Have you ever heard of an intrauterine device (IUD) as an option for birth control? I hadn’t heard much about it, except for a few friends getting them instead of using the pill. The following is my experience with this option. It may not have any of these effects on others, but I believe it has impacted my family and I enough to share the caution with you.

Throughout our marriage, I’ve tried a number of hormone-based birth controls with unreasonable side effects (see my previous post here), so this time it seemed to my midwife and I that the Copper Paraguard IUD made sense, and I gave it a try.

Within two weeks, I went back to work and the “postpartum anxiety and panic attacks” that I previously wrote about began. Six months later, I had extreme and negative reactions at the smallest amounts of dairy and eggs in my diet and eliminated those foods. A friend mentioned strange diet changes in her body around six months after starting birth control, and I wondered if there was a link for me too.

I didn’t realize I was also experiencing fatigue, depression, and other side effects until the last couple of months. The weight gain that I believe was caused by the IUD started to impact how my clothing fit, and the depression continued to mount until it was too scary to continue to simply wonder if it could possibly all be linked to my IUD. My husband and I agreed—it was time to figure out exactly what was going on.

When I went in for my annual physical and to get it removed, the Certified Nurse Practitioner said she had removed three others that week. When she listened to my symptoms and side effects, she agreed it was worth removing it to see what issues I was truly dealing with (if any) verses those linked to the device.

Within 48 hours, I felt like a new woman. More accurately, I felt like my true self again. My energy surged along with a renewed interest in the things I typically enjoyed doing. I didn’t even realize how much I was missing out on until I started doing those things again! The next day, I had energy to go to the farmer’s market (an old favorite), bought plants for the garden and yard, and had more energy to finish the work than my husband. I couldn’t remember the last time I had so much fun and energy to garden since before getting the IUD about two years ago. I felt amazing.

A little over two weeks after the appointment, I bravely tried a pinch of cheese to see how my body would react. Nothing. No reaction. No vomiting, no hot/cold flashes, no sense of a pending blackout, nothing. A few days after that, I tried eggs and more dairy. Still nothing.

I don’t think there’s any way this is all in my head. If it had been, I’d have “cured” myself a long time ago! I truly believe God gave my husband and I the wisdom we needed to put the pieces together. That and I Googled “IUD side effects” and found this website. There were enough of my side effects and symptoms on the list to freak me out and help me decide to make an appointment right away.

While this option may work for you or those you know, I wanted to caution you on what to look for and what the issues might be. My hope is that you will be better equipped than I was before you decide to try this for yourself. If you experience any of these side effects, it’s important to know you’re not alone and that the IUD can be removed pretty easily.

I praise God and give him the glory for the wisdom he gave and the healing he has brought through the removal of this “intruder” in my body and how quickly I feel back to my normal, healthier self (including the energy and interest to make even better food choices and exercise). The many prayers of friends and family through the last two years were definitely answered as well.

If you or someone you know is struggling and wondering more about the decision process we went through or anything else, I welcome questions and also encourage you to talk to your provider. In the meantime, I leave you with this verse:

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without findings fault, and it will be given to you,” James 1:5 (NIV).

May you be spared the troubles that I faced because of something so easily avoided and be well!

Again, this article is informational and is not intended as medical advice. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding medical conditions or medication side effects.

Kate Washleski

Author Kate Washleski

Kate Washleski is an everyday girl trying to be intentional to follow God's leading in the opportunities she's been given. She loves connecting with people, reflecting on what she's learning, and processing out loud or in print. Kate is thankful for friends to whom it's safe to speak her mind and wear her heart on her sleeve. Read more from Kate at her blog A Wonderful Life (http://k8washleski.blogspot.com/).

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