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Should I get a copper IUD while I have M.E.?

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS Discussion' started by Fuschia, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. Fuschia


    I'm in two minds over this so please feel free to throw in your $.02. I'm just relying on condoms at the moment for birth control, which I'm finding kinda stressful, would love to get an IUD which has a very low failure rate, but I'm scared of doing anything new medically which could add an extra wrinkle to my M.E. saga.

    Not keen on hormonal birth control, no particular reason (I've never been on it before) just a bit finicky about the idea of hormones, plus as I mentioned, the IUD is more effective. I'm pretty high functioning with my M.E., I lost my part time due to M.E job about a year ago and it was a case of ill wind blowing some good, as I think the rest I got subsequently was a big factor in my health improving. I'm starting to genuinely believe there's light at the end of the (4 year) tunnel, and fingers crossed, could make a return to full health. In other words....I really don't want to jeopardise anything!

    That said, from what I can see the copper IUD is not really contraindicated with anything autoimmune or serious health conditions, could find no data on me/cfs. I doubt I'm going to luck upon a me/cfs expert at the IUD clinic, I don't have a real specialist for the me/cfs yet that I can ask, The doc I'm seeing is ok and I've just emailed him asking him about it.

    My main concern is that the IUD works by basically stimulating the bodies response to a foreign object to prevent pregnancy. Any inflammation is localised apparently though the inflammation part is ringing alarm bells for me. I'm trying to get an appointment at nova south eastern, hopefully should be sometime in the new year, do I wait it out until I can ask someone there? The lack of knowledge from doctors about ME has left a bad taste in my mouth and I don't know if I'm being sensible or over-cautious on this one.
  2. SOC

    SOC Senior Member

    If I were in your shoes, I would definitely wait until I could talk to your doc at NOVA Southeastern. They'll have a much better understanding of the implications of various forms of birth control with ME than most of us here (and virtually all GPs and OB/GYNs).

    BTW, many people with ME/CFS have problems reading large blocks of text. More people will be able to read and respond to your post if you edit it and put paragraph breaks every few sentences. :)
    minkeygirl and Fuschia like this.
  3. Fuschia


    Lol sorry I do get a bit stream of consciousness sometimes! ;) (ETA paragraph breaks) Thanks for the advice. I've gotten so much more careful with my health, taking supplements etc since I've been ill, I feel much less inclined to just experiment with health stuff. (For those that don't know, IUDs have to inserted by a doctor in a not so pleasant way, so not something I can easily just try for a while and whip out again.)

    the fact that I still can't manage a glass of alcohol, I think doesn't bode well for even a normal dose of hormonal BC...have any me/cfs ers have any experience with this?

    I had a bit of a condom scare recently, extreme stress also not the best for cfs.

    Maybe I should just join a monastery until my NSU appt.......
  4. minkeygirl

    minkeygirl But I Look So Good.

    Left Coast
    I used to use sponges years ago. I don't even know if they are still available but I liked them. What about a Diaphram?
    SOC likes this.
  5. vamah

    vamah Senior Member

    Washington , DC area
    There is also the nuvaring, which has a hormonal componant, but lower level. It was recommended to me because I don't do well with hormones, but it is expensive and my insurance didn't cover it so I never actually tried it.
  6. Ema

    Ema Senior Member

    Midwest USA
    I would personally lean away from either hormonal BC or a copper IUD.

    Condoms plus a diaphragm would give similar protection without as many risks.

    rosie26 and SOC like this.
  7. SickOfSickness

    SickOfSickness Senior Member

    I would not go near hormonal BC again.

    What is the worst case if you try the IUD? If it does not work, could you get it removed quickly or would you have to schedule and wait? Would it impact your finances a lot if it didn't work?

    I think it's worth a try, if you can get it out quickly if you have bad effects, and if the cost wouldn't be hard on you.

    I hated being stressed about BC. It is worth putting some money into trying other options.
  8. Sushi

    Sushi Moderation Resource Albuquerque


    And then there is the copper itself. Some of us have too much which isn't good. I'd at least consider checking your copper levels before making this move.

    I was also thinking along with Ema, diaphragm and condoms. Though there is some hassle involved, it is pretty safe--both as protection and for your health.

  9. Gypsy

    Gypsy Senior Member

    Elaine from "Seinfeld":

    "You're not sponge worthy!!"

    The Today Sponge is still available, and costs around $15-$18 for THREE sponges! As Kramer would say, "That's kooky talk!" It better be really worth it for $5+ a........ya know? ;) Does that make me sound cheap? ;)

    I assume the Sponge is compatible with condoms?
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2013
  10. peggy-sue


    Thankfully I'm past fretting about BC, but I used a copper IUD for years before I got ME, and still had it when I first got sick.

    I would have stuck with it, getting another put in if I had needed to, but had had "the change". (it's wonderful being "past it"! :thumbsup:)

    It's not a method to choose lightly, it is very unpleasant getting it put in or changed - but I have never had children (by choice) which made that bit worse for me.

    I was thankful I wasn't having to take hormones, I never got on with them at all well, I detest condoms and caps - they smell vile, they feel horrible and there is all the ghastly slimey smelly gunk you have to use with them.

    IUDs are really only suitable for stable, monogamous, long term relationships.
    I don't think it had any bad effects on my illness - I would worry far more about taking hormones.
  11. LaurelW

    LaurelW Senior Member

    Why not consider a non-copper IUD?
  12. Ema

    Ema Senior Member

    Midwest USA
    Then you're back to hormones again...
  13. Sing

    Sing Senior Member

    New England
    Years ago I had an IUD put in, copper, a Dalkon Shield I think it was. My body set to work to reject it, causing continuous and increasing cramps. Stood it for a month before I had it removed. But a few days later I had a life-threatening infection spring up inside my body on my organs, like liver and gall bladder. Two days in Intensive Care with massive antibiotics before I was out of the woods. One doctor not involved (or liable) hypothesized that my uterus, in trying to expell the IUD, was perforated by it. Then normal uterine bacteria set up sites of infections on my organs. Dalcon Shields, that shape, were withdrawn from the market.

    I understand the desperation around birth control. After my body stopped being able to tolerate hormonal birth control, then trying everything available at that time, I eventually ended up having a tubal ligation--in my case, a good decision.

    Getting the IUD in, by the way, was agonizing, so if you try, I would recommend an anaesthetic.
  14. IreneF

    IreneF Senior Member

    San Francisco
    I had a copper IUD for years and loved it. I never had to think about it. This was after I had two kids, so things were kind of opened up inside, and I wasn't planning on another pregnancy. That said--these days I can't even wear earrings without getting inflammation. On the other hand, the uterus is designed to host an alien (i.e. immunologically non-self) so--?

    I recall the insertion as being uncomfortable but not agonizing, and the removal was no big deal.

    I think it's a trade off. While there is no 100% foolproof method of birth control, the IUD has a good record, probably better than diaphragms and condoms. Pills are easy to stop taking if you have problems. Plan B is easy to get, too.

    What would you do if you had an unplanned pregnancy? Pregnancy is always riskier than the alternative.
  15. Lacey


    A copper IUD is good, I've had no problems with mine.

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