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Acne And Paragard Copper Iud

paragard birth control iud copper

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#1 A2M


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Posted 26 December 2013 - 02:43 PM

The past forum about the paragard copper IUD contributing to acne has been archived so I would like to start a new topic.

I am not quick to jump to conclusions from what I read on the Internet. I am wondering if women have stories related to the copper (non-hormonal) IUD and acne?

My story:
-Acne as teen.
-Went on Yaz at age 19 and saw acne gradually improve. Would still get pimples but it was manageable acne.
-Switched to Yasmin, a lower hormone pill at 21 due to doctors recommendation regarding blood clot issues related to Yaz. Acne did not change much, maybe a little worse.
-Went off pill 7 months later when I had copper IUD inserted. Had side effects like heavier/longer periods and cramps for first year. It was hard to tell what was a side effect of going off the pill and what was a side effect of the IUD. Acne became horrible. Scaring, cystic, acne. Topical medications not helping.
-It had been almost 2 years and I have been hoping my hormones would normalize with time but my acne is still worse than it was before birth control as a teen.

Anybody with similar issues? Anybody remove paragard and see skin improve?

I like the long term contraceptive and my body has adjusted well with time. However, my skin is terrible and I am wondering if removing the IUD will help. It would be a huge disappointment to remove it and have my skin remain the same since I otherwise like the IUD and my friends have not broken out after getting paragard.

I do not live in the US anymore and I don't think that accutane is an option in my country. Regardless the side effects are scary.

I went on the IUD because it is more effective and non-hormonal and I am shying away from chemicals (like accutane and other treatments) but want this terrible acne to go away!

Please share!

#2 acnefromparagard


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Posted 17 January 2014 - 02:40 AM

Hey A2M,
I read your post and joined the forum so I could share my experience with you.
I had my paragard removed this December due to cystic acne I believe was attributed to the iud amongst a gamut of other issues that may or may not have been related. The hard part is that my derm could not say that the Paragard was cause because when you suffer from such painful recurring acne you throw everything you can at it. Monthly facials new skin care regiments, elimination of all regimens. Vitamin supplements, doxycycline. When I got the iud I was a relatively healthy 32 yr old. I had my iud put in in dec 2010 after having my second son & ultimately at age 35 I went to get a breast reduction mommy makeover and was diagnosed with intraductal carcinoma. My vitamin levels went out of whack. My iron low and anxious all the time which my docs said was post partum. They all look at the Paragard as a harmless thing. But you need to read your own body and decide what it's worth. The copper levels can be cumalative and will only get worse over the 9 yrs you have it. My backside got the same painful acne my face did. I have been acne free since 2 weeks after my iud was removed. It's been a relief. I might mention I take Zyrtec and singulair for environmental allergies and there are reports of Paragard interacting with some of these kinds drugs. If you are allergy prone or have sensitivities the use of Paragard might be the wrong choice. If you need the Paragard... Ask your derm for doxycycline long term therapy... Or go natural with some anti inflammatory supplements. I tried turmeric. Hope this helps. Good luck!

#3 mae


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Posted 05 February 2014 - 05:15 AM

Hi A2M,

I am 34 and had the copper IUD for seven months.  I have never had perfect skin, but I started to get crazy acne after about four months.  I had the IUD removed and gradually my face recovered.  Four months later I am back to normal.  

I liked the idea of having a non-hormonal bc, but my body obviously reacted really badly to the copper.  It's not worth the tradeoff.  It is so good not to have to worry about my skin all of the time and not to dread going out.  

Please update us if you decide to get the Paraguard removed. Good luck.

