Lady Talk | My ParaGard IUD Experience

I have talked very briefly about my experience with the ParaGard IUD and I am finally sitting down to share a little bit more indepth! Pregnant with edith Towards the end of my pregnancy with Edith we were exploring our birth control options and to be honest we were leaning towards going the snip snip route because me + hormonal birth control do not mix. Seriously my experience with hormonal birth control is a whole other story in itself and if you’d like me to share it just let me know! When it came time to discuss birth control with the midwives we said we were thinking of going snip route and she said well unless you are 110% sure you don’t want more children that maybe a better route would be the ParaGard IUD a non-hormonal birth control. This was the first time I had heard of the ParaGard and was very interested to learn more. fammethod When we got pregnant with Edith we had been loosely practicing the FAM method for about two years. However, I knew going back to the  FAM method wasn’t something I wanted to do just because of the potential risk of getting pregnant again before we were ready and the fact that it’s hard to follow this method until your period has returned and as a breastfeeding mom who knows when that would occur. So it seemed that since hormonal birth control was out,  FAM method wasn’t ideal and we were only 90% sure we were one and done that the ParaGard was the (only) way to go.

At eight weeks postpartum I had the ParaGard IUD inserted and had no immediate issues with it. Within a month of having the ParaGard I found myself back up to my pregnancy weight, after having lost 15 of the 25 pounds I put on. While I can say that nursing, diet and lifestyle may have also factored into weight gain I continue to be unable to lose any of the weight even when improving diet and lifestyle. iud_crop At around six months postpartum my period returned and the first month was on the lighter side but come the second month I was experiencing a heavier flow which I attributed to a postpartum period.  I also had incredibly painful cramping to the point of nausea. I figured it was just my body getting back into things and that eventually I would get back to “normal”. Well that just wasn’t the case at all. Every month I experienced the same heavy flow and extremely painful, nauseating cramps.

I really didn’t know what to do though because we just were not ready to even consider having baby #2 and we were not ready to rule it out either. I decided to do some further research on my “symptoms” and found that it is very common for women to have pain and increased bleeding during the first year of having the ParaGard IUD and it’s actually one of the top reasons women get it removed.  I also read that things usually common down after a year of having the ParaGard IUD so I decided to wait it out and see if things changed after a year.

Well nothing changed and that’s when I finally said I’M DONE. I discussed things with Neil and while we were not ready to have #2 we both agreed that getting my IUD out was the best choice for me and my body. We had planned to go back to the FAM method and while we were not officially ready for #2 yet we were okay if it happened. I set up an appointment with a naturopathic doctor/midwife and went in to discuss my IUD and having it removed.

At my appointment we discussed my issues with the IUD and one thing she pointed out is that the copper in the ParaGard IUD is there to irritate the uterus and work as a spermicide and all this can cause inflammation in the body. Inflammation in the body can cause an increase in appetite and weight gain.  This is when I went DUH! I know this but why didn’t I just put this all together? So while we were supposed to just have a conversation about the IUD and my issues with it my doctor said she could take it out right then if I wanted her to and without thinking twice I had her take it out. Well I should have made note of the fact that Neil and I had been intimate the days before because I ended up ovulating that night and since sperm can live up to 72 hours we ended up pregnant with baby #2 (this is just a side note for those who are thinking about getting their IUD removed).

So that all being said I will not be going back on the ParaGard IUD after baby #2 arrives instead Neil is going to take one for the team because we are two and DONE.

I thought I would also include some other people experiences with the ParaGard IUD: Friend #1: She also got the ParaGard IUD after her daughter was born and found it challenging to lose the baby weight until after about a year of having the IUD. She didn’t experience any other issues and is still currently using the ParaGard IUD.

Friend #2: While she never experienced any issues with the ParaGard IUD she did end up with a surprise pregnancy after about 12 months of using the ParaGard IUD.  Now she is debating what to do next as she doesn’t plan to go back on the ParaGard after #2 is born (I mean why would you if you got pregnant on it the first time around!)

Naturally Family Facebook FriendI have a Paragard and it’s been fantastic for me. I got it one year postpartum (used a diaphragm first year postpartum for protection). It was terribly painful to insert (maybe because I had a c section). The cramping was awful and periods were awful for the first 6 months…but since then, things have completely stabilized. Normal periods, normal cramping (about a days worth every cycle). No weight gain or skin issues. Love that it’s non hormonal. I’m sorry to hear your experience wasn’t a good one! I am interested in reading about it.

Naturally Family Facebook Friend I had a horrible time with it and had it removed roughly 17 months after placement, thankfully your advice about abstaining the day before prevented us from an unexpected #2

What are you currently using for birth control and how is it working for you? For those of you who have tried the ParaGard IUD what has/was your experience like? 

