Allergy to copper IUD

Discussion in 'IUDs' started by biochemical, Apr 20, 2006.

  1. PaulaKoala

    PaulaKoala New Member

    A friend of mine went through the same issue with her copper IUD. She suffered from skin conditions and feeling tired and low for almost a year. She got tested for an allergy to copper and it was positive. Since she took the IUD out she has been fine.

  2. MOG

    MOG New Member

    I'm so glad I found this thread!

    I had my IUD put in 5 years ago. After about a year, I started developing symptoms of hives. The attacks were infrequent, and short, but looked and felt like a million insects had bitten my leg at the same time. I had just moved into a new flat, and was worried about insects! But eventually I realised that it was a reaction, and I went to the doctor. He said maybe I should wear shoes instead of boots. This felt wholly insufficient, but I followed his advice.

    The next year the attacks of hives started happening on other parts of my body too, like my chest. They were still short episodes, and fairly infrequent, but now were definitely happening more regularly. I didn't really know what to do, so started using itch relief cream, which helped.

    The year after that the problem got a lot worse. Attacks would happen all over my body and last for a long time, meaning the space between attacks was less. I'd say every other day I was in frequent discomfort. I went back to the doctor, and didnt really take it that seriously. He told me to not drink so much alcohol. I knew this was rubbish because I was not drinking at that time, but he didn't seem to believe me or to have any alternative advice.

    I became resigned to this problem, it had become a part of my life. I kind of thought it was psychosomatic or something. I tried not to think about it, because it kept getting worse and I was worried that it would continue to do so.

    This year, it got worse still. Now attacks were happening multiple times a day. I took daily antihistamines, and whilst this helped at first, eventually it just seemed to lessen the symptoms rather than remove them. I had to take breaks from work, sometimes it was unbearable, I would just stand in a corner and tense up my whole body until it passed a bit. Towards the end I had a constant rash on my skin, which had started flaking off, and was red and sore and scabbed from itching and swelling.

    Finally I came to the end of my tether. At some point it had entered my head that it could be a reaction to the IUD (this was after watching House!!), but the doctor said it was "unlikely" in a tone that suggested that I was just simply wrong or crazy. I dismissed the idea and gave up hope. Until I found this thread! And then finally I thought I might as well try getting it removed (which I had been avoiding because of the pain of insertion. By the way, it doesn't hurt at all to get removed, nobody told me that it collapses on the way out, so I had thought it was going to come out in a big T shape and be very painful!). I got it removed, but was not very hopeful, thinking it would take ages to stop affecting me, if it even had an impact. I went to a meeting, and then cycled home. And then I noticed that I was not breaking out in hives after exercise or after taking my top off as was usual! I looked down at my arms and they were white and smooth, still a little dry, but the difference after just a couple of hours was incredible!!

    I am just so grateful that I worked this out and that it is not a lifelong condition! I urge anyone reading not to resign yourself if the doctors have absolutely no imagination or interest as to what could be wrong with you! I can't believe that I doubted myself so much as to think I had a psychological problem with stress! And I dread to think how the problem would have evolved if I hadn't worked it out!

    Thanks for the existence of this thread, my life is infinitely improved due to the sharing of womens experiences over the internet rather than just accepting what doctors say


  3. annabelle

    annabelle New Member

    About a week ago I had my copper IUD removed after having it for almost 2 years. In that time I suffered from depression, raised, hard bumps on my skin including face, recurrent thrush and cystitis. I also kept experiencing bouts of bacterial vagina infections which caused a metallic, fishy odour and made sex not only unattractive but sometimes painful. I would then have to get a strong course of antibiotics (like metronidazole) to clear up the infection which would ultimately destroy all the good bacteria. Shortly after the third infection while taking these harsh antibiotics, I developed what felt like a bad cystitis infection with the added bonus of aggressive thrush (burning, itching).
    I was going to the toilet about 8 times in the night with little urine coming out, my bladder felt like someone had used a cheese grater against it on the inside! My urethra burned and I had to take ibuprofen constantly to alleviate the pain. I went to the doctor and my urine tested negatively for bacteria so was sent home with a couple of paracetamol. After putting my symptoms into Google I discovered forums discussing Interstitial Cystitis. It encompassed everything I was experiencing. My doctor dismissed the idea. I think it is something that is ignored by many doctors as they are trained to medicate everything with antibiotics which I believe aggravate the very symptoms you are trying to eliminate. I cut out alcohol and acidic foods, took probiotics daily and eventually (about 3 months), the interstitial cystitis symptoms went away.
    All good for awhile until about 2 weeks ago I developed another bacterial infection (odour becomes stronger after sex). Went to the doctor and was given another course of antibiotics (Tiberal). Sure enough, the bladder symptoms came back including sharp stabbing pain in bladder area. I then decided to have my IUD removed after reading about copper allergies. I have an allergic reaction to my Apple laptop which is nickel plated (stinging, burning in hands and wrists with contact). I am taking Microlut minipill now (all ok so far).
    The cystitis symptoms are abating and the thrush is nearly gone. I feel lighter and sex is more comfortable. My mood has lifted and I look healthier. Maybe it is psychological but I believe the IUD was not good for my well being.
    I hope anyone who has experienced similar symptoms finds some help with this matter. There are many people who are happy with their copper IUDs but many who are not. Trust your intuition, if it feels wrong it probably is.

