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copper iud...tell me your experince


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W REALLY think we are done having kids. But....not ready emotionally to do something permanent. And although I used to swear by fertility awareness, this little guy was concieved 4 days before ovulation, with zero cervical mucus, AND dh pulled out. So....yeah....not trusting that as much anymore. Or at least, DH won't, that is for sure. My midwife inserts the copper IUD, and I want to avoid hormones (I do not react well to progesterone only stuff, so mirena is out anyway).

 

Talk to me. :bigear:

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W REALLY think we are done having kids. But....not ready emotionally to do something permanent. And although I used to swear by fertility awareness, this little guy was concieved 4 days before ovulation, with zero cervical mucus, AND dh pulled out. So....yeah....not trusting that as much anymore. Or at least, DH won't, that is for sure. My midwife inserts the copper IUD, and I want to avoid hormones (I do not react well to progesterone only stuff, so mirena is out anyway).

 

Talk to me. :bigear:

 

I was a copper IUD baby. :D

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My memory is very fuzzy from my experience with the copper IUD. I *think* I had it for about 3 or 4 months before I made them take it out. I honestly can't remember for sure though, but I'll get to that.

 

Insertion and removal was easy. It was just like going in for a pap. It didn't hurt beyond a small pinch, just like the pap.

 

However...

 

My periods were still regular, BUT between 18-21 days long while I had it, with 7-10 days off. Non.stop.bleeding. Medium to heavy flow, too. Not just spotting. I was a freaking zombie so that period of my life is pretty much all fuzz to me. They wanted me to go on bc pills first to try to get things evened out but I told them I didn't get copper so I could put extra hormones in my body and I wanted it OUT, so they took it out.

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I've had two and I've been really happy with them. I'll probably use another one after the current baby. My periods were a little heavier when they started up, but I was also coming off 12+ months of no period (breastfeeding) so it's hard to say if it was the IUD. In any case, they settled down within a few months and the only symptom I noticed was that I was a little spottier before/after my cycle each month. Nothing I couldn't live with--and the hormone-free, no-effort BC was totally worth the trade-off to me :)

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Here's my experience:

 

I went to my appointment, doc handed me a freaking book of things that could go wrong, I walked out.

 

However, I could afford to do that since I'm not the most fertile creature on the planet, anyways :D If I were, I would have at least tried it as it is a very effective, non-hormonal bc.

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I had it for about 2 years when it came out on its own. It was fine. I still had long periods, but no pregnancies.

 

I now have the mirena (which I thought I wouldn't tolerate because I can't do birth control pills) but I love it! Lighter, shorter periods. And no pregnancy, either! I don't seem to emotionally cycle as much either. That's a plus for my husband and kids.

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I've never had an IUD, but I've done quite a bit of research into different methods of birth control and their mechanisms of action. It's estimated that a woman using a copper IUD will have between 0.19 and 1.04 "post-fertilization losses" caused by the IUD per year.* I'm not sure if this is something that might factor into your decision, but it's an aspect not often discussed. I thought it worth mentioning.

 

I know this is a weighty decision, and I hope you are able to find a good solution for your family.

 

*Stanford J MD MSPH. Mechanism of action of intrauterine devices: Update and estimation of post-fertilization effects. Am J Obstet Gynecol. December 2002; 187(6).

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I'm so out of touch, I didn't even realize those things made it back on the market. The only good thing about that for me was finding out I'm allergic to copper. You don't need to hear any details.

 

:)

 

Good luck with your decision.

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I had it for about 2 years after my son was born. It was really, really heavy periods, but not unbearable.

 

I did notice that my anxiety was worse prior to my period. Like tight-band-across-my-chest anxiety. But that could have been situational. I didn't really like the idea of an iud after 2 years, so I had it taken out. No negative effects from the iud itself. And no surprise babies. :001_smile:

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I do not react well to progesterone only stuff, so mirena is out anyway.

 

I don't react well to progesterone either. In fact it is awful. However, the mirena has so little progesterone in it that it only affects your uterus -- it is NOT systemic like the pill. I have had no trouble with progesterone side effects, and I was very worried. I have had 2 mirena's now and am on year 7.

