Hey everyone! I don't even know where to start... This is my first time posting here. This topic is a big enough issue to me that I joined this board to respond to this thread after looking up "Copper IUD Side Effects" and finding this thread.
I have always had trouble with hormonal birth control. So, for the past 12 years or so, we've just been careful. After our third baby was born, I didn't want to risk getting pregnant again, so I wanted to try something that was fairly permanent but didn't have hormones. I decided on the copper IUD (paraguard). I got it inserted on August 9, 2012. I hadn't had a period since getting pregnant with my son (who is 8 months old), but I thought I might have a little bleeding after getting the IUD placed. I also thought maybe it might result in my periods starting up again, but I thought that would be an alright exchange to make certain I wouldn't get pregnant. I had a few days of the worst pain ever - terrible cramps, it was hard to walk, and the cramps even woke me up in the night. During that time, I also was feeling emotionally as though I were on my period - a little crabby, somewhat overly emotional, etc. I thought - maybe this just jump-started my period, and everything is just a result of this being my first post-partum cycle. In any case, after a few days I felt better. As it turns out, I was due to get some routine blood work done, and, to my surprise, my thyroid levels came back abnormal. I've never had any issues with my thyroid, so I had no idea what was going on with that. Then, a few days ago, I started feeling like I was going to start my period again. I broke out in multiple painful pimples, on my face, neck, and back. I started getting terribly bloated. I had terrible cramps. I had odd spotting, that was basically only present in the morning, but the cramps lasted throughout the day. I was also sore, and felt like I was bordering on getting a urinary tract infection. I lost any desire to have sex starting basically from the time I got the IUD inserted - I was having too many cramps and overall discomfort to want anything to do with sex. Anyway, all of this would've been something I could've dealt with if I thought it would be short term. Then I started having serious emotional issues that came out of nowhere. I started having massive anxiety. I didn't want to drive - I was certain I was going to get in an accident. I was watching "Finding Nemo" with my kids, and Dorie was saying "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming" and as I watched it all I could think was "I'm so tired. I feel terrible. I'm so depressed. I don't want to swim anymore. I'm tired of swimming." I was getting into arguments with my husband over the most ridiculous things. I suddenly started thinking that I needed to pack my stuff, take the kids and leave. Over the most assinine things, seriously. Then, yesterday, I really lost it. I feel like I had an out of body experience or a psychotic break or something. I had this urge to start cutting myself. I started writing out all of our account information (I do all the bills and so forth) so that if something happened to me my husband would have all the information to continue doing our bills in one place. I tried contacting family to see if someone could come sit with me. I couldn't stop crying. And then, like an hour later, I felt okay. I didn't feel good, but I felt better. I looked back over the hour that had passed, and it felt like it had been a bad dream or something. It didn't seem like it was me that had been experiencing such extreme depression. I have dealt with anxiety and depression in the past, but I knew that this was absolutely not normal. This was not a normal level of anxiety or depression for me. And nothing, NOTHING in my life had changed except that I had gotten the IUD inserted. For a minute, I thought about attributing it to a huge hormonal shift brought on by starting my period again, but what happened was so extreme and so out of nowhere that I thought it was unlikely. I considered asking my doctor to put me on anti-depressants or something when I went in to get the IUD checked. Then I thought that before I committed to anything like drug therapy, I wanted to see if anyone had any issues with the IUD. I knew that the IUD didn't have hormones, but all of the stuff that happened seemed like too big of a coincidence to not have something to do with the IUD, given the fact that these symptoms arose almost immediately after getting the IUD put in, with the emotional stuff really kicking in within the last few days. I saw these posts here and read about copper toxicity and saw how it can impact your thyroid and your mental health (amongst other things). I called and got an urgent appointment with my gyn and I got that death trap taken out this morning. The doctor doubted that the IUD was causing these issues, and asked if I was seeing a therapist or anything. No, I wasn't, because prior to getting this stupid thing put in, I hadn't dealt with severe depression or anxiety in ages.
I'm telling my "story" because I am irate. I count myself lucky that I know my moods/body/emotions/etc. extremely well, or I don't even want to think how this story would have ended for me. My mother had some severe issues, so I am super vigilant about any emotional problems. If I were not so intune with what a "normal" level of anxiety and depression is for me, I could have shrugged this off as post-partum depression that occurred somewhat late, or as extreme PMS or as having a mid-life crisis or something. I'm not saying any of those things would have been a good alternative, I'm just saying that I could have ignored the actual culprit and ended up in therapy and taking medications for years trying to figure out why things suddenly got out of control, or I could have gotten a divorce because of how distorted my views on things were becoming (and in a ridiculously short period of time). Worse, I could have ended up killing myself or something, and my family would've been trying to figure out an explanation for the rest of their livess without ever thinking that it was something as *simple* as the IUD. And really, the emotional problems weren't the only issue, just the most concerning and the problem most in need of immediate action.
I looked at the facebook page and didn't see any discussion of a lawsuit. Does anyone have more information about that? I am not someone to go around engaging in frivolous lawsuits, but when I started thinking about this, I was actually going to suggest that a class action lawsuit be initiated (and then I saw the post indicating that people were already looking into it). I think that this IUD should come with a black box warning. If nothing else, there needs to be serious warnings in the literature about the potential for depression, anxiety, and various other health problems. Maybe someone needs to look into how many people with IUDs have died and research the causes of death, and see if there are any links. It probably sounds like I am getting irrationally worked up given the short period of time I had the IUD in place; there is just no way I can adequately describe how bad things got and how fast they got there. I don't know how people deal with these types of side effects for years. For those of you who have had to stop working, or those of you whose doctors have been jerks, I cannot describe how upset and disgusted I am on your behalf. It makes me sick. Here's what is ridiculous - when I talked to my doctor about getting this, he basically said that they don't know why this works, just that it does. It's interesting then that all of these doctors are so certain that it couldn't POSSIBLY be the IUD, when they have no idea why it works in the first place. Think of this - the main argument is that copper contains no hormones, therefore it can't cause any of these things, right? If the copper isn't interracting with the body in some way, how is it working? It clearly isn't the fact that you've put something in your cervix and now you can't get pregnant. If that were the case, why would they even have hormonal IUDs? Why wouldn't putting any material in the shape of a small t with a string attached to it work without needing hormones? Obviously, the copper does something that the plastic or whatever is in the Mirena doesn't do. Why? What is the difference? I'd be interested to hear a doctor's opinion on that. Clearly, there is some sort of reaction that happens between the body and the copper. In any case, I really think something needs to be done here. It's ridiculous that there are so many people dealing with such massive side effects and no doctors for the most part seem willing to accept that it's the fault of the IUD. Maybe one day doctors will learn to actually listen to us. If anyone knows more about the lawsuit, please let me know. If you've read all of this, thanks for letting me vent.