The most common non-hormonal IUD side effects are heavier bleeding and more cramping during periods for the first few months after the device is inserted. Many women also experience some cramping and bleeding between periods for the first few months after insertion. These side effects are seen with the ParaGard T intrauterine device, which is one of two IUDs available. The ParaGard IUD contains no hormones, while the Mirena IUD does contain a small amount of synthetic hormones.
For some women, non-hormonal IUD side effects include pain and fainting at the time of insertion. An IUD is a small T-shaped device, just more than 1 inch (3 cm) long that is placed in the uterus to prevent pregnancy. The ParaGard IUD is made of plastic and copper. It works by making it difficult for sperm to move, thus making it difficult for eggs to be fertilized and pregnancy to occur. Most studies find that IUDs are more than 99 percent effective, though there is some risk of the IUD being expelled from the body, which can lead to unintended pregnancies.
Other common non-hormonal IUD side effects may include backache, dizziness, and vaginal discharge. Owing to heavier menstrual bleeding associated with IUD usage, the side effects may include an increase in the risk of the woman becoming anemic. Some women may also experience an allergic reaction to the copper in the device.
While not common, some additional non-hormonal IUD side effects and complications occasionally result. On insertion, there is a rare chance that the IUD can perforate the uterus. There is also a slight risk of bacteria getting into the uterus at the time of insertion, increasing the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease for a few weeks following the insertion.
The risks of side effects or complications are increased for some women. These include women who have or are at risk for sexually transmitted disease, who have or have had ovarian cancer, and who have diabetes. Young women and women who have never been pregnant are at an increased risk of having the IUD becoming dislodged and expelled from their uterus.
While pregnancy is rare with an IUD in place, if it does occur, the woman should make an appointment to have the device removed immediately. Pregnancy with an IUD in place includes risks of pelvic infection, miscarriage, and possible birth defects. There is some risk of miscarriage at the time of the IUD's removal.