 

The mirena is a much more effective and safer device than just the copper IUD. The small amount of progesterone in it closes the cervix so reduces infection, and it stops the production of the lining each month, so reduces your period to zero or near zero. The copper IUD has a chance of infection because of the string hanging down out of the cervix which is not closed, and increases the bleeding because of its poking nature.

 

Talk to your doc. I LOVE the mirena.

 

Ruth in NZ

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I can't have hormones due to circulation issues, so pills and Mirena are out. I've had a copper iud for 10 years (got to get it out, and dh must do the v, but that's another thread!) with no issues. Ive lost it a few times, lol, but it turns back up at pap smears, etc, so it's there even if I can't find it! My periods are heavier, but not terrible. But, I'm old now, not many years of fertility left, and I don't want to do another or have a surprise mid life baby, so it's time for dh to step up. I would recommend the copper iud on my experience, though.

 

Post fertalizationlosses run at about the same percent for women on no birth control, FYI.

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I've had mine in for 12 years. Yes it's overdue, but I LOVE it. I'm old enough to take a more permanent step, but it's kept me happily hormone and baby-free for a long time (and I got pregnant after one or two tries each time).

 

My periods are a bit heavier, but they're also shorter, so I don't think the amount is different, it just is more . . .um . . .efficient.

 

I've had no side effects aside from discomfort during the first 2-3 periods after insertion. It's been GREAT.

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Post fertalizationlosses run at about the same percent for women on no birth control, FYI.

 

The authors of the journal article I mentioned included natural post-fertilization losses in their calculations in order to "obtain a rate of postfertilization loss that is uniquely attributable to the IUD." The issue for me is causation.

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I don't react well to progesterone either. In fact it is awful. However, the mirena has so little progesterone in it that it only affects your uterus -- it is NOT systemic like the pill. I have had no trouble with progesterone side effects, and I was very worried. I have had 2 mirena's now and am on year 7.

 

The mirena is a much more effective and safer device than just the copper IUD. The small amount of progesterone in it closes the cervix so reduces infection, and it stops the production of the lining each month, so reduces your period to zero or near zero. The copper IUD has a chance of infection because of the string hanging down out of the cervix which is not closed, and increases the bleeding because of its poking nature.

 

Talk to your doc. I LOVE the mirena.

 

Ruth in NZ

 

Any idea if the mirena is ok while nursing? I can't seem to find definitive info on that.

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Any idea if the mirena is ok while nursing? I can't seem to find definitive info on that.

 

the mirena has much less progesterone in it than the minipill which is also progesterone only. The minipill is supposed to be ok for breastfeeding, (although I have met 3 women who had trouble with it), so I would assume that the mirena would be even less of an issue. I had the mirena put in when my youngest was 2 and continued to nurse for a year without trouble.

 

Ruth in NZ

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Any idea if the mirena is ok while nursing? I can't seem to find definitive info on that.

 

I nursed with the Mirena and as far as I know, there is no issue. The progesterone is not delivered systemically but locally (which is the reason it was not contraindicated for me - I have a genetic clotting issue).

 

Also, I vaguely recall that they like to insert it during a certain timeframe postpartum, after the uterus has returned to normal size but maybe while it's still easy to get through the cervix? LOL I can't remember. I had it done around 11 weeks postpartum.

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I've never had an IUD, but I've done quite a bit of research into different methods of birth control and their mechanisms of action. It's estimated that a woman using a copper IUD will have between 0.19 and 1.04 "post-fertilization losses" caused by the IUD per year.* I'm not sure if this is something that might factor into your decision, but it's an aspect not often discussed. I thought it worth mentioning.

 

I know this is a weighty decision, and I hope you are able to find a good solution for your family.

 

*Stanford J MD MSPH. Mechanism of action of intrauterine devices: Update and estimation of post-fertilization effects. Am J Obstet Gynecol. December 2002; 187(6).

 

Is this the same for the mirena, or only for the copper IUD? We've struggled over what to do for bc. I really don't want to accidentally get pregnant with #5...

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I'm so out of touch, I didn't even realize those things made it back on the market.

 

It's my understanding the Dalkon Shield in particular was the problem. Its design was unlike the others'. It also was a circular shape with clawlike appendages and multistranded thread that ended up wicking bacteria up into the uterus.

http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/07/ff_iud/

 

The Paragard copper IUD has been sold (worldwide, but not in the US) since 1984.

