talk women out of the IUD, but to let people going through a similar experience know that they are not alone. I know many women with both copper and hormonal IUDs who have nothing but positive recounts of their experiences on them. Unfortunately, I just wasn't one of those people. In the event my symptoms don't improve over the next few weeks – I promise to eat my words and retract my criticisms of the Copper IUD, but in the meantime, the Copper IUD was hell.
Edited by Hannah2011 - 9/20/11 at 12:12am