What is a Copper IUD and How Does it Work?
Per the Mayo Clinic’s definition, a copper IUD is an intrauterine device (IUD) that’s inserted into the uterus for long-term birth control (up to 10 years). It is a T-shaped plastic frame with copper wire coiled around the stem and two copper sleeves along the arms that continuously release copper into the lining of the uterus. This process produces an inflammatory reaction in the uterus that is toxic to sperm, which helps prevent fertilization.
Copper IUD Claims
Proponents of the copper IUD make a lot of claims that it is a better and safer form of birth control, even citing studies that copper ion levels released by IUDs are too tiny to impair human health. The two main claims that I will debunk that are completely false are:
- Decreases the risk of endometrial cancer and possibly cervical cancer.
- Doesn’t carry the risk of side effects related to hormonal birth control methods.
These claims couldn’t be further from the truth, with many women painfully finding this out the hard way. In fact, I have yet to work with a single woman in my practice that hasn’t been adversely affected by the copper IUD.
Copper IUD Side-effects and Myths
Commonly disclosed side-effects include: cramping, bleeding between periods, and severe menstrual pain, but this only a very small part of the overall story when it comes to copper and females.
The overarching narrative to this story is that copper and estrogen share a very intimate relationship with one another because estrogen increases copper retention in the body. It has been estimated that almost 85% of females (of all age ranges) are adversely affected by a common, yet little known condition called copper overload or copper toxicity, and have no idea it’s the cause of their distress. This makes implantation of a copper IUD in a female that is already (and usually unknowingly) overloaded in copper a recipe for disaster.
To make matters worse, few doctors are aware of this condition, thus unintentionally prescribing hormones and/or devices that could negatively impact your health and well-being.
As a metal, copper is a great conductor of energy, (you know how that energizer bunny keeps going and going) which gives credence to symptoms of insomnia, racing thoughts, heart palpitations, and dizziness after a copper IUD is inserted, symptoms all of my female clients have complained about after trying this method of birth control.
Copper and Cancer
As I mentioned previously, estrogen increases copper retention in the body. We live in an estrogen dominant world and it is well documented that estrogen dominance plays a direct role in the development of many cancers, including those of the breast, ovaries, and cervix.
Additionally, impaired methylation synthesis is also a major factor in today’s soaring cancer rates. You can view the research here.
With copper high, other minerals become imbalalnced .
Other Things to Consider With a Copper IUD
Practitioners are often told to inform patients that adverse menstrual irregularities will eventually subside after insertion of a copper IUD, but I have found the opposite to be true. Disorders such as endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) actually tend to increase in severity and duration after a copper IUD is implanted.
Additionally, copper is a major player in ADHD/ADD, Alzheimer’s disease, autism, hyperactivity (especially in children) bipolar disorders, fibromyalgia, and paranoid schizophrenia.
TESTING FOR COPPER DYSREGULATION:
A hair tissue mineral analysis is a huge part of the healing process. This will not only show you the relationship between your minerals, eg magnesium and calcium levels both play a part in regulating copper. but it will also give you an idea on the state of your adrenal glands. Strong adrenals are needed to balance copper. An HTMA will also give insight on what is going on with liver function.
The blood tests that are very helpful are copper serum, plasma zinc and ceruloplasmin among other serum markers..
If you are on any kind of birth control, have been diagnosed with estrogen dominance, or are in the post-partum period, it would be very crucial for you to test for copper dysregulation. Copper can triple while we are pregnant- if we are depleted during or after the birth, then it is common for us to hold onto this excess copper instead of excreting it like we are supposed to.
Copper dysregulation is a very treatable condition, so when it comes to healing, I like the idea of rebuilding and nourishing the body to allow it to heal itself.