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Any idea if the mirena is ok while nursing? I can't seem to find definitive info on that.

 

Breastfeeding & Mirena

In general, there have been no adverse effects found in breastfeeding performance for women using Mirena, though isolated cases of decreased milk production have been reported. There have also been no adverse effects found in the health, growth, or development of nursed babies. However, small amounts of the hormone Mirena releases pass into the breast milk of nursing mothers and are detectable in the infant's blood.

 

http://www.mirena-us.com/having-mirena-placed/make-an-appointment-with-mirena.jsp

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I am on my third one. I got my first copper IUD after I had ds#2, had it pulled to conceive ds#3 on my second cycle, got another copper IUD at 8wks post partum, had it pulled to conceive dd on second or third cycle, got another copper IUD which I've had now for 7 years. I've never had a problem with them. The life of a copper IUD is 10 years, and since we know we are finished having children DH had a vasectomy a few weeks ago. I'll keep the IUD until he goes for his post-op testing. It has been excellent!

It has to be inserted while you are on your period so that the cervix is open.

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I don't react well to progesterone either. In fact it is awful. However, the mirena has so little progesterone in it that it only affects your uterus -- it is NOT systemic like the pill. I have had no trouble with progesterone side effects, and I was very worried. I have had 2 mirena's now and am on year 7.

 

The mirena is a much more effective and safer device than just the copper IUD. The small amount of progesterone in it closes the cervix so reduces infection, and it stops the production of the lining each month, so reduces your period to zero or near zero. The copper IUD has a chance of infection because of the string hanging down out of the cervix which is not closed, and increases the bleeding because of its poking nature.

 

Talk to your doc. I LOVE the mirena.

 

Ruth in NZ

 

The Mirena has strings that hang down as well :confused:. And the strings do not affect the closure of the cervix. The cervix is never entirely sealed off anyway, and once you've had a baby it always stays open a little more than it did before.

 

If you've heard stories about infections from strings, you're likely hearing about the old Dalkon Shield IUDs that were on the market in the 70s. They had strings that could wick and caused all kinds of infection problems.

 

And yeah, the Mirena manufacturers like to sell the story that the hormones in it don't affect you systemically, but I've heard a lot of anecdotal stories to the contrary in my travels on various message boards. Enough that I wouldn't touch it with my issues with artificial hormones.

 

That being said, it's progesterone only and thus is considered safe for nursing.

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Is this the same for the mirena, or only for the copper IUD? We've struggled over what to do for bc. I really don't want to accidentally get pregnant with #5...

 

The estimated number of post-fertilization losses caused by a Levonorgestrel-releasing IUD like Mirena is 0.19 to 1.82 per year.

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The Mirena has strings that hang down as well :confused:. And the strings do not affect the closure of the cervix. The cervix is never entirely sealed off anyway, and once you've had a baby it always stays open a little more than it did before.

Yes they both have strings hanging down. However, it is the progesterone in the Mirena that plugs up the cervix with mucus. The copper IUD does not contain progesterone and thus the cervix is not plugged up.

 

And yeah, the Mirena manufacturers like to sell the story that the hormones in it don't affect you systemically, but I've heard a lot of anecdotal stories to the contrary in my travels on various message boards. Enough that I wouldn't touch it with my issues with artificial hormones.
I am not an advertisement at all. The Mirena has hormone in it; it just has a lot less than the mini pill. Obviously depends on the person. I cannot tolerate any pills but I can use the Mirena.
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I had the copper IUD because I also don't react well to hormones. Most people don't have problems with the IUD, but I did. It hurt A LOT going in -- worse than childbirth for me -- and I was in pain for days after. The fun times didn't stop there. For days around the time I ovulated and days around my period, I'd be in pain, and it wasn't the typical discomfort I feel around those times. I would feel random sharp, shooting pains like something sharp was poking me on the inside. The pains were so bad I'd feel light-headed sometimes. I had a couple of ultrasounds and the technician said it was in the right place and nothing was poking me, but I could feel it. I kept it in for a year and a half, I think, and finally had it removed. I've never had those pains since, so obviously it was the IUD.

