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phoebeb

Paragard copper IUD and acne

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Hello acne.org readers,

I have had a Paragard copper IUD since I went off birth control pills 6.5 years ago. After I stopped the pill, I broke out terribly. I was not surprised, since I know the pill can help to keep skin clear. I figured I would have to suffer a while with acne until my skin adjusted to not having the skin-clearing hormones.

Unfortunately, my skin never cleared up. For 6. 5 years! I am 44 and full of acne! I am so sick of it, I don't know what to do.

I have tried the regimen, ACV, baking soda scrubs, diet changes, supplements, EVERY expensive and inexpensive skincare systems out there. It's hopeless...

I was reading online about IUDs and acne as a side effect. Usually, the device associated with causing acne is the Mirena IUD which releases hormones. The one I have, the Paragard, does not use hormones and acne is not listed as a side effect.

I did stumble upon a site where many women have complained about acne and weight gain with the Paragard. I am scheduled to have mine removed later this month. I've been researching the way the copper iud works, how it can elevate copper levels in the body and decreases zinc levels, how it creates inflammation in the uterus, and how that can lead to stubborn acne. I believe this could be source of my long battle with embarrassing acne- and now scarring.

Okay, that's the story...

Now my question...

How many women out there are acne sufferers and use the Paragard copper IUD?

Anyone else with this IUD been struggling with acne like I have? Similar stories? Any improvement after removal?

Thanks for reading and responding.

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I had the paraguard and while I didn't develop acne I found myself becoming very moody and I started to shed a lot of hair. I had it taken out and I'm not sure if it was due to the IUD or if it was just a side effect of heavier periods bringing my blood iron down.( and I heard someone say on here that low iron can affect acne- you might want to look into it.) Overall I did NOT like the IUD. I hope you get better after having it taken out.

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I've had the Paragard for about 6 years now and I love it. I did have heavier periods at first, but things have been pretty normal for awhile now.

It did not affect my skin or my weight in any way.

I've used several different types of hormonal birth control in the past, and this is just sooooooo much better for me.


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Thanks Akko,

I will look into the acne-low iron connection. I have endured over 6 years of heavy bleeding and cramping. I just know this thing needs to be out of my body- something foreign inside the body, put there to cause inflammation? It doesn't seem right, the more I think about it.

I haven't noticed any difference in my hair - I can be a moody little b---- at times though! I always have a feeling of fullness in my abdomen- whether pre-, post- or during my 7-10 day period...

Thanks for the idea of the low iron possibly causing breakouts. I haven't had bloodwork done in years so I don't know if mine's low or not. Between the iron, the copper that is being released in my body, and the inflammation, I'm sure I'll feel better when it's out!

Thanks!

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I was actually going to see the doctor today about having one fitted, so glad I read this! Messing around with zinc also makes my hair fall out, acne+hair loss, screw that! I'll stick with the pill for now.

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I was actually going to see the doctor today about having one fitted, so glad I read this! Messing around with zinc also makes my hair fall out, acne+hair loss, screw that! I'll stick with the pill for now.

Well, I hate to dissuade you from getting fitted; apparently many women love the iud. You should do some research to see what you think is right for you. I am tired of these heavy periods and possible acne connection, personally. My skin was perfect when I was on the pill...

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I know how depressed I would be if I had negative side effects from it so I don't think it's worth the risk really. I hope you get better once it's removed phoebeb.

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I'm really starting to think that my copper IUD is also causing my acne. I had a Mirena (hormone IUD) placed a little over 2 years ago. Because I suddenly developed acne (which I hadn't had since I was 15, I am now 30), I had it replaced with a copper IUD after only half a year. After removing Mirena and placing the copper IUD, the acne went away instantly, to come back in a more aggressive form after a few months. Together with the acne suddenly coming back, I lost lots of hair. For me, this started after the copper IUD had been in my body for about 3 months and is already lasting over a year now. Nothing helps. I have really tried everything.

A few days ago, I started browsing on the internet to see whether any other women experienced this effect of the copper IUD. I found many many women having the same problem. Indeed, there seems to be a relation to the zinc levels, so I have just started to take a supplement.

I would be devestated to have to give up this IUD, since I cannot handle hormones at all. This was my last resolution in the birth-control field...

I will see whether the zinc kicks in and was already determined to start Accutane in September. Now I'll have to decide whether it would make sense to first have the IUD removed and see what the effect will be...

By the way, my acne can not be related to quitting the pill: I already quit that over a year before having my first IUD (the hormone one) placed.