#4 Misskhawk


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Posted 23 April 2014 - 05:43 PM

I had the paragard done 3 months ago in this 3 last months my acne is crazy out of control. I went to my dermatologist today and she confirmed my feeling that this was contributed to my IUD. She sees it as a growing trend for woman and cystitis acne with the Cooper IUD coming in to see her. I now have scars because of the cysts n this IUD is DEFINITELY coming out next week. I'm disappointed as I had really hoped that a non hormonal IUD would be good. I'm 39 years old n I guess I'll be using condoms until I find another alternative. Ugh...feeling hopeless

#5 bluejay829


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Posted 04 August 2014 - 11:03 PM

I too had the same reaction with the copper iud. The problem is really the lack of hormones from the BC we had been on prior to the iud insertion. In the one month that I had it in (had a number of other awful side effects and had it taken out) my skin went from ok-sweaty summer breakout to full out cystic acne and bumps. I am currently attempting damage control. I would absolutely not recommend the copper iud to any woman with a history of acne or minor/slight hormonal acne. 

#6 Like Moonlight

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Posted 05 August 2014 - 08:15 AM

My thought on this for most people responding to this post is this. If your used to being on a BC pill or shot that has hormones in it. The hormones are going to do one of two things.

1. It may improve your acne.
2. It may give you acne.

Hormones don't agree with all of us ladies and that is where the non hormonal IUD might be a good choice. Some ladies just want the pregnancy protection and have fair skin, so they aren't looking for hormonal treatments for ance.

If you were on a BC for acne and it cleared you, moving to a non hormonal IUD like paragard, will regulate your hormones. Then you have a high chance of your skin returning to it's old pattern, I'm afraid.

You mentioned your trying to get away from medications and what not, you could always try saw palmetto or something along those lines to try and treat it naturally. For me the best choice was Spiro, not a natural remedy, but it controls my acne completely. Maybe a spot will crop up here and there. Also depending on where you are living it might be hard to obtain spiro. US seems to be the only country that prescribes it for it's off label success with hormonal acne.
AM: CeraVe foaming face wash, 100mg Spirolactone
PM: CeraVe foaming face wash, witch hazel, Acne.org AHA+
Been taking Sprio since 1/2013

#7 ZhenZhu


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Posted 05 August 2014 - 01:07 PM

Same here for acne and Paragard.  I had it for 2005-2011 and had it removed due a rare but fatal uterine infection. 


I experienced severe acne through much of this time, but also while it was removed. 


A woman I know had extreme complications with the copper IUD relating to hormone changes. Yes, it's hormone free, but it still works by affecting hormones.  


Medieval birth control methods are just torture on our biochemistry, primarily estrogen, but also B and C vitamins. 



Edited by Turn0ver, 05 August 2014 - 01:07 PM.

  • Clear Skin and Anxiety Maintenance Routine:
  • Supplements: Shi wei Bei Du Tang (powder by Sun Ten) and the Zhen Zhu An Chuang Pan (tablets by Guang Ci Tang)  both for acne+ other Chinese mood stabilizers. 
  •  20,000IU+ of Vitamin D/day (+ antioxidants and multi with minerals)
  • Diet: Ultra Meal and Orac Energy Greens shakes- no meat, coffee,  dairy, gluten or alcohol
  • Topical: crysanthemum and MSM baths and cleansing with Proactiv Deep and Kavi Coral on Konjac sponge to exfoliate, and Jason Aloe and Tea Tree and Hyaluronic Acid to heal and hydrate. 
  • Lifestyle: 8 hrs sleep, light exercise only, >1hr sun exposure daily, no fluoride toothpastes, no sulfate shampoos, clean shower/pillowcase.

#8 BlazoR


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Posted 15 August 2014 - 01:07 PM

I had a Paragard IUD inserted about a year ago after having a baby, and my skin hasn't experienced any changes since then.  I haven't been on any hormonal birth control in about 7 years.  In general, my problem is more with clogged pores-- my skin rarely breaks out and there's almost never been any cystic acne (only very briefly during the beginning of Accutane treatment when I was about 16; i'm 27 now), but my skin hasn't really changed in the last 5 or 6 years or so.  I think it was slightly better when I was on hormonal birth control.  