  4. namaste

    namaste New Member

    many thanks to you all for sharing!! i most certainly thought i was losing it.

    i have also suffered many of the symptoms mentioned, including a severe rash that was conveniently timed with a vacation abroad, leading me to think i had suffered exposure to some sort of tropical insect or bed bugs. it matches the description of what everyone on here has described.

    the bacterial/yeast infections and odd smelling discharge have made me think more about abstinence than spontaneity. i now have acne that is markedly different in nature and behavior from what i've had up until this time. feeling sexy! (and desperate as i react terribly to hormones so this is my last hope.)

    i'm going to try the zinc and see if i can be tested for a copper allergy. i have just one really pressing concern now as i try to see if i can salvage this device's use in my body:

    i saw mention of fibroids and other tissue damage concerns, but one thing that i don't think i've seen mentioned much is abdominal swelling. i feel like i can't suck my stomach in and i have a little belly (not from eating!) that sticks out, like someone who's 3-4 months pregnant. it's actually kind of sore if i try to push it in. this is not my body's normal state. like the acne, this is my body doing something different.

    anyone have this kind of reaction or know what it could be?

  5. annabelle

    annabelle New Member

    Hi there, yes I too had abdominal swelling. A woman in a restaurant asked me if I was pregnant! (How rude!). I had severe bloating on and off which I have attributed to the Iud. I don't have that bloating anymore.

  6. namaste

    namaste New Member

    Thanks, good to know. (And yes, how unbelievably rude!) Not sure how much longer I can or want to take this. At least I know I'm not crazy and feel more able to make a well-informed decision about how to proceed.

  7. havinprobs

    havinprobs New Member

    I had my copper iud inserted about 9 months ago. First month very tired and stomach tender, but I thought it was just my body getting used to it. Then I thought I might be pregnant because I was very tired and feeling sick a lot. I was having my periods normally (just a bit heavy). Took home pregnancy tests, but negative. Then broke out in rash on my torso for a few days. Always feeling sick to my stomach and then got bad cramps when eating. Thought it was lactose intolerance since it happened one time after eating cheese. Not sure what any of it was, but went to OBGYN to check that my iud was ok and I was not pregnant. Asked her if it could be a reaction to the copper. She immediately said no, said iud was fine and go see my regular physician about the rash. Started using Lactaid since I thought I had lactose intolerance & avoided foods with milk. Now fed up with getting cramps after eating and feeling sick. Also remember waking in middle of the night with insanely itchy soles of feet and hands, couldn't sleep. Lasted only about a day. Went to a physician and got a physical. Not lactose intolerance but slightly toward inflammed bowel disease (Chrohn's disease). Still going through testing for that... But now I think it all may stem from my iud & getting it removed next week.
    Has anyone else had any gastrointestinal problems related to iud?

  8. MamaJo

    MamaJo New Member

    Hello ladies! Am so glad to have found this amazing forum where I finally feel validated and not alone. I have had a paragard copper IUD in for apx 1 1/2 yrs. At first all was fine (if you don't count the terribly heavy, long periods)...but problems soon arose. My scalp became EXTREMELY dry and itchy...tried various shampoos, extra vitamins, etc and nothing seemed to help. That was mild compared to the terrible acne that soon followed. I have never experienced skin problems in my life and could not figure out why all of a sudden I was breaking out constantly. I've spent hundreds on acne treatments, creams, internal cures, and finally dermatologist visits. NOTHING has worked. I've seen my OB and been told "your in your 30s now and women just get acne in their 30s"....what?? After reading this and other forums out there it finally clicked with me that it is probably my IUD....that is the ONLY thing different since I've been having this crazy stuff going on. Can't believe it took me so long to realize! I guess I just thought, no's natural, can't be the IUD. WRONG!! I feel so dumb that I've gone through all this and just now realized the IUD is the culprit!! I just knew that acne was coming from deep inside me...not a topical problem but something in there. Hopefully the removal will help. Has anyone removed the IUD and seen their symptoms dissappear?? Please tell me. I'm desperate! Thanks....good luck to all of you!!

