Help with Copper IUD
October 31, 2011 10:41 PM   Subscribe

Gynakologistfilter: Help with Copper IUD - Severe cramping still perseveres 11 days after insertion. Is this normal? What options are available and what could be causing this?

It is possible that the wrong sized IUD was inserted. The model is a Nova T.

YANAD but Thanks in advance for any help!
posted by freddymetz to Health & Fitness (27 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: That was my experience and after 6 miserable months I had it yanked. As far as I can tell (from my own and friends experiences) copper IUDs always significantly increase cramping and bleeding. Whether or not you can live with it is an individual decision. I'm very active so I couldn't keep it. The only people I know who've stuck with them were pretty sedentary and/or had the kind of job that allowed bathroom breaks every 45 minutes, several days a month.
posted by fshgrl at 10:44 PM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]

You call the doctor.
posted by Zophi at 10:45 PM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: thanks fshgrl, was that your only symptom or did you have others? What do you use now (if you don't mind me asking)?

Zophi, it's 6am in Germany! But will do.
posted by freddymetz at 10:54 PM on October 31, 2011

Agreed with fshgrl, the copper iuds have pretty severe side effects. If you can't deal with them get it removed. This is not because you are a big big baby, it's just that your body can't deal. Find something else, hormonal if that is possible for you.
posted by boobjob at 11:01 PM on October 31, 2011

Mirena (it's great). And no, the cramping wasn't my only symptom. I had back pain, leg pain, was wiped out, headache-y and had unbelievably heavy bleeding for the first 4 weeks or so, then at least 7-10 days per month after that. It was ridiculous and completely untenable given my job. I literally never even had a cramp in my life before I had the copper IUD.

Call the doctor but unless you have a fever or you're vomiting they'll just merrily tell you to "give it time!" If you have a fever or any other signs of infection or actual illness (other than just feeling like you're being slowly drained) I'd go to the ER. There is a risk that it is not in right.

For me, giving it 3 months seemed sensible given the cost of having it inserted in the US ($600!!) and I gave it three more just in case it would settle down but then I gave up.
posted by fshgrl at 11:03 PM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Wow that's unreal! I'll go to the ER then. 120 euros down the drain..
posted by freddymetz at 11:18 PM on October 31, 2011

Response by poster: Im scared of hormonal though, because i keep hearing these reports that they make you infertile if taken over a long period of time
posted by freddymetz at 11:20 PM on October 31, 2011

Do you have a fever or anything other than cramping?
posted by fshgrl at 11:34 PM on October 31, 2011

For what it's worth, while my copper IUD increased period length and likelihood of cramping, it's never been unteneable, so that severity of symptoms is not a foregone conclusion.
posted by Anonymous at 11:35 PM on October 31, 2011

Sorry I didn't mean to tell you that it will never settle down or you can't live with it but that yes, side effects are normal up to and inculcating weeks of severe cramping. Like I said, some people can live with them. I couldn't, largely due to lifestyle issues.
posted by fshgrl at 11:45 PM on October 31, 2011

Response by poster: It's weird that I couldn't find any people asking about cramps post-insertion on the internet. The only thing I could find were pre-insertion worries.
posted by freddymetz at 11:55 PM on October 31, 2011

It's weird that I couldn't find any people asking about cramps post-insertion on the internet.

IUD Divas is a good resource (though annoying to sift through) if you haven't seen it already. There's definitely some post-insertion cramping posts there and lots on the copper IUD (mostly tagged as 'paragard'), which I found helpful in deciding to go for the Mirena instead.

Good luck with the ER!
posted by carbide at 5:42 AM on November 1, 2011

I had a Nova-T 200 inserted earlier this year in June/ July. Was on and off birth control pill before for 8 years. Cramping post-insertion was persistent the first 24-48 hours before tapering off.

