Hi Ladies! I'm sorry I haven't been on here in a long time, but I'm both shocked and not shocked to hear the same stories shared by other women that I experienced for myself. It's been almost 3 years later, and currently I feel pretty darn good! Not perfect, but there may be some other factors that are a part of this whole shebang.
To recap, basically the copper IUD made me feel exactly the same level of godawful as taking the Pill, which ruined a good hunk of years from my life and nearly ruined my marriage because of the depression, fatigue, anxiety, etc. Not only did it almost ruin my marriage, but it certainly ruined my self esteem seeing as I always felt lazy and unmotivated, depressed all the time, just a typical mess, and no one would point the finger at the Pill (maybe because they got a kickback from it and didn't want me to stop? Who knows!) My symptoms on the copper IUD was very similar to what I'm hearing from you all: anxiety, severe fatigue, depression, NO sex drive, hair loss, the whole gamut. What led me to research the copper issue more was that I couldn't understand why I felt the same way on the Pill as I did on the copper IUD if there were supposed to be no hormones in the IUD. That's what led to me finding multiple instances across the web of high copper causing my symptoms AND that estrogen raises copper in the body (or makes you crave it.) Therefore, copper and estrogen, copper and a certain hormone, are definitely linked.
I went on a low copper diet and took as much zinc as I needed to feel normal, but I didn't necessarily get better right away, I think because this has been a long and pervasive problem for me that was aggravated to the extreme by the IUD. Essentially, my body was loaded with copper I couldn't use (your body has to create a carrier for the copper and if it doesn't have enough carriers, it can deposit the copper in other areas,) and not enough that I could use, so all the copper excretion I was doing wasn't always helping. And after 6 months of taking 100mg of zinc a day, I had a blood test that rated my copper and zinc as both normal (the doctor swore my zinc would be too high after all that.) He admitted he didn't understand it (he recommended a naturopath which is why I love my doc, if only my insurance paid for the naturopath!) but said that if it's working for me to continue. He also measured high cortisol which doesn't surprise me from the stress of all this and a small child. I didn't have the hair analysis done, much as I wanted to, because I just honestly could not afford it on a single income that's barely covering our barest minimum budget.
So I eventually wound up going back to eating nuts and drinking almond milk (no soy for me though except as an occasional condiment) and eating regular chocolate but still taking between 60-90mg of zinc a day (I'm pretty sure I'm absorbing MAYBE 10-15mg of actual usable zinc), otherwise I honestly cannot sleep. If I try to taper down on the amount of zinc, my joints hurt, my PMS worsens, and I wind up with insomnia. But after I adjusted my diet and kept with the zinc and only zinc (except a children's vitamin and one B gummy that only gives you 100% RDA of B vitamins because they also give me insomnia in higher doses I found) I am finally on my way to normal. I still have some skin issues and my PMS isn't pleasant, but I actually have energy! And unless I'm sick (and PMS time usually brings down my immune system so if I'm not sick I'm yeasty) I have the energy to do all the things I was never able to do before while on Pill or IUD. My mind is much more focused and clear. I've actually started planning my new business/career venture when before I felt like I couldn't work if I tried due to the horrible fatigue and brain fog.
I may have other factors right now that are affecting my health that may have been initially caused by the Pill and then the high copper in the prenatal vitamins and then the IUD, mostly a LOT of bloating which I can reduce with juice fasting, but it's a lot of work and stress with a needy yet high-functioning preschooler that doesn't know when to let up *sigh.* However, when I do fast, it's different than it's ever been in my lifetime. The fast itself is actually rather tolerable, but coming off feels terrible, eating anything feels terrible for days, and I feel lousy for weeks. I feel that something is stored in my fat and gets loosed by the fast into my body that's having a hell of a time processing it. I don't know if the copper is to blame or something else or what, and I can't seem to get any answers on that one, but if someone else has tried this and experienced the same, especially after having kids or the IUD, please let me know!
So essentially, I give my body copper through food only, the best way to get it if you ask me, I take as much zinc as needed (I prefer the Twinlab 30mg) to sleep through the night and tame any anxiety, and I don't go crazy on multivitamins (and will NEVER have copper in my vitamins again!) It took me a long time to get to this stage I'm in now, but it DOES get better.
I do have to state that all of what I say here is based on personal experience and my own research. I cannot find any double blind studies that say I'm correct, but I have collected a ton of corroborating information that for me personally convinced me of the copper toxicity as the problem I was having. At some point I will make all my research and experiences available on my blog so you can all search for yourself and decide for yourself. Just remember this, at the end of the day it is YOUR life, not your doctors', and if you want the IUD out for any reason, they have no right to bully you otherwise. Oh, one more thing I do want to mention, getting the copper out as fast as possible isn't always the best method. I'm one of those "I don't care about the hell I have to go through, just get it done and NOW!" types, but that actually hurt rather than helped. Be patient. If something's not working or making things worse, try something else. I know there's information about "copper dumps" where you feel lousy because it's excreting, but that should be something that doesn't last more than a day or two. I felt lousy for weeks at times trying to do too much to force the copper out! Not a good plan and I learned my lesson!
As for our chosen birth control method? We use the Fertility Awareness Method, using condoms on fertile days and free-range on infertile days. It's been 2 years and we've been just fine with no accidents (although a breaking condom will probably spell doom for us LOL.) I recommend the FAM for any woman, even if you decide it's not a birth control method you want to use. The information it provided about my body alone is worth the quick temperature in the morning, a cervical fluid sample, and jotting the info in the software that's available from the author Toni Weschler's website. That's how I was able to tell which hormones were kicking and when so that I knew if I had PMS or some other issue, and also let me know that my monthly yeast infection was synonymous with having just ovulated (and therefore hormonal) and not some random thing from having a rogue candy bar.
I hope to read some more of your stories here when I get free moments. There's so much more that's been added since I've been back here, and I wish you all well!