  9. monita

    monita New Member

    Hi everyone.

    I am so late in finding this information but how relieved am I to finally have answers!!! I got the IUD insertion and right away I developed a sensitivity. When I had my period I could not wear tampons because I would be in sooo much pain. I went back to the GYN a lot of times with no success. After battling it out for four months I developed really really bad acne and I NEVER had acne in my life. It started under my jaw and than progressed to my forehead and sides of my face, now its on my chest and down my back!!!!! ridiculous, I also started having hair loss! Every time I washed my hair twice the size of normal amount would come out. I was feed up with it and I suspected it had to be from the IUD so I got it removed exactly one month ago. The acne is worst and I have no idea what to do, I'm already using Ziana as recommended by my dermatologist but is not getting any better. If anyone had the same experience and was able to get better please let me know. Thank you so much I hope my experience helps others find answers to this frustrating circumstances.

  10. gumpy

    gumpy New Member

    I'm really glad I found this forum.

    I had a copper coil for five years. I started getting regular cystitis after around two years, thought nothing of it. Loads of thrush, terrible acne at the age of 22 (never had spots as a teenager and don't have them now), severe abdominal swelling, finally - overactive/irritable bladder.

    They took my coil out after four months of really bad bladder symptoms (urgency, frequency, pain ALL THE TIME!)

    About a week later, all my symptoms had pretty much disappeared. The bladder symptoms were dramatically reduced within a couple of days but stuck around so I was eventually diagnosed with an overactice bladder (which medication has helped). Swelling went down almost overnight - everybody at work thought I'd been on some kind of miracle diet because I'd looked pregnant every day for about two years! My GP had mentioned my IUD when talking about my bladder, which is why I looked it up, but I don't think any other doctor has considered it.

    I'm seeing the urologist on Monday. Do you think I should mention that the symptoms were dramatically reduced after IUD removal? I'd like to say something helpful if it could help them cure me but I also don't want it to look like I'm self-diagnosing.

    What do you think?

    PS: forgot to mention. I'm prone to hives but for the last year it's got so bad I've been scratching my skin off in the night. I've got scabs all over me. I try not to scratch to hard during the day but I just wake up with cuts all over me!

  11. iampam

    iampam Active Member

    Yes, you should definitely mention that the symptoms reduced after the IUD removal! That's not self-diagnosing, that's telling your doctor some extremely relevant information.

    I am sure there is a test they can do to test for copper allergy, I would definitely get a test if you ever consider getting another IUD.

  12. sels

    sels New Member

    I just wanted to say Thank You for this forum and to post my experiences of the copper IUD here.

    I had the IUD fitted 3 weeks ago and have had it removed today because of what I believe to be side-effects of the IUD.
    The fitting itself was uncomfortable but manageable. I then experienced very painful cramps for the remainder of the day but felt fine the following day except for a swollen lower abdomen and lots of watery discharge.

    However, within a couple of days I developed a lump on the back of my neck, about 1.5cm in diameter, not painful or itchy, and I started to worry. Then the following week I found another lump on the back of my head about 0.5cm in diameter, not painful or itchy. That was 10 days ago.

    And then 5 days ago another lump appeared on the front of my knee, about 2cm in diameter and not painful or itchy, but just uncomfortable.

    Then yesterday my legs started to swell and both my knees felt sore and my calf muscles became so painful that it's difficult to walk.

    And so this morning I went to see my gynaecologist, explained my symptoms and showed him the lumps and he said that he thinks my body is having a bad reaction to the IUD and he removed it. Thank goodness! (The removal is much less painful than the fitting.)

    I hope that the swelling, lumps and pain will start to disappear but if not then I'll investigate further.

    I also experienced some hair loss but didn't attribute that to the IUD, but it could be. The swollen lower abdomen was there for the whole time I had the IUD.

