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Paragard copper IUD and acne

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#1 phoebeb

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 12:52 PM

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.



#2 akko

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 03:17 PM

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.

#3 LionQueen

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 07:56 PM

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.

#4 phoebeb

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Posted 04 May 2009 - 08:31 PM

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!

#5 Hexie

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 09:29 AM

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.

#6 phoebeb

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 10:14 AM

QUOTE (Hexie @ May 5 2009, 11:29 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
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...

#7 Hexie

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Posted 05 May 2009 - 01:32 PM

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.

#8 Eleonora30

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 01:54 AM

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

#9 Eleonora30

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 02:01 AM

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?

#10 derisio

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 08:08 AM

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.

#11 phoebeb

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Posted 14 May 2009 - 08:18 AM

QUOTE (Eleonora30 @ May 14 2009, 03:01 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
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.

#12 Eleonora30

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 11:43 AM

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

#13 phoebeb

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 12:37 PM

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

#14 Herjazz

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 03:02 PM

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).

#15 phoebeb

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 07:57 AM

QUOTE (Herjazz @ May 25 2009, 04:02 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
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.

#16 Eleonora30

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Posted 10 June 2009 - 03:50 PM

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



#17 phoebeb

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Posted 10 June 2009 - 08:42 PM

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!


#18 Eleonora30

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Posted 11 June 2009 - 08:35 AM

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




#19 enomisailat

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 12:55 PM

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.

#20 Xiomi

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Posted 22 July 2009 - 06:23 PM

Hello there ladies!
Copper IUD user here!
My name is Lady X and I am a 33 year old women with moderate Acne cry.gif 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.gif . 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.gif 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...