12 thoughts on “Lady Talk | My ParaGard IUD Experience

  1. Emma MacDonald

    I have an IUD and have had it now for a little over 2 years. The first year was very painful with very heavy periods, but things have definitely improved. I still experience a slightly more painful period than before but it’s 100 times less than what it was. I haven’t experienced an increase in appetite or weight gain and really do love it as hormonal birth control pills also do NOT agree with me!

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  2. Jamie Horne

    Great post! I never got a notification on FB that you asked for additional info so sorry for leaving you hanging!

    Like you, I had no issues when the Paragard IUD was initially placed but within two months of my period returning postpartum, I was experiencing incredibly heavy flows. I attributed the heavier flow to postpartum adjustment too. My flow was so heavy I literally had to stand slowly after sitting for long periods of time for fear I would faint. Side note; when I was younger I had hemorrhaging issues as my body adjusted to my menstrual cycle that would cause me to faint because I would lose so much blood so fast when I passed a clot or stood up too fast. My flows on the IUD reminded me of those days. My periods on the IUD also lasted 7 to 10 days, as opposed to the 4-6 days I was used to pre-pregnancy.

    At around 11 months post IUD placement I started to notice pain in my pelvis and ovaries around the middle of my cycle each month and began feeling the exact moment I ovulated, it was very painful. The pelvic/ovary pain would subside temporarily when my period started each month but would always return. Ironically, I had zero cramps before or during my period each month, and only had cramps around the time of ovulation.

    I finally went to my doctor at 17 months and she said my IUD was literally about to fall out. She thinks it was misplaced and that my cervix was pushing it out. I also ended up having an infection that appeared to be early stage pelvic inflammatory disease. Thankfully, we caught it early and after some antibiotics I seem to be healing though I still have lingering pelvic pain. My OB said the heavy flows and nausea should have subsided within months of IUD placement and she was shocked I waited 17 months to remove it. She also believes (since my blood work was negative for STDs) that my body was rejecting the copper and the infection was a reaction to the copper being in my system. We are now using the FAM method until we are ready for baby #2.

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  3. catherinemryan

    I’m glad to not be using hormonal BC anymore. IUDs freak me out, perhaps unreasonably, but I, too, have heard of more cramping and bleeding with them in. I’ve had really painful periods since I was 13 so the idea of using a BC method that makes that more severe sounds like a terrible idea! I still haven’t ovulated a year after my daughter was born, and at this point my husband and I would be happy to have another baby, so we sort don’t do much for protection.

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  4. Tara

    I am on my second Mirena IUD and have loved it both times. The first time I had never been pregnant prior to placement and had some abnormal (for me) cramping, but it was bearable. I had that one for about 13 months before we decided to start trying to get pregnant. The SUPER FERTILE thing applies to all IUDs, since we got pregnant the first time I ovulated after removal, by the way. After my third pregnancy/second loss we decided we were done trying, but not 110% sure never ever any more babies. So I went in for another Mirena and it has been great. Other than weight gain I have had no terrible side effects this time. I have a super light period about once every 3 months, and though I still have PMS-type physiological symptoms, not having to deal with the physical symptoms are fantastic. I know a lot of people have issue with the Mirena being hormone-based, but it is the only birth control that has worked for me. Pills cause heavy bleeding and terrible nausea plus enhanced PMS-type symptoms, as well as making me gain weight. And the NuvaRing caused such heavy bleeding I couldn’t sustain using it past 2 months. When my Mirena expires I think we will revisit the idea of J having The Surgery, but for now I think we’re good with the Mirena.

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  5. Lorraine

    I have no children and am getting my paragard next month. BC pills were horrible so this is the only non-hormonal method really available. I’m so scared about weight gain. I already have my own to deal with! Lol

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  6. Katie of Vegan Noms

    Thank you for opening up about your experiences! This was an interesting read – and thank you for linking the resources.

    Recently I have decided to discontinue hormonal BC due to the side effects (after 11 years, eek!). Not planning on having a baby ANY time soon, so I’ve been weary about the effectiveness of other methods. After looking around the inter webs, reading some other women’s experiences – I ordered the Taking Charge of Your Fertility book tonight! :)

    I would definitely be interested in reading some of your experiences with hormonal BC. I’ve been so engrained with the conventional realm of thought that this is the best/only method out there and that every woman should be on BC, blah blah blah… would reassure my decision to hear your thoughts. :)

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  7. RG

    I have my paragard IUD in for almost 10 months. Not being pregnant before, my doctor warned me it may be a bit difficult for your body to accept especially since your uterus has not been “touched” yet. This IUD drives me INSANE. I’m totally off my regular period. It is very frustrating and extremely painful. CRAMPS IN MY STOMACH, down my legs, Sharp shooting pains in my lower back and CONSTANT spotting. My periods are sooooo long they range from 9-12 days. I’m looking to take out my IUD next period. I’m yearning to feel all natural normal periods again.