    I'll write an update in a few days.

    By the way, I'm 32, have never had children, I usually do a lot sport and eat very healthily.

  13. sdsun8

    sdsun8 New Member

    Hi! Thanks for all the info.

    My case is a bit different: I got the copper IUD in November (8 months ago), and did not have my period until mid-January. However, since January, my period has not stopped! It is driving me crazy!!! I am wondering if this is a sensitivity to copper? Or is my body reacting to the lack of hormones (from 4 years of hormonal birth control)?

    I just started taking the Pill this month in an effort to stop the endless period, but it only worked for a few days, and then started up again. I am at the end of the first month of the Pill and wondering if I should continue.

    I have had the IUD checked 3 times and it is in the right location, etc., no problems. I really do not want to be on hormonal BC because it causes me to gain a lot of weight!
    I am thinking of removing the IUD and switching to the new FemCap and spermicide.

    Any ideas, suggestions? I want to be on a safe, non-hormonal BC, that does not make me bleed for 6 months....

  14. GreenTea

    GreenTea Super Moderator Staff Member

    If you stopped the pill when you got the IUD, it seems odd that the constant bleeding would take so long to kick in if it were from pill withdrawal. And having heavy and constant bleeding with a copper IUD is a possible effect of the IUD, from what I hear. That doesn't necessarily mean an allergy--allergy symptoms would be along the lines of hives, headaches, difficulty breathing--but it is an adverse reaction, perhaps to the copper, perhaps to simply having a device in your uterus.

    Your choice. But if you need to be on the Pill to counter the IUD's effects (and it doesn't seem to be working, like you say), what's the point of having an IUD?

    If you mean suggestions for other contraceptives, there's Centchroman. It's a non-steroidal pill without the side effects of hormonal pills. Several of our members use it as an alternative to hormones or an IUD. We have a whole subforum on it. Since it's not available in many countries--only India, Pakistan, and Peru so far--using it requires doing your own research to learn what it's about and, most likely, purchasing it online. Those of us Aphrodite members who use it buy it from a trusted Indian pharmacy, which we have details about in the subforum.

    Your idea of a cervical cap and spermicide is also a good one. If you can get a diaphragm fitting--those are hard to get these days--it would be another barrier method option, and more women can use a diaphragm than can use a cervical cap. If you have fingers too short to reach your cervix or don't fit any of the four existing cervical cap sizes, a cervical cap wouldn't be a possibility, but a diaphragm still would. Either of those methods could be combined with natural birth control, which you would use to learn which times of the month you don't need protection at all. Condoms, of course, would also be an option, with or without natural birth control. We have a well used subforum on natural birth control as well.

    If you have questions about these methods, feel free to post them in their subforums. We don't have a subforum on barrier methods, but we do have several topics on them in the main Contraception forum, including a stickied thread about diaphragms and cervical caps.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 24, 2013

  15. Raunchy-Row

    Raunchy-Row Super Moderator Staff Member

    I would also add, give it a bit more time! I had really heavy bleeding with my copperT for the first year-ish and then it sort of reversed--I went to having moderate periods, but only every 2-3 months. Now I have light periods about every 4 months and that is probably more to do with my own hormones and body type than anything else but I've had my copperT now for over 6 years and it's been a breeze ever since that first year was over!

  16. lasergirl

    lasergirl New Member

    I had my copper iud put in about 2 months ago, two days after having it I got a massive uti, and had antibiotics to cure it. I still have little burning sensation all the time and always wondering if it will turn to a full blown infection. They did a culture on it and no infection, I now am on my second uti in 2 months and have not had one in 5 or 6 years. I do have abdominal puffiness and I am allergic to nickle, I am wondering if I should just go ahead and have it taken out. I do have some tenderness after intercourse. It seems as though this is symtoms others have had, but I love the ease of no hormones and pills. I have 5 children and wont be having more, but would like some opinions on birth control besides going in for a tubal cut. Any suggestions would be appreciated!

  17. Ang242

    Ang242 New Member

    I am really glad I found this forum..

    I have been having very similar issues with my paragard. I've had it for about a year now and I had high hope that it would be perfect for me because I have unpleasant reactions to hormonal BC methods.

