Experiencing hair loss can be downright scary.
As an initial response, you’ll naturally wonder what might be causing it.
You are not alone. Trust me when I say that many women can relate, especially those who just started using birth control methods.
And while pills and condoms remain the two most popular birth control methods for women, intrauterine devices (IUDs) are also becoming increasingly popular among women because they remain effective for a longer period of time, even without user compliance.
In short, you do not have to worry about forgotten pills or a broken condom.
If you have been thinking of getting an IUD for some time now, you might have already heard of Paragard.
It is a popular copper IUD which can prevent pregnancy for up to 12 years.
However, aside from its known advantages, many women who had an IUD inserted, no matter which type, have reported about experiencing hair loss.
IUDs have also been known for its myriad of side effects. But before we look at them, it is important to know the different types of the intrauterine device first, along with their most popular brands.
Hormonal IUD vs. Copper IUD for Birth Control
If you’re considering having an IUD for birth control, the first choice you have to make is to choose between its two types: are you going to opt for a hormonal IUD or a copper IUD?
Both types are small, T-shaped devices only a nurse or doctor can insert into the uterus, and are equally safe and effective birth control methods on their own.
However, they work differently in helping women prevent pregnancy.
The hormonal IUD, as you can tell from its name, makes use of a hormone called progestin and releases it into your body. One of the most popular hormonal IUDS in the market is Mirena.
Hormonal IUDs keep you from being pregnant by thickening the mucus in your cervical canal. That way, the sperm can’t get through the uterus and will not be able to reach the egg.
Meanwhile, the copper IUD is non-hormonal. It does not make use of hormones, but instead prevents pregnancy with the copper ions released through the copper wire wrapped around it.
The copper is toxic to sperm and deactivates it. The most popular copper IUD in the market is manufactured under the name Paragard.
Although it is a popular choice among women, did you know that the Paragard IUD has been named in a number of lawsuits?
You read that right.
Although complications from the use of an IUD is rare, they can still occur.
Several side effects may be experienced by women after having an IUD inserted.
But let’s settle your burning question first.
After all, you are reading this article to find out the truth behind this matter.
Does Hormonal IUD Cause Hair Loss?
Does your IUD cause hair loss?
The number of reports of IUD-related hair loss may be small, but it is still possible.
According to medical professionals, the problem of hair loss is more evident with the use of Mirena and other hormonal IUDs like it.
This is because the hormones being released in small amounts by this IUD can disrupt the natural balance of our body, which means that the hormones can have several effects on your body.
These side effects can include acne, weight gain, mood swings, decreased sex drive, and of course, hair loss.
Additionally, when changes in hormones happen because of hormonal IUDs, it can trigger a form of hair loss called telogen effluvium.
This IUD-related hair loss happens when someone’s body undergoes rapid changes. In this case, it’s the change in hormones because of the hormonal birth control.
In 2007, a medical review conducted by doctors in New Zealand found that hair loss associated with Mirena occurred in 0.33 of patients.
Does the Paragard IUD Cause Hair Loss?
Copper IUD as a form of birth control may not have hormones, but Paragard hair loss can still be possible.
The copper IUD can still alter the biochemical properties in our body and therefore can also influence our hormones in an indirect way, causing problems related to hormonal imbalance in women such as hair loss.
So how does it happen?
You see, even though Paragard does not necessarily mess with your hormone levels, doctors have found that excess copper can interfere with the thyroid gland.
The thyroid gland is vital in regulating many body functions by constantly releasing amounts of thyroid hormones into our bloodstream.
Are you starting to see the connection now?
That although the copper IUD is a hormone-free option, since it affects the hormone gland, then it can also cause problems linked to an imbalance of hormone levels, such as hair loss.
Another reason behind hair loss through the copper IUD that people tend to talk about is copper toxicity.
However, there’s no clear evidence that copper IUDs can increase the risk of copper toxicity in the blood, unless you have an underlying condition that affects your liver’s ability to process copper.
And like we said, even though there are few reports of hair loss in copper IUD users as opposed to those who use the hormonal birth control, some forums by women in the internet beg to differ.
