IUD stands for Intrauterine Device, a birth control option that sits inside your uterus or sometimes your upper arm. They are over 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy, and for some, they can be a better alternative to taking a pill every day—but are they worth it?
There are two types of IUDs: non-hormonal Copper IUDs (Paragard) and Hormonal IUDs (Mirena, Liletta, Skyla, Kyleena). In this article, we will talk about the difference between non-hormonal IUDs and hormonal IUDs, the pros and cons of both, and natural birth control alternatives.
Hormonal vs Non Hormonal IUD
Non-Hormonal Copper IUD
The Copper IUD is a non-hormonal form of birth control that is T-shaped and wrapped in a bit of copper. It works as a preventative by releasing copper ions into the uterus, causing an inflammatory response toxic to sperm. Many women choose Copper IUDs as a non-hormonal birth control option but still wonder if it impacts hormones.
Is It Possible for a Non-Hormonal IUD to Impact Hormones?
Copper and estrogen have a very intricate relationship as estrogen enhances copper retention in the body.
There is a chance that a Copper IUD will enhance the symptoms of estrogen dominance if a woman already has an estrogen dominance issue. The same goes for if there is an iron-copper-zinc imbalance or imbalance of nutrients that work with said minerals.
When there is an overload or imbalance of copper in the body, symptoms can include:
- Panic attacks
- Hair loss
- Brain fog
- Racing thoughts
- Increased risk for infertility
- Interference with adrenal and thyroid activity
- Increased risk of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
To read more about the cons of a Copper IUD, go here.
Hormones and minerals have an intimate relationship, meaning they can impact each other one way or another. This is an important thing to consider when looking at birth control options.
Hormonal IUDs include Mirena, Skyla, Liletta, and Kyleena. They secrete progestins, which is a synthetic form of our body’s naturally produced progesterone.
Hormones in these IUDs work to prevent pregnancy in two ways: 1. They thicken the mucus that lives on the cervix to block and trap the sperm, and 2. The hormones inhibit eggs from leaving your ovaries (ovulation), which means no eggs for a sperm to fertilize. No egg means no pregnancy.
IUDs and Potential Benefits
IUDs can last years and can be taken out at any time. Some people look to hormonal IUDs to help with period problems as they may be able to help with cramps and heavy flow. The downside here is that people may stop getting their periods altogether.
Common Disadvantages of IUDs
Many women experience irregular periods, cramping, and spotting. While this usually goes away within 3-6 months, some people experience these problems longer. Other less common complaints include headaches, migraines, weight gain, low mood, and depression.
- Thousands of women say Mirena, also made by Bayer, led to diminished quality of life. They also reported that it perforated the uterus, damaged organs, and caused pseudotumor cerebri. Bayer paid $12.2 million in settlement in thousands of cases, and there are still hundreds of pending cases.
- Just last year, Bayer offered $1.6 billion to end thousands of lawsuits over the Essure birth control implant. There were 39,000 cases filed.
If you have an IUD (or are using another conventional contraceptive) and you think it’s affecting your hormones and your health, you’re probably right. When you are in tune with your body, you know better than anyone else. If you are looking for natural ways to prevent pregnancy or relieve common period symptoms, keep reading.
Natural Ways to Prevent Pregnancy
Dr. Jones and I use the fertility awareness method to prevent unwanted pregnancy. Science says you can only get pregnant when you’re ovulating. When you understand your body and the signs of ovulation (which can be measured and tracked with factual data), you can work with your body and partner to prevent pregnancy naturally.
Scientific Ways to Track Ovulation
- Basal Body temperature: there are temperature shifts that make when ovulation has occurred
- Cervical fluid consistency: know the signs to increase the likelihood of pregnancy or to know when to abstain
- Cervical position: understand how your cervix is positioned can help
- Track LH Surge- this lets you know when ovulation is about to start
3 Primary Benefits
- Get pregnant when you want to
- Prevent pregnancy without synthetic hormones or intrusive methods
- Understand your body and cycle to know when things are *off*
Here are tools we love to use:
- Understand FAM with the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler
- Natural Cycles App
- Basal Body thermometer
To learn more about natural birth control options, tune into our podcast episode here.
If you are interested in learning more about your cycle, relieving PMS symptoms, and more check out these articles:
- Irregular Periods? Here are Natural Ways to Regulate Your Cycle
- Menstrual Cycle: Scheduling Your Home and Work Life Around Your Period
- The Relationship Between Your Blood Sugar Levels & Menstrual Cycle Troubles