Paragard: Hormone Free Does Not Mean No Side Effects by Elise Kulik

The ParaGard® has a plus. This particular intrauterine device (IUD), unlike the pill, the patch, the shot and a host of other contraceptives, is hormone-free. Wondering how a device could boast an effectiveness rate of 99% (typical use) without hormones, I looked into it.

I saw a mag ad for ParaGard a couple months ago and tore it out. I did so because I wanted to see how the company, Teva Women’s Health, says their product works…

On the website, on the “How it Works” page it reads: “ParaGard® works primarily by preventing the sperm from reaching and fertilizing the egg, making it one of the most effective forms of birth control, with or without hormones.”

We know this is not the full story, so I clicked on the “prescribing information” link in the bottom right corner, and after the document loaded sure enough I read: “CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY- The contraceptive effectiveness of ParaGard® is enhanced by copper continuously released into the uterine cavity. Possible mechanism(s) by which copper enhances contraceptive efficacy include interference with sperm transport or fertilization, and prevention of implantation.”

The makers of ParaGard do not advertise that one of the primary mechanisms of their device is to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. This is incredibly dishonest and misleading.

“Natural” would a step in the right direction. However, having an T-shaped copper device in your uterus for up to 10 years at a time, is by no means “natural”. Another tidbit worth noting: “Although uncommon, pregnancy while using ParaGard® can be life threatening and may result in loss of pregnancy or fertility.”

Do some research and you will find that IUDs aren’t as magical as this picture makes them seem…

NO HORMONES DOES NOT MEAN NO SIDE EFFECTS: “You may have other side effects with ParaGard®. For example, you may have anemia (low blood count), backache, pain during sex, menstrual cramps, allergic reaction, vaginal infection, vaginal discharge, faintness, or pain. This is not a complete list of possible side effects.” Others include, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), uterine perforation, difficult removals and expulsion of the device. Though uncommon, the risk for PID is one of the reasons the device is not recommended for women who “have current behavior that puts you at high risk of PID (for example, because you are having sex with several men, or your partner is having sex with other women).”

KEEP DOING YOUR RESEARCH and encourage others in your life to do the same. ParaGard prevents implantation, simple as that. This is hidden from the consumer and brushed up to be so wholesome by highlighting that it is “hormone free”.

“ParaGard®: the only reversible birth control that’s both highly effective and hormone free.”

We know that is blatantly false. Keep reppin’ that NFP.


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