Hormone-Free Copper IUD : Pros and Cons

Hormone-Free Copper IUD : Pros and Cons

Hormone-Free Copper IUD: Pros and Cons

I’m a huge proponent of birth control methods that don’t contain synthetic hormones. Methods like the birth control pill, ring, patch, and implant all contain synthetic hormones which can cause all kinds of short and long term side effects – they prevent your body from producing its own natural hormones, suppress ovulation, deplete critical nutrients, and are capable of stopping your periods completely.

In our day to day lives, we come into contact with with non-optional forms of chemicals and synthetic hormones from air pollution, conventional farming residues (hormones, herbicides, pesticides), xenoestrogens, etc – so why not make the CHOICE to choose a birth control method that’s non-hormonal?

That’s where the Copper IUD comes in :). If this is the first time hearing about an IUD, let’s break it down into the basics before jumping into the pros and cons of an IUD with hormones versus the hormone-free copper IUD.

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What is an IUD?

IUD stands for “intrauterine device.” It’s shaped like a T, it’s a little bit bigger than a quarter, and fits inside your uterus. The method, which is the most effective reversible form of contraception on the market, has grown exponentially in popularity over the last decade, despite low national rates.

Currently there are five types of IUD available in the United States:

  • Four of them – Liletta, Kyleena, Mirena, and Skyla – release small amounts of the hormone progestin (levonorgestrel) into your body. It’s the same synthetic hormone used in many birth control pills.
  • The fifth type – ParaGard – is a hormone-free copper IUD. The copper triggers your immune system to prevent pregnancy.

Both types of IUDs work primarily by preventing sperm from fertilizing an egg. The copper IUD releases copper into the uterus, which works as a spermicide. The others release a form of the hormone progestin into the uterus. The progestin thickens the cervical mucus so that sperm can’t reach the egg. In some women, progestin may also prevent ovulation.

In the unlikely event that an egg does get fertilized and survives, both types of IUD cause inflammation in the uterus that makes it harder for the egg to implant there. Hormonal IUDs also cause thinning of the uterine lining, making implantation more difficult.

How is an IUD inserted?

Your doctor will insert the IUD during an office visit. She may suggest you take over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen a few hours before the procedure to offset cramping.

The procedure starts out similar to getting a Pap smear. Your doctor will put the IUD in a small tube that she’ll insert into your vagina. She’ll move the tube up through the cervix into the uterus. Then she’ll push the IUD out of the tube and pull the tube out. Strings attached to the IUD will hang 1-2 inches into the vagina.

The procedure can be uncomfortable, and you may have cramps and bleeding, but they tend to go away in a few days.

You can have an IUD placed at any time during your menstrual cycle; however, it may be more comfortable to have one inserted while you’re having your period as this is when your cervix is most open.

How soon do IUDs start working?

The Copper IUD, ParaGard, is effective as soon as it’s inserted. The synthetic IUD options tend to take effect within 7 days of insertion (unless inserted during your period, in which case it’s effective immediately).

Why Choose a Copper IUD?

The obvious answer? Because it’s the only non-synthetic hormone based IUD! It promotes normal, healthy ovulation, meaning that it doesn’t suppress ovulation and you experience real periods.

If that’s not enough to convince you, read on for the pros and cons of the Copper IUD!

The Pros of a Copper IUD

You can treat and resolve period and cycle problems with diet and lifestyle changes because there are no synthetic hormones interfering.

It’s more effective than almost any other method. It has a failure rate of just 0.6%!

It lasts up to TWELVE YEARS. Not only that, but after insertion, you don’t need to do anything or take anything.

Your fertility returns to normal as soon as you remove it.

It’s the most popular method of birth control in the world.

It is now officially deemed suitable for women of any age, including women who have not yet had children, and teenagers.

It’s effective as emergency contraception if inserted 5-7 days after unprotected sex.

It’s capable of decreasing the risk of endometrial cancer and possibly cervical cancer.

The Cons of a Copper IUD

It doesn’t come without side effects:

  • You could have heavier and more painful periods. One study found that 38% of IUD-users reported more period pain at first, but then it reduced over 12 months.
  • It could come out. Risk of expulsion is highest in the first month after insertion (5.7%), and then decreases to 2% per year.
  • There’s a risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) during the first three weeks after insertion, but only if you have a pre-existing infection with gonorrhea or chlamydia.
  • There’s a small risk of uterine perforation, which could lead to surgery. Perforation occurs in 0.1 percent of users (1/1000), but is more likely if you are breastfeeding.
  • You may also experience discomfort during sex, spotting between periods, or an ectopic pregnancy.

It doesn’t protect against STIs (sexually transmitted infections).

You might have to pay. The device itself costs about $150 (one time cost), but your insurance may cover it.

If and when you want it out, you will need to see your doctor.

You can’t use the copper IUD if you have an allergy to copper or have Wilson’s disease, which prevents proper copper metabolism and causes your body hold too much copper.

In a Nutshell

1. Like all birth control methods, the Copper IUD isn’t without side effects; however, it is the only long-term (up to 12 years!), synthetic hormone-free option on the market (and the most popular!).
2. Because it doesn’t contain synthetic hormones, you can still treat and resolve hormone imbalances and cycle issues with diet and lifestyle changes because there are no synthetic hormones interfering.
3. The Copper IUD will not interfere with your fertility should you want to eventually get pregnant – your fertility returns to normal the moment it’s removed!

Let’s Talk!

I’d love to use this space as a forum of sorts, providing inspiration and community among my readers, so … I want to hear from you!

What birth control methods have you considered?

Do you have a Copper IUD? What has your journey been like?

If you do have a Copper IUD, have you experienced any side effects?

Spread some Copper IUD lovin’! Sharing is caring, and I bet you have some friends who would love to read this too :).

Looking for more hormone help?

Start HERE! Click here to get my Top Ten Tips to Improve Fertility, Have Easier Periods, and Supercharge Your Sex Drive!

Let’s Meet!

Looking to have a more in-depth conversation about how the hormone-free Copper IUD could work for you? Schedule a consultation with me!

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