2:01 pm - 08/13/2006

ParaGard / Nickel connection??

I have a ParaGard IUD (inserted 8/2 by a fantastic and lovely nurse practitioner at a local clinic). I decided to get (and subsequently got) a ParaGard because I had tried everything else - had a Mirena, it caused some undesirable systemic side effects, and was pulled out by my own damn clumsy hands not breaking suction while removing my divacup. Tried NuvaRing, at least 5 kinds of combined birth control pills, progestin-only pills, and I'm allergic to latex and spermicides, so condoms and spermicical foam/jelly/film are out. ParaGard is my last-ditch effort at birth control.

I'm having vulval/vaginal itching and irritation. Sort of like yeast infection itching, but it's not a yeast infection (no discharge, no odor, no yeast detected on a wet mount slide). My fear: that ParaGard's copper wiring is somehow laced with nickel. I'm not allergic to copper (100% positive - I just had allergy testing). I am terribly, dreadfully, very much allergic to nickel. And the primary symptom of my allergy is intense itching and irritation. *gigantic sigh*

My plan is to call or email the ParaGard people tomorrow and see what their take is, but in the meantime - anybody know more than I do about the nickel content of a ParaGard? Have any wisdom to offer me?

ETA: just found http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=6153839&dopt=Abstract
http://www.aphroditewomenshealth.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/7/1554/5.html; bah!

EDIT, 8/14 9pm:
I called and spoke with paragard reps today, and discussed with them my findings as above, and my personal situation. I was explicitly told that the copper wiring is in fact comprised of nickel, and merely coated with copper. This information is not available anywhere in the patient prescribing information, or in the information given to care providers (I work in the clinic I got my IUD inserted at. I looked extensively). This explains the itching, and also the hives on my face, neck, and torso and the terrible horrible awful cramping even without bleeding (the medical staff at ParaGard, and my own clinician both described this as my body trying to eject the foreign allergenic item in my uterus). After much consultation and consideration, I had my IUD removed this afternoon. It's currently residing in a covered plastic cup, in my purse. I figure it'll soak in alcohol for a while, and then join the ranks of my Mirena, forming some sort of funky feminist-women's health art in a shadowbox.
I'm upset at the lack of information available about this, and upset that I now have such limited contraceptive options. It's been quite the not-positive experience.

crossposted to vaginapagina, iud_divas, birthcontrolled.
invisibelle 6th-Sep-2006 12:31 am (UTC)
Would you mind elaborating a little on your systemic side effects from Mirena? I am trying to choose which IUD to try and I've been looking all over for more info on Mirena's possible side effects... just curious about your experience. :)
jennifer0246 6th-Sep-2006 12:34 am (UTC)
Hey there,
The side effects I had included general moodiness, irritability, etc - mood changes. I also had alot of irritation from the strings (which was very different from my experience with paragard; if it hadn't been for that pesky terrible allergic reaction I would've loved paragard, including it's strings), pretty constant low-level spotting/bleeding, and some weight gain.

As with all things, your mileage may vary, and I encourage you to talk with your own health provider to decide what's right for you. Good luck :)
invisibelle 6th-Sep-2006 01:32 am (UTC)
Thanks so much for your response, I didn't know if you'd still be watching the post. :) The allergy thing worries me, I didn't even think of that before... I am also highly allergic to nickel, or really anything but 14+k gold or surgical steel. I can't imagine why they would use nickel for something meant to be implanted, that's crazy. That confuses things even more, heh, but it's important to think about. Thanks for all the info :)
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