There are many birth control options available and they come in many forms. Intrauterine devices (IUDs) require a doctor’s visit for placement. IUDs are very common with nearly 14% of women between 15 and 49 years old worldwide using this method of birth control (United Nations, 2013).
There are two types of IUDs: hormonal and copper. ParaGard is a copper IUD that has been around for over 30 years. After placement it can provide continuous birth control for up to 10 years and can be removed early if you decide that you would like to become pregnant.
Many women want to know what side effects they may expect from their birth control. While many people don’t notice the IUD after it has been placed, other women experience side effects. In a survey of people with IUDs, 15.6% had the IUD removed early and responded that they were dissatisfied. In the same study, 74% of patients with an IUD reported being satisfied with their birth control (Dickerson, 2013).
Another study examined responses of 349 women to the copper IUD. Around 94% of women reported “acceptability” of the device at 1 month, which declined to around 88% at 12 months. A slightly lower 84% of participants reported being satisfied with the copper IUD (Kakaire, 2016).
To read other women’s reviews of ParaGard you can go to Drugs.com, a website that allows patients to share their experiences with medications and other treatments. In line with the research surveys, most reviews on ParaGard are positive.
Many users mention the insertion process or changes to their menstrual cycle. Responses to insertion are incredibly varied with some patients barely feeling the insertion while other experienced great discomfort, bleeding and cramp-like pain for weeks. Some patients recommend taking an over-the-counter pain medicine to reduce pain during and after insertion. Also, some patients were prescribed medication to soften the cervix to reduce the pain during insertion.
Changes to the menstrual cycle are another common discussion point of ParaGard reviews on Drugs.com. Many women do not mention changes to their menstrual cycle and a few noted a shorter period while using Paragard. However, longer periods with heavier bleeding and worse cramps are mentioned by numerous reviewers.
Several reviews have mentioned neurological side effects, such as headache, anxiety, insomnia and depression. Many women have the IUD removed after the 10-year effectiveness period or when they decide to become pregnant. However, for some users, the worsened menstrual cycle, continual cramps, neurological changes and other side effects caused them to have the device removed early.
A potential serious complication of IUDs, including ParaGard, is perforation where the device breaks through the uterine wall and potential embedment in a nearby organ. Perforation is an uncommon event that is estimated to occur with approximately 0.1% of insertions (Rowlands, 2016). Symptoms of perforation include pain in the lower abdomen, nausea, vomiting, fever and bleeding.
If you have experienced a uterine perforation after using ParaGard, share your experiences and review with others.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most common side effects of ParaGard?
The most common side effects of an IUD occur during or within days of placement, such as insertion site pain, cramping and many others.
What are some of the potential complications of using ParaGard?
Rare serious complications include perforation of the uterine wall, embedment into adjacent organs, expulsion, pelvic inflammatory disease and ectopic pregnancy.
Where can I read about other women’s experiences with ParaGard?
Drugs.com allows patients to be better informed and help manage their own healthcare. The ParaGard webpage has over a thousand reviews of ParaGard.
- United Nations (2013) World Contraceptive Patterns. https://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/publications/family/contraceptive-wallchart-2013.asp
- Dickerson, et al. (2013) Satisfaction, early removal, and side effects associated with long-acting reversible contraception. Family Medicine: 45(10). https://fammedarchives.blob.core.windows.net/imagesandpdfs/fmhub/fm2013/November/Lori701.pdf
- Kakaire, et al. (2016) Acceptability of intrauterine contraception among women living with human immunodeficiency virus: a randomised clinical trial. The European Journal of Contraception & Reproductive Health Care: 21 (3). https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.3109/13625187.2016.1146249?scroll=top&needAccess=true
- Rowlands, et al. (2016) Intrauterine devices and risk of uterine perforation: current perspectives. Open Access Journal of Contraception: 7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5683155/
- Healthline — https://www.healthline.com/health/birth-control/copper-iud#side-effects
- Drugs.com — https://www.drugs.com/comments/copper-topical/paragard.html?sort_reviews=highest_rating
- Paragard.com — https://www.paragard.com/what-can-i-expect-with-paragard/