 

Edited to add: Also, crazy-heavy periods! During a normal period for me, I need to wear a pad and a tampon and change them every couple of hours during the first few days. These were even heavier. I'd be through both in an hour. I'd wake up at night from being soaked. My periods lasted longer too. Instead of 6-7 days, it would be closer to 9-11 days. Truly awful!

Edited by jujsky
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Any idea if the mirena is ok while nursing? I can't seem to find definitive info on that.

 

I had my Mirena inserted at my 6-week post-natal appointment after I had my son. I nursed him with no problems. I had it for about 2 1/2 years before we decided to try again. Never had a single problem. One light period every other month. No cramps!!! It was wonderful.

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I nursed with the Mirena and as far as I know, there is no issue. The progesterone is not delivered systemically but locally (which is the reason it was not contraindicated for me - I have a genetic clotting issue).

 

Also, I vaguely recall that they like to insert it during a certain timeframe postpartum, after the uterus has returned to normal size but maybe while it's still easy to get through the cervix? LOL I can't remember. I had it done around 11 weeks postpartum.

 

Maybe at the six week checkup? I had no problems using Mirena while breastfeeding.

 

FWIW, I'm on my third Mirena and Hobbes is 12.

 

Laura

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It hurt A LOT going in -- worse than childbirth for me -- and I was in pain for days after.

 

Me too. Likely because of the scaring of 2 caesarians. I highly recommend a cervical softener (you take it the night before) and Valium which you take the day of. My sister had one put in in the USA and was not given these pills and had quite a bit of trouble. So although the pills are standard in NZ, I am not sure if they are in the USA. Ask you doc. It might be certain circumstances like caesarians or never being pregnant that make insertion more difficult.

 

Ruth in NZ

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I have the Mirena. It's only 5 years and last time it was replaced it was quite uncomfortable. I wouldn't put it anywhere near childbirth though. No way. It takes just a few minutes.

 

ETA: And my cycles are lighter, whereas they used to be so dreadful I would wish for death

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During my last pregnancy, I sat and sat and sat in my midwife's waiting room. I had no clue what was taking so long -- they were usually very prompt. Finally I got in. The student midwife told me she'd been working on some lady's IUD that just wouldn't go in. The whole insertion process seems kind of scary.

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I've had two paraguards, one between dd and youngest ds and one after his birth. Never had any problems other than when I went in to have them removed they were found to already be on their way out. I never had issues with longer periods, actually they were shorter, although a bit heavier in the beginning. I had the 2nd take out because dh had the big V.

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Me too. Likely because of the scaring of 2 caesarians. I highly recommend a cervical softener (you take it the night before) and Valium which you take the day of. My sister had one put in in the USA and was not given these pills and had quite a bit of trouble. So although the pills are standard in NZ, I am not sure if they are in the USA. Ask you doc. It might be certain circumstances like caesarians or never being pregnant that make insertion more difficult.

 

Ruth in NZ

 

It had been my understanding that it is contraindicated for women who have never been pregnant. Maybe that has changed, but at the time I was researching it seemed that the women who reported the most problems had never been pregnant.

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It had been my understanding that it is contraindicated for women who have never been pregnant. Maybe that has changed, but at the time I was researching it seemed that the women who reported the most problems had never been pregnant.

 

That's changed, and in fact last week or so the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommended the IUD and hormonal injections over other birth control methods for all women, including teens.

 

http://www.acog.org/Resources_And_Publications/Committee_Opinions/Committee_on_Adolescent_Health_Care/Adolescents_and_Long-Acting_Reversible_Contraception

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LOVED IT!!!!!

 

At the time I had mine, we were pretty sure we didn't want to try for any more children, but weren't quite ready for the jump to anything permanent. I had mine in for about 3 years. No problems whatsoever! VERY effective! In the words of my doc, "ain't nothing getting past this one!" (I had the Paraguard)

 

They will COMPLETELY freak you out when you go in for the appointment! They have to tell you EVERY POSSIBLE THING that COULD go wrong!! (ever read the disclosure for anesthesia??? Very similar!!)

 

If you have a good doc that you trust, it's worth considering. They'll put you on an antibiotic for a week before your appointment. The insertion procedure is done in office. Takes like 2 minutes! You will have some bleeding and mild cramping for a day or two after. Other than that, you're done!

 

Hope that helps!

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