The IUD increased both the amount of cramping and my period length for the first three months. However both are getting back to what I would consider as normal for when I was not taking the pill ie. minimal cramping the first two days (I'd take 2 ibuprofen/ day). Personally I've noticed it takes about 3 months for my body to adjust to hormone changes, like starting/ stopping the birth control pill, which was way I was willing to wait out 3 months on the IUD before making my final judgement. I do experience quite a bit more bleeding than on the pill but I can manage that and cramping is minimal so I'm happy with my decision.

I would have called my doctor however if I was still experiencing severe cramps over 1 week after insertion - if only to rule out the possiblity of a copper allergy. Good luck!
posted by kitkatcathy at 6:02 AM on November 1, 2011

This is my experience, as well. 18 months later, it's still not a ton better. I'm getting it yanked in early December.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:24 AM on November 1, 2011

I have one and it took me about three to four months before it settled. I don't have cramps most months with it now although my periods are still slightly heavier than before.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 6:57 AM on November 1, 2011

First, I don't think you should still be having severe cramping 11 days after insertion. The cramping for me was gone by the next morning. So definitely see a doctor about that. But I also have to counter some things posted in this thread so far.

copper IUDs always significantly increase cramping and bleeding...The only people I know who've stuck with them were pretty sedentary and/or had the kind of job that allowed bathroom breaks every 45 minutes, several days a month.

Just as a contrary data point, I have never had any problems with my copper IUD. My periods are not heavier, my cramps are not any worse. A super or regular absorbancy tampon usually does the trick for an entire 8-hour workday, and once in a while I'll take ibuprofen for cramps. I have a desk job but am hardly sedentary - I ride my bike to work 20 miles round trip almost every day, ride centuries on weekends, and participate in cyclocross races. My periods, post IUD insertion (I've had it over 2 years now), have never prohibited participation in any such activites.
posted by misskaz at 7:09 AM on November 1, 2011 [2 favorites]

I've had the copper IUD for four years now and it definitely caused increased cramping, substantially increased bleeding, and extended the duration of my periods by a few days. It took me a full year to really get comfortable with it. I am now seriously considering replacing it with a Mirena because I'm tired of the heavy and long periods (caused me a lot of hair loss due to low ferritin levels). My only concern with the Mirena is weight gain from the hormones.
posted by Dragonness at 7:41 AM on November 1, 2011

Even the Mirena left me with significant daily cramping for nearly 3 weeks after insertion, and then cramping with periods for a couple months after that, but then it got better and now I don't get cramps at all. Everyone's poo-poohing the doctors for saying "wait it out," but personally I'm really glad I did. If they had pulled it, I would be back to the worry of condoms or the side effects of systemic hormonal pills, yuck. Even with the initial pain, I would still call this the best birth control option I've ever used.

I've heard people have more trouble with the copper IUD, but plenty of women are able to tolerate it just fine. You may or may not be one of the ones who can tolerate it, but I guess my point is that you shouldn't judge how life will be with your IUD when you've only had it for 11 days. It takes your body longer than that to get used to it.

Also, I also found that one of my biggest worries during the painful time was that something was wrong with me, that my experience was not normal or that the IUD had gone somewhere it shouldn't. So when I called my gyno and they told me not to worry and to wait it out, I tried to take it not as a condescending, dismissive response, but instead as a reassurance that I was not going to die or be rendered infertile, and that things would get better. Any unexpected pain can make you anxious, which can make the pain more unbearable. Talk to your doc, get your anxieties relieved, and see if you can stand to wait it out.
posted by vytae at 8:13 AM on November 1, 2011

Very, very normal for a copper IUD. I found it helped significantly to take ibuprofem or acetaminophen proactively, aka not waiting for the pain to kick in. I did this for the better part of 6 weeks after insertion. I also bought stock in black underwear, since the spotting went on for those 6 weeks.

The first few periods with the IUD are pretty rough. Use NSAIDs preemptively and freely. It makes a difference.
posted by 8dot3 at 8:17 AM on November 1, 2011

Copper IUDs have known side effects of increased menstrual duration, flow, and pain. Though as other have noted, those side effects don't happen to everyone nor is it a given that they'll persist indefinitely. When that happens to someone,

Severe pain 11 days after insertion is not normal. A follow-up exam should have been scheduled to take place 2-6 weeks after insertion. But time to move that up. When you call the medical office, specify that you're having ongoing severe pain, so grasp that is not the routine visit that can wait a month.

