My experience with the copper IUD (and why I had it removed)
I’ve talked about my fertility journey on my website many times before, but today I’d like to talk about a different side: preventing pregnancy. That’s why I wanted to share my experiences with the copper IUD today, and explain to you why I had it removed.
My fertility journey, in short.
When my husband and I decided that we were ready to welcome a baby into our lives, we never thought it would take us three years to conceive. After I had my Mirena IUD removed, it took over 2.5 years before I got my period back. After that, I actually got pregnancy quickly, but those 2.5 years were tough, very tough.
I also learned a lot. I started studying health, nutrition and fertility, I got to know my cycle, and my fertility came back to me, the natural way. (Here’s how I healed infertility naturally).
How the copper IUD works
The copper IUD a a small t-shaped thing with a copper thread around the middle part. The IUD sits in the uterus and makes that environment toxic for sperm by releasing copper ions. This way, fertilization and implantation can’t happen. The copper IUD is a hormone-free type of birth control and it can stay in the uterus for ten years.
Why I got the copper IUD
After my pregnancy, it was no option for me to go back to hormonal birth control. My hormones were so out of whack after being on birth control (first the Pill, than the Mirena) for so many years, and I never wanted to experience that again. That’s why my husband and I decided to use condoms instead.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t working for us. I was breastfeeding, which made me dry inside. Very very dry. And the condoms made it worse. Sex hurt, every time, and it started affecting me.
That’s why I went back to my GP to ask for a copper IUD. I had done my research, I knew it was a good hormone-free solution, so I decided to try it.
My experience with the copper IUD
Getting the IUD was a quick procedure that didn’t hurt and I didn’t feel much afterwards either. Sex without condoms was much better, so I was happy with the copper IUD.
But then, after 1.5 years of breastfeeding, my period came back. Oh boy, I was so excited. I love love love having my period, and especially after going through such a long period of infertility before I got pregnant. I was so happy it came back by itself. However, my period was intense.
After an easy first day, I started bleeding a lot. I would soak through a pad in half an hour, I would fill my menstruation cup in an hour, and period panties wouldn’t have been of much help either. It got so bad, that I usually had to be close to home or to a bathroom during the first days of my menstruation. I didn’t feel pain (which is something a lot of women complain about with the copper IUD), but that blood flow made things difficult. It was not only almost impossible to leave the house, it also made me weak. Losing so much blood made my iron levels drop and after my period had ended (usually seven or eight days after it had started) I would feel weak and tired.
Another thing that didn’t feel right, were my painful ovulations. Sometimes ovulating hurt so much that I had to lay down and breathe, and it almost felt like having contractions. And when I realized that I actually couldn’t feel the little threads of the IUD anymore, and I would probably have to have a quick operation if I would ever want it removed, I just accepted it and kept the IUD.
I had my copper IUD removed
The main reason why I kept the IUD, was sex. I really don’t like sex with a condom and I don’t want to have another baby. This combination made the IUD such a convenient solution that I kept it, even with these challenging menstruations and painful ovulations.
But last Friday, after seven days of menstruation, I actually felt the threads came out of my uterus again, so it suddenly became possible to have it removed. It was also that evening that I attended a lecture on living with a natural cycle, and I learned that an unexplained health problem, my severe hair loss, could be caused by my copper IUD. The cause of this is excess copper in the body, which can lead to hair loss, fatigue, nausea, brain fog, among others. (This podcast episode is super interesting and I highly recommend listening to it if you want to learn more about the copper IUD and copper toxicity.).
And it was that evening that I realized that I knew my cycle so well. I know exactly when my fertile window is, and I know exactly when I ovulate. I would not have to use condoms throughout my whole cycle: only just after my menstruation, until just after ovulation. That’s basically only about a week or so every month. (I’ll write more about the different phases of a woman’s cycle and how to predict your fertile window soon).
So there I had it. The IUD had to go. I hopped on my biked to go to the gynecologist (I’m Dutch after all, so I bike everywhere, haha) and in just 2 seconds the IUD was gone. I’m excited to come back to my natural cycle, to flow with the different phases of it, and to make sex a part of that. Also, I can’t wait to start yoni steaming (more about that soon!), which is not possible with a copper IUD. Yay!