Does Hair Grow Back After IUD?
The good news?
ThWomen who experience hair loss because of having an IUD inserted can still have their hair back.
But more important than that is getting to the root of the problem first by understanding what is causing your hair loss in the first place.
But hair loss due to IUD is definitely reversible, as long as you undo the damage early on and you take necessary measures to make sure that you have more defenses against hair loss.
Eating a well-balanced diet with plenty of protein, minimizing bleaching and chemical treatments, as well as managing stress are some of the proven ways to start putting up better defenses to avoid hair loss.
What are the Side Effects of Mirena?
Mirena can decrease menstrual bleeding following three months of use, but it also has many other non contraceptive benefits aside from that. This is probably why it is popular among women.
But considering that this hormonal birth control can also possibly cause hair loss, you might start to wonder what other side effects it might have.
Mirena is also associated with a couple of other side effects, including:
- Mood changes
- Breast tenderness
- Pelvic pain
- Irregular bleeding, which can possibly improve after six months
Mirena, which is manufactured by Bayer, has also been associated with nearly 50,000 reports of complications and adverse events since it was approved by the FDA in 2000.
Although the contraceptive power of this hormonal birth control is based on a different principle, it can also be potentially harmful for some women.
In fact, in the Mirena litigation, around 2,700 women have sued its manufacturer over claims of the IUD migrating inside the body and perforating other organs, causing painful injuries to the affected women.
Bayer paid $12.2 million in 2017 to settle these cases of device migration.
What are the Side Effects of Paragard?
A known benefit of Paragard is that since it is non hormonal, it is not known to contribute to mood swings and weight gain, which are side effects mostly experienced with hormonal birth controls.
Although most studies done on IUDs including Paragard have shown the devices to be mostly effective and safe, that does not mean that they all come without side effects.
Since you have already learned that this non hormonal IUD can possibly cause hair loss, listed below are other side effects that can affect many women who had Paragard inserted:
- Heavier menstrual flow
- Menstrual spotting
Women may also experience nausea and dizziness after the IUD is inserted.
However, some of Paragard’s more serious and rarer complications came to light with the complaints filed in the Paragard lawsuits.
Many Paragard users reported that the IUD is prone to breaking inside the body of the woman who had it implanted.
This may lead to organ perforation and other serious injuries to women due to fragment migration.
Many women also claimed that it can break once you have the IUD removed. When this happens, the broken pieces should be painfully removed one by one through a couple of medical procedures, which can be complicated to avoid organ damage.
To this day, attorneys are still trying to hold Teva Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of the IUD, liable of injuries sustained due to the use of the non hormonal IUD.
What Should I do if I am Experiencing Hair Loss Because of my IUD?
If your gut is telling you that your IUD might be causing your hair loss, then follow your instinct. And while you’re on it, talk to your doctor immediately.
Considering that hormones are essential in hair growth, changes in hormone levels can result in hair loss.
Our hair follicles are unique, so some people’s hair follicles might be more sensitive to the hormonal changes that come with IUDs.
But because it may be hard to prove to your doctor that it is the IUD that’s causing your hair loss, you might just want to have the IUD removed, especially if your doctor is not able to give an explanation behind the hair loss you are experiencing.
Tips to Support Healthy Hair Growth
Aside from your IUD, other possible reasons behind hair loss could also be thyroid dysfunction and mineral deficiencies.
With that in consideration, here are some helpful tips to support healthy hair growth that are bound to help you regardless if you do or you do not know the exact reason behind your hair loss:
- Adding protein in your diet
- Be extra careful with coloring, bleaching, and chemical straightening
- Reduce your stress levels
- If you have possible mineral and vitamin deficiencies, take supplements with zinc, iron, B complex, and vitamins A, C, and E
- Avoid twisting and pulling your hair
The Bottom Line
IUDs undeniably come with risks, just like several other birth control methods.
If you think you currently experience hair loss because of your IUD, have an appointment with your doctor so that they can help you determine other possible causes.
And if you are planning to get an IUD any time soon, I hope we have helped you in becoming aware of what to expect upon choosing either of the two kinds of intrauterine device for birth control.