    Thank you for sharing your story

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  8. Tasha G

    I have had the paraguard over 5yrs. Im anemic. My doctor realized after time it was causing my cycle to become heavy. I had it removed and it was very painful when it was removed and it took a while to get it out (i will NOT be going thru that again- NOT worth it) and after having a vaginal ultrasound they discovered Fibroids around the IUD (another reason NOT to ever get and IUD) I will have to have surgery to remove the fibroids.. Word to the Wise! Be Blessed!

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  9. Mariella

    I had a very similar experience. I finally got an IUD placed about 2 years post partum. It took me about 15 months to lose all of my baby weight, but I was healthy and content with my body. I noticed that after I got the IUD placed, I automatically gained about 5 pounds. No big deal. After a year of having an IUD in place, I gained about 2o pounds in 3 months. That is so unlike me. My metabolism is pretty decent, and the most I gain at once is 5 pounds. I took the paragard out, and have had such a hard time losing the weight ever since. It completely changed my body composition. I gained weight in places I don’t usually gain weight. And I lost most of my muscle. The most I have been able to lose is 5 pounds so far even with exercise and a healthy diet. It is very depressing and frustrating. It is so much harder to lose weight after the paragard than it was after having a baby. I regret the decision to have one put in everyday.

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  10. Brenda

    I totally hear you about hormonal BC. It never did me any good. I mean, I didn’t get pregnant (which was the point), but the side effects were torturous and in some cases, quite damaging. When I was 3 months postpartum with my second child, I had the Mirena put in. We, like you, were not 100% sure we were done, but still needed a VERY reliable option to keep us from conceiving (Hubs is the super fertile type.). That was 5 years ago and I absolutely LOVED my Mirena. I had a period maybe once a year, and it was very light, with no cramping and no PMS symptoms at all. The Mirena is a hormonal BC, but since the the hormone it delivers is localized and the amount is so much less than other hormonal BC options, it made all the difference. About 10 days ago, I had to have it changed and decided to go with the Paraguard. I have been bleeding heavily for TEN DAYS. Like full on, the river-has-swelled-and-will-wipe-out-the-town heavy, with the cramps (I have NOT missed those), full PMS with back aches, and a migraine to boot!!!! If this lasts for the next year, I will definitely have it removed and will be going back to the Mirena. Thank you for sharing your experience. It was very informative and I appreciate the added point of view.

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  11. quartersawnoak

    I’m 35, and had the Paragard IUD for 13 months. I chose Paragard because I had spent 15+ years struggling with the negative side effects of hormonal birth control, so I thought this would be a good option for me. I could not have been more wrong!

    Before the IUD, I was happy, healthy, fit, and trim. Since having the IUD inserted,(in addition to the insane cramps and heavy 10-day periods that are “normal” with the IUD) I have gained over 20 pounds, have developed anxiety attacks, feel lethargic and depressed, lost my sex drive, and have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I don’t drink alcohol or smoke, my diet is healthy, and I exercise a lot (yoga, running, spinning, pilates – 5-6 days per week). I literally could not lose a single pound with the IUD – no matter what I did, I just kept gaining. I am now on medication for hypothyroidism, and Wellbutrin for my other symptoms, but nothing has helped.

    I just had the IUD removed yesterday, and I know it sounds crazy, but I am already starting to feel better! My doctor told me that my symptoms and health problems were in NO WAY related to the IUD, and tried to convince me to keep it in. Ladies – please do NOT let your doctor do this to you. YOU know what’s best for your body, not the capitalistic, money-driven American healthcare system. There are thousands of women that are experiencing these symptoms after IUD insertion, but no one is telling us about them! The corporations & doctors continue to deny that the side effects exist, and we continue to be sick and confused.

    I am now starting the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM). I think it’s ridiculous that all females are not taught about this method as soon as puberty hits. It should be part of sex ed classes. All women should be aware of their natural cycles and fertility signs. Relying on expensive drugs, hormones, and invasive devices are not the only options available to us for birth control. I wish I had known about FAM years ago – I could have saved myself a lot of misery. But most doctors know almost nothing about FAM – it’s not taught in med school because it doesn’t make anyone any money (it’s free for life!).

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