Surviving a Toxic Reaction to the Copper IUD
Editor’s note: More than once at Natural Womanhood, we have received emails from parents whose daughters have tragically died as a result of her birth control. A few months ago, we received a different kind of note—one from a woman who had a close call and was able to share her story with us. Cheyenne, whose name has been changed, found Natural Womanhood in a search for help when experiencing birth control side effects; it’s that Google search that led to a Natural Womanhood article on copper IUDs, which she credits with saving her life.“Thank you so much for your article. I had a close encounter with death just this afternoon.” Cheyenne then shared her story. She ended her note with these words: “Thank you for your website, which saved my life. I’m forever grateful.”
Here is Cheyenne’s story.
All I can say in a nutshell about life: You do not know what life is until death comes knocking at your door.
Back in my home country of Malaysia, I used to work in the TV and advertising industry. But now living in South Africa I cannot work because of my Visa, even though I am married to a South African. I travel to Malaysia every two years to renew my Visa.
I have been married for three years. Because of our financial situation, it’s not the right time for us to have kids. So I am a full-time homemaker. I manage my vegetable garden and I am a mommy to my fur-baby, my dog.
When it comes to family planning, I cannot use the Pill; I can’t use the implant; nothing works. The Pill gives me spotting every day, and that’s terrible. I’ve tried everything. Once a doctor recommended a hysterectomy to me due to my endometriosis. Everything here is “Can’t deal with it? Remove it.”
I decided to get the IUD on my next trip to Malaysia because it is more affordable there.
I thought this would be like any other procedure because I had used the IUD before. Due to my endometriosis, my threshold of pain is extremely high so the initial pain is nothing to me. It was about 4:30 p.m. and I was walking to a mall 20-30 minutes away. While walking I noticed that I was experiencing something that was not quite right—light-headed, nauseous, and imbalanced. Of course, I had cramps, and that could be from the procedure, but other symptoms were not quite right.
I thought I probably was just tired and needed to rest, so I went into town and dinner with a friend. I left the restaurant with a huge migraine, which I have never had in my life. It was mostly on the right side of my face, around my eyes, but my whole face was painful. I didn’t know what was going on. The cramping pain was elevated. Back home after dinner, I vomited. Then I came down with a fever.
Still, I thought I could sleep it off. I told my husband by phone, took two panadol (Acetaminophen), and dozed off.
Dizziness and the IUD
When I woke up in the morning, within a half-hour all the symptoms had come back in double force. I was extremely imbalanced, and now dizzy, light-headed, and breathless.
I went to eat breakfast with my friend, and I told her I wasn’t feeling well. I needed to run an errand in town but was really, really feeling off. The symptoms started to escalate. I started having palpitations, shortness of breath, brain fogginess, extreme hunger, nauseousness, and slight weakness in my legs.
While waiting for my friend in the car, I did a quick research on copper toxicity and it was only Natural Womanhood’s website that described my symptoms.
My friend took me straight to the gynecologist. She was busy with patients, so the nurses said the doctor would call me back.
My friend took me back home, and that’s when things got scarier. When I was going up the stairs, I almost blacked out; I grabbed hold of the railing and my body felt intoxicated. I had to use all my strength to hold onto the railing and get up the stairs to my water bottle.
That’s when I knew something wasn’t right, and it was the IUD. The doctor called me back, and my friend rushed me there. I struggled to walk because my legs were extremely weak. I noted that I had lost my balance. And while I was explaining the symptoms to the doctor, I noted that I started slurring and was leaning to one side.
My doctor agreed with my assessment that we should remove the IUD. By the time she removed it and I went back home, my symptoms were reduced by 80 percent. By the next morning, I was 100 percent better.
Dangerous but hidden birth control symptoms
If I had never made it—if I collapsed in the house, no one would have known the cause, what had happened, even if an ambulance came. Who would ever figure out it would be an IUD?
When I Googled “copper toxicity,” I found a generalized article that did not actually state my symptoms. It suggested that what I was experiencing can’t happen, or that it always differs for individuals. But after I did more research on it, I came across the same symptoms I was experiencing, in a Natural Womanhood article.
I believe it was God who sent me to the Natural Womanhood article. When I Googled copper toxicity, it came up on the first page, in the third spot. In the article, I read further and it made a lot of sense on how the biochemistry, and the IUD, and your body all work together. I really respect the author for writing it because I really want to know the details of why I’m experiencing what I’m experiencing. It was written with a lot of heart and patience and understanding and time.
I want to pass my thanks to the author for writing it and to Natural Womanhood for publishing it. I am happy to share my story in hopes it will save someone else’s life.