There were months between the moment I first started looking for hormone-free contraception and the moment I had my IUD placed by the doctor.
At home I read everything I could find about (hormone free) contraception and the effect of the copper IUD. Sites, forums, scientific articles; I devoured everything.
In addition, I spoke with doctors and specialists about its side effects.
Each of them mentioned the following ailments: heavy and painful periods, pain during sex and pain during placement.
If it was completely necessary to not stuff my body with hormones like a beef cow, I would have had those few inconveniences ...
I believe that the doctors who advised me really did their best to inform me as well as possible, however, they lacked the necessary knowledge I needed so badly.
Fortunately, times are changing and there is plenty to find in American articles (and even in this Dutch blog!) About how the copper IUD affects your hormones and changes your body and mind.
" You read it correctly: although the copper IUD itself does not contain hormones; it disrupts the balance in the body so much that the side effects quickly become unclear. "
Although there is a lot to be found online; ranging from personal experience to hard scientific evidence, the doctors are still poorly informed ...
For this study, I went into the books again to clearly list all the side effects of the copper IUD so that women and girls can make an informed choice in the future when they decide to use contraception.
To get right to the point some women who have an IUD experience the following:
Fatigue and feeling of exhaustion
Thyroid disease (weight gain)
Cancer (uterus / ovaries / breasts)
Inflammations (everywhere, but especially in intestines / vulva / uterus / breast)
Cysts (uterus / ovaries / breast)
Damage to the uterine wall
Feeling matt (as if there is a blanket over you)
Super sensitive, tearful
Dizziness / fainting
Cold hands and / or feet
Cravings to sweetness
Feeling of loss of control
Despair, suicidal feelings, hopelessness
Arthritis, traces of calcium
Constipation / diarrhea
Increased heart rate / pounding heart
Side effect on vitamins and minerals
Problems with concentration and memory
Bad short-term memory
Short attention span
Eating disorders: anorexia, bulimia, binge eating
Panic attacks, high anxiety, free-floating anxiety
Infection of the intestine (wall)
Sore muscles or muscle cramps
Insomnia, interrupted sleep
Low blood pressure
Well, that's a long list, isn't it?
This is because the copper ions that enter the blood via the IUD have far more effects than the GPs would like to admit.
How does the copper IUD work?
The copper IUD is placed in your uterus to prevent pregnancy.
The copper ions that are released by this ensure that the sperm cells are switched off (paralyzed) so that they cannot fertilize your egg. If it’s not possible to paralyze all sperm cells, the spiral will make implantation impossible. This strategy is effective in 99.92% of the cases, making it the most reliable form of long-term contraception.
Copper in your body
I asked my doctor (literally. asked.) What happens to the copper ions that enter your body?
"Copper is a metal that your body naturally possesses and needs, you excrete excess copper through your urine."
If I think about this now, I feel stupid.
We all know that it is not smart to eat salmon or tuna 3 times a day because they contain a lot of heavy metals. We have our holes filled with metal-free fillings because the alternative can make you deathly ill (tooth decay).
I knew all this, but I still listened to my doctor.
Maybe I was too eager to believe this was a good option because I didn’t want to rely on the condom all my life (which doesn't seem so bad to me after all).
What my doctor should have said
It basically comes down to this:
" Copper is a metal. Copper ions are soluble in fat (not in water like many vitamins and minerals), this means that your body stores all copper ions in your body. "
An excess copper and copper ions will primarily be stored in liver and fat cells but may eventually settle in every possible cell.
Any excess copper in your body is called copper poisoning.
Research has shown that:
• 80% of women have copper poisoning.
• 100% of women who use an IUD or take the pill for more than 1 year have a copper poison.
• Toxicity does not dissolve 'by itself' when you stop contraception.
Copper and hormones
Research has also shown that copper has direct effect on your hormones.
Hormones are substances that your body produces itself. They regulate all kinds of functions in your body and influence processes.
Hormones ensure that certain tissues and organs grow and are regulated.
They determine how your body is regulated but also how brain works and thus how you perceive the world (anxious/happy/depressed).
Behavior, feelings and emotions. For example; stress and hormones are linked. Because stress hormones are released in a 'dangerous' situation and a 'fight or flight' reaction is created.
Growth and development
Water and salt management
Storage and consumption of reserve food (fat)
In short; they determine everything. How you feel, how you think and what you do.
So, copper has a direct influence on this, which explains why the list of side effects was so long (and most likely longer).
Vitamins and minerals affect each other and hormones. Hormones influence each other and vitamins and minerals.
Our body is a very smart system in which everything influences everything, which is why it is difficult to measure the exact effect of excess copper.
