I don’t have a preferred contraception. They’re all seriously nasty and come with a monster list of side effects, complications and troubles. The copper IUD is one many women turn to because it doesn’t contain ‘synthetic’ hormones. We visited the mirena a few weeks back – you may like to take a read of that here.
The copper IUD is a small intrauterine device that prevents pregnancy (see below image).
It’s believed to work as the copper coil, which is wrapped around the IUD itself, releases ions into the surrounding fluids. This impairs the mobility of sperm like some kind of super hero magnetic force. It is believed that this is an effective form of contraception. Sounds harmless – but lets dig deeper.
The IUD also changes the thickness of the uterine lining, affecting implantation. There are several theories around this – none of which have been 100% proven. In my professional opinion, anything object imbedded into the uterine lining has ramifications, much like endometriosis or a fibroid present. These types of disruptions can of course affect long-term fertility.
Heavier and more painful periods are very common whilst a copper IUD is in the uterus. The presence of a foreign object wedged in the vaginal wall is, in my opinion, confusing for the body. A heavier period is simply the body trying to get rid of the obstruction each and every month. From a Chinese Medicine perspective, anything disrupting the normal menstrual flow will cause pain – be it a fibroid, endometrial tissue or cysts – hence why many women experience painful periods with an IUD.
The real issue with these devices is the vulnerability they expose the body to by way of infection. There is a really high chance of infection developing in the first 20 or so days after insertion. Infection can lead to long-term damage to health and especially fertility. Pelvic inflammatory disease (be it from the IUD, from a sexually transmitted illness, from scaring, damage) whatever the cause is a serious issue and must be addressed and treated accordingly. Scaring from PID can lead to damage of the uterus, has been linked to ectopic pregnancies (which are an increased risk with those who have an IUD) and miscarriage. In many instances where there is damage, patients are left with little option other than IVF. And, whilst it goes without saying, I’m still going to make mention that IUD’s do not offer protection from STI’s which have the same ramifications as I’ve just mentioned with regard to PID.
From a TCM stand point – any form of contraception interrupts the natural body rhythm. Over a long period of time, this can play havoc with a woman’s fertility.
So do I like the copper IUD? Not really. I guess if I had to suggest one form of contraception that is least damaging; when you weigh the copper IUD up against the rest, it still totally comes with a host of issues. My major concerns are with any object wedged into the uterus and how each unique body reacts to it. Every woman will react differently, which makes it virtually impossible to predict if you are a lucky winner or not. For some women, there are no apparent issues with the copper IUD and for others it can have a long standing, disastrous impact on the future of her fertility.
I guess the real question is are you prepared to take the risk. My mission is and always has been to help people listen to their bodies and interpret what is being presented. Through this my hope is to educate women that there are natural contraception methods and you truly do have options. When all is said and done, just how much are you dying not to be pregnant? And how much are you willing to put your body through long term?
For more information and guidance on natural contraception you can read some of my previous posts: the pill – is it for you, healthtalks ovulation segment, if not the pill then what, and many more can be found by searching ‘the pill’ in the sidebar.