Greetings from Amsterdam

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And I forgot to add that I am also constantly low on iron since the copper IUD. The derm linked my hairloss in the early months to a serious lack of iron. My levels are back to normal only because of an iron supplement I have to take on a daily basis (and part of my hair indeed grew back). The derm told me that the lack of iron was caused by heavy bloodloss related to the copper IUD, but I do not experience heavy bloodloss at all: when I was on the pill, I would lose blood the whole month through...

I would really like to hear from someone having the copper IUD removed and what happened; did the acne go away?

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I had the Mirena and I was glad to get rid of the terrible thing. It gave me such severe acne that I was embarrassed to go out in public, my face because so greasy and on top of it my hair was falling out in clumps(I did not have an iron problem).

Unfortunately, after I got it removed my acne did not go away and my face remained greasey but my hair grew back. I was hoping my body's hormone levels would balance back out and it never happened. I went on the pill, Ortho Tri-cyclen, it didn't get rid of the acne either. I've tried many over the counter acne medications, the regimen, different birth control methods, etc.

I know this sounds strange but I think the Mirena really screwed up my system. My body is now allergic to Salicylic acid and it never was before it. It's really frustrating.

I did find something that helped get my acne down to moderate and manageable. I bought a Filtered Showering system. Since I live in an apartment that has extremely hard water(more chlorine than a pool has), I noticed it was helping with my breakouts. The high level of chlorine was sucking the life out of my skin and making my face become even more greasy throughout the day. Since I bought the Filtered Showering system, I've noticed a total difference in my acne.

Have you ever had your water tested? I'm just throwing that out there.

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And I forgot to add that I am also constantly low on iron since the copper IUD. The derm linked my hairloss in the early months to a serious lack of iron. My levels are back to normal only because of an iron supplement I have to take on a daily basis (and part of my hair indeed grew back). The derm told me that the lack of iron was caused by heavy bloodloss related to the copper IUD, but I do not experience heavy bloodloss at all: when I was on the pill, I would lose blood the whole month through...

I would really like to hear from someone having the copper IUD removed and what happened; did the acne go away?

Hi Eleonora,

I have been taking zinc (50 mg) since May 1. My acne has totally calmed down. I still get just tiny small zits that are totally manageable- compared to what was going on with my skin, I would call it clear! I'm assuming it's the zinc since before I started taking it I would get monster, sore, acne that would appear, one after another, no matter what I did. I always had 2-3 large zits in various stages on my face. So, maybe the zinc supplements that are helping, maybe I'm just going through a good phase... seems like zinc may be working for me right now at least.

I am having my copper IUD removed May 27th. I will definitely let you know how it goes, and how my skin reacts afterward. Accutane is about the only treatment I didn't try. I was afraid of some of the side effects with that.

Good luck to you.

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Thanks for your reply Phoebeb,

It sounds like our stories are very similar. I'm taking Zinc since a little over a week, but I decided not to wait for the outcome and have my IUD removed next week. If my acne is caused by the copper IUD, I think it is most likely that my body cannot handle the inflammation caused by an IUD (neither Mirena nor copper), considering that I also had this problem with the Mirena IUD. I will however, just to make sure, keep taking Zinc.

Like you, I have tried everything but Accutane. If the removal of the IUD does not work, I'll start in September.

I would indeed really appreciate it if you'd let me know how it goes with you after you have the IUD removed. I will do the same.

Take care,

Eleonora

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My doctor had a cancellation and I had my IUD removed today. I asked my doc about the correlation between iud and acne - he hadn't heard of it, but said he would believe it was so. He wants me to let him know how my skin reacts. I'll also keep you informed.

I think I'll keep up with the zinc a few more weeks til the copper gets out of my body...

Phoebeb

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Hi,

I haven't used an IUD, but the issue of health problems following the use of the copper IUD calls to mind this book on copper toxicity by Ann Louise Gittleman, called Why Am I Always So Tired?.

Some of the symptoms of having an overload of copper include acne, mood swings, fatigue, and hair falling out. Sometimes restoring the copper-zinc imbalance needs more than just taking a zinc supplement (dietary changes, other supplements may be necessary).

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Hi,

I haven't used an IUD, but the issue of health problems following the use of the copper IUD calls to mind this book on copper toxicity by Ann Louise Gittleman, called Why Am I Always So Tired?.

Some of the symptoms of having an overload of copper include acne, mood swings, fatigue, and hair falling out. Sometimes restoring the copper-zinc imbalance needs more than just taking a zinc supplement (dietary changes, other supplements may be necessary).

Very interesting, Thanks for the info.

