In my book, In the Name of The Pill, I focus on the risks of hormonal birth control. However, many women who have turned to the copper IUD in hopes of avoiding synthetic hormones have discovered the side effects can be just as disrupting.
One woman shared her story in a Facebook group formed as a copper IUD support group. She wants to alert women to what she has endured so they will think twice about the IUD, but also to empower them not to be gaslighted by doctors if they start to experience side effects.
I’m sharing it here with her permission. Here’s what she wrote:
In case you need to hear some hard truths…. here you go.
I got my iud in November of 2018. By April, my life took a complete turn.. not a good one.
I stopped being able to do any task, care for my kids, eat, function at all!!!! I sat in that state till July. I drifted by, I don’t even know how I didn’t starve to death or end up being rushed to a hospital. I was told it was all mental health, take a pill, you’ll be alright….
But what no one cared to realize and take into consideration is I’ve battled and lived with depression and severe anxiety issues for many many years prior to this period.
What no one cared to consider is my plea that something isn’t right, that this was NOT my mental health issues. This was far more!!!!
No one cared to listen to my cries for help, and at that time, I could cry.
I let the damn thing stay in me for 8 months. With no idea of it being the culprit.
I, for once, by November of 2018 had my mental health to the most peaceful, perfect, wonderful place it had EVER been! I had finally gained weight. I finally was at my goal of 130 lbs! I was so deeply in love with myself, with my mind and my body and my soul. I was completely in love with life… I for once trusted a “pharmaceutical”, I trusted a doctors word. I trusted that I would have no issues because it’s non hormonal. I trusted it wouldn’t bother me EVER. My old self would have turned away, my old self would have GOOGLED!!!! But my healthy self decided to trust!!!!!
As I sat hunched over the toilet on weak knees, with no strength to get myself up but only to be able to sit on the toilet, sweat running down my face, the worst body shakes, the room spinning and the panic of falling over dead, I begged one last time for something to give. For a sign of what the hell was happening to me!!! For anything. Even death at that point didn’t seem so bad. But my children were there. They shouldn’t have to walk in and find mom dead…. I didn’t WANT to die, but I felt that it was inevitable at this point…..
I sat and I cried the rest of the tears I could, I tried to clear my face so my kids wouldn’t see the mess I was. I took a breath as hard as it was, my starving body that went from 130lbs down to 100, nothing but bones and skin, the air hurt. It hurt to try and fill my lungs. It hurt to make any movement…. and at that moment, still trying to gain some strength while sitting on the toilet, I had a realization I never wished to have, something came to my mind….. CHECK THE IUD.
Check the IUD????? What?!?
I pulled my phone over with my foot, I opened Google, I had to clear tabs and tabs of mental health issue searches, just to open one more tab. I simply typed in “copper iud mental health”.
Right in front of my face, right before my swollen eyes, was everything… EVERYTHING.
Wait, noooo. But the doctors haven’t mentioned once it could be iud related.. this is insane, there’s something else wrong….. right???
I finally after 15 minutes of sitting felt strong enough to walk the ten feet to the living room and continue sitting on the couch. I buried my head into my phone, once more, but this time it wasn’t trying to find some magic word amongst a mental health form, it was finding my entire life at that time, written by hundreds of women. Women I’ve NEVER met. Yet they were speaking directly to me.
After a bit of digging I screen shotted certain things to a few close people. I yelped for my mother to come listen to what I just found! I dialed my obgyn to make an urgent request to get this damn thing out!!!! Of course I had to sit a few more days. I had to wait, and die a little more. I finally went in, July 11 2019. I underessed from the waist down, I told the nurse what and why and how and who! She was sympathetic. A few minutes later, in comes my doc. I explain and make a plea with him to please hurry. I have to get it out, I express my findings. And at that point he just stares at me. I vividly can remember the look on his face, I ask why are you looking at me like I’m crazy…… his response, still to this day eats me alive, “because you are”…. followed by the typical “you can’t believe everything you see on the internet”
Once again, I guess he’s right. I can’t believe it… but hold on, no!!! I CAN believe it! These strangers didn’t have anything to gain by posting hundreds of testimonies, they didn’t know I was suffering from across the world, they didn’t plot against me to make me feel like I found the reason just to be slapped in the face once I removed it and then laughed at because I was gullible. No, I believe them! I believe strangers, I believe people I’ve never met and probably never will EVER EVER meet… I believe them over a doctor I’ve put my trust and health into.
It was removed, very quick and easy. I felt a weight lift, I quickly as I could got dressed. Walked outside, got in the truck to start my voyage home. Scared to drive, scared all around. But I HAD to at least make it home. This was the beginning of healing.
15 minutes into my drive, it hit. The pure crippling anxiety, the dissociation, the cramps, the weakness… I forced myself to stop to get something to eat… I tried so hard to eat the sub sandwich. It was a failed attempt. I rushed home, not remembering most of the drive. Threw the truck in park, ran inside as quickly as I could stumble in. It’s out!!! I tried to holler, I tried to declare a fix! To the restroom to get my pad, then to my mattress to lay myself down. I need rest. This will be good, I’ll awaken and all will start to be feeling ok again….
Here I sit, 8ish months after removal and after having it in for about 8 months.
I still weigh 100lbs… maybe 103 on a really really good day.
I still cannot eat correctly.
75% of the time I’m halfway back to an ok state of mental health….. but the 25% that I’m not, I’m REALLY not. I beg to feel ok again. I beg to feel emotions again. I beg to be able to be normal!!! I want nothing more than to be a mother, be a functioning person, to be ME!!!
I’ve had test after test done. Everything has come back wonderfully. Should be enough ammunition to boost myself up, right? I wish…
I wake up and without hesitation I already feel “off”. I don’t feel like anything really.
I’ve learned a lot, and I mean A LOT through this journey. I’ve yet to learn how to be patient and accept this. I’m mad, I have resentment, I have regret… I want to cry, I want to laugh, I want to breathe and feel again… I want normal.
But because I trusted, I lost. My kids lost, my family lost, my friends, my job, my LIFE…. it all lost..
Don’t hesitate getting it out, and don’t you ever let anyone make you feel it’s their right or their call for YOU to get/keep something in your body regardless if it’s a pill, a shot, a patch or a damn iud!!!!! It’s your body and life on the line. Not theirs.
This goes without saying there are many women in this world who can tolerate the copper iud, who have no issues with hormonal birth controls or ANY birth controls for that matter. That is wonderful!
But to us, the ones that are the “unlucky” ones. It’s real. And it’s a nightmare.
I will absolutely advocate as much as I can to spread awareness, I hope you all can do that as-well. Your word may not seem as much, but to someone just scrolling by, you could be the reason their life is saved!!!
Had I not found what I did on google, I don’t think I could have made it another month. My body was shutting down. It was over.
I’m forever grateful to those who have shared and help spread awareness.
I’m so proud of you all who have lived this hell, who have pulled yourself back out! I’m so glad to have made the friends I have, but I will forever wish it was under better circumstances.
Remove it, don’t think twice. Don’t suffer because it’s easier to deem someone “crazy” or “mental ill”