The Hidden Dangers of Using Copper IUDs for Birth Control
Copper IUDs are a type of birth control that have been used for decades. The Paragard IUD, in particular, is one of the most popular choices among women who want long-term birth control. A Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) study concludes that Paragard can also be used as emergency contraception if inserted within 5 days.
But now, there have been new reports about potential side effects associated with these devices. In fact, there are so many problems with copper IUDs that some women are filing lawsuits against their manufacturers.
In this article, we will learn about such hidden dangers associated with using copper IUDs.
Use of Copper IUDs
Copper IUDs are the most effective form of birth control, with a failure rate of 0.8%. This means that if 100 women use a copper IUD for one year, only one will become pregnant. They’re also hormone-free, which means there’s no risk that you’ll experience side effects like weight gain or mood swings.
In fact, many doctors recommend copper IUDs for women who cannot take other forms of hormonal contraception due to medical conditions. Copper IUDs can last up to 10 years and may even last longer. So, if you do not want more children and are not ready yet, this type of birth control could be ideal for your needs.
Plus, unlike condoms or daily pills, it doesn’t demand constant attention, so you can have peace of mind. However, it’s important to remember that despite the benefits of copper IUDs, there are potential risks that should not be overlooked.
The Hidden Dangers
Copper IUDs are placed in the uterus by a doctor and work by preventing sperm from fertilizing an egg. Copper IUDs don’t contain any hormones, so they’re helpful for people who don’t want to take them or are breastfeeding. But the dangers have outweighed its benefits.
Here are some hidden dangers of using copper IUDs.
Copper Toxicity and Its Implications
Copper toxicity is a condition where there is an excessive amount of copper in the body. Copper IUDs release small amounts of copper into your bloodstream, which can accumulate over time and lead to serious health problems.
While this copper is primarily localized to the uterine area, some can be absorbed into the bloodstream. This typically results in a very low level of copper exposure. Symptoms of copper toxicity can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, headaches, and, in severe cases, liver and kidney damage.
Potential Complications During Removal
There are also some risks associated with removing a copper IUD. These include:
- Damage to the uterus and cervix during removal can occur if you have not been given antibiotics beforehand. The doctor may need to remove tissue from your reproductive organs before removing your IUD safely, which could cause pain.
- During removal, perforation or puncture of your uterus may cause severe bleeding and damage to internal organs such as bladder walls. It also increases the risk of infection because there isn’t enough protection from antibiotics once perforation occurs. This condition is rare but serious enough that doctors sometimes recommend hysterectomies instead.
According to an article published on the NCBI website, the prevalence rate of fracture of an IUD during removal is 1-2%. In fact, the Paragard IUD has a higher risk of fracture, migration, and breaking down during removal.
According to TorHoerman Law, such complications during Paragard IUD removal have led to severe injuries. The website also states that some injuries have led to invasive surgeries. Hence, many Paragard IUD users who faced such complications have filed lawsuits against manufacturers.
The Paragard IUD lawsuits are now consolidated into a Multidistrict Litigation (MDL). The plaintiffs allege that the manufacturers neglected their health and didn’t raise awareness about the potential complications. They seek compensation for the medical expenses, lost wages, and other difficulties from this negligence.
How much compensation each case will get is not decided yet. The Paragard IUD lawsuit settlement amounts will vary from case to case. However, estimates are made that the average Paragard IUD lawsuit settlement amounts can range between $10,000 and $400,000.
Impact on Fertility and Future Pregnancies
Copper IUDs can cause infertility, ectopic pregnancies, and miscarriage. These links are well-established by several studies performed by different research organizations. In one of the studies published in the Wiley Journal, women using IUDs have 16.27 times more risk of ectopic pregnancy.
The copper in these devices interferes with the production of progesterone, a hormone that helps support a woman’s fertility. When this hormone is low, it can make it difficult or impossible to get pregnant.
Women who’ve had previous vaginal births have an increased risk for premature delivery if they become pregnant while still wearing their devices. There may also be some danger associated with having multiple insertions. Multiple insertions can further increase the risks of ectopic pregnancies and infertility.
Risk Factors and Precautions
Women with previous pregnancies are at a higher risk of developing complications from an IUD. This is because the uterus is more sensitive during pregnancy and can be damaged by inserting the IUD. It can result in perforation or expulsion of the device.
Women with a history of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) are also at risk for developing complications from an IUD insertion. PID occurs when bacteria enter your reproductive organs through sexual intercourse or other means, such as sharing towels with someone with an STD.
If you’ve ever been diagnosed with chlamydia or gonorrhea, talk to your doctor before inserting an IUD. The risk for infection may outweigh any benefits gained from using this contraception.
The Growing Paragard IUD Lawsuits
As mentioned above, Paragard IUD lawsuits are increasing due to the hidden dangers of such copper IUDS. According to ConsumerNotice, there were around 2,094 pending actions against Paragard in federal court as of August 15, 2023.
To file a Paragard IUD lawsuit, you must prove that you had a serious side effect from using the device. In most cases, this means having medical records that show your symptoms and how they were treated.
You should also keep any leftover packaging from when you purchased the Paragard IUD and any receipts for its removal. If you’re filing a claim against manufacturers, knowing what type of product liability claim is being asserted against them is essential.
If you or someone you know has suffered complications from Paragard IUD, we encourage you to consult an attorney. Attorneys can help answer any questions about filing an IUD lawsuit and determine if you have grounds for one. They can help you throughout the complicated legal process. Hence, it is best to seek their help when required.