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Hello Phoebeb and others,

Tomorrow is the big day that I will say goodbye to my copper IUD. The possible result on my skin needs to start showing before September because otherwise I see no other option than to go for the Accutane, which the dermatologist already advised me over a year ago.

Still, I am quite confident that with this step and the help of a very good doctor that I'm seeing (modern version of acupuncture), I'll get there at some point in time.

I'm also still taking the zinc supplement, but so far no result (I have been taking it for about a month now).

I'll keep you posted about the progress after the removal.

Do you have an update Phoebeb?

Greetings from Holland,

Eleonora

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Hi Eleanora,

I wish I could say that my skin is perfectly clear. It is not. But it is much better than before. I am still taking the zinc supplements, and eating lots of salad. (don't know if that makes any difference in my skin or not, it's the only dietary thing I have changed). I had mine removed May 20 - 3 weeks ago today. I have had some minor breakouts, nothing major like before, so the improvement could be from the iud being gone now. As a extra bonus, my period lasted 4 days, if that. I was usually going strong 8-10 days before...

I still feel my skin will improve once the excess copper totally leaves. I wonder how long it floats around...

Good luck tomorrow. I look forward to your updates. Even though my skin is not perfect, I still believe for me, I'm better off without the IUD.

Let me know how you do.

Oh, btw, I've lost 2 lbs. I'm small anyway, just thought that was interesting since I haven't really been trying. Apparently, lots of women lose 5 lbs or so when they have it removed...I'll take the 2 lbs and short period anytime!

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Hi Phoebeb,

Thanks for your quick reply. I am very happy to hear that you are slowly getting better. In case the IUD is (partly) causing your acne, I would never have expected you to get clear in just two weeks or so. I think indeed that for the copper to leave your body, some months are needed. I vaguely remember once reading about copper intoxication and diets to get rid of the copper.

Anyway, I just got my IUD removed and the gynaecologist of course told me very clearly that there was no possibility whatsoever that the copper IUD was causing my acne. I'm a bit fed up by now with doctors using terms as 'there is no way', because I keep experiencing that there is just so much they don't know.

To reply to you about your food changes: I had an acne-institute test which foods increase my production of sebum. There were things found I had never suspected: even very healthy things like tomatoes. My alternative doctor who uses a treatment based on acupuncture (but carried out by computers), also tested this and got to the same results. I therefore know now what not to eat, which does help but makes me far from clear (I met many people at the acne-institute however for which it was the absolute cure to avoid certain foods).

This alternative doctor is still convinced that he will be able to cure me from this nasty thing and since he has cured me from pretty much all my health issues so far (quite severe things that normal doctors could't solve), I still have hope. He is the only doctor I still trust!

One last question before I go: do you by any chance also have a huge difference in the severity of your acne between the left and right side of your face? My left side is uncomparable to the right, my left side being the worse one. I sleep on the right side of my face so it has nothing to do with bacteria spreading because of my pillow.

Take care and get clear!

Eleonora

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I have been researching and researching this subject forever. Everyone has been saying the same thing, but I don't know if anyone has come to a conclusion. I had the paragard put in October 2008 3 weeks after I took out my nuva ring. My skin broke out like CRAZY! Since then it hasn't calmed down, but worsened. I was attempting to take zinc tablets, but I have been incredibly lazy about that. Also I am looking into putting high zinc content topicals (diaper rash cream, calamine lotion).

I am sure that the IUD is my problem but I really don't want to take it out! I don't have insurance anymore (I put this in because $40 while having insurance was ridiculous I couldn't even imagine what it would be like without, plus when I do get it it will only cover the necessary things like doctor/er).

Does anyone who still has their IUD in and had increased breakouts after insertion found anything to help them?

I love the possible 9 years of not having to worry about a baby, but the side effects are killing me.

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Hello there ladies!

Copper IUD user here!

My name is Lady X and I am a 33 year old women with moderate Acne :cry: As I'm browsing through these message boards, in search of an answer to this horrible ordeal I've been experiencing for the past 5 years, I stumbled onto this Message Board"IUD and Acne". It all makes perfect sense that it could be this Copper IUD.

I had the Copper IUD implanted in November 2004. By Spring 2005 I began to notice some really nasty painful pimple like cyst, take territory on my beautiful clear skin. I freaked out when I wasn't able to control these little monsters with Over the Counter Medication on my own. I went to several Dermatologist who prescribed nothing but garbage for my acne. Finally! I found a Dermatologist that put me on .01% Retin-A at night and 10% benzoyl peroxide by day. This Regiment kept my acne in check for a couple of years until I stopped about a year ago.

