With many women waking up to the health issues inherent to synthetic hormone-based contraceptives like the birth control pill, ring, patch, implant etc, more of us are looking for hormone-free alternatives for preventing pregnancy. This is understandable and should, I believe, be a welcomed shift in thinking.
Synthetic hormones cause all kinds of short term and long term side effects. They prevent your body from producing its own natural hormones, suppress ovulation and stop your periods – as a hormone expert and champion of the wisdom of women’s bodies, I know this to be real problem. Many of the women who work with me here at FLO Living are dealing with the fallout from using hormonal contraceptives for years on end.
However, we still need effective contraception and one of the hormone-free options available is the hormone-free copper IUD.
In this post I want to look at the pros and cons of the hormone-free, copper IUD and support you in making the decision to switch from hormonal contraceptives to an option that allows your body to make its own hormones and experience its own cycles.
There are hormone-based IUDs available, and their effectiveness is no different to that of the one hormone-free kind. If you want an IUD, it’s better to avoid the synthetic hormones – especially as synthetic progestin (which is not the same as the progesterone your own body produces) can cause as many side effects as the pill. A recent study revealed that the hormonal IUD actually holds a higher risk of depression than the pill.
The benefits of the copper IUD
- It’s over 99% effective for preventing pregnancy.
- It lasts 12 years, so if you’re done have kids or don’t want kids you can have effective contraception for over a decade.
- No synthetic hormones.
- It doesn’t suppress ovulation and you experience real periods.
- It is compatible with cycle awareness and the Cycle Synced FLO Living lifestyle – you can track your hormonal phases and monitor your period.
- You can truly address, treat, and resolve period and cycle problems with diet and lifestyle changes.
The drawbacks of the copper IUD
- It is not side effect free – side effects including heavier periods, cramping, pain during insertion, discomfort during sex, spotting between periods, ectopic pregnancy, possible migration or expulsion of the IUD, perforation of the uterus, pelvic inflammatory disease, infection, scar tissue buildup complicating later conception.
- It does not prevent STDs or STIs – you would need condoms for this.
- It’s possible that the copper IUD, like the birth control pill and other hormone-based contraceptives, can cause zinc deficiency by off-balancing copper and zinc levels in your body. If you choose the copper IUD, I recommend supplementing with zinc and eating zinc-rich foods. Zinc deficiency can be a source of acne, low sex drive and poor immunity. You’ll know if you have zinc deficiency – frequent colds and coughs are a common symptom.
- For those that have pre-existing health issues like Wilson’s Disease, which prevents proper copper metabolism, the copper IUD would not be a good option. You could develop copper toxicity.
If you’ve looked over this list and decided, for you, that the drawbacks of the copper IUD outweigh its benefits, you do have other hormone-free options.
I personally use a combination of the fertility awareness method and condoms. I track my fertility signs to pinpoint when I am in my fertile window and use condoms to avoid pregnancy. I’m a huge fan of condoms for many reasons – including the ways in which they protect your fertility. These days there are so many great, chemical-free, sustainable, body-friendly brands too.
If you’ve decided to ditch the synthetic hormones, congratulations! You’ve taken an important step towards vital hormonal health and living in your FLO. Let me know in the comments how you feel about the copper IUD – your experiences, the good and the bad.
Always remember, that once you have the right information about how your body really works, you can start making health choices that finally start to work for you! You can do this – the science of your body is on your side!
to your FLO,
Good things come in threes:
I want to hear from you!
First, have you recently come off the pill?
Second, have you tried to heal your hormonal health issues like PMS or PCOS with the pill?
Third, everyone you know is hormonal – spread a little good ovary karma and share this article on social 😉
Is Your Period Healthy?
How do you know if your hormones are healthy? The answer is in your 5th vital sign – your period.
The color of your flow, frequency of your period, and symptoms you have each month can tell you a lot about your health. There are 5 different V-SIGN TYPES, and knowing which one you have will help you get healthy now and prevent disease in the future.