When you see the provider, consider requesting a sonogram to confirm it's positioned correctly. A mis-positioned IUD could not only cause pain, but is also significantly less effective.

Another possibility is that your body may be preparing for spontaneous expulsion, which is another known problem for a minority of IUD insertions.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 9:10 AM on November 1, 2011

For your case, what nakedcodemonkey said.

But it is normal to have horror show periods for the first 3-4 months. I'm on year 9 with a copper IUD and I absolutely love it. I intend to get it replaced next year when this one has to come out. Cramping is a bit worse than before, but not bad enough to take anything. It's also a lot milder if I've been getting regular exercise, for whatever reason. Bleeding is heavier than before, but not tremendously so.

The hormones in the pill gave me mild depression, made me unable to focus on anything, and made me an emotional wreck (ie., pms on every day of the month). So the break-in period and the slightly worse periods are absolutely worth it, both for the not being crazy everyday part and because it's more effective birth control that I don't have to think about.

Oh, and I live in a city with no car, so I'm certainly not sedentary, either.
posted by antinomia at 11:29 AM on November 1, 2011

Extremely heavy flow and insane PMS. I have had it for close to a year and it is now tapering off but it seemed an obscene part of the my month was devoted to the menstrual cycle. I also have not been able to lose weight but that maybe related to other issues.

My husband wants me to have it yanked out. I cannot have hormones so the alternatives are not too good.
posted by jadepearl at 11:35 AM on November 1, 2011

I had a Paragard copper IUD for four days, and the pain was unbearable. I kept thinking (even though I know I have a high pain tolerance) "Oh, I'm just being a baby." They got me in for a vaginal ultrasound and found that while it hadn't perforated the uterus, it was poking me pretty badly. The nurse was very surprised I'd lasted with the pain as long as I did.

I'm still very disappointed about it. I did ask them to let me keep the IUD, and it's sitting on my desk right now :P
posted by fiercecupcake at 11:42 AM on November 1, 2011

I had cramping intermittently for weeks after insertion, but advil handled it. If ibuprofen works, I would stick the IUD out for 3 periods (at least aim for that), and see how things settle out. For me, they settled out, and I pulled it eventually not because of cramps but because of finally having enough of 9 day periods on a 24 day cycle. If ibuprofen doesn't work and you're in constant pain, I'd yank it sooner rather than later and see what else you can try.
posted by Salamandrous at 12:20 PM on November 1, 2011

I have the Mirena, not a copper iud, but still experienced cramps and pain for a couple of weeks. It got better. My menstrual cramps have been different than before insertion,
posted by annsunny at 12:33 PM on November 1, 2011

When I got my Mirena (not the copper kind), I was told I might have cramping and spotting for up to two weeks. That turned out to be scarily accurrate. But right about two weeks later—right when I was thinking "god, I'm not sure if this is worth it"— the cramps stopped. It will now be a year in December, and I don't get anything as bad as the initial cramps, but sometimes during ovulation, I will cramp. But no period, which is awesome.

I have heard that cramping and bleeding is worse with the copper kind, which is why I opted for the Mirena. So the two week thing, may not be a correct estimate for you. But I wanted to add that 11 days is normal, and it should get better!
posted by Eicats at 12:58 PM on November 1, 2011

Best answer: Im scared of hormonal though, because i keep hearing these reports that they make you infertile if taken over a long period of time
posted by freddymetz at 11:20 PM on October 31 [+] [!]

I feel the need to address this, since no one else has. Hormonal birth control is not suitable for everyone, but it absolutely does not make you infertile if you take it for a long period of time. The persistent false rumor that HBC can make you infertile is a form of slut-shaming. If anything, HBC protects fertility slightly by dramatically reducing the risk of ovarian cysts and ovarian cancer.
posted by Violet Hour at 3:09 PM on November 1, 2011 [5 favorites]

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