The little monsters are back in FULL FORCE :cry: . I recently started going back to my dermatologist and requested to be placed on Accutane! He stated that my acne was not that severe and he placed me on Tazorac and some Anti-Biotics for a month...hahaha(Yeah Right). I started this regiment and my acne has really gotten a lot worse. I went back for my follow-up appt about 3 weeks ago and told my Derma that I stopped the pills because they were making me sick(LIES), and the Tazorac has no effect on these monsters, so I asked to be placed on Retin-A again.

Okay so its been like about 3wks since Retin-A and the Benzoyl peroxide.

This is hopeless...this is affecting my social life,My mental, Physical and emotional being :cry: I don't want to be around family and friends just so I don't have to explain WHY this is happening to me. Its bad enough I have to go to work everyday and face my staff members.

But after reading this information about The IUD, I will book the next available appointment to have it removed. Aside from the acne I also have been experiencing some awful Mood swings.

>>Oh yeah, I also scheduled another appointment with another dermatologist, I want to see if he will hear my story and feel sorry for me and place me on Accutane;-) I'm Sooooooooo Desperate! Till I'm Clear...see Ya later...

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Hello everyone,

As you can read in my previous posts I have been thinking that my copper IUD may have been the cause of the acne I have experienced the last 1,5 years. Therefore, on June 12th, I had it removed to be sure I did everything possible before starting on Accutane.

Unfortunately, after almost 2 months and taking Zinc supplements, nothing happened and although I still believe that for some women a copper IUD could surely be the cause of acne, it seems that is not the case for me. Therefore, 3 days ago, I have started to take Accutane. In a few months I'll get the IUD back and am now on birthcontroll-pills that I normally hate but the ones I'm taking at the moment are not too bad. Still, I'd prefer to be off hormones again.

For the two new joiners on this thread I just want to ask you whether you were on hormonal contraceptives before going on the copper IUD: I'm asking because instead of the copper IUD causing the acne, more often it is the case that quitting the hormones is the cause. Hormones, like the pill, are often surpressing acne that popps up once women stop taking them and switch to a copper IUD for example. This is even often the case when women did not have skin problems in their teens before they started using hormones.

All the luck to you. My hope is with the Accutane now. I'm sure it will solve the problem, I'm just hoping not to experience too many side-effects and that I won't be left with too much scarring.

Good luck to you girls. It is such a horrible thing...

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I thought I had finally sorted out my acne problems after 20 years (it started when I was 20). I went off the pill over a year ago, as it was causing havoc with my periods, and was dreading that finishing it was going to mean a reoccurence of my bad skin. I had been tested some time ago by my doctor for androgens and it was found that my levels were slightly higher than normal, so this might be the reason for the bad skin in the first place. The pill was prescribed. It worked well for years, but then as i said started to cause periods every 2 weeks and was just too strange and didn't feel right any more.

So scared was i of the spots returning, that I had this idea that maybe i should cut down on dairy products (don't ask where I came up with that - if you are an acne sufferer, you probably have theories every few years like me as to why it is there - maybe i read something on the internet). So I cut out cheese and butter and yoghurts completely and cut down on milk. Anyway, low and behold, 10 months after going off the pill, the acne had not returned. Bingo. I then read that there are hormones in milk products which can cause acne. I thought I had my acne sorted forever.

Anyway, a solution to contraception had to be found, so I decided to go for the copper IUD. I had it inserted in July. Early September, I noticed a strange little cluster of eczema-like spots on my chin, but thought nothing of it. A few weeks later, I had a similar situation left of my nose. One morning I woke up and saw a third settlement beginning near my eyebrow. I also noticed that there was a big increase of whiteheads on my cheeks. Went to the skin doctor. You would think he would ask me the pertinent questions i.e. what contraception are you on, what has been happening in your life lately. No, he just prescribed me some lotion for those eczema like areas and a different one for my cheeks and said the problems were caused by me using moisturizer that was too rich for my face. Okay, I used the prescriptive creams for nearly 3 weeks and nothing was happening. Went back to the doctor. He said it would take longer. I started losing faith in him.

End October, I have a full on outbreak on my face of spots. It occured to me then that the IUD might have something to do with it. Now that I have been reading here and elsewhere on the internet, this seems to me to be the likely cause. I am checking with my gynae tomorrow. In addition, the IUD causes me horrendously long 9 day periods which appear every 24 days. what a pity it hasn't worked out, but I really do not want to go back to those endless battles with my skin again. Enough already.

