A 27-year-old teacher is blaming her contraceptive IUD (coil) for mysterious and frightening medical issues she developed, including suicidal thoughts. The symptoms disappeared after the IUD was removed.
Yasmeen Dahdah of Jordan had the small, T-shaped copper intra-uterine device, or IUD, inserted in 2015. The long term birth control is said to work to prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years. However, women have sometimes been known to become pregnant despite this — and when they do, they are at an increased risk of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, vaginal bleeding, placental abruption, and premature delivery.
Side effects of copper, non-hormonal IUDs include bleeding between periods, heavy cramps, and severe menstrual pain with heavy bleeding. Additionally, the IUD can migrate in the body, which caused immense suffering for these seven women. Yasmeen began to experience cystic acne, irritable bowel syndrome, extreme fatigue, severe bloating, suicidal thoughts, and depression. Hormonal IUDs like Mirena have specifically been linked to depression and a higher risk of suicide.
“I was extremely fatigued, and it kept getting worse and worse,” she said. “I couldn’t even handle doing basic things.”
She continued, “I was emotionally spent even though I wasn’t doing anything. I was on the raw nerve edge all the time.”
Yasmeen had to drop out of her business development course, and said that her medical issues led to the end of her relationship because she was unable to control her emotions. She also became sensitive to foods, and her tongue developed welts on it. The bloating and cystic acne she suffered caused her self esteem to drop.
“It knocked my confidence and I didn’t feel like myself because I couldn’t even wear makeup,” she explained. “I was severely bloated to the point I looked pregnant and I got diagnosed with IBS. I was in poor shape.”
Yasmeen said the psychological symptoms were worse than the physical symptoms. “I didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning and I had suicidal thoughts,” she explained.
She tried changing her diet and getting help from doctors, but eventually began researching copper poisoning, and learned that other women were suffering from the same issues. In 2019, she was taken to the hospital, and asked for the IUD to be removed. Her pain disappeared, and she was able to once again control her emotions.
“I had problems from as soon as I had [the] coil put in but I didn’t know they were connected,” she said. “I thought I was the problem, I changed my diet, tried going vegan, herbs, natural juices and nothing worked. When I had it removed, I immediately improved. People won’t believe that it was the coil that caused all of my problems but as soon as it was taken out, my body breathed a sigh of relief. I have my life back now.”
She wants women to understand the risks that come with IUD contraception, because the side effects are often not discussed.
“You get told that it’s safe,” she said. “I want people to do their research and talk to other women because it can be dangerous. I was told that there might be a bit of spotting and a change in my period but that’s not what I experienced. When I asked for it to be taken out, the doctors didn’t want to do it but it’s my body — I put it in so I should decide when it’s taken out.”
IUD use has been increasing in recent years, including the United States’ “IUD rush” of 2017 as a response to fears that then-President Trump would end no-cost health insurance coverage for the birth control. That fear proved to be unfounded.
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