We can say with certainty that copper directly effects:
vit. B6, B12
calcium (extracts calcium from the bones)
And on the hormones:
Test copper poisoning
When you suffer from copper poisoning you have the symptoms of someone with a deficiency. It's like having diabetes, but for copper. Due to the consistently high amount of copper in your blood, your body becomes copper intolerant.
In addition, your body becomes smarter in storing copper, which ensures that the copper is filtered from your blood and stored in your cells. You have a lot of copper, but there is no copper in your blood. This makes excess copper difficult to test.
I also did blood tests that showed me to be perfectly healthy, while I clearly was not.
The only way to can get a good idea of the amount of heavy metals in your body is to have your hair examined.
Why test your hair?
"Hair is a total reflection of everything that happens in the tissues of the body."
Haaranalyse ® ( A center of specialists) states the following:
"During the growth phase, the hair is connected to the bloodstream via the hair root and stores the substances circulating in the blood in the hair cells, both the minerals and trace elements and the toxic heavy metals.
The concentration of these substances in the hair accurately reflects the concentrations in the surrounding tissues.
After the hair cells die, the concentration of the substances in the hair cell is preserved. Due to the low growth of the hair (about 1 cm per month), the hair also stores substances that circulate in the blood in very low concentrations. Toxic metals are concentrated in soft tissues, not in blood or urine. In the blood they are only found after acute exposure. ''
How does a test work?
You request a test, send in a few hairs and within 2 weeks you will receive research results. Depending on the company where you did the test, you will receive personal advice and a detox schedule.
I don't want to discourage you, but a copper detox takes 6-24 months when done 'perfectly'.
A copper detox contains the following core elements:
Remove the cause of poison
Low-copper and zinc-rich diet
Restore balance using supplements
When you stop taking the pill, remove your IUD or replace your pipes; unfortunately, you are not there yet.
Although this can provide tremendous relief from the symptoms, copper does not go out of your body by itself, for this you need to take active action.
Fortunately, our body is an ingenious system and with small adjustments we can undo the major damage.
During a detox, the symptoms come back and get worse.
Personally, the detox was very hard for me for the first two months but then slowly improved.
I recommend that you have a test and based on that, make a personal schedule.
The costs are between 150 and 500 euros ($250 - $850) depending on the clinic you go to and if you want a personal diet/ supplement schedule.
I got mine for 175 euros and it gave me the results I needed.
What you can change today is the following:
This is necessary to balance the amount of copper in your body. Copper has prevented the absorption of these vitamins and minerals (just like those of zinc) so you probably now have a shortage. Leave the zinc on the side for a while as taking it at this point is likely to provoke an excessive reaction in your body.
Liver Detox *
Your liver plays an important role in detoxifying your body and will also remove excess copper from your body.
To ensure that your liver works as efficiently as possible, you can do two things.
1. Stop putting extra stress on your liver. Follow the diet below for this.
2. Support your liver with herbs.
The best herbs for a liver detox:
Astragulus (ancient root)
Greater Celandine (Lesser Celandine)
*You cannot clean your liver with a simple quick fix or instant cure. The years of overload it has taken, takes time to recover. It is therefore better to support your body in this natural process than to bring it even further out of balance by a short, intense treatment. The internet is full of liver stone detox and such, I personally wouldn't recommend it. If you do want to try one of those quick fixes please inform yourself beforehand.
In addition, it is important to follow a low copper diet, not to drink water from copper pipes and not to eat organ meat.
Are you currently vegan? Then I recommend that you bring organic eggs / chicken back into your diet because otherwise recovery is impossible.
I was also vegan and almost vomited when I started eating my first super-organic spout eggs from the farmer. I only eat the amount needed for now and after this detox (yes, I am still on it) I will return to my #veganlife as soon as possible.
The restoration of animal form is necessary for recovery by the zinc in combination with some specific animal proteins that cannot be obtained in any other form.
If you still want to stay vegan at least stop eating:
All nuts, seeds and seeds (except linseed and pumpkin seeds)
Dried fruit (dates etc.)
Legumes (also peanuts)
Green leafy vegetables
I know that the list above looks like a perfect and healthy diet, however, your body is out of balance and with this diet we can try to get the balance back.
As I mentioned earlier a detox is very heavy and will take a long time. The symptoms will worsen and new ones may develop themselves.
It was emotional and physical at times and extremely exhausting for me; I tried to continue my exercise habits however, I would be so exhausted that I lay on the couch for days afterwards.
The pains in my body made me irritable and emotionally unstable. Although I was aware of this and tried to control it by responding to my environment in a controlled manner, it was an internal torment every time someone challenged me or went beyond my limits.
I was tired, angry, and life seemed hopeless. Where I looked back at my time before all of this, pain-free and carefree, I now felt as if I had descended to an inescapable depth that I would never be able to climb up from.
At this point I can proudly tell you that I was wrong.
It takes time, effort and immeasurable strength but it can be done.
External sources used