Could Your Copper IUD Trigger Anxiety and Panic Attacks?
Dangers of the copper coil / IUD and their horrendous side effects By Georgia Keale
“Dangers” is a pretty strong word to use, but one I feel completely comfortable with when it comes to the copper coil/ IUD. Because I know from personal experience what they can do. The potential side effects of it are shocking. I had one fitted after my second child and I chose it because I wanted a safe, non hormonal contraception. Getting it fitted was easy, but slightly uncomfortable. The doctor told me I may have some cramps and longer, heavier periods, which I was fine with in exchange for hassle free contraception. Immediatley after having it fitted my anxiety levels rose. This was nothing I worried about as I attributed it to natural anxiety levels rising when you go from one to two kids and all the natural chaos that goes with it.
To cut a long story short, the panic attacks continued to get worse until I was admitted to a mental health hospital.This was the most horrendous time of my life. I was away from my husband and kids, I thought I had lost my mind and i didn’t know if I would ever get better again. All the time I was wondering, “How did this happen?” I starting on an intense course of CBT and anti depressants. Slowly I got better and returned home. After nearly 6 months I can happily say I am back to myself and better. The CBT taught me so much, mainly to ignore and distract myself from my panic feeling. I have got so good at this that if I get any unusual feelings, cramps or pains, my body automatically tells me I’m fine, no need to worry.
After everything calmed down I had some time to reflect. The therapists had told me this episode was a result of being ‘too stressed and too tired’. Which I agreed with to a certain extent, but the reaction I had was too extreme, too severe. They told me I was depressed and I told them in fact I was very happy. I am a big believer in being grateful for what you have and I feel and felt at the time, very blessed for everything I had and have. It didn’t quite add up.
Then I had a thought, I remembered I had the copper coil fitted just before these panic episodes started. I googled “copper coil side effects” I didn’t type anxiety and I got streams of information about women who have had the copper coil or other IUD’s fitted who have had panic attacks and higher levels of anxiety afterwards!! I was in shock. The doctors tell you, you will have heavier periods. But they don’t tell you why. It’s because the uterus tells the brain there is a foreign object detected. This goes to the brain in a panic signal. This is what anxiety is, it is our bodies natural defense mechanism letting us know when there is a danger. Anxiety is actually a brilliant thing, it keeps us safe. It makes us jump back in the road when there is a car coming. So having a coil or IUD raises anxiety levels and if they are already high, this could spill over in to panic attacks. The heavy, long periods are the brains response to the shock of what is now inside the body. It tries to flush the foreign object out.
So the doctors tell you the ‘side effects’, but they don’t tell you ‘why’ they have them. Since talking about this I have personally heard of 3 other women who have had the same problem as me with panic attacks and 1 of them, like me, was even hospitalized because of it. Which is a high percentage of people when I have only spoken to a handful of people about it. Now, I am not saying this will happen to everyone, it is a terrible side effect that happens to an unknown percentage. Another risk of having an IUD is that it could get infected, as happened to a friend of mind, or pierces the uterus wall. All in all the copper coil or any IUD is a dangerous form of contraception as there is a risk of having a side effect and the side effects are terrible. I would avoid this form of contraception and tell anyone you know to do so also.
I would love to hear from anyone who has had a bad experience with this or knows someone who has.
Personal note from Anna Rodgers
A few years ago, I also had a IUD fitted for contraception. It was one of the worst things I have ever done. The procedure was incredibly painful when the nurse inserted the IUD, she promised minutes before it ‘wouldn’t hurt’ yet instead I felt like I had been stabbed in the uterus. I walked out of the clinic in pure shock, I literally felt like something very very bad had just happened to me and it was hard to walk home. I walked like a zombie. When I did finally get home, I lay on our couch and shook for hours – I was definitely in a state of shock. I vowed then and there to get mine removed as soon as I could, but the fear of having it removed meant that I waited a few months to have it out. Luckily the removal process was fine, it didn’t hurt a bit. But I knew, to never ever have one again.
Georgia has brought up a very important issue to consider, could these foreign objects be causing our bodies and minds a lot of stress? With approximately 200 Million women using these IUDs worldwide, its important to see what is happening for women in a negative way. What does the research say?
I had a look for any studies linking Copper IUD’s to Anxiety and Panic Attacks but Pub Med came up with nothing. I haven’t looked at other medical websites yet. However, when doing a google search I did find some interesting articles:
Found on the Holy Kale website, blogger Lauren wrote quite an extensive blog post about Copper IUDs where she has listed side effects from some of the most popular used IUDs. Panic attacks are one of the side effects.
Also I found on the website Women Against Strirrups:
The copper IUD (Intra-Uterine Device) is touted as a very effective and one of the only non-hormonal–and only long-term non-hormonal–birth control method available outside of fertility awareness.
However, aside from the risks of expulsion of the IUD, unusual vaginal discharge, cramping or pain, longer and heavier menstrual periods, spotting between periods, irregular bleeding, pelvic inflammatory disease, infection, weight gain, the rare occurance of getting pregnant which in such case increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage or premature births and the rare but not-to-be-overlooked serious risk of perforation of the uterus during insertion or later perforation if the IUD shifts position, there is also another risk of the copper IUD which is not often discussed in the medical community and that is copper toxicity which can cause a woman to experience crippling side-effects as a result.
Copper toxicity can cause numerous symptoms ranging from migraines, to PMS, chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, mind racing, decreased sex drive, yeast infections, reproductive problems, hair loss, bone loss , allergic reactions and even OCD, Schizophrenia, Autism, Angina, Alzheimer’s, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lymphoma.
Yikes. Scary enough isn’t it after reading these possible problems linked to Copper IUD’s. These things are supposed to help us avoid falling pregnant and yes in that regard seem quite effective but the question is what are they doing to our state of minds?
Dr Gangemi who has also written extensively about Copper IUD’s also noted one of his own patients case studies:
- A college student I had previously seen in years past suddenly was having extreme bouts of depression during her fall semester. She had to drop three of her four classes by November. Upon discussing her situation, she revealed that her mood changed just a week or so after she had Mirena inserted in early September. She had the IUD removed and her depression resolved 100% over the next two weeks. There is a new study discussing Mirena affecting menstrual bleeding (the lack of) resulting in iron overload and depression. (Turok et al, 2013)
There’s even a Facebook group with around 5000 members highlighting that Paraguard (a well known IUD) should NOT be used – obviously because so many women have had issues since they have tried it.
I’ve not really spent too long looking into this topic, but with Georgia’s experience, and mine also and now with the little bit of information I have read, I am also convinced that there are much better other ways to remain pregnant free.
I think the contraception industry is another one that is a big money making scam. How many women take the pill and how many of those end up having breast cancers which are caused by the pill? Probably millions! And how much money do Pharmaceutical companies make from these pills? Billions each year! Sure, not every women will be negatively effected by their contraception method but is it worth the risk?
I believe its worthwhile investing in ovulation tests and keeping track of your cycle, so that you can try and figure out when to avoid sex, or take other precautions to ensure you don’t end up pregnant. No contraception method is perfect, but there’s much safer ones out there.