I have spent hours reading this entire thread and I am PISSED OFF that a product like this can be advertised and made available as a contraceptive method without any warning whatsoever of these side effects.
I got my copper IUD inserted at the beginning of 2011. The last year has been the worst year of my life and I have honestly thought that I was losing my freaking mind. I have always been a laid back person as far as my emotions go but for the last year I became irrationally emotional. Constantly either very touchy and easily upset or easily irritated. Mentally, I have been fighting a worsening brain fog and a lack of ability to concentrate. I was finishing law school and going through this during my last year of school was horrible. I suddenly couldn't keep up with my workload and my marks went from great to just ok even though I was having to work twice as hard for them. Physically....I don't even know where to start:
Pelvic Pain: throbbing/stabbing/pinching pain between my leg socket and my pelvis (very hard to describe) - has been around longer than any of the other symptoms
Panic attacks, racing heart and trouble breathing
Trouble falling asleep & getting out of bed in the morning
Really bad night sweats - like waking up with my pjs drenched.
Constant vaginitis outbreaks - for which the doctors tried to give me antibiotics (no thank you)
In the last few months: a skin rash on my chin (red scaly, peeling - gross)
Terrible and very weird Acne on the sides of my face, especially along cheekbone and jawline (always had clear skin before)
Weird acne on the sides of my neck -- won't go away!
12 day periods, with the first week just being spotting of "old" blood (sorry to be graphic, just trying to be detailed)
PMS symptoms essentially the entire month (irritability, bloating, cramping)
IBS-like symptoms (constipation, diarrhea, nausea, lack of appetite)
Cravings for the following foods: breads, sweets (especially chocolate), mushrooms, nutritional yeast (vegan "cheese" replacement) -- all indicative of candida problems
Itchy scalp, no matter how often I wash my hair
Tooth decay - lots of new cavities even though I brush and floss regularly
Hair damage - hair has become thinner and weaker and literally turned a copperish color!!
Locked jaw - I would wake up with a locked jaw and throughout the day would notice my jaw was locked and I was grinding my teeth (explained now by the fact that excess copper essentially puts your body into fight or flight mode - so you're essentially constantly "ready to fight")
I had the IUD removed a few weeks ago and am already starting to see some improvement. My period was late after I got it taken out (apparently this is quite common) but when I did get it it was quite normal.
How did the light come on for me? Well, it took me a very long time to put all these symptoms together. I was hating myself and hating my body because I couldn't figure out why this was happening to me. I went to so so many doctors - none of them considered all of my symptoms together and I didn't want to be one of those patients that just comes in to complain about everything. I saw many doctors just for the pelvic pain alone. I can't even describe the kind of pain it was but it was driving me crazy because I had it basically all the time (it would get worse at certain times of the month) and I couldn't figure out why! I asked every doctor I went to if it could be the IUD and they told me there was no chance that's what it was and looked at me like I was crazy. My symptoms just kept accumulating and getting worse and NOT ONE doctor even suggested that's what it could be. My relationship was suffering because I was turning into a complete other person - while my partner isa very understanding and amazing man, I could tell that my constant irritability and general disinterest in life that had developed was getting to him. My entire family was so worried about me - always asking me what is going on with my life and if I'm ok. My mom would be in tears every time she saw me because she saw how terribly unhappy I was becoming and couldn't help me. My social life had essentially gone down the drain because my anxiety had gotten so bad that I couldn't stand to be around other people. During this last year, I tried so many different things to try to help myself. I went vegetarian, then vegan - this actually exacerbated the problem since it makes your copper levels even higher. I did a few liver and gallbladder cleanses - no improvement. I did a candida cleanse for a few weeks (copper toxicity apparently mimicks candida overgrowth symptoms and can also cause candida overgrowth). I had tried various herbal remedies, tinctures, etc for my skin and nothing worked. I was taking magnesium to calm me down and that didn't help much either. I WAS LOSING MY MIND and I was seriously at the end of my rope.
Finally, one day I was on the phone with my mom and she asked me if I had an IUD. I told her yes but that it was a copper on and not hormonal. She told me to go online and search copper toxicity. HOLY SHIT. I made the appointment to have my IUD out the next day. That night I did not fall asleep until 4 am because I was just up thinking about all the shit that my body has been through because of this thing. It was a huge relief to figure out that's what it was and in hindsight I can't believe I didn't figure it out sooner. I did do some internet searching when I thought it was causing my pelvic pain but I couldn't find any information linking the two. Part of the reason it was so difficult for me to tie the symptoms to the IUD is that the first 6 months of having it I the symptoms weren't really there. And different symptoms showed up at different times (as the copper built up in my system I guess) and I initially figured that if my body had a problem with the IUD, i would have had symptoms right after having it inserted. Boy was I wrong.
I'm better now but I'm still struggling with many of the symptoms. My skin clears up for a few days but then flares up again. The rash I had is gone but the acne is still coming and going and it's probably the worst symptom I'm having right now. I'm using zinc-containing diaper rash cream on it (an organic one without other bad ingredients that some diaper rash creams have like petrolatum) and the cream calms it down a bit but not much. I really want it to go away.
I'm also taking zinc complex supplements (30 mg per day) and vit b complex. I take some magnesium before bedtime and I'm taking probiotics and vitamin D from time to time. I read earlier in the thread that some of you are against taking the zinc so I'm wondering if I should cut down/stop. I would love to hear from some of you that have had their IUDs out for a while about how long it took for your skin problems or any other problems to go away. I know everyone's bodies are different but I would love a general idea of how long I'm going to keep feeling like this. I had the IUD for just over a year and a half.
Back to the beginning of my post.
How can pharmaceutical companies be getting away with this? How can doctors be getting away with not warning anyone about the side effects? This is NOT OK. There is enough women on here having experienced the same symptoms that something needs to be done. At the very least, women need to be warned about copper toxicity before getting the damn thing put in. It's reprehensible. When I went in to get mine out, the doctor asked me why I was getting it removed. I told her about all my side effects and told her I believe it has given me copper toxicity. Not really to my surprise, she looked at me like I was crazy and then basically said "yeah, right" and then told me she'd take it out for me if that's what I really wanted. I wanted so badly to scream at her but I knew that would get me nowhere so I just smiled and said yes please.
There must be so many women out there probably still suffering from this thing like I did who have no idea why they feel like they're losing their minds. It breaks my heart that so many of us have had to suffer and that others out there will continue to so that these pharma companies and the prescribing physicians can make a quick buck. What has our world come to?
Edited by lilybean85 - 11/7/12 at 10:15am