#9 Twolips8*


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Posted 19 January 2015 - 02:26 PM

Hi Ladies,


With so many women out there searching for answers about acne and the Paragard IUD, I've been moved to share my story after much reading/researching on acne related issues and the Paragard.  There were no medical studies, reviews, journals or anything of that nature that I found in my search to get to the bottom of making a correlation between acne and the Paragard; I had to come to my own conclusion after researching a ton!  The lack of medical evidence in and of itself seemed odd to me after reading so many blogs like these about countless women that had complaints about getting cystic acne, hormonal acne or acne in general after getting the Paragard inserted.  I am a research fanatic and I dug and dug and still wasn't able to find any direct research of acne being a side effect of the Paragard, in the medical field anyway, but I knew that so many women had in fact experienced it because of forums where stories were being passed along of women's experiences with once clear, blemish free skin or virtually no acne issues to horrible outbreaks that wouldn't clear up after getting the Paragard.  There is a lot of support from other women out there who've all had less than desirable experiences with the Paragard and research does exist on the Paragard, but nothing about it causing acne, at least not from any medical research studies that I was able to find.  Most of the studies are based on complications with heavier bleeding and painful periods, etc...


So here's my personal take on what I've gone through and I've never written in a forum like this before, but like I said, I wanted to add to the other comments and hopefully be of some help to women struggling by sharing my story.  Obviously birth control in general will affect every woman differently.  There are women out there that love their Paragard IUD and they haven't had any adverse reactions to it but there are also those of us who have so that's the population I wish to address here.  I am not trying to bad mouth or speak negatively about a birth control option that works for some; I just want to be included in the voices of those women who have suffered like I have and haven't been able to get clear information.  Please do your research ladies, extensive research digging for information online and in books, medical journals, etc.. and talk to your health care provider about your concerns before making your decision to keep or remove the Paragard, but remember to also trust your body and take the signs it gives you as messages that it might just not be right for your particular makeup.


I had the Paragard IUD inserted in August of 2012, I was 26 at the time.  I was newly engaged and thought that it would be a good fit, since I like many was looking for a hormone free method of birth control.  I was not taking an hormonal birth control before I got the IUD.  I want to make that clear because some women who go from taking a combination oral contraceptive to a non-hormonal form of birth control can experience break outs since their body's hormones aren't being regulated the same as they were on the pill.  It had been 6 or so years since I had been on an oral birth control.  Prior to about 7-8 months after getting the Paragard, I had picture perfect skin my entire life.  As a young adolescent and teenager I never had issues with acne ever!  I felt blessed and fortunate to not be a teen girl affected by pimples, as if being a teenage girl isn't already tough enough!  Prior to having the Paragard inserted I rarely had a pimple; we're talking like a few a year, maybe!  I am curious though, as there is medical literature that women's hormones start to change mid-twenties to early thirties, and I wonder if this shift correlates for some with the time frame that many women are getting the Paragard?  So hormones are changing anyway at the same time a woman is getting the Paragard.  I've wondered that a lot and thought that maybe my body was just starting to change naturally and the IUD didn't have anything to do with the acne, just my age and hormonal changes occurring.  I'm still not sure, I don't really have any way to know.  I have had my hormones checked within the last year and they're all fine.  When I saw my dermatologist that didn't seem to matter to him and he said that even if you have normal ranges you can still develop hormonal acne since it has to do with the fluctuation of the hormonal levels throughout a women's cycle.  This is true, so I guess that leaves another dead end road.  I have seen a dermatologist a few times and talked to my regular medical doctor.  The options were to put me on antibiotics which didn't do a thing to help with the acne and they were too strong, making me have terrible stomach aches, also topicals which have only mildly covered up the problem but have had no long term results at keeping the acne away and they dry out the skin and make it red and sore like crazy! Spironolactone was another option, but I already have a very overactive bladder and a major side effect of this medication, since it's a diuretic and blood pressure medicine, is increased bladder activity.  It has other side effects that aren't great too but it works for some women and if you're desperate then you're desperate so I get that!  All of my acne occurs on the jawline.  They are deep nodules and white bumps that take a long time to surface.  I have scarring from the acne and now I never don't have acne whereas before I had clear skin always!