    From the beginning, however, I have had NOTHING but problems. Terrible menstrual pain, tenderness and bleeding for up to 14 days at a time. I feel cramping and bloating all month randomly or after exercise or sex. I have had the itchy, "paper cut" looking tears on my labia that another woman mentioned and the abnormal itchiness and soreness. Acne that has not bothered me for years is showing up all over my face and back. I have taken rounds antibiotics and anti-yeast medication but nothing seems to work. I don't care to take antibiotics personally, but the doctor said it would help.

    I started my period a full week early when I took a backpacking trip with my husband and I bleed every time we have sex. This is NOT the ideal BC method I was hoping for, it is the opposite of helpful.

    I was at my wit's end until I read this forum. Everyone here seems to have a different reaction (or none at at all for the lucky women out there). I was wondering if there was anyone out there who has or had these symptoms who did not test positive for a copper allergy test. I'm trying to gauge if it is worth the time and money to get a test or if I should just remove the IUD and move on with my life.

    My final question is, if so many women are having issues with the IUD, how is it that doctors don't seem to be able to identify the IUD as a cause? You would think that having this product out there for SO long they would be able to determine that these symptoms are related...

  18. bluebutterfly

    bluebutterfly New Member

    I had my first IUD put in on Tuesday, it was very painful. since then i have had bloating,spotting and pain in my abdomen,also often having to go urine, did you have something like this? I called the nurse and she said it was just a reaction and that i should be ok. She advised to take vitamin B and ibprophen and if i have heavy bleeding to go to the nearest ER...HELP IS THIS TRUE?

  19. Echu

    Echu New Member

    I was lucky to figure out what was wrong so quickly. I got the paragard inserted with no pain and no real problems. 7 days later I woke up and my eye was itching and started to swell. after 2 weeks of going to different doctors, swelling, and hives breaking out all over my face and arms, I started googling. finding this thread made it a lot easier for me to figure out what was causing it. I called my obgyn and the advice nurse scoffed at my theory that I was allergic to the paragard. the doctor called me back in 5 minutes and said that YES, it was an allergic reaction. got it removed and the hives disappeared in a couple of days. I called the paragard company and reported it, and wanted to post here too. I am not allergic to copper, I am allergic to nickel. the paragard company said there is nickel in the iud. would have been nice to have saved myself this experience by being asked by the doctor about possible allergies to specific components in the iud.

  20. lexiola

    lexiola New Member

    I thought i was going crazy! i've had the IUD for about 2-3 months now. The first month was hell, constant abdominal pain, and after every time I ate it would send me into horrific pain, and cramps. I would get bad cramps, and then a severe shooting pain that would make me cringe. It got to the point where one night i went to the ER because something just didn't feel right. A week or two after that the pain started to subside and eventually went away all together. Well towards the end of November I began to start my period, a full week early, no cramps, no real bleeding, just spotting. Ok i thought, just the IUD side effects they had told me about. Well this week I finally started my period for real. It has been hell, pure hell, its been much heavier, lots of cramping. Normally I would have maybe a day or so of cramping but this has been 4 days straight. My hormones have been insane, I know my body, and I know for the first day I tend to be really whiny, but it's not a huge deal. This period has been a total emotional rollercoaster, I mean happy one minute, and bawling the next. Any little thing setting me off, I feel like I've had no control over my body. Last night though, I was at work and began to get an insane itch. My whole body was itchy, especially my scalp. I thought about the things I had eaten and drank and any medication I was on, I take perscribed Adderal and the first day of thought I got some intense itching but that was over a month ago and I hadn't taken Adderall in a week. I had eaten some leftovers but no food out of the ordinary. So i came here and it began to sink in that maybe I'm having an allergic reaction. After all the money I spent to get it inserted ( I have the Paragard, I should note) I hate to have it go to waste. So i'm going to try it for another month or two and see if the hormones subside when my period is over. If so, I think I can live with some menstrual itching and heavy periods (my period is already pretty rough). I forgot to add that I had the worst UTI of my life about two weeks ago. Within in 3 days I had gone from pain while pee'ing to full blown pee'ing straight blood and protein. By day 3 I was in the doctor and they were ready to send me to the hospital. I contributed this to a pertroleum jelly allergy but I'm beginning to think it was the IUD. The rate at which my UTI spiraled was insane. I used to have the NuvaRing and that caused A LOT of UTI's but nothing like this. This was different somehow. So I'm glad I could come here to vent and write a novel. I'm still going to wait a little bit and maybe try a copper bracelet out just to see, I know I'm allergic to almost all metals except Silver and Gold. So we'll see. No acne yet, but that will be my next thing to look out for.


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