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if anyone is still interested in this topic:

I have bad acne. It all started two Octobers ago when I traded my nuva ring in for the copper IUD. I went to the derm a month after I took the hormonal BC out so she said it was just my body coming down from the hormones. It has been over a year later and my face won't stop. I have really bad inflammation that I am sure will eventually lead to scaring. My face has never been this bad and I can almost guarantee it is from the copper. They say the copper creates inflammation to kill off sperm and want not. So if I have it there, of course it will find its way to my face.

Drs and Derms will not find a link, but there are a lot of stories out there of this same thing happening to women all over. For some it is a g-dsend, for others (like me) it has been hell. I am thinking about taking mine out, the only thing holding me back and having me live through the worst breakouts ever is I don't want hormones in my body is that I don't have insurance and it costs to take this thing out. to stick with non-hormonal BC, I am thinking about the diaphram. It was the first form of BC, maybe it will be the answer to all my prayers.

I won't be taking this out until the new year, but will report if there are any quick changes from having it gone.

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Hey Y'all!

Both my sister and I got the Paragard IUD thinking it to be the perfect non-hormonal birth control option. Unfortunately, it was not to be.

Although both my sister and I do not have (never had, nor will probably ever have) fabulous, acne-free skin, both of us had our IUDs removed due to painful, embarrassing cystic acne. Her's developed on her cheeks, mine on my back. Both were resistant to traditional and holistic approaches (i.e. salicylic acid, microdermabrasions, benzoyl peroxide, face masks, apple cider vinegar, etc). While searching the internet for causes for our acne, we stumbled upon a few sites mentioning cooper poisoning from the non-hormonal Paragard IUD. After having the IUD for less than a year, she had her's removed and her cystic cheek acne disappeared; however; I opted to keep mine.

Over the next 2 1/2 years, I have struggled with acneic cysts on my chin. They all would take about a week to finally come to a head. Afterwards leaving angry red/purple scars, which take months to leave. Within the first two months of getting the IUD, I developed two huge cysts on my chin, but contributed them to stress. Since then, cysts became a constant. About a year ago, I went on Spironolactone to clear the supposed hormonally-caused cysts up. It worked on my face, BUT my back broke out in a constant 5-7 cysts. After a month and a half, I dropped the medication and the back ones went away. Since then, my face breaks out with cystic acne about 1-2 zits a month, 50% of the time around my period.

About 8 months ago, I began to break out with about one cyst on my back. Four months ago, is when it took a turn for the worst, with 4-6 angry, painful cysts at any given time. Only antibiotics would work. After being on 100mg of minocycline for two months, I remembered the copper poisoning articles I had read.

Today, I took out my IUD and I'm extremely disappointed, but relieved. Hopefully, it was the cause of my problems. If it weren't for the cystic acne, I would have kept it without thinking. I've stopped taking the minocyline, but don't know how long it or the copper will take to get out of my system so I can clearly know the results. I will write back in a month to let y'all know if my back acne went away...

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It seems like the Paragard is worse for acne than the hormonal Mirena! I'm going in for my - potential - insertion in a few hours, and have been scouring these boards since 2:00 this morning. I'm not completely sold yet, but I think I'm going to risk the acne and try the Mirena. I'm hoping that my daily regimen with the Plexion facial cleanser will continue its magic...

Thanks to your stories and advice, I'll know that if I see any of those symptoms, I should connect them to the IUC - regardless of my doctor :) [relatively speaking].

Dr. Cricket says [;)]: I once took Nicomide, which is a zinc supplement [along with some other things], used to treat acne. Perhaps that would be the right accompaniment drug to the IUD?

Good luck to you all!

my acne story:

I've had acne since I was 9 or 10 years old, and have gone through lots of different treatments - doxycyclene, ortho-tri cyclen, zinc zupplements, Nicomide, topicals [cetaphil, clindamycin, metro gel, retin-A], and Accutane. I seem to always fit into that "small percentage of women (who) don't see any lasting results" - especially with Accutane. However, I started using a sodium sulfacetamide + sulfur facial cleanser [Plexion / Prascion], and it's made a huge difference! I notice it especially when I don't use it for a while [more than a few days]...I'll break out, and then when I wash with it, a couple of days later - sometimes even the next day - my pimples seem to have decreased in size and dried up, if not disappeared. I also have changed my lifestyle and diet - no fast food, very little processed food, low fats and oils, little to no chocolate, etc... I don't smoke, and I generally try to be as low-stress as possible [needless to say ;)]. [This has also helped my acid reflux and other digestive problems significantly!]

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