Aside from the acne issue, I went from having a 3-4 day, very light and mild bleeding periods and little to no cramps to having 7-11 day periods, significantly heavier periods and cramps that make me want to die!  They make me double over, I have to lay with a heating pad at the worst of it, I have to take pain pills and ride it out each period.  It is just horrible!  I've read posts from women who have had children and the Paragard, at some point as a birth control method, say that the cramps are as bad as labor cramps and I believe them!  I've noticed now that it's been 2 and 1/2 years that the bleeding isn't as severe as in the beginning, and every other period is milder as far as bleeding and cramps goes.  However, the pain is just as intense as it was the first month.  It seems to subside more quickly but the severity is the same!  The rest of the month I really don't have much of an issue with the IUD. I notice cramps around ovulation and mild discomfort which I didn't have prior. I don't know if it's had an effect on my moods or not.  I've dealt with depression on and off my whole life so I don't really attribute the IUD to my depression but I haven't really felt normal since I got it with all of the turmoil it's caused me.  I haven't gained weight.  In fact for me, I've kept my weight more stable and have weighed less since getting the IUD, between 124-134 lbs based on the season ;-).  This stability in weight may or may not be related though to the IUD.  I have to take an iron supplement because I was on the low scale of anemia when I had that tested within the past year.  I've also been vegetarian for 10 years so I know that plays into the iron issue, but with the increased blood loss, it put me into the low end of having anemia and I had to start on a daily supplement.  I have experienced extreme fatigue and lack of energy in general which I do think has something to do with the IUD. 


I know this has turned into a long post.  I'm just trying to paint a clear picture and give you ladies all of the variables as you might be able to relate to them.  I have a ton of information book-marked on my laptop if any of you want links to information; I added some links at the end of this post.  I am most fascinated by the mechanisms of how the Paragard works. Even in the Paragard literature brochure they don't state directly how the copper IUD prevents pregnancy.... "The copper in Paragard® (intrauterine copper contraceptive) interferes with sperm movement and egg fertilization, and possibly prevents implantation."  That's the only information given on their website and if you research elsewhere it isn't very well understood either, it's never definitive so there isn't even exact knowledge out there on how it works, they just know that it does, so they use it as a form of birth control. That doesn't make me feel safe about having it in my body.  From what I understand through a lot of gathered research is that the copper in the Paragard produces prostaglandins which in turn create an inflammatory response essentially making it a less than desirable environment in the uterus for sperm to implement and is detrimentally to the sperm themselves.  I have taken note of this and determined that this inflammatory response occurring in the body to ward off sperm implantation may be what causes the acne inflammation response.  That's my speculation and what other women have come to guess too in posts I've read, but with no direct studies done on acne and the Paragard and no medical evidence of acne being a side effect of the Paragard it's down right impossible to be sure!


With all of that, I have finally come to the decision to have my IUD taken out next Tuesday after 2 and 1/2 years I can't put up with the side effects of heavy painful periods any longer or the acne!  I am leery because there really just aren't great options out there for birth control.  That's why I was so hopeful that the Paragard was going to be the answer for me but it wasn't.  I can't take the unbearable painful cramps, heavy bleeding and acne any longer.  Even as painful and awful as the periods have been the acne by far has affected me the worst.  I have lost self-esteem and confidence.  I used to wear virtually no makeup, never cover-up or foundation and now I feel uncomfortable without some kind of cover up to help mask all of the acne and acne scars that plague my jawline. And I have felt so helpless seeing my skin go through his transition when prior to the Paragard I always had flawless skin that I was proud of.  I have always taken excellent care of my skin from the time I was in 6th grade. I learned young how important it was to care for your skin and health in general.  I am a Health Education and Promotion major, I eat a healthy vegetarian diet and exercise regularly and I am very active.  I know a lot about health from my degree and I take good care of myself which has made being plagued by these side effects all the more devastating!  Now, I have to work even harder just to maintain the crazy hormonal mess that breaks out on my face.  I exfoliate, use high quality masks and skin care products for inflammation and to help soothe the acne but none of it takes it away.  Not the topicals, not the antibiotics and not the countless hours that I spend each day trying to mend and keep at bay the horrible acne that has taken root on my jawline.  I want to give my body some time to regulate itself after the removal of the IUD, but I also need to be on some form of birth control.  This is a big dilemma; I don't want to step right into taking oral contraceptives only to have another acne issue or for that to mask what was currently going on from the Paragard.  I know that combo pills are helpful with regulating hormones and keeping breakouts away and after experiencing this and everything I've gone through with my face I am willing to try anything even though I don't want to do hormones, ugh!


I truly hope that this post will provide some insights or at least let other women know that you're not alone in this battle so thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope that it will help some of you and be yet another account of the Paragard causing adverse side effects of acne.  I am hopeful that my skin will return to normal after I get it removed next week.  I'll try to do an update after it's been awhile to let everyone know how things are going post-removal with the acne.  


Take a look at some of these links and resources and best of luck to each of you!



This is a Facebook page with a support group of women who've had negative experiences with IUD's.  Any questions you might have they seem to have resources and links to information on it.



This is a research article on the Copper effects of the IUD.  I would look over the whole thing.  It is a medical study so it can be tough to understand.  The closing paragraph is a great cap of what it's saying though.  "Progesterone is found in higher levels in women with the Paragard and this would explain the findings that women with copper-containing IUDs experience a slightly shorter luteal phase than women without IUDs and that menstruation starts with elevated progesterone levels compared with those of control subjects." This essentially means the the copper does have the ability to change the chemistry indirectly of women's levels of hormones.

This is the link that I found the above research study link to.  Please note, there is a somewhat disturbing picture of an IUD that was removed with uterine tissue and lining at the top of this article...  Just an FYI in the event that you don't want to see that.  I know I didn't, but the content of the article was informative.
Below are some other links that talk about, in one way or another, the Paragard and how it works.  In all the research I did, I could never find one bit of medical research or evidence that directly came out saying that there is a link between acne and the Paragard which was so frustrating.  There needs to be some clinical studies and reviews done in this area and to better inform women of the risks and side effects of IUD's.
The above links offer some explanation, though brief, about the Paragard and about the mechanisms of how it works.  I was trying to get to the bottom of how the copper in the Paragard might indirectly affect a woman even though it's non-hormonal. There are bits and pieces from each site that helped me put the pieces together to come to the conclusion that maybe the inflammation response caused from the copper was the link between acne and this IUD.  I'll let you each come to your own conclusions and if there are other articles or links that any of you have and found helpful then please share them.
Good luck on your journey and be well!

#10 salma949


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Posted 16 April 2015 - 09:36 AM

I have never posted on a forum before but I think it will be helpful to many if I share my story.

I'm 27 and other than the copper IUD i have never used any method of birth control. After having my second daughter 7/29/2014 I decided to get the para guard. I always had really short periods so it was perfect for me. After the para guard my periods were heavier which is manageable average of 4 days not bad at all. No cramps everything was going well until about 4 months ago I started getting cystic acnes painful and scaring.

Before para guard I never I mean never ever ever I'm stressing here NEVER had acne problems. My face was always clear I would get 1 or 2 acnes during around my period. People envied my face I'm not trying to brag here but even as a teen no acne problems at all. But now I have soo many cystic acnes. Very painful and scaring. I never thought it was the IUD. I started drinking more water thinking maybe my diet is the problem. I kept dismissing it thinking it will go away. I started to worry after people started asking what is happening to your face. The acne is on my side cheeks, it started with my ears big really painful ones. Then moved to my cheeks. They leave black spots after they are gone and then more come. It's a nightmare. I still have the para gaurd. I'm thinking acne or more babies? Acnes it is!

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