If you’ve been following along you know that my uterus ate a Paragard IUD.

My doc tried to take the IUD out the regular way, by “gently tugging,” but that didn’t work; he had to tug super-hard, it effing hurt, I might have screamed a little… then it broke, and only half of it came out.

So I was scheduled to be under general anesthesia for a … wait, not a hysterectomy, I keep saying that but I know it’s not right, because I still have my uterus… hysteroscopy is what it’s called. Yes, that’s right. It means sticking a scope into your hystero…area… okay your uterus. “Hyster” comes from the ancient Greek word for “womb.” And of course any time they use the suffix “scopy” it means they’re going to probe you. So hysteroscopy is womb-probing. That’s what I had done, and it didn’t work. The Paragard is still inside me.

Here’s what the official FDA information pamphlet says about possible difficulties of removing Paragard:

“Embedment or breakage of ParaGard® in the myometrium can make removal difficult. Analgesia, paracervical anesthesia, and cervical dilation may assist in removing an embedded ParaGard®. An alligator forceps or other grasping instrument may be helpful. Hysteroscopy may also be helpful.”

“Alligator forceps?” Do they really have to call them that? As if everything we women have to go through isn’t bad enough? Geez.

Anyway, my doctor told me he doesn’t see any way to get the IUD out of me besides hysterectomy, which he does NOT recommend; he thinks that is far too extreme. But really? Just leave it in there? Forever? That’s your best option?

There’s a whole bunch of scary crap in the FDA pamphlet about how the device could perforate your uterus and go into other parts of your body and reek major havoc. It could poke holes in your intestines and lady-parts and make you pee out of your vagina and all this crazy stuff. I feel like I need to make a bunch of inappropriate jokes to mask my horror at this!

Here’s a little more of what the pamphlet says:

“5. Embedment

Partial penetration or embedment of ParaGard® in the myometrium can make removal difficult. (No shit.) In some cases, surgical removal may be necessary. (That would be me.)

6. Perforation

Partial or total perforation of the uterine wall or cervix may occur rarely during placement, although it may not be detected until later. Spontaneous migration has also been reported. If perforation does occur, remove ParaGard® promptly, since the copper can lead to intraperitoneal adhesions. Intestinal penetration, intestinal obstruction, and/or damage to adjacent organs may result if an IUD is left in the peritoneal cavity. Pre-operative imaging followed by laparoscopy or laparotomy is often required to remove an IUD from the peritoneal cavity.” (<<<That would be horrible.)
So my doctor telling me that leaving it in shouldn’t hurt anything… yeah I don’t think so.

First of all, I went in to have it removed because… I WANTED TO GET IT OUT OF ME. That was the whole point.

Secondly, the fact that the FDA pamphlet doesn’t have a “what to do if Paragard can’t be removed” section, I’m going to assume that the FDA does not consider leaving it in a viable option.

Lastly, although the pamphlet doesn’t list acne and hair-loss as one of the side effects (I’m a balding pizza-face), hundreds of women are on message-boards and Facebook pages complaining about these symptoms. These were my original reasons for wanting to remove the Paragard. I can only assume that leaving it in would mean a life-time of suffering with acne and hair-loss.Doc pointed out that Paragard is non-hormonal and shouldn’t have hormonal side-effects, and that since I’d pretty much always been on birth control, pregnant, or breastfeeding, it’s possible that those things were keeping me from experiencing acne and hair-loss that would otherwise always have been an issue for me. And I admit that could be the case. But I don’t think so. Both my symptoms – the acne and hair-loss – are extreme. And neither run in my family on either side.

Even if I could live with the acne and hair-loss for the rest of my life, I still don’t want this shrapnel in my body.
The scary part is, judging from what I’m reading online, this happens more frequently than the pamphlet implies. But what scares me the most is that many women comment and say, “Well, I’ve had my IUD for x number of years, and have never had any problems!” And I think to myself, “Well, DUH. I never had an obvious problem either (other than the acne and hair-loss), until I went to have it removed.”
How many women have one of these things inside of them, and have yet to discover that they have a problem similar to mine? Maybe you’re one of those women! Scary, right?

I’ve got to get a second opinion. I want this thing out of me. My post-op is in a week, so I’ll know more then.

In the meantime, I’ll keep talking about it, keep spreading awareness, keep maintaining a sense of humor about all of this… so I don’t curl up in the fetal position and bawl my eyes out.


  1. I am so sorry you are going through this sister! I cannot even imagine. I just had my Mirena removed, thankfully, with no complications. I, too, had been facing acne, hair loss, and extreme mood swings for far too long. Never again and I actively encourage anyone I hear contemplating an IUD to seek other avenues! Too much shit can go wrong. xoxo

    • Thank you for commenting. I’ve been a bit emotional over this and avoidance helps me deal sometimes, so I haven’t responded the way I normally do. Anyway. Totally agree, women need to say no to IUDs, whenever possible!

  2. I bled profusely for 6 months. Horrible, blood bath type of bleeding and not for a couple of days, for 7-10 days. I was soaking an overnight pad in an hour and sometimes I would double up. Pad and tampon and only get a couple of hours until I soaked through to my pants. (Gross I know) Don’t listen to the dopey docs about the non-hormonal paragard not causing acne or hair loss, because it does. Not from hormones per say but from copper toxicity. The copper does effect hormones. I too had both hair loss and acne as well as depression and anxiety. Those too can be caused by copper toxicity and copper levels affecting hormones. I had had enough after 6 months with my second paragard iud and I removed it myself. Thank god it came out quickly and easily and in one piece. My first paragard was placed incorrectly and on top of becoming a blood gushing geyser, I had dibilitating cramping that rendered me homebound during my period. AWFUL!!! I feel for you and wish you peace and ease in your decision on treatment options.

  3. I had the Mirena IUD, after the birth of my second child. I only got it because the mini-pill affected my milk supply with my first, and in that way it was really good, nursed my second for over two years without issue. All seemed well until the last 6 months I had it. I had lots of spotting/bleeding. Finally I made the decision to have it removed because I was always worried it was not in the right place. When I went in to have it removed, the doctor could not find the strings which led to the need for dilation in order to grab it with the alligator forceps. The doctor and the nurse were impressed with how well I took the procedure as it was very painful and I never winced or screamed out. I don’t think I will ever have another IUD, after that whole experience. So sorry for what you are going through. I think problems with IUDs are a lot more common than the medical community likes to let on! I hope you find a good solution. 🙁

    • I agree. I think many, many women have had these kinds of complications, and they’re either not reported, or the medical companies are hiding it.

  4. Why hasn’t the medical community solved these problems, by now? Gimme A Break had an episode about IUDs being dangerous, way back in 1982!

    • Oh how I wish I had known… never again will I jump into something like that without first doing exhaustive research.

  5. Mirena here… ummmmmm haven’t found those strings in over a year. I’ve been living in denial. Also, I have no health insurance so denial is kinda necessary at the moment (middle class pay = crappy benefit options with deductibles SO high that it only helps if I get cancer or die but this is a whole other rant). My mother had an IUD in the 80’s and it broke. Because of this, she was never able to have children from that point on. She won the law suit (it wasn’t much but they were obviously wrong). She was weary about me getting the Mirena put in after my second daughter but she held her tongue. What to do… What to do… Mom might’ve been right aging. Damn it!

    • Wow. I hope you can go to the doc soon. What about planned parenthood? Any chance one of their docs could help you out? (I don’t really know anything about planned parenthood; just a shot in the dark)

  6. WOW! That is so weird. Yeah, I agree, that parasite has to GO! I am sure we will be kept up to date. I hope for quick resolution. 🙂 Devan

    • Thanks, Devan. There will be an update the week of 8/26. Can’t WAIT to get this thing out of me.

  7. Eek this is so the reason why I could never would never get one. Most of the new IUD’s also don’t prevent you from GETTING pregnant, they prevent it from STICKING…aka, you’re basically wearing something that forces a miscarriage. A lot of women don’t know that, either. No no no, not for me. I was on the shot for awhile but was one of those lucky women who had a period every other week post partum even though I was nursing (we’re rare, and fortunate eh?) and the shot was no longer an option because my doc thought I’d been using it too long and I was already high risk for bone density loss yadda yadda yadda (getting old is super fun)….so it’s the good ol’ pills for me now. fingers crossed I can remember to take them on time!

    • I’ve got a daily appointment on my phone’s calendar. Otherwise I WILL NOT remember. And I really don’t want to get preggers right now. (Or ever.) (Probably.)

  8. Oh my gosh! That’s awful. I hope you get this resolved soon. The internet is going to force companies to be more forthcoming with their side effects. So many women talk about weight gain as a side effect from Mirena, but “they” say it isn’t related. Whatever.
    I did have Paragaurd, and honestly did not have side effects, except the fact that I got pregnant while it was in place! (and yea, my doctor had a hard time removing mine as well…how’s that for irony!)

  9. Yowza! I had to press my knees together to keep reading your post. That is awful! I bet your doctor wouldn’t want a half removed piece of glass sticking out his pee-hole. Oh, leave it in…it’ll be fine. Yeah, right! Good luck with the removal (again). Just think, you’ll be 0.0015 pounds lighter afterwards. ((Hugs))

  10. Oh em gee, I am in pain for you!!!! That’s horrible :/ I had the Mirena put in after #3, stuck it out 6 weeks, through the severe nausea, cramping, crazy rage feelings, acne, and just generally feeling like sh*t. Then I went and got that bastard out. Not. Worth. It. Plus, I was terrified of it getting ‘lost’. More women need to speak up, share their experiences-I had no clue going in how horrible it could be.

    • Exactly. If I’d known how common these types of experiences are, I wouldn’t have had the thing put in in the first place!

  11. File a FDA Med Watch Report so girls like us can finally get this crap off the market.

  12. -also needless to say nobody knows what harm it’s causing, nor is it even believable.

  13. I’ve been searching for more information on IUD problems because a visit to my doctor yesterday found that the strings for my IUD can’t be found! Going in for an ultrasound on Tuesday and praying it hasn’t “migrated” or “perforated”. Two words I will forever associate with plastic and metal floating around my lady parts. Terrified now that even if they find it I may have a horror story like yours and won’t be able to get this thing out of me! Perhaps it’s time I stop freaking myself out more with other scary stories and just wait for Tuesday…hope you have a happy ending to your story!

  14. Hi Kristen,

    I was researching about broken Paragard and was landed to your website! Can you please advise if they could find and take the string out of your body?

    I have the same situation, so frustrated with surgeries and x-rays! Please let me know